If you are looking for an enjoyable day trip on the island of Kauai, I would highly recommend the kayaking and hiking tour from Outfitters Kauai. I was with my mother and two adult daughters and we wanted to do something fun and different which would appeal to all abilities.
We met at the company headquarters in Nāwiliwili Bay. It is well known on Kauai for being an important harbor since the early 19th century.
There were fourteen guests and three guides for our group. This seemed to be the perfect balance in terms of having a guide available to answer questions along the way. We were taught how to paddle and maneuver our two person kayaks. They also provided us with a water tight dry bag for our extra items. I was partnered with my daughter Celeena, and because we were both experienced kayakers, we worked well together. She didn’t yell at me once!
Our guide talked to us about the Hulē’ia River, which we would be paddling up. As we started our 2.5 mile paddle our guide told us old Hawaiian stories and folklore. We were excited to be learning something, as well as getting some exercise! The river was deep and wide so it was perfect for anyone just learning to kayak. We were able to take in the views of the mountains and mangroves.
As we were heading upstream we tried to keep to a straight path but some of the other people kayaking were zigzagging back and forth across the river. We could hear them arguing with each other! It made for some entertaining moments when the guide wanted us to all stop and hook up so he could tell a story.
At the end of the kayaking section, we pulled into shore where our guides gathered our group together and we started our three-mile hike through the jungle. It was a narrow, meandering path that wasn’t steep or too challenging. Although, my mother may argue with that statement since she wasn’t wearing proper shoes, so she slipped around a lot. Our guides taught us about the native plants, as well as some of the non-native invasive plants, like the mangroves.
Halfway through our hike, we stopped for a delicious lunch of sandwiches, pasta salad and homemade brownies which were prepared for us by the company. The entire hike was shaded and it was a much needed break from the heat and being so exposed on the kayaks. Being in the shade meant lots of mosquitoes though, and we were lucky the other guests shared their repellent with us!
At one point we arrived at a small waterfall, but I didn’t even take a picture, because I mistakenly thought we were hiking to a big waterfall! At the bottom was a swimming hole with a rope swing hanging from a tree. Both of my daughters swung off the swing into the chilly pool of water to get refreshed. We were told that this swimming hole was used in a scene of Pirates of the Caribbean 4.
After our quick break, we finished our hike back at the river. Next, we jumped into a small boat and were taken back down the river, with our kayaks in tow. On the way back our guide pointed out two caves up on the mountainside. One caves outline looked like the shape of Homer Simpson. We were told that the other cave contained the remains of Hawaiian royalty. Apparently, when royalty is buried it’s with their feet pointing toward water. It is a no trespassing area and there is a local cowboy who guards the property.
It would have been fun to just paddle back instead of being taken by boat, but that wasn’t part of our tour option.
I would highly recommend this kayaking and hiking tour, especially because it allowed for all levels of fitness to participate.
In the future, depending on who I am traveling with, I would probably choose a more challenging option that would push me mentally, as well as physically.
Overall, we had an excellent family day and it was a highlight of our trip to Kauai! Aloha!