Guide to Kayaking on Kauai
The first thing you will need to do is to rent your kayak. There are several companies on Kauai that offer kayak rentals. Paradise Outdoor Adventures (808-822-1112) in Kapaa is one of the best; their staff is great and very knowledgeable about kayaking. Outfitters Kauai (808-742-9667) in Po'ipu, located near the resorts, has great rentals and they also offer guided tours along the Wailua River. Kayak Kauai (808-826-9844) in Hanalei has the best access to Hanalei River, and they have some of the best ocean kayaking tours.
The best river to kayak in Kauai is the Wailua River. One thing to note about the Wailua River is that they only allow guided tours. It is a five mile round trip tour that will take about two to three hours. Kayaking down the Wailua River also includes a hike to Secret Falls; these falls are the most spectacular falls on the island, and well worth the hike to see them. The companies that offer tours of the Wailua include Kayak Kauai, Outfitters Kauai, Wailua Kayak and Canoe (808-821-1188) and Wailua Kayak Adventure (808-822-5795). A guided tour may be a bummer for you adventure seekers, but it is well worth it to see beautiful Kauai.
The Hanalei River, on the north shore, is the longest kayak trip at about seven miles. The trip should take about three to four hours. You can kayak along the Hanalei River without a guide. The immediate scenery is very flat, almost as if you were kayaking down a river in Iowa, but the mountain backdrops are amazing. If you are lucky and it has just rained you may see some waterfalls and rainbows. It is absolutely breathtaking.
In Kihue, you will find the Hule'ia River which is about a five mile kayak trip that takes about two hours. The water is a bit murkier on the Hule'ia River, so not as pretty as the other two, but the river goes through a wildlife refuge that is filled with some of Hawaii's most exotic birds. This is a nice kayak trip down river.
In an hour's time, you can kayak down the Kalihiwai. This is a great trip with some of the best scenery. So if you are short on time, go with this kayak trip. If you can find some extra time, make sure you take the hike to the Kalihiwai Falls or spend some time at Kalihiwai Beach.
Kauai is an adventurer's island, and kayaking is the perfect vessel for exploring its natural habitat. This guide to kayaking Kauai's rivers will be sure to get you started on your adventure.