Niihau "The Forbidden Island" Tours
There are no tours allowed on Niihau island other than some snorkeling and diving along its beautiful coastline.
|Information Related to Niihau Coast Tours on Kauai|
|Can we visit the island of Niihau?|
Known as the "Forbidden Island" and located at the north-west end of the island chain, Niihau is part of Kauai County. The entire island is privately-owned and cannot be visited without express invitation from one of the 160 inhabitants.
All though there are few tours associated with the island of Niihau, the ones that are provide some of the most interesting and beautiful cross sections of marine life to occur anywhere in Hawaii. In order to fully appreciate any part of what you may see of Niihau from your snorkel or dive boat you should be a bit aware of some of the mystery and aurora surrounding the island and its inhabitants.
- Niihau is the smallest island of the seven major islands in the Hawaiian chain is located 18 miles off the coast of Kauai and stretches to 23 miles long and 3 to 6 miles in width. It is a very low lying island raising to a height of only 500 ft and as such draws very little water from passing clouds. Whereas neighboring Kauai has the wettest spot on earth with a rainfall of 420 inches a year the lower Niihau only averages about 12 inches a year.
- Because of the near drought conditions which have always existed on Niihau it has never been able to sustain a huge population and its population today stands at about 160. The island has been privately owned since the mid eighteen hundreds and almost all of the inhabitants are 100% Hawaiian. Children are raised on the island to speak fluent Hawaiian and in many ways the island of Niihau remains the most Hawaiian island of all.
- The Robinson family are decedents of Elizabeth Sinclair, who purchased the island from King Kamehameha V in 1864. The Robinson family owns the island and run a cattle ranch and employ the majority of the population. Hawaiian is still spoken as the primary language and there is no electrical or plumbing infrastructure, the inhabitants preferring to live in the traditional Hawaiian manner.
- During WWII, a Japanese pilot ditched his plane on Niihau after attacking Pearl Harbor and took the village of Pu'uwai hostage until the occupants captured him in what is now called the "Battle of Pu'uwai."
While there are no hotels or amenities of any kind, the residents do allow snorkeling and diving along Niihau's coasts. Only a few tours make the significant 18 mile journey over the ocean to visit the coastline of the island of Niihau and its sister island of Lehua. Being so far away and having so few boats come out to see Niihau's splendors it's waters have remained as pure and pristine as they were centuries ago. The few tours that take you to Niihau do some of the following:
- A couple of the boats we have that visit Niihau first tour the Na Pali Coast of Kauai in what turns out to be a full and complete snorkel trip to both islands. These tours usually visit the underwater caldera of Lehua which is one of the most pristine snorkel locations in the state and one of the most rewarding in a geological sense. Lehua is very similar to the island of Molokini off the coast of Maui and they both compromise two of the three such caldera formations in the world.
- Diving tours (although they are shown in our Kauai Diving category) are also permitted off the coasts of Niihau and are a prized tour in the menu of options available with Kauai's dive companies.
Tom's Tips - "Niihau Tours"
- It's a real treat to see Niihau, if only from off the coastline, and very few visitors or island residents have ever done so.
- Riding the boats between the islands of Kauai and Niihau gives you a real sense of what it is like to be on a boat in the open ocean. This is an experience, I have discovered, that not many people have experienced.
- The island of Lehua off the coast of Niihau is the only place I have ever swam with a monk seal.
Blue Dolphin Charters offers you the chance of a lifetime to visit the forbidden island of Niihau from the vantage point of just off the coast. Although it is still not permitted to set foot on the island of Niihau this tour with Blue Dolphin Cruises provides you with the next best scenario allowing you to view the island from the seas surrounding the island. Your trip across the channel from Kauai will in all likelihood be rewarded by fantastic snorkeling and maybe an opportunity to view one of Hawaii's famous Hawaiian Monk seals.
(From: $174.90 - To: $211.90)
Very few people have ever had the pleasure of visiting the Hawaiian island of Niihau and its sister island Lehua but Holo Holo Charters of Kauai can make this happen for you. Actually the tour starts off with a visit and snorkel to the Na Pali Coast and then navigates the distance across the channel to the forbidden island of Niihau. In reality you are not actually allowed on the island itself but you will cruise the shoreline and see the island from the distance beyond the reef. Snorkeling will generally happen at the volcanic caldera of Lehua and quite often you will be treated to a glimpse of the Hawaiian Monk Seals who frequent that coast.
(From: $184.90 - To: $184.90)
Niihau Discount Tours and Ni'ihau Discount Activities - Of all the Hawaiian Islands, perhaps Niihau is the island most shrouded in mystery. It is Hawaii’s only privately owned island and has only approximately 160 inhabitants. It is also the only island whose people still speak Hawaiian as their principal language. Although visitors are not allowed directly on the island you can still visit the beautiful waters along its shoreline for a day of snorkeling and take a glimpse from the sea of the most Hawaiian island of all.