Fun Activities on Kauai

Kauai's activitites are endless. You can hike through Waimea Canyon, take a zipline tour through the jungle, picnic next to a waterfall, or go on a tour of famous movie landmarks. Be sure to book paid tours in advance, though, as some of the more popular options book up sometimes weeks in advance.

Kauai Helicopter and Air Tours

Activity Type :  Air

See Napali Coast on the island of Kauai by helicopter

Kauai helicopter tours are arguably among the best helicopter rides of any in Hawaii. Helicopter tour companies on Kauai abound as the helicopter rides are spectacular beyond words. Kauai was the first of the major Hawaiian Islands to rise from the ocean floor and it was the first to become extinct some 5 million years ago.

Nature has also had the most time to carve her spectacular features providing the unbelievable landscape for Kauai's sensational helicopter flights. Kauai boasts the wettest spot on the planet at Mount EleEle averaging over 400 inches a year. The tremendous rainfall has produced the most remarkable sheer valleys, razor sharp ridges descending to the sea and most amazing array of waterfalls to be assembled anywhere in the world.

The extreme sea and wave action has also had a tremendous effect upon Kauai's spectacular coastline producing the famous Na Pali coast with pristine cliffs and caves stretching 11 miles on Kauai's northern shore.

Kauai was the first of the Hawaiian Islands to offer helicopter tours, helicopter rides and to provide helicopter charters. Helicopter tour companies on Kauai now include a number of helicopter charters many of which are world famous. These are a few of the helicopter companies now in operation on the island of Kauai: Jack Harter Helicopters, South Sea Helicopters, Will Squires Helicopters, Ohana Helicopters, Island Helicopters, Bali Hai Helicopters and Heli-USA Helicopters. Kauai is just about the perfect size for a helicopter flight. You can easily and thoroughly see the entire island in just one hour.

If it fits within your budget, a helicopter ride is the one activity that is a must for you on Kauai. You will never see anything like this again, anywhere in the world. Kauai helicopter tours and Kauai helicopter flights are as good as it gets and the helicopter tour companies on Kauai are among the best you will find.

Luaus on Kauai

Activity Type :  Land

A Luau at the Grand Hyatt Kauai on the island of Kauai

The traditional Hawaiian luau can only be found in Hawaii and thus your visit to Kauai would be incomplete without attending at least one Hawaiian feast. There are a number of Hawaiian luaus on Kauai and they all include luau food, hula dancing the fire dance and other aspects popularized most recently in the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch.

Kauai luaus are essentially a giant feast which includes Hawaiian entertainment such as the hula dancing and a considerable amount of socialization in the tradition of the "aloha spirit".

THE FOOD: No Hawaiian feast is complete without luau food and the sharing of the "gift of food" is an integral part of every Hawaiian luau on Kauai. The main ingredient in any of the luaus is what is referred to as the "Kalua Pork" or pig. Preparations for the cooking of the pig are begun early in the morning of the day of your Kauai luau. A large pit is dug in the sand, which is called the "imu". Dry, Kiawe hardwood (known in North America as Mesquite) is placed into the pit with many rounded river rocks assembled on top. The wood is lit on fire and after a couple of hours all that is left on the bottom are hot coals and incredibly hot rocks which will maintain the heat for hours to come. The rocks are then evened out on the bottom of the pit and juicy fresh cut banana stalks are placed on top followed by banana leaves to provide a bed to place the pig upon. The pig is then place in the pit and covered with more banana leaves and ti leaves and usually a gunnysack to keep the heat in. A tarp of some kind is then placed over the whole affair and then the pit is covered with beach sand. The rocks heat the juicy banana stalks causing a steam or pressure cooker effect in the imu and after about 6 to 8 hours the pig is unveiled. The intense steam has cooked the meat to the extent that it just falls away from the bone and the moisture from the banana stalks has kept the meat moist and delicious.

Other delicacies which are usually provided at Kauai luaus are chicken long rice, lomi lomi salmon, haupia (coconut desert), poi (very nutritious), veggies, salad, steaks, roasted chicken, fresh fish, rice, lots of specialty items, deserts and much more. An open bar is also usually provided on most Kauai luaus which includes Mai Tai's and other adult beverages. The children are provided with lots to drink as well. Although you will probably find a number of the items on your plate at your Hawaiian feast that are unusual to say the least, you can rest assured that there will still be plenty of luau food available that has some semblance of what you are familiar with.

