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#1 Best Boat Tour in America!

Aloha friends, did you hear the exciting news??? Holo Holo Charters has been named the #1 Best Boat Tour in the U.S. by the USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards contest!

Once again for those in the back: Holo Holo Charters has been named the #1 BEST BOAT TOUR IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Wow! We’re so happy! Little tear in the eye.

Best Boat Tour Kauai

We feel like a director at the Dolby Theatre, accepting an Academy Award, pulling out our little note card—Gosh, where do we begin??? Well, we want to thank the USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards, we want to thank our entire team at Holo Holo for all the blood, sweat, laughter and tears that got us here, we want to thank our community of Kauai, and of course– we want to thank all of our fans and supporters that voted for us and put us on this stage!

We couldn’t have done it without you ALL! Seriously though, it’s true, and we’re extremely proud to earn this national recognition! Let us tell you about the contest itself and what it means to us to be THE BEST


In 2019, the first year we were nominated for the USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards, it got us thinking—what does it really mean to be the best? Obviously, every company in the world wants to be “the best” at what they do but seriously, “the best” is subjective, and it all depends on how you define it.

In no particular order, these are the five ideals that describe what being “the best” means to us, which is literally the foundation of our mission statement…

  • Providing the safest, most unique, and memorable ocean experience available.
  • Maintaining the best vessels and equipment on island.
  • Providing the highest degree of quality customer service available in the industry.
  • Being the best company to be a part of and work for.
  • Providing a solidly positive impact on both our ocean resources and our island community… and here’s how they all come together:

Okay, we admit that we have a heads up on most of America’s tour boat companies when it comes to facilitating the most unique and memorable boat tour experiences; we have the Napali Coast! The glorious, vibrant, tropical, wilderness-protected, teeming-with-wildlife, music-to-your-eyes Napali Coast. We have dramatic 4,000-foot sea cliffs, sea caves, sea arches, secluded beaches, vast emerald valleys, numerous waterfalls, and rainbows galore. We have playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins, migrating and birthing humpback whales (December-April), green sea turtles, flying fish, pelagic sea birds, and even goats grazing the mountainsides! Our guests snorkel in warm, clear waters with Hawaiian monk seals and dozens of colorful tropical fish species. Unique and memorable??? Like no other!

Yes, the Napali Coast is the Napali Coast no matter what. But if you’re going to go, you may as well go in the utmost style, maximum comfort, and with the most skillful and professional captains and crew on Kauai. That’s where we come in!

Fun fact—did you know that Holo Holo’s four tour boats were all designed and built right here on Kauai? True story! Every other tour boat operating on Kauai was ordered and delivered from a faraway factory in a faraway land, but we’re proud to say that our company’s boats were designed by our company’s founder, specifically to tackle the unique and challenging ocean conditions Kauai faces as the westernmost island of the most remote island chain in the world.

You can see it with your own eyes. If you go down to the dock at Port Allen and compare our catamarans with the others, you’ll notice that our boats have a certain “look” and the difference comes down to their lower center of gravity and their skinnier hull shape. These two important boat design features not only look modern and sleek, but they also provide our customers with a safer and much more comfortable ride when crossing the Kaulakahi Channel or beating upwind on the Napali Coast. To put it simply: a lower center of gravity equals less “hobby horsing” i.e., less motion sickness and a skinnier hull design means less pitching in and out of the water, i.e., less movement between the boat and your body! Kind of hard to argue against that!

Beings as our boats were designed and built in-house, we have the tools, the know-how, and the shop space that allows us to modify, maintain, upgrade, and improve our boats constantly. They’re our babies, our pride and joy, and like a tiger mom, we’re obsessed with them looking and performing their best.

Our boats will enhance your Kauai boat tour experience, and so will our personnel.

Our company culture is based on personal integrity and in our twenty+ years in operation, we’ve developed a reputation on Kauai, and especially within our island’s tour boat industry, as a fair, dependable, and supportive employer. We want to be the best, which means we have to hire the best, it’s a full circle system for us to do all we can to lead our industry!

A certain amount of turnover is inevitable of course, but we work hard to recruit the very best talent for each of our departments (management, administrative, front desk/reservations, captains/crew, and operations/mechanics) and to retain those people season after season, year after year. Recruit and retain, recruit and retain!

Best Napali Coast Tour

We often invest in our employees: we’ll enroll our managers in leadership and personal development courses, we’ll send bright young hires across the country to diesel mechanics school, we’ll assist our ambitious crew through the rigorous process of earning a captains license, we’ll support our employees’ personal ambitions by giving them time/flexibility to pursue their passions, and we’ll help our people through personal crises. We do our best to give credit where credit is due to acknowledge and celebrate people’s individual and collective achievements, and to provide fair opportunities for upward mobility.

We believe that happiness and contentment in our employees sow happiness and contentment in our customers, and that brings us to aloha. Aloha is a highly versatile word that literally means “the presence of breath” and practically, is used not only to say hello and goodbye, but also to express gratitude, mercy, compassion, respect, peace, and kindness.

