Kauai

WAIMEA AND NA PALI DRIVING TOUR

Description

Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast are two of the most scenic locations in all of Hawaii. This tour will guide you through the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” until you reach the Na Pali overlook to view landscapes hundreds of thousands of years in the making. Kauai’s rugged terrain will come to life as we share stories and legends along the way.

Here are just a few of the fun things you can do on the tour!

•⁠ Stop for local Kauai coffee
•⁠ Hike in Waimea Canyon
•⁠ Hike to Waipo’o Waterfall (difficult)
•⁠ Visit Koke'e Lodge & Museum
•⁠ Take in views of the Na Pali Coast (lookout & hike)
•⁠ Visits artsy town of Hanapepe & Swinging Bridge

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Recommended Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Tour Starting Point(s): Past Lawai outside of Poipu
Direction: Clockwise loop, ending where you began

All Shaka Guide tours come with 24/7 customer support and a 100% money-back guarantee. Tours never expire.
Full-Day Tour (6-8 Hours) 69 Narration Points

​Features

  • Beaches

  • Views

  • Hikes

  • Snorkeling

  • Local Food

  • Storytelling

Highlights

  • Best Hikes

  • Best Viewpoints

  • Koke'e Area

  • Short Detours

  • Waimea Town

Video

WAIMEA AND NA PALI DRIVING TOUR

Tour FAQ’s

Download Tour over Wifi, before you go!

This is an important reminder to make sure you download the tour over Wifi before you start driving! Since everything works offline, the app downloads the audio content to your phone, and the size can range from 60mb - 120mb. Because of this it is ideal to download the tour over a Wifi network with good speed.

Otherwise you may have to wait for a long time for it to download. If you choose to download the tour using your Data, then you will need to make sure your speed is at least “LTE”.  Anything less like 3G speeds will create problems and long wait times downloading the tour.

So word to the wise: download over Wifi at your hotel or condo before starting your driving tour! You will be glad you did!

If you are having trouble getting the tours to download please email or call this support phone number: 1-888-250-2261, we will be glad to help!

How to play the audio through the car stereo?


The best way to make sure that everyone in the car can hear the tour nice and loud is to play the audio tour through the car stereo. Make sure one of these methods works before leaving the car rental lot. Rental Agents will willingly change your car if the car stereo does cannot play from your phone.

Depending on which rental car you have, this can be done in one of three ways:


1)  Audio Aux Jack

Many rental cars have an audio auxiliary jack. This slot in the cars looks just like something you would plug your headphones into. But in order to play your phone’s audio through the car speaker you need an auxiliary jack with two male ends: one plugs into your phone, the other plugs into the car. You can adjust volume from both the car radio and the phone’s volume.

If you do not have an audio aux jack, try the following methods.


2)  USB Cable

Depending on the make and model of your car, sometimes you are able to sync your phone’s audio through a USB cable, that is also charging your phone at the same time. You can usually find a USB plug somewhere near the driver’s seat. The most likely place to find it is in the middle glove compartment, on the car dash or near the audio control panel.

  1. Connect the USB to car stereo

  2. From car stereo, select “media player” or find the name of your device.

  3. Look for signs of connectivity through the display on your car dash.

  4. Play any of the tour audio to test if the audio plays correctly from the speakers.

- USB still not playing audio?

Try some of the following, testing the audio after each attempt

  • Restart your device and restart your car.

  • Connect your device to a different stereo USB port (if you have one).

  • Try a different USB cable.

  • Update your device firmware.

  • Try playing audio from a different app to see if any audio will play.

If still not working then try the other methods.

NOTE: Playing audio through the USB cable in many types of older rental cars tends to not work for reasons related to a damaged USB port or car’s stereo firmware.


3)  Bluetooth

Depending on the make and model of your car, sometimes you can sync your phone’s audio through a bluetooth connection. Here are the steps:

  1. First go to your phone’s bluetooth and turn it on.

  2. Then in your rental car, use your car’s dash (often the radio) to activate bluetooth connection of the car.

  3. When you see your phone, select it to complete the bluetooth connection.

  4. Play any of the tour audio to test if the audio plays correctly from the speakers.

If you run into problems with your rental car, it’s best to refer to the car’s user manual or ask a car rental representative to help you. Every car make and model handles bluetooth differently, and not every rental car has bluetooth.

