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Top 10 Best Things to Do in Kauai

Kauai Snorkeling Tours

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Go on the best Kauai snorkeling tours at top snorkeling sites on the Na Pali Coast, off the coast of Niihau, Kauai's South Shore, and Princeville and Hanalei Bay on the island's North Shore. Each snorkeling cruise and shore snorkeling on Kauai offers an unforgettable experience to swim among coral reefs, tropical Hawaiian fish, and green sea turtles. Embark on Kauai sea tours that are wonderful options for guests staying in Lihue, Poipu, and other Kauai resort areas, and enjoy Kauai snorkeling!
Your Guide to Kauai Snorkeling Cruises & Tours
Kauai snorkeling tours are an experience like no other, and as one of the oldest islands in the Hawaiian chain, Kauai boasts some of the most breathtaking underwater scenery in all of Hawaii. With ancient reefs and underwater rock formations, soaring ocean-side cliffs, and even tours to rarely seen sea caves and private islands, snorkeling in Kauai provides a unique opportunity to explore the colorful world beneath the waves and witness a diverse array of marine creatures, including sea turtles, tropical fish, and even the occasional Hawaiian monk seal. Kauai snorkeling beaches provide the perfect environment for both swimming and snorkeling, making Kauai snorkeling tours an ideal activity for both beginners and experienced snorkelers alike. The serene surroundings and natural beauty of Kauai's underwater world provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing you to unwind and connect with nature. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in the island's natural beauty, snorkeling in Kauai is an experience that you won't soon forget.

Kauai Best Snorkeling Destinations
Discover the top snorkeling spots on Kauai for the best Kauai snorkeling, including the soaring cliffs of the famed Na Pali Coast, the secluded and remote waters off of Niihai, or head to Poipu for the best Kauai beaches for snorkeling.
  • Anini Beach: Located in a sheltered cove in the Kauai town of Kilauea, the calm and clear water makes it easy to spot a variety of marine life. Anini Beach is also known for its vibrant coral reef ecosystem that is home to a diverse range of marine creatures, and with beautiful scenery including the surrounding mountains and lush vegetation, it is a great place to relax and soak up some sun after your Kauai snorkeling experience.
  • Hideaways Beach: Nestled just west of the Princeville Resort on the North Shore of Kauai, Hideaways Beach is a secluded paradise featuring fascinating underwater rock and coral formations, abundant sea creatures, and is a lovely spot to go snorkeling whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler.
  • Kee Beach: The beach is part of Haena State Park, approximately a 15-minute drive from Hanalei town, and is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the north shore of Kauai. The reef system is home to many fish, sea turtles, and even occasional sightings of Hawaiian monk seals, while the calm and shallow water near the shore is perfect for beginners, and more experienced snorkelers can venture further out to explore deeper waters and more intricate coral formations.
  • Koloa Landing: This South Kauai snorkel spot in Poipu offers a unique snorkeling experience surrounding an old boat ramp that is now only used to launch Hawaiian outrigger canoes. Despite its unconventional location, the snorkeling at Koloa Landing is excellent, and it is considered one of the few spots on Kauai where you can easily observe large, healthy coral heads since absence of motorboat traffic in the area has allowed the coral reef system to thrive while attracting a diverse range of marine life.
  • Lawai Beach: The main reason why Lawai Beach is such a popular destination is the wide variety of fish that can be seen throughout the bay, and the calm and clear waters that range from 6 to 16 feet making it an excellent choice for beginner snorkelers. You will often see tours taking place close to shore using SNUBA devices so guests can stay underwater for extended periods of time.
  • Lydgate Park (Keiki Pond): Perfect beginner snorkelers and kids, this Wailua snorkel spot is a must-do for families and groups with children. Keiki means children, and Keiki Pond is a specially designed swimming area within Lydgate Beach Park that is enclosed by walls to create a safe and tranquil swimming environment for young children. The pond gradually deepens to approximately ten feet, offering beginner snorkelers an ideal location to practice their skills in calm and shallow water.
  • Na Pali Coast: Go on a Na Pali Coast boat tour, and snorkel in the peaceful and pristine environment of the iconic Na Pali Coast. Dive into the water while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, featuring towering cliffs, hidden beaches, and sea caves. Stretching approximately 16 miles this area is only accessible by hiking, boat, or helicopter, and the coast also has a rich cultural history, with evidence of ancient Hawaiian communities who built terraced gardens, fishing ponds, and other structures that can be found to this day.
  • Lehua Crater & Niihau: Often referred to as the "Forbidden Island" due to its restricted access, there are a few snorkeling tours available from Kauai that provide a rare opportunity to explore the pristine waters surrounding the island. Snorkel in some of the clearest and most unspoiled waters in Hawaii with visibility that is typically excellent, allowing you to see the underwater landscape in perfect detail.
  • Nualolo Kai: Make your way to this beach located in the town of Waimea, and enjoy clear waters with a soft sandy beach, and amazing visibility from 10 to 20 feet as you snorkel. Nuaololo Kai Beach is a popular destination due to its unique archaeological sites. Scattered throughout the beach, you can find petroglyphs inscribed on rocks, and while their exact meaning remains a mystery, many believe that these petroglyphs may have recorded important events such as births and deaths.
  • Poipu Beach Park: This renowned beach park is located in the heart of Poipu and is split into two sections. On the left side, there is a calm baby and kid’s beach with a lifeguard and protected waters, and on the right side, located in front of Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club, the beach’s open waters are perfect for snorkeling and swimming among reef and tropical fish.
  • Salt Pond Beach Park: Situated next to Kauai's only natural salt ponds, Salt Pond Beach Park is a great beach for families with young children due to its partially sheltered ocean conditions. The area’s wetland produces salt naturally, but has been modified by humans overtime, and Hawaiians historically used to harvest salt from the area for cooking and medicinal purposes.
  • Tunnels Beach (Makua): Located in Haena, a small town on the north shore of Kauai, Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua Beach, is one of the top snorkeling spots on the island. The beach features a diverse range of underwater environments, with both shallow coral reef systems and open areas that lead to the ocean. While snorkeling here, visitors can expect to encounter an array of aquatic life, including a variety of fish, green turtles, and if fortunate enough, perhaps even a Hawaiian monk seal.