Let our staff demonstrate to you all the meanings of aloha! Our reservations desk will listen to your needs and ask you pertinent questions in order to book the tour that’s best suited for you. Onboard, our captains and crew members will welcome you with smiles, make you laugh, anticipate your needs, answer your questions, lend you a hand, and make sure you feel well taken care of and valued.

We want your time with Holo Holo Charters to be the highlight of your visit to Kauai.

Best Kauai boat tour

Okay, time for another fun fact—did you know that Holo Holo Charters recently became the first tour boat company in the state of Hawaii to employ brand new, energy-efficient diesel outboard motor technology? True story! We replaced the four industry-standard gasoline outboard motors on our two raft-style boats with four brand-spanking-hot-off-the-press energy-efficient diesel outboard motors.

  • Was this change expensive and time-consuming? YES. The diesel motors themselves are about double the price of the standard gas motors and installing them required our shop department to make significant modifications to our boat transoms.
  • Is this change risky? WITHOUT A DOUBT. This technology is brand new and we’re the guinea pigs here, holding our breath and hoping it all works out. If something unforeseen happens, we could possibly lose hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of tour revenue.
  • Are there considerable potential benefits in this new technology? ABSOLUTELY. These diesel motors are 30-50% more fuel-efficient than the old gas motors and have the added benefit of being significantly quieter– resulting in a more pleasant experience for our guests, our Captains and crew, and the ocean wildlife.

This ain’t no greenwashing folks– our investment in this cutting-edge diesel outboard technology is a concrete example of our company’s commitment to leading the industry when it comes to reducing our collective environmental impact. In the future, it will be commonplace for commercial vessels to operate on these diesel outboards. We’ll have been pioneers, just as we’ve been when it comes to the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii, the NOAA Dolphin Smart Program, and our reef-safe sunscreen initiatives, to name a few.

And of course, we could never be “the best” without giving back to our island community of Kauai. Whether we’re using our manpower and equipment to assist in flood rescue efforts, taking classrooms of kids on educational ocean field trips, providing financial support to local community groups, projects and organizations, donating trips to be auctioned at various local fundraisers, or creating programs such as our Pono Pledge that help perpetuate Kauai’s unique island culture, we’ll always make time and resources to give back to the community where we live and love.


Friends, winning the title of #1 Best Boat Tour in America is a major affirmation that 1.) our company’s ideals resonate with people and 2.) we’re succeeding in realizing those ideals.

Earning this national recognition inspires us to keep raising the bar higher. Mark our words, we’re going to continue finding and applying meaningful ways to do right by our guests, do right by our employees, do right by our ocean resources, and do right by our island community.

We want to give a special acknowledgment to our company’s Advertising and Marketing Manager Kit Furderer, who ran with the ball on this project. Kit worked with the USA Today contest managers to accept our nomination and publish our company description, and he harnessed the power of our company’s network to chalk up more votes than any of the other nineteen best tour boat companies in America. Hats off to you Kit, this is a big one! We really appreciate you!

And once more, a sincere mahalo nui loa to everyone that took the time to vote for Holo Holo Charters and helped us earn the title of #1 Best Boat Tour in America. We’re honored and we’re determined—here’s to making the best even better!


Friends, did you know that with an average weekday paid circulation of 1.6 million and an average daily readership of 2.6 million, that USA Today is the most widely read of all newspapers in the United States1? It’s true– beating out the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, Chicago Times, The Washington Post, and all the others, USA Today is the most widely read news publication in America.

In fact, you could argue that they’re the best (wink wink.)

While some publications are super partisan and wax poetic on their preferred certain subjects, USA Today is known for synthesizing the news into easy-to-read-and-comprehend stories and simply giving its readers a to-the-point, no-nonsense report. USA Today has an easy-to-look-at color-coded format that makes it simple for people to just get a general idea of what’s going on in America and the world when it comes to all the typical topics: news, sports, money, life, weather, technology, and, importantly, travel.

Ah yes, the good old travel section!

A fun component of USA Today’s travel coverage is their ongoing-throughout-the-year 10BEST Readers Choice online contests. It’s smart of USA Today because by hosting these online contests, cool businesses (like ours!) get to promote themselves, readers can discover and be inspired by those cool businesses, and USA Today gets user-generated site content and interactive users which is precisely what all media companies want these days, It’s great for everyone involved.

Everything from Best Zoos, Best Small-Town Cultural Scene, Best Arial Adventure Park—ghost towns, hotels, museums, theme parks, wineries, restaurants, activities, attractions, etc. You name it, they got a contest for it.

A small group of USA Today contributing travel experts, writers, and editors will choose a class of twenty nominees in any given category such as ours, Best Boat Tour, which typically happens every year in the spring. The four travel experts that nominated the twenty candidates for Best Boat Tour this year were: Kyle McCarthy, Chez Chesak, Lauren Gay, and Rob Taylor.

General descriptions of those twenty nominees are posted online and readers are invited to browse and vote for one nominee per day for a period of twenty-eight days, after which a winner is announced.

This year, 2022 was the fourth consecutive year our company was nominated. In 2019 we came in 5th place, in 2020, we received 9th place, in 2021 reached 2nd place, and finally, now, in 2022 we clinched the title—#1 Best Boat Tour in America!

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