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10 Best cruises on the Garden Island offer a rainbow of options



One of the most adventurous ways to explore Kaua`i is via boat cruise, and there is plenty of options to choose from. Dinner cruises around the south side, snorkeling ventures along the Na Pali Coast, angling in the open ocean, or a BBQ cruise at sunset, Kaua`i has it all. What's nice about it is that the cruise options on Kaua`i all take place on small vessels, a 45 foot Radan, a 22 foot catamaran, no huge cruise ships here. Just you and the family or fiance enjoying Kaua`i from the sea.

If you're looking for a romantic sunset dinner cruise, then look no further because Blue Dolphin Charters offers a dinner and cocktail sunset cruise on the south side of the island. On this, as well as all other boat cruises, you may see whales from November to March, and it's highly likely at all times of the year to see dolphins and the Hawaiian green sea turtle. To enjoy Kaua`i from in the water, Holo Holo Charters offers a snorkeling sail along the Na Pali Coast, which allows you to get under the ocean with the rainbow of sea life that can only be seen along the coast. And the list goes on, you can fish, dive, snorkel, BBQ and visit a forbidden island on a boat cruise.

The options are big, so 10 Best has put together this list of the ten best boat cruises on Kaua`i to guide you along the way.


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Na Pali Explorer
Photo courtesy of Nani Maloof


Na Pali Explorer does just that, they explore the Na Pali Coast but they are based out of the west side in Waimea. Their tours are offered on a 26 foot RIB, a 48 foot RIB, or a 46 foot inflatable hull RIB. Exploring the ocean and Na Pali Coast with this company can be done in various ways. The include dolphin and whale sightings, shore landings to explore secluded beaches, snorkeling, a visit to an ancient fishing village, sea cave explorations, and all kinds of coastal views. The different tours that are available depend on season and wave size.

Local Expert tip: Don't miss the snorkeling tour.

Read more about Na Pali Explorer →




As a Hawaiian owned, 22 year old our company offering whale watching, Na Pali Coast swimming and snorkeling, and sunset dinner tours. They provide guests with a peak into Hawaiian culture through their craft demonstrations including basket weaving, hat crafting, and palm frond rose weaving. Guests get to take these home as souvenirs after cruising around the ocean making them. You'll cruise down the coast and get wonderful views of sea caves, dolphins, whales (depending on the season) and other sea life such as the occasional monk seal. The calmest season on the ocean out here is during the summer before the huge winter swells hit.

Local Expert tip: Bring lunch.

Read more about Catamaran Kahanu →


Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures
Photo courtesy of Nani Maloof


Based out of the west side of Kauai below Hanapepe, Captain Andy's offers special children's rates and offers a variety of cruises around the island. They will take you out on a 55 foot catamaran for either a snorkeling cruise or a dinner cruise. The offer a barbecue sail, prime rib sail, a snorkeling sail, and a sunset or dinner cruise along the Na Pali Coast. Although the Na Pali cruise is a popular one, the other cruises vary from Poipu and the west side, and with all of them you're bound to see dolphins, sunsets and other glorious island treasures.

Local Expert tip: Go for the snorkeling cruise.

Read more about Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures →


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For an amazing two hour sunset sail around Kauai's South Side, hop aboard with Blue Dolphin Charters. With the established company you will sail along the coast of beautiful Poipu enjoying food, cocktails, and romantic sunsets. While cruising along the coast of Kaua`i's resort area, you'll see an amazing sunset over forbidden Ni`ihau in the distance. You can also look for whales in season, and although various tour companies prefer a slightly varied season, this company prefers December through March to look for whales. Rates run at $62 for those 12 years old and up and $53 for ages 2 to 11.

Local Expert tip: Do not forget the camera.

Read more about Blue Dolphin Charters →


Na Pali Sportfishing
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Although they leave from the Kikiaola Boat Harbor on the west side of Kauai, just outside of Waimea, Na Pali Sportfishing focuses on the Na Pali Coast along the North Shore. They say that serious anglers fish at the crack of dawn, and that's why they leave at 6 a.m. Remember that if you're staying on the North Shore, this can be a hard time to catch from that far away. The boat is a 35 foot Baja cruiser with a fly bridge and outriggers, and six people max are allowed out at a time. Although guests must bring their own snacks and meals, the tour company does provide soft drinks and zip lock bags so that guests can take some fish with them when they are done. Prices run $135 an angler for shared half days, and full days for $220. Full day fishing charters run $1,050. No children under four years old are allowed.

Local Expert tip: Don't forget your lunch.

Read more about Na Pali Sportfishing →


Hawaiian Style Fishing


With Hawaiian Style Fishing you will explore the Pacific around Kauai on a 25 foot radon. They offer sport and bottom fishing, and say they can handle any type of fishing. Since most fisherman are quite attached to their favorite pole, you are invited to bring that along and the captain will most likely let you give it a try. Four hour shared charters start at $130 and it's $600 for privates. Eight hour private charters are $900. You may catch popular Hawaiian fish such as mahimahi and ahi (yellow fin tuna). Other prized local fish include ono and swordfish.

Local Expert tip: Bring your own lunch and drinks.

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Reservations are required to tour the ocean with Lahela Sportfishing. Leaving out of the Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, Lahela takes guests out on the 34 foot Lahela, which is the only fishing boat on Kauai certifies by the Kauai Coast Guard and takes up to 14 guests out at a time. Private charters range from $575 to $1,725 depending on the time. You also have the option of deluxe shared charters at $219 and guests who just watch and don't fish are allowed on the boat at half price. They have an age minimum of seven years old so it can be family time.

Local Expert tip: Bring lunch!

Read more about Lahela Sportfishing →


Kai Bear Sportfishing Charters
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Kai Bear Sportfishing Charters offers a variety of private and shared charters. They cater to a range of interests and budgets, and go out on either of their two boats, the 38-foot Kai Bear or the 42 foot Grander. On each boat you'll find at least one custom made Blue Water Rod and Penn International Gold two speed reel. Non-alcoholic drinks are included with each charter, and the charters range from $130 to almost $1,800. Bottled water and sodas are included, but guests must bring their own alcoholic drinks and lunches. Leaving out of the east side makes it easier to get their on time.

Local Expert tip: Don't forget lunch!

Read more about Kai Bear Sportfishing Charters →


Holo Holo Charters
Photo courtesy of Holo Holo Charters


A great Na Pali snorkeling boat tour that leaves from the west side, Holo Holo charters will give you a wonderful day on the water. They offer the Na Pali snorkeling sail, ranging from $99 to $139. Here you'll wind along the coast seeing the secluded beaches, valleys and vertical cliffs that make up the famous coast. They are a long standing trusted company with one sailing cat and one motorized cat. They leave out of the Port Allen Harbor on the west side of the island, enabling a short drive to the coast. They are known for treating guests good.

Local Expert tip: If you go on a Friday check out Hanapepe Art Night just up the road.

Read more about Holo Holo Charters →




Anglers will have a lot of fun with C-Lure Charters. They go out on the Mele Kai, a custom built 41-foot Noosa cat boasting Shimano tackle, depth sounders, and a GPS. Six people can sit in the shade and there is also a fighting chair. They don't provide meals, so guests must bring their own food and alcoholic beverage. The company does provide fishing tackle, bait, soft drinks and water. Although they can't take more than six people they can set up the trip so that other boats bring more people with a boat caravan. Charters are half or whole day and they offer custom charters too. Prices range from $100 for those not fishing to $1,050 for a full day on the water with six anglers.

Local Expert tip: Don't forget to bring food!

Read more about C-Lure Fishing Charters Inc →


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Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade

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