The 5 Best Snorkeling Tours In Kauai – [2022 Reviews]

Choose From These 5 Top Rated Kauai and NaPali Coast Snorkel Tours

Kauai is an island in Hawaii nicknamed “the Garden Isle.” It got that name because most of this island is covered by lush tropical rainforests.

The Na Pali coast, where many of the best Kauai snorkel tours depart has dramatic and stunning cliffs that you won’t find anywhere else. When you see this landscape, you might recognize its features from several Hollywood films.

While you can spend some time hiking, horseback riding, or even just enjoying the beach, you won’t want to miss out on the underwater beauty that Kauai has to offer by taking one of the many Na Pali coast snorkel tours that are available. You won’t regret it.

Below, we feature 5 of the best Kauai snorkeling tours as well as some information you will find useful in Your Guide To Vacationing in Kauai. It’s important to be prepared for any vacation, and we will help you do just that.

Best Kauai Snorkeling Tours

 Na Pali and Ni’iHau Kauai Snorkel CruiseNa Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and SailNa Pali Snorkel Adventure
editors choice
Departure PointPort AllenPort AllenTahiti Nui Hanalei
Departure Time6 a.m.8 a.m.7 or 7:30 a.m.
Duration 7 hours (approx)5 hours (approx)4 hours (approx)
IncludesSightseeing on a 65-foot power catamaran, snorkeling equipment, breakfast and lunchRide on a 50-foot catamaran to snorkel spots, snorkeling equipment, buffet-style lunchRide on a rigid hull raft several to snorkel spots, snorkeling equipment, lunch

Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Kauai Snorkel Tours

  1. Na Pali and Ni’iHau The Forbidden Island Kauai Snorkel Cruise
  2. Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail
  3. Na Pali Snorkel Adventure
  4. Deluxe Na Pali Snorkel Tour on Kauai With Optional SCUBA
  5. Na Pali Coast Snorkel and Rafting Adventure

Kauai Snorkel Tours Reviews

Kauai snorkel tours offer a great way to enjoy a day with your family or friends while vacationing in Hawaii. You can see a whole new underwater world, be closer to marine life in their natural habitat, and even meet some new friends as you snorkel with a group of other vacationers. These are the 5 best snorkel tours in Kauai.

#1 Na Pali and Ni’iHau The Forbidden Island Kauai Snorkel Cruise

new york dinner cruises editors choice

Na Pali and Ni’iHau The Forbidden Island Kauai Snorkel Cruise at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Port Allen
  • Departure Time: 6 a.m.
  • Duration: 7 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Sightseeing on a 65-foot power catamaran, snorkeling equipment, breakfast and lunch

Enjoy a full day cruising the Hawaiian seas and snorkeling in Kauai. This Kauai snorkel cruise lasts approximately 7 hours and during that time you will be able to see the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast from your boat off-shore, and you see Ni’ihau, also known as “the Forbidden Island.” Enjoy a sea cave and even a well-preserved reef while you take in the sights of colorful marine life and coral, as well as stunning waterfalls.

You will be traveling on a 65-foot catamaran. While aboard this vessel, you will be treated to a Continental breakfast as well as lunch. You can bring the whole family along for this snorkel tour as it is family friendly. Bond with the kids as you enjoy the ocean air from the outdoor deck aboard the catamaran, enjoy delicious meals, and then jump in the water for a refreshing swim with the fish.

It isn’t uncommon for you to view dolphins swimming alongside the boat, or to see Humpback whales from December to April. During these months, the whales come down from Alaska to give birth. If you would like to have a chance of seeing the majestic beauty of one of the largest mammals on the planet, plan your Kauai snorkel tours during these months.

You won’t be able to actually visit the island of Ni’iHau as it is closed to visitors due to the inhabits living a very traditional and reclusive lifestyle. But you can view it from the boat and snorkel the reefs around it.

The tour departs from Port Allen at 6am and will last about 7 hours, returning to Port Allen. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from Port Allen.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

#2 Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail


Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Port Allen
  • Departure Time: 8 a.m.
  • Duration: 5 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Ride on a 50-foot catamaran to snorkel spots, snorkeling equipment, buffet-style lunch

The Na Pali Coast has some breathtaking views, especially when seen from Na Pali boat tours. The Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail tour allows you to view the coast, with spectacular 4,000-foot cliffs, see caves, huge waterfalls, secluded beaches, and more. You will be able to see marine life both from the comfort of the boat as well as from the water as you snorkel the clear blue waters of Kauai.

