For a contrast to a peaceful Kaua`i vacation as drastic as the Na Pali cliffs and the serene beaches they hide, there’s an abundance of off beat activities to get your adrenaline pumping. The Garden Island’s majestic waterfalls and vibrant sunsets may sooth the soul, but for those in search of unique adventure, Kaua`i is sure to satisfy. Sometimes the best way to get to know a destination is to get muddy exploring new territory, dive to the depths of the ocean, or get a bird’s eye view of a location. So if you’re a thrill seeker, hop out of the hot tub and into the action - or out of a plane.
Na Pali Coast — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Explore Hidden Hawai`i
Dreams of setting foot on a rarely touched beach can be realized along the Na Pali Coast. Miles of rugged coast line tracing majestic peaks and deep lush valleys protect some of the island’s most picturesque beaches, rendering them accessible only to the adventurous. Visitable only by ocean or miles of sometimes dangerous hiking, the beaches can be visited by boat with several tours offering spectacular views from the ocean along the way. Most Na Pali Coast beach landings include dolphin watching, snorkeling, sea cave explorations and visiting and ancient fishing village. Some reliable companies are Na Pali Explorer (808) 338-9999 or 877/335-9909/ www.napaliexplorer.com, Blue Dolphin Charters (877) 511-1311, www.kauaiboats.com.
Swim the Waters of a Forbidden Island
Hawaii’s very own forbidden island rests off the western coast of Kaua`i - and it’s not entirely forbidden. Ni`ihau’s surrounding waters and untouched reefs are home to some of the best snorkeling in the islands. Endangered Hawaiian monk seals are known to swim alongside snorkelers without fear, green sea turtles cruise leisurely, spinner and bottle nose dolphins jump and play and a huge array of tropical fish create a vibrant flurry of color. Views of Ni`ihau and Lehua Island are enjoyed from the boat and meals are included. Snorkel Ni`ihau to take in some of the best and rarely seen sights in Hawaii. For tried and true service try Holo Holo Charters (808) 335-0815 or (800) 848-6130/ www.holoholokauaiboattours.com, Blue Dolphin Charters (877) 511-1311/ www.kauaiboats.com.
Learn to surf
Since Hawaiians invented surfing, a Kaua`i vacation wouldn’t be complete without trying to catch a few waves. Catching a wave is like flying and time spent on a board in the ocean is one of the most peaceful experiences possible made exciting by the contrast of art in action when carving down a wave. Poipu Beach is a hot spot for surf lessons, or the brave or experienced can rent a board and give it a shot alone.
For lessons from a company started by a pioneer of women’s surfing, try Surf Lessons by Margo Oberg where you’ll have the option of group lessons, semi-private or private lessons. The surf school was re cently named in National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of the top 25 things to do on Kaua‘i. Lessons begin with a short instruction on land to learn the basics of the sport along with ocean safety. Soft boards and protective booties are provided. For lessons on the south side contact Surf Lessons by Margo Oberg, (808) 332-6100/ www.surfonkauai. com.