Eco Adventures - Outfitters Kauai

Activity Type :  Land

Eco Adventures on the island of Kauai

The Zipline is designed, built and operated according to the highest safety standards as set by the ACCT (the Association for Challenge Course Technology). The setting is magnificent: a 1/4 mile foot trail through the jungle leads to a steep valley at the confluence of two streams with a 150 foot waterfall tumbling over fern covered black basalt boulders on one side and a lazy 80 foot wide tropical stream on the other.

The steep terrain allows for a ground level launching platform that wraps a huge Banyan tree with a 30 ft diameter trunk. Participants (Zippers) are outfitted with mountain climbing harnesses and helmets and walk through a labyrinth of aerial Banyan roots to arrive at the gated take-off area.

A protocol is followed in which the Outfitters Kauai Guide runs through an equipment checklist and attaches a tether from the Zippers' harness to a two-wheeled trolley that rides on the zip cable. The gate opens, the Zipper takes a giant step and zooooom: you are sailing 50 ft above ground, over rivers and waterfalls and through the treetops at a speed of 35 mph.

Working your way back to the starting point is half the fun! You'll cross streams and waterfalls on a foot trail that leads to a Swiss Family Robinson style system of aerial platforms and stairs that take you back to the launching pad to do it again.

Minimum 6 passengers Maximum 13 passengers.

Horseback Riding on Kauai

Activity Type :  Land

Horseback rides on Kauai are among the most exhilarating and beautiful of any riding tours that can be found in Hawaii and are among the most fun Kauai activities available. Horseback riding Kauai is an experience not to be missed if you have a passion for horses combined with unbelievably beautiful scenery.

There are a number of stables on Kauai and they offer a variety of different types of horseback rides. Another less lengthy ride allows you to trot and canter into a forest reserve with panoramic ocean and mountain views. Taste a guava, smell the camphor, and feel the paper bark trees.

This is an exceptional opportunity to learn about Kauai's history and culture. Still other horseback rides take you along the spectacular ocean bluffs in the Princeville area or back along jungled streams to a delicious waterfall and pool where you can swim and have a picnic lunch.

Other horseback rides are similar but also include a kayak river ride. Horseback riding tours are tailored to both beginners and the experienced horseman.

Hawaii Movie Tours on Kauai

Activity Type :  Land

SEE KAUAI THROUGH HOLLYWOOD'S EYES - Travel in a theater on wheels, beautiful 15 passenger vans with TV's and surround sound, to filming locations of some of Hollywood's most famous movies.

Check-in: Pick-up available on East Shore (Kapa'a/Wailua) and South Shore (Poipu area) Capacity: 14 Passenger, Custom Mini-Buses and 15 Passenger, 4X4 Touring Vans Equipment: Air-conditioned vans with TV's, VCR's and surround sound system

Dolphin Excursions on Kauai

Activity Type :  Water

Dolphin Excursions on the island of Kauai

The ultimate fantasy of visitors to Kauai would be swimming with the dolphins in the wild in the waters off Hawaii. The Hawaiian name for dolphin is nai'`a, and refers to all species of dolphins found in Hawaiian waters. Four species of dolphins are regularly found in the waters around Hawaii. They are the Pacific bottlenose dolphin, the Rough-toothed dolphin, the Spotted dolphin and the Spinner dolphin. Other dolphin species have been known to pass through the islands but are relatively rare.

The two most popular species of dolphins located in Hawaiian waters are the bottlenose dolphins and the spinner dolphins. Spinner dolphins are the smallest of Hawaii's common dolphins. They are generally between five and six feet in length and weigh 130 to 200 pounds. Hawaii has its own subspecies that is easy to recognize by its distinctive "three-tone" color pattern which consists of a sharply defined dark gray "cape" on their backs, a stripe of lighter gray on their sides and a white or pink belly. This species gets its name from its spectacular habit of leaping high into the air and spinning several times on their tails before falling back into the water. Researchers are not sure why the dolphins spin, but most people who have had the opportunity to watch the dolphins don't seem to mind, and find it a real treat. Around Hawaii, spinner dolphins congregate at night in large herds in the deep channels between the islands to feed. During the day, they break up into smaller groups and come near shore to rest and play. A few of the places where they can commonly be seen are in Kealake'akua Bay on the island of Hawaii, off the Leeward Coast of Oahu, on the southern boundries of Maui and off the coastline of Lanai.