You will be provided with all the snorkel gear that you need to enjoy your underwater experience. You can even enjoy breakfast about the boat on this family friendly Kauai snorkel tour. Enjoy a buffet style lunch as well aboard this 50-foot catamaran that can reach speeds up to 20 knots. Sodas and water are served throughout the tour and beer or wine will be served after the snorkeling experience. You can participate in whale watching from December to April as well.

You must check in at Port Allen for a departure time of 8am. The tour lasts approximately 5 hours. Be sure to dress appropriately in swim wear with lightweight clothing as well to wear after you get out of the water. Sun screen and sunglasses are recommended as well as shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and won’t slip on the wet floor of the boat.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

#3 Na Pali Snorkel Adventure


Na Pali Snorkel Adventure at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Tahiti Nui Hanalei
  • Departure Time: 7 or 7:30 a.m.
  • Duration: 4 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Ride on a rigid hull raft several to snorkel spots, snorkeling equipment, lunch

Learn about the local Hawaiian history and how the first Hawaiians came to make this beautifully landscaped island their home as you travel the Kauai waters. You will be listening to the captain and your crew recant the local history as you travel aboard one of their rigid-hull “rafts” that were build right there in Kauai.

If the weather is right, you will be snorkeling in Kauai at one of the several protected areas around Kauai that is full of colorful coral and tropical fish. After enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the clear blue waters of Kauai and relaxing aboard the vessel with the wind in your hair, you will be served a sandwich lunch onboard the raft before heading back to shore.

This is one of the Kauai snorkel tours that is popular enough to sell out quickly so if you are heading to Kauai on vacation and want to enjoy this tour, you will want to reserve your spot well in advance of your trip. All snorkel gear is included and the entire trip is narrated for you. You depart and return at Hanalei Bay at Tahiti Nui Hanalei. Check in time is 7 am or 7:30 am and your reservationist will let you know what time you need to be there. The tour will last approximately 4 hours.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

#4 Deluxe Na Pali Snorkel Tour on Kauai With Optional SCUBA


Deluxe Na Pali Snorkel Tour on Kauai With Optional SCUBA at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Port Allen Marina Center
  • Departure Time: 7 or 8 a.m. and 1:15 or 1:30 PM
  • Duration: 5 1/2 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Ride on a 65-foot catamaran to snorkel spots, snorkeling equipment, continental breakfast and lunch

Listen to your professional and friendly guide tell you of local history and point out interesting scenery as you depart from Port Allen in Kauai aboard a 65’ catamaran. You will enjoy a Continental breakfast with your group as you sail around the waters of Kauai to your snorkel and scuba destination.

After snorkeling for an hour or two, while those who have upgraded their package enjoy their scuba experience, you will climb back on board for a tasty deli-style lunch. You can also choose from several adult beverages including: beer, wine, and Mai Tais. Kids can enjoy the water slide on the back of the boat as the adults share stories of their snorkeling or scuba experiencing.

This is one of the best Kauai snorkel tours for families and is one of the best values for your money considering you get two meals, over 5 hours of sailing, snorkeling or scuba experiences, sailing, and even fun for the kids. You won’t want to miss this tour if you are planning on snorkeling in Kauai. There are both morning and afternoon tours available depending on your vacationing schedule.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

#5 Na Pali Coast Snorkel and Rafting Adventure


Na Pali Coast Snorkel and Rafting Adventure at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Port Allen
  • Departure Time: 7:30 AM
  • Duration: 5 ½ hours (approx)
  • Includes: Ride on a 14-person rigid-hull inflatable raft to snorkel spots, sea caves and waterfalls, snorkeling equipment, buffet-style lunch

You will be just one of 14 people aboard the motorized raft that will take you into sea caves and snorkeling at Nu’alolo Kai. This reef is known as one of the best to snorkel in all of Kauai and you will be able to see it first hand in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. And with a small group of your friends, family, and other group members, you are sure to have an enjoyable and personalized snorkeling encounter with the marine life.

