It’s only been in the last few decades that visitors to Hawaii have been able to visit Niihau, Hawaii’s Forbidden Isle.
Why is Niihau forbidden? Well, the island is privately owned, so the only way to go there is either to be invited by a resident or to take part in one of the few excursions to Niihau that are offered for tourists.
One fabulous option is the Niihau Half-Day Tour. You will be treated to exceptionally breathtaking scenery, snorkeling, beach-combing and perhaps even some wildlife spotting (dolphin, wild boars, sheep, sharks, whales in season, and a whole lot more).
The tour begins with an unforgettable 18-mile helicopter ride from Kauai, across that Kaulakahi Channel that divides Niihau and Kauai. While you’re in the air, you will get a fascinating narration from the pilot about the history of Niihau, which is Hawaii’s oldest inhabited island, and how it came to be the way it is today.
Once you have landed on one of Niihau’s secluded beaches, you’ll feel like you’re in a totally different part of Hawaii – and you are. Niihau has been largely untouched by technology; the residents there use horses and bicycles for transportation. They do not have plumbing, running water, power lines, or grocery stores. Groceries are delivered by boat, power is exclusively solar, and water comes from rainwater catchment.
Spend your time at the beach sunbathing, snorkeling, and beach-combing. Niihau is famous for its shells and glass balls that wash up on the shore. The shells are unique in the world and are regarded (and priced!) as gemstones. You’ll also get to enjoy a sandwich, juice, and water before heading back to Kauai.
If you are interested in visiting Niihau, it’s ideal to plan ahead and be flexible. The tours only operate if a minimum of 5 people are interested in going on the same day, so when you want to make your reservation, it’s best to let them know that you are flexible on the date. That way, they can do their best to accommodate you so you’ll actually be able to go to Niihau. While you’re waiting for your tour confirmation, spend your time exploring the many things to see and do on Kauai!
Photo Credit: Christopher P. Becker