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Na Pali Coast: a rugged and spectacular coastline

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The Na Pali Coast is a rugged coastline that stretches for about 16 miles along the north-west coast of the island of Kauai, most of the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible because of its shape made of savage cliffs and precipices that drop straight down directly into the Pacific from heights of up to 1200 meters (4000 feet).

The Na Pali is a world-famous stretch of coastline known for its isolated beaches, spectacular cliffs, sea caves, and abundant marine life. Hikers can explore the unspoiled beauty of the Na Pali Coast by venturing along the Kalalau Trail either two miles to Hanakapiai or 11 miles to Kalalau Valley. The area is often covered by clouds in the afternoon, the best viewing is usually early in the morning.

One of the best ways to explore this coastline is with helicopters, boats or zodiacs. A trip to the Na Pali Coast by boat, zodiac or catamaran allows the visit of Hanakapiai Valley, the majestic “cathedrals” at Kalalau, the sea arch carved out by the sea at Honopu, the ruins of the ancient Hawaiian fishing village at Nualolo.

This is a great place! In my opinion this is the best attraction of Kauai.


There are two road that take you to the Na’Pali Coast:

1) Highway 550, after passing the beautiful Waimea Canyon, travel near the top of Na’Pali with great lookouts down on the cliffs and valleys, drive up the mountain from Waimea into Kokee State Park, go past the lodge and the museum to the Kalalau Lookout or the Puu O Kila Lookout. The Kalalau overlook and the Puu O Kila Lookout offers one of the most spectacular views in the Pacific. From the lookout, the view changes from moment to moment as the sun and the clouds play tricks on the fluted walls of the valley. This kaleidoscopic effect takes nothing from the experience and only adds to the mystical aura of the scene below.

2) Highway 56 from the north and Highway 50 from the south bring you to beginning and end of the coast.

Na’Pali Coast is an area of spectacular and beautiful sea cliffs: Na Pali (which means “cliffs” in Hawaiian language) coast is a 25 km stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kaua‘i. Many movies have been filmed along this coast using the dramatic background of these steep cliffs. Much of Na Pali is inaccessible due to it’s characteristic sheer cliffs that drop straight down, hundred of metres into the ocean.

Hiking, elicoptering and boating are the best ways to experience these majestic cliffs, vibrant blue water, sea caves, waterfalls, and Na Pali’s myriad natural wonders. These sea cliffs begin at Ke’e Beach and continue around the north and west portion of Kauai, ending at Polihale Beach.


The area is accessible along the beautiful Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. The trail traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. The 17 km trail is graded but almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau.

The trail begins in Ha’ena State Park at the northwest end of Kuhio Highway (Route 56) about 65 km (a 90 minutes drive) from Lihu’e Airport. The part of the trail we did was the section between Ke’e Beach and Hanakapi’ai Beach (3,2 km), we tried also to reach the Hanakapi’ai waterfalls, but we didn’t reach it: the track was an unmaintained 3,2 km trail into Hanakapi’ai Valley, and after crossing the stream about 1,6 km up the valley, the trail becomes more difficult and we decided to give up.

Kauai: waterfalls, canyons and spectacular coasts.

The beaches of Kauai.

Waimea Canyon: the Pacific Grand Canyon.

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