This snorkel and rafting adventure is family friendly so you can feel comfortable bringing the kids along to see the friendly dolphins and see the underwater world come to life as well. Whether you decide on a morning or afternoon departure, you will enjoy a sandwich and fruit lunch complete with beverage.

This tour is approximately 5.5 hours long and you will be able to see the stunning cliff faces as well as lush tropical valleys. Your tour guides will point out areas that have been featured in major Hollywood pictures. If the weather is right, you can even explore sea caves and sail under huge waterfalls.

This is just one of many Kauai snorkel tours that depart from Port Allen Marina. You will also arrive back at the marina. You will be responsible for getting to and from Port Allen from your hotel or cruise ship docking point.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

Your Guide to Vacationing in Kauai

When planning any vacation, it is important to know the details about where you are going so that you are well-prepared. Figuring things out last minute, or when you actually arrive, can mean disaster for your trip and that’s the last thing you need. Here is some valuable information about Kauai that may make planning your vacation easier.

Kauai Ma Pali Snorkeling Guide Image

Getting Around in Kauai

If you plan on seeing more of the island than just the immediate area around the resort you are staying at and a few select tours or attractions, you may want to plan on renting a vehicle. However, if your hotel or resort is centrally located around an area with a lot of the attractions you wish to visit, you will probably want to save the money on the rental car and just use a taxi or even rent a scooter or other cheaper methods of travel.

Staying Safe in Kauai

Kauai has relatively low crime rates and is generally considered a safe place to travel. However, as with any tourist destination, you always want to take precautions when traveling to protect yourself. It’s important not to show off flashy jewelry or expensive cameras. Always have your identification on you in case you are injured or sick and need to get medical help. And always keep your wits about you – don’t drink too much so you can keep your bearings at all times.

Because Kauai is an island, there are a lot of beaches to swim and many Na Pali boat tours. Don’t swim on secluded beaches unless you are familiar with the tides. When swimming at popular beaches, always be aware of lifeguards and obey their rules and instructions. When on Kauai snorkel tours, your captain and crew will brief you with safety instructions and it is important to follow these at all times.

Communicating in Kauai

English is the official language of Hawaii. However, Hawaii is home to many cultures and you will probably run into both locals and tourists that speak many other languages. Pidgin English is the local language of Kauai. You can also hear Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Portuguese. Native Hawaiians appreciate Hawaiian words and locations being pronounced correctly so if you don’t know how to say something, it is best to ask. A local guide can help you as well.

What to Pack When Vacationing in Kauai

The atmosphere is very casual in Kauai. You can wear shorts even when dining at a restaurant but if you are wearing a swimsuit, be sure to wear a coverup or shirt over it. Many people wear slippers even to dine out at a restaurant as it is part of the customary “dress code” of the island; however, some places may require close toed shoes. If you are coming from one of the many Kauai snorkel tours, you will want to make sure you are covered up appropriately with an Aloha shirt or cover up as well as dry shorts and slippers or shoes.

Interesting Facts About Kauai

The highest point on the Kauai island is Kawaikini Peak and the whole island is only 552 square miles. This makes it a relatively small island. Its state bird is the Nene and the “island color” is purple. The state flower that represents Kauai is the Mokihana which can be found abundantly in the tropical forests that cover most of the island.

Get Ready to Have Fun in Kauai!

Kauai is one of those places that must be seen and experienced to really appreciate. Its beauty is unique and cannot be surpassed except by other Hawaii locations which offer similar beauty but always different. You cannot see the stunning cliffs or unique tropical forests unique to this island anywhere else.

So, pack your bags and get ready to enjoy a whole new world at your resort, on beautiful beaches, and of course, on your Kauai snorkel tours!


We chose the Na Pali and Ni’iHau The Forbidden Island Kauai Snorkel Cruise as the best snorkel tour in Kauai.

User Rating: Be the first one !

Richard Moore

Richard is a co-founder of and major contributor to World Guides to Travel. He has trekking and survival experience throughout Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Richard contributes his extensive travel and outdoor experience to the editorial topics and content on Outside Pursuits including outdoor gear, motorcycle accessories, auto/4x4 accessories, and tools. In 1998, he survived in the wilderness for over a week without food or specialist equipment. He was stranded on the northern coast of Honduras following Category 5 Hurricane Mitch.

Related Articles

Back to top button