So, you’ve booked a trip to the Hawaiian Islands and now you’re ready to test out your brand new H2O Ninja Mask, but where do you start? With some of the most pristine beaches in the world, Hawaii’s coastlines do not disappoint in terms of underwater adventure, but figuring out where to go, when and on what island can be kind of daunting. In this series, we will break down the best snorkeling spots on each island so you can make the most of your adventure. If you are new to our series, start with our O’ahu post. So far we have explored O’ahu, Maui and Big Island, and today we are diving into the waters off Kauai!
Also known as The Garden Isle, Kaua’i is the first island in the chain of Hawaiian Islands and is geologically the oldest island. Spaced 105 miles northwest of O’ahu, Kaua’i’s lush landscapes have been featured in many Hollywood films and televisions shows including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Lilo & Stitch, The Descendants, South Pacific and more.
Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua Beach, is located on the northern shore of Kauai and offers arguably some of the best snorkeling views on the island. Tunnels is a large reef surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped beach area that provides amazing sights of large coral formations. Aside from the beautiful coral, snorkelers have also seen hogfish, wrasse, sea urchin and sea cucumber. While this snorkeling spot offers top notch snorkeling, it is best for experienced swimmers only. The waves on the north shore of Kauai kick up quite a current that might prove too difficult for beginner snorkelers or swimmers. As always, always exercise caution.
Na Pali Coast
Also located along Kauai’s pristine north shore is the Na Pali Coast, where boat tours can take visitors to snorkeling hotspots. Catamarans, sailboats and dinghy boats all take tours throughout the day and visitors have seen everything from monk seals to humpback whales in season. Any level of snorkeler will find delight along the Na Pali Coast.
Traveling down to Kauai’s south shore, you’ll come upon Koloa Landing. Keep your eyes peeled, because you won’t be looking for a beach — it’s a former boat ramp! Entering the water you can choose to go right or left, but stay along one side or the other as the currents can get rough the further you venture out. Also a widely popular diving location, Koloa Landing offers clear views of surgeonfish, triggerfish, trumpetfish, turtles and a wide array of coral.
Poipu Beach Park
No trip to Kauai would be complete without a stop to famed Poipu Beach Park, one of the only places in the world where a tombolo, or sand island, has formed naturally. A popular beach destination, arrive early for a good parking spot and smaller snorkeling crowd. No more than ten feet at the deepest point, Poipu offers snorkeling fun for every skill level. Visitors have seen eel, goatfish, turtles and cauliflower coral. When you’re ready to hang up your snorkel for the day, the beach here is a great place to relax. Be sure to tune in next week if you plan to snorkel on Lanai’s coastline!