The Original Super Tour
Best thing to do on Kauai
Back in Holo Holo Charters’ development days—circa 1997—our up-and-coming company was looking for a niche, something to make us stand out amongst Kauai’s existing boat tour companies. Everyone was going to the Napali Coast, for obvious reasons—Napali is one of the most breathtaking and iconic coastlines in the world. But we wanted to one-up ‘em, so we created our original Niihau Super Tour that—get this—took our guests not only to Napali and Niihau but circumnavigated the entire island of Kauai, all in one day! This became the Best Napali Coast Tour.
Best Kauai boat tour
At the time, no other company was going to the “Forbidden Island” of Niihau; Holo Holo Charters was the first. It takes a certain vessel to be able to safely go there and back every day, across the 17-mile Kaulakahi Channel, and that’s exactly what Holoholo, our 65-foot power catamaran was designed and built to do. She was, and still is, the sportscar of all the Best Kauai boat tours. The thing is that Niihau lies off Kauai’s westside, while we were originally operating off Kauai’s eastside, and therefore going around the entire island was, well…logical.
Our guests would board Holoholo at Nawiliwili Harbor, near Lihue, at the crack of dawn and if they weren’t already fully awake, they were about to be! We’d pull out of the harbor and head north for the most ummm, let’s say “exhilarating” part of the tour. We’d beat upwind at about 25 knots for the first half hour, passing Ahukini Landing, Kapa’a, Kealia Beach, Anahola, and Moloa’a until—phew—we reached Kilauea Lighthouse—the northernmost point in all of Hawaii. Once we turned the corner there, it was downwind time, i.e. a little less “exhilarating” and little more “pleasure cruising.”
We would typically serve breakfast in beautiful Hanalei Bay, ensuring our guests had proper nourishment to fully absorb the glory of the Napali Coast. We’d pass Tunnels Beach, Ke’e Beach, Kalalau Valley, Honopu Valley…taking in the overwhelming majesty of Napali’s cliffs, arches, waterfalls, and wildlife, at a leisurely 10-12 knots–ahhhh. Once we reached Polihale Beach, it was time to turn right and open up Holoholo’s motors again for the Kaulakahi Channel crossing. As previously mentioned, Holoholo was designed specifically for this channel and to this day, although she’s no longer the only boat that does it, she’s certainly the safest and most comfortable option.
Anyways, back to the tour! Once we reached Lehua Crater and Niihau, we’d swim and snorkel and serve lunch, just like we do now. Because it’s so remote, the snorkeling in that area is some of the best in all of Hawaii—a must-do for underwater enthusiasts. Come see why we are known for the best Kauai snorkeling tours
After lunch, it was back across the channel and along Kauai’s west and south shores where Allerton’s Beach and Spouting Horn are sights worth seeing. When we’d reach the southernmost tip of Kauai, Makahuena Point, we’d turn the corner and start heading back north up Kauai’s southeast side, which meant—you guessed it—another 15 minutes of “exhilaration” past Mahalepu Beach, Kipu Kai and Black Mountain to finish out the trip, which would typically end around 2 or 3pm.
Back at the dock in Nawiliwili, most of our guests would be smiling ear-to-ear, having experienced a day they’d never forget, like they do now. But a little too often, we’d have guests practically looking like they’d just returned from Vietnam, having experienced a day they’d never forget, if you know what we mean. Admittedly, it was a little much for some people. What can we say? We were greenhorns, and we were figuring it out.
Fortuitously, just about a year later, Port Allen opened up for tour boat operations and we moved shop from the eastside to the westside. At this point, our Niihau & Napali Super Tour became the much more streamlined excursion that it is today. Our guests still experience la crème de la crème– Napali Coast, Lehua Crater and Niihau, but by cutting our total distance travelled in roughly half, we’re able to travel at a more relaxed pace and spend more time narrating the journey, exploring the Napali Coast and snorkeling at Niihau. It’s still an ocean adventure, and can still be quite exhilarating, but it’s quite a bit more user-friendly than our original tour.
Improving, adapting and modifying both our boats and our tour itineraries is something we’ll never stop doing at Holo Holo Charters. We’re not afraid to admit when there’s room for improvement, and we’re 100% committed to delivering the safest, most comfortable, most interesting and most valuable boat tours on Kauai. Come read our Kauai boat tour reviews