The life cycle of dolphins is similar to that of other cetaceans. As mammals, dolphins bear live young and the mothers nurse them on milk and provide care. A dolphin calf is born tail-first with eyes open, senses alert and enough muscular coordination to follow its mother immediately. At birth, the mother helps her calf to the surface to get its first breath. While nursing lasts between one and a half to two years, the mother will remain with her calf for a period between three and eight years. There is some variation in the age at which sexual maturity is reached, the reproduction rate and the life expectancy among the different species of dolphins. Most species tend to bear one calf every other year or so during their reproductively active years and are believed to have an average life expectancy of about thirty years.

As anyone who has had the opportunity to watch dolphins perform in a show can attest, dolphins have an impressive ability to learn and imitate behaviors, often for what appears the sheer pleasure of doing so. This observation, together with their large brain size, has led to numerous studies of dolphin intelligence. Dolphins' brains are about the size of our own. *Much of the information found above was provided by Earthtrust and the Hawaii Department of Education.

Snorkeling on Kauai

Activity Type :  Water

Snorkeling on the island of Kauai

Kauai snorkeling, with its attendant snorkel boats, snorkeling trips, snuba adventures, snorkeling from shore, family snorkeling activities and various other tours are among the most interesting activities that Kauai has to offer. Kauai's coastline is both varied and beautiful ranging from the more gentle inlets and coves of the Poipu and south shore region to the dramatic, isolated and incredible shoreline of the Na Pali Coast.

Kauai has a large fleet of snorkeling boats and snorkeling charters offering trips that traverse the Kauai shoreline which is often teeming with marine life. Dolphins are very often a part of the marine landscape on many of the snorkeling charters and the whales seen off the Kauai coast during whale season are often many more than the island is generally given credit for.

Many snorkeling areas also include extensive coral reefs and a full complement of reef fish. Kauai is also one of the few islands that provide snorkeling trips that depart from the shoreline rather than from a boat. These trips will take you via van to some of the very best snorkeling locations and the water entry from the beach often makes the snorkel experience a bit less intimadating for the less initiated. These are great family activities for snorkeling. Snuba tours are also included in the complement of Kauai snorkel trips. Snuba is a cross between scuba diving and snorkeling. A scuba tank is allowed to float on a floatation device at the surface above you. You swim perhaps twenty feet or so below and inhale air through a tube or hose. There are no tanks on your back.

These tours also have entry from the shoreline so many beginners feel a bit more comfortable in trying this new experience.

Sunset Cruises on Kauai

Activity Type :  Water

Of all the evening activities or Kauai activities in general available on Kauai perhaps the most romantic are the Kauai sunset cruises, Kauai sunset sails, the so called Kauai booze cruises or Kauai cocktail cruises. The sun sets into the blue Pacific in the west and behind your sunset sail to the east the emerald mountains and cloud shrouded peaks with perhaps a rainbow or two light up with every vivid color imaginable. If there was ever a moment that will be etched into your memory forevermore it will be this one.

A sunset sail or sunset cruise is a good call for any evening of your vacation but perhaps the very best time would be your last evening on the island for a fond farewell. The Na Pali coastline on Kauai is a favorite destination for most sunset sail boats. This uninhabited and uniquely beautiful setting is one of the most famous coastlines anywhere in the world.

Many of the blockbuster movies you've seen back home have been filmed here and your vantage point from the sea is the only way this coastline can be viewed other than from the air.

The rugged beauty of this area makes it impassable via land vehicles and this makes your sunset cruise all the more special.

Kayaking on Kauai

Activity Type :  Water

Kayaking on the island of Kauai

Whether you're interested in river kayaking, ocean kayaking, kayaking tours, kayak eco-tours, Na Pali Coast kayaking tours, kayaking Kauai through its rainforests and jungles or waterfall trips via the various kayak companies found on the island you will not be disappointed. Kayaking on Kauai is an experience you should not miss.

The island of Kauai is the oldest of the major islands in the Hawaiian chain and is the only Hawaiian island that has navigable rivers suitable for river kayaking, kayaking tours and other forms of Kauai kayaking. Its volcanoes have been extinct for about 5 million years. Being the northern most island in the chain also means that it is most often the first island that clouds from the northern and western Pacific basin are drawn to as they gather from thousands of miles in all directions.

Three of the most beautiful rivers are the Wailua River, the Hule'ia River and the Hanalei River. The Wailua River is probably the most traveled and winds kayakers deep into the islands interior. Its waters are very calm and beautiful. They are so calm in fact that the first portion of the river is actually used for water skiing as well. The Hule'ia River is located in the Lihue area and winds through the beautiful Kipu Ranch which has been the site of many Hollywood movies including Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Arc. The beautiful Hanalei River is the least traveled and can be found in the unbelievably beautiful Hanalei Valley emptying into picturesque Hanalei Bay in Kauai's northern sector.

Most of Kauai's kayaking companies which feature river kayaking, eco-tours kayaking, and kayaking in rain forests, waterfalls and jungle can be found on the Wailua, Hule'ia or Hanalei rivers. Kayaking on Kauai can also take the form of ocean kayaking as much of Kauai can only be seen from the vantage point of the ocean or the air. The ocean kayaking tours on the famous Na Pali coast are particularly spectacular but are generally reserved for the Winter months when the northern ocean swells and giant surf have subsided.

Diving on Kauai - Mana Divers

Activity Type :  Water

Mana Divers on the island of Kauai

Boat Dives are eco-informed and completely full service. The first dive will be the deepest dive with an average of 70-80 feet. The second dive will be the shallower dive with an average of 60 feet. Beginner dives are limited to a depth of 40 feet. Snacks and refreshments are available throughout the tour.

Exploring the Napali Coast of Kauai

Activity Type :  Water

Exploring the Napali Coast on the island of Kauai

The Na Pali Coast on Kauai is one of the most spectacular, picturesque and beautiful coastlines to be found anywhere in Hawaii. The Napali Coast features many of the Kauai tours and Na Pali Coast tours which include eco tours, Na Pali Coast hikes, a variety of cruises, and kayaking the Napali Coast. There's no doubt about it! The Na Pali coast is simply spectacular.

The Napali Coast is isolated from the rest of Kauai by its tremendous and almost impassible cliffs which descend thousands of feet from the mountains above directly into the ocean. This coastline is believed to have been the original home of the first Hawaiians arriving on Kauai.

Although the environment with its steep cliffs and often harsh ocean conditions may seem inhospitable, it actually provided very nourishing living conditions. There was plenty of fresh water, the valleys were lush with abundant fruit and plant life which also allowed for a certain degree of cultivation and the ocean waters provided amble quanties of fresh fish and marine life. Small villages were established and thousands of Hawaiians were known to have lived back up in these beautiful valleys. The Na Pali Coast is very, very special.

The cliffs consist of a robust tapestry of deep and narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. Geologically speaking, this type of valley is referred to as a "hanging valley". Instead of the valley continuing onward along the sea floor out to sea it ends abruptly at the sea shore where the constant and vigorous wave action carves the valley floor away at cliffs edge. Waterfalls and raging streams continue to this day to cut these narrow valleys. Extensive stone walled flat terracing can still be found on the valley floors where Hawaiians once lived and harvested their taro.

There is a vast array of boats that ply the waters off the Na Pali coast to witness natures spectacle from the perspective of the ocean, to snorkel the beautiful waters and to experience the numerous dolphins and whales (in season) along the way. Our "fleet" varies from large and stable power driven vessels to sail boats to zodiac rafts. The majority of boats will depart from Port Allen or Waimea areas. Trips also vary with the time of year.

Summer is the most opportune time to visit the Na Pali coast as the sea conditions are usually much milder. The winter time brings in the northern swells and often makes the waters along the Na Pali coastline very treacherous and impossible to negotiate, however some winter days can be excellent as well.

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