The 15-mile stretch off Kauai’s northwest shore is one of the most stunning and unforgettable coastlines in the world. Because no roads run along the rugged Na Pali coast, the best way to experience its beauty is from the ocean.
We opted for a sunset cruise out of Port Allen on a catamaran operated by Na Pali Eco Adventures. We chose this company because its vessels are among the most environmentally friendly powerboats in the world. A primary reason is that used vegetable oil from restaurants (think French fries from McDonald’s and chicken from KFC) is recycled as fuel for their boats. That’s why the catamarans have been nicknamed “veggie vessels.”
Wide and stable, the cats handle high speeds safely and comfortably. An open cabin provides unobstructed viewing of rocky mountains, flowing waterfalls, and mysterious sea caves. Along the coastline, jagged mountain peaks rise straight up from the sea, which is why this region is inaccessible by car. Carved from solid lava over millions of years, they form sheer cliffs of unsurpassed natural beauty.
We did get wet—and should have known this when required to deposit our shoes in a dockside bin before boarding. But that just served to keep us comfortable while out at sea—and we stayed drier than folks sightseeing in rubber Zodiacs.
When a pod of more than 30 spinner dolphins approached the boat, everyone tried to catch a quick photo as they swam, jumped and flipped in the water. The captain gave us a treat when he was able to back the catamaran into a dark rock cave, giving us a ghostly perspective of the coast. The weather was so lovely that he almost stayed out too late causing us to speed on the way back to port.
Just as the sun descended on the western horizon, the moon rose and shone between shadowy clouds in the opposite direction. Amazingly, we witnessed day and night at the same time and decided it must be a metaphor for the encompassing perfection of Hawaii.
Prices for catamaran tours start at $85 for adults and $45 for children, but it’s a tour you won’t want to miss. The incredible scenery will linger a long time in your memory.
Na Pali Eco Adventures