Kauai Harbors & Snorkel Tour Departing Locations
  • Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor: Located in Waimea, west Kauai
  • Port Allen Marina: Located in Eleele, south-west Kauai
  • Wailua River Marina: Located in Kapaa, east Kauai

Please be sure to check with a GPS app to check current drive times before your departure.

Parking is available at all check-in locations, and depending on the parking area, it could be free or there will be a nominal charge.

Although snorkeling tours on Kauai do not provide transportation, rideshares and taxis are often available for guests that do not have access to a rental car or other vehicle.

What to Expect & Know Before You Go
  • Kauai snorkeling cruises and tours are some of the most popular activities on the island, and it is highly recommended that you make your reservations two to four weeks in advance.
  • When embarking on a Kauai snorkeling tour in Hawaii's bright and sunny weather, it is crucial to pack sunscreen, specifically reef-safe sunscreen, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Traditional sunscreens contain harmful chemicals, such as octinoxate and xybenzone, which can damage coral reefs and marine life. In contrast, reef-safe sunscreens are made from natural and mineral-based ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, offering excellent sun protection without posing a threat to the environment.
  • During your Kauai snorkeling tour, it is crucial to avoid touching any marine life or coral reefs. Touching these creatures can harm or disrupt them, as many marine species are fragile and susceptible to injury from human contact. To preserve the ocean's delicate ecosystem, it is essential to maintain a respectful and responsible distance from marine life.
  • If you are planning on bringing an underwater camera (GoPro, mobile phone with an underwater case, etc.) on your snorkel tour in Oahu, also bring a red lens filter to get the best shots. As you go underwater, the color red becomes less pronounced, and having a red lens filter will ensure vibrant and beautiful photos and videos.
  • For guests on a Kauai snorkeling cruise who are susceptible to seasickness, we recommend taking a motion sickness preventative at least an hour before departure. Despite the appearance of calm waters, some level of rocking is unavoidable while on the water, and it is always better to err on the side of caution if you have experienced seasickness before. Alternatively, all-natural remedies like ginger pills or acupressure bands can be used to alleviate symptoms.
  • What to wear: Have your swimsuit on before boarding the boat since marine restrooms (heads) can be quite cramped depending on the boat. You will also want to wear a light jacket or sweatshirt to wear after you exit the water since it can get rather chilly.
  • What to bring: Reef safe sunscreen, sunglasses, flip flops or sandals, large towel, underwater camera or water-safe case for your phone, and a bottle of water.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best Kauai snorkeling tour?
A: While it is hard to pick the best, choose from a variety of snorkeling tours in Kauai that all offer unique experiences as they take you to areas known for their clear ocean waters and abundant sea life like the Na Pali Coast, Poipu Beach, and the waters around the island of Niihau.

Q: Which side of Kauai is the best for snorkeling?
A: The South Shore of Kauai is said to be the best side for snorkeling with Kauai snorkel spots at Poipu Beach and Lawai Beach being quite popular due to their calm waters and variety of marine life. With that being said, the North Shore also has some great snorkeling spots like Tunnels Beach and Ke'e Beach, but the conditions can be more variable and require more careful consideration before entering the water.

Q: What time of day is the best for snorkeling in Kauai?
A: Generally, the morning hours are the best for Kauai snorkeling tours since they have the calmest and clearest conditions for snorkeling due to the fact that winds are typically lighter and the ocean is calmer in the morning. Also, the morning sun provides better visibility in the water and this makes it easier to spot marine life and see the vibrant colors of the coral and fish.

Q: What to avoid while snorkeling in Kauai?
A: You will want to avoid touching or standing on coral reefs since they are quite fragile and touching or standing on them can damage or even kill them. Do not snorkel in areas with strong currents, and always check the ocean conditions before entering the water. Also, avoid touching or disturbing sea turtles, monk seals, or other marine animals, and give them plenty of space both in and out of the water.

Q: Do I need to know how to swim to go on a Kauai snorkel tour?
A: If you intend to go snorkeling in Kauai, it is recommended that you possess basic swimming abilities since snorkeling involves floating on the water's surface while wearing a mask and snorkel for breathing. You do not need to be a skilled swimmer, but you should feel comfortable swimming in the ocean and be able to stay afloat for a few minutes. In case you lack swimming skills, it is recommended to opt for beginner-level snorkeling tours.

Q: How do you stay safe during Kauai snorkeling?
A: Even though it is a fun and memorable experience, when you are snorkeling in Kauai, it is essential to prioritize safety above all else. To ensure a safe Kauai snorkeling sea tour, it is important to check the weather and ocean conditions beforehand, and avoid snorkeling in rough waters or strong currents that can be quite hazardous. Always remember to have a partner with you and to keep an eye on each other since this can prevent accidents and ensure both of your safety. Additionally, Kauai has an array of marine life and you will need to avoid touching or disturbing these creatures. Snorkeling can also be physically demanding, so it is essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your snorkeling excursion.

Top-Rated Activities for Kauai

Latest reviews of Kauai Snorkeling Tours

Liko Kauai Snorkel Cruises - Na Pali Coast Boat Tour & Sea Cave Adventure

Best boat tour ever!!!

2024/02/18 Couples Michelle

This boat tour was the highlight of our trip! Captain Mike was funny and a great driver! His crew was also great at telling us about the coast, wildlife and history of Kaua'i. We were able to snorkle and I had a misshape... more

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Liko Kauai Snorkel Cruises - Na Pali Coast Boat Tour & Sea Cave Adventure

Good tour

2024/02/03 Families Lisa

The tour was good. The staff great. Rough seas though and a bit cold

Na Pali Coast Snorkel Tour with Lunch - Kauai Sea Tours Lucky Lady Catamaran

Fantastic tour

2024/01/06 Families with Young Children Lisa

The crew was very happy, helpful, and knowledgeable. They made sure everyone had what they needed and included in the activities.

Na Pali Rafting Adventure & Snorkel Tour with Meal - Kauai Sea Tours

Word!!

2023/12/24 Couples TnT

Great crew. Bumpy ride but awesome views. I suggest trip for all.

Liko Kauai Snorkel Cruises - Na Pali Coast Boat Tour & Sea Cave Adventure

Best part of my trip

2023/11/20 Friends Emma

Awesome tour! We didn’t get to snorkel due to the weather and the waves but they totally made up for it by taking us to great swimming spots and beautiful views. We saw dolphins and turtles and the crew was so serving an... more

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Liko Kauai Snorkel Cruises - Na Pali Coast Boat Tour & Sea Cave Adventure

It was amazing

2023/11/06 Couples Rafal

One of the best things we did during our honeymoon! Fantastic team, boat and the adventure!

Kauai Snorkeling Tours | Book Kauai Tours, Activities & Things to Do with HawaiiActivities.com
Go on the best Kauai snorkeling tours at top snorkeling sites on the Na Pali Coast, off the coast of Niihau, Kauai's South Shore, and Princeville and Hanalei Bay on the island's North Shore. Each snorkeling cruise and shore snorkeling on Kauai offers an unforgettable experience to swim among coral reefs, tropical Hawaiian fish, and green sea turtles. Embark on Kauai sea tours that are wonderful options for guests staying in Lihue, Poipu, and other Kauai resort areas, and enjoy Kauai snorkeling!