Bluetooth still not working?  

Try some of the following to troubleshoot:

  • Restart your device

  • Make sure your device’s Bluetooth is turned to ON (check your settings)

  • Unpair both your device and car stereo from each other, restart your car, and then try to pair and connect your device again.

NOTE: In some older rental cars bluetooth appears to be connected but still doesn't play audio. Again, likely something not working with the car's bluetooth system. Try other methods.


Still can’t get audio to play through the car stereo?

Just use your device’s built in speakers and turn the volume up as loud as you can. This may require disconnecting your USB cable from the Car Stereo.

How does the Tour work?

The Waimea & Na Pali Driving Tour includes:

  • 2-4 hour driving tour with 68 triggering points of audio narration

  • Audio tour plays automatically as you drive - We do this by using your GPS location and then plays the audio at just the right time and place during your drive. It literally is like having a local tour guide in your car with you!

  • Driving directions - Just listen up as the tour guide tells you where to go and where to turn for the entire tour.

  • Offline map comes with a purchase!

  • Offline Audio Tour comes with a purchase!

Where does the Tour start / end?

The starting point for this tour is just past Lawai (outside of Poipu) on the main Highway. The tour will play as you start to drive west towards Waimea.

Just follow the instructions when you turn on the tour switch to the map marker #1 along the tour route. This is beginning of the tour.

If you are not starting from map marker #1; for example, if you are staying somewhere on the tour route. Feel free to join the tour in progress anywhere along the tour route. Since on this tour there is one road in and one road out, you won’t miss out on a thing. Note there is different tour content as you drive back along the same road.

  • At the end of the tour it will bring you back to Lawai town with directions back to Poipu if you need. From there just return to your hotel or condo.

Which direction does the Tour go?

The tour starts in Lawai town and from there, it pretty much follows the main Kuhio Highway all the way to Waimea Town. From there we drive up Waimea Canyon Drive stopping at various viewpoints and hikes along the way.

We also take a few short detours off the main Highway along the drive such as:

  1. Kauai Coffee Company Visitor’s Center

  2. Waimea Canyon Lookout

  3. Kalalau Lookout

  4. Menehune Ditch & Swinging Bridge

  5. Hanapepe Town & Swinging Bridge

Can I drive around the Island?

Sorry no can brah!

The road does not completely wrap around the island. It ends at Pu’u O Kila lookout on the North Shore. This is the end of the road. The reason for this is the Na Pali mountain range is just so rugged making any possibility of making a road that wraps around the island unrealistic.

How long will the Tour take?

If you drive straight from Lawai to the lookout at end of the road without stopping it will take roughly 1 hour. But with over 16 actual stopping points along the way, plan to spend at least 4-6 hours on the tour, or the better part of your day.

If you are not into fast-paced sightseeing, take your time and come back and drive the tour on another day of your vacation. This will give you the chance to really take your time and soak in the sites.

The best way to take this tour is just to let it happen naturally while being open to try some new and exciting things along the way. But remember to just take your time to soak in the amazing views of this untouched tropical paradise.

Best time of the day to start

It is best to be in Waimea town at least by 9am. Waimea is the gateway to the the mountain. That means if you are coming from Princeville area you may want to start your day a little earlier so you can be in Waimea town at least by 9am. (Start early because you will hit some local commuting traffic around that time).

Trust me,  you are going to want to get an early start. There is a whole lot of fun things to do and explore. And the best way to experience it is if you can take your time enjoying each stop along the way. So my recommendation is to get an early start and plan on the better part of a full day exploring Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali coast.

There are limited eating options along the drive. If you started in the morning, then Koke’e lodge or Waimea Town are your only options for lunch on your return trip. If nothing else grab a shave ice to help cool you down.

How much should I budget to spend on the tour?

All of the places that we will take you on the tour are free!

However, I would plan on spending about $15 per person for some lunch along the way, likely in Waimea town. Also plan on about $5 per person for a local style snack along the drive such as shave ice. Truly this driving tour isn’t the same without stopping to try some local food!

What should I bring?

Be prepared for some hiking, strolling and some swimming on the tour. This means you may want to come prepared with a change of clothes and a towel.

What to bring on your North Shore adventure:

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug repellent (sometimes needed)

  • Light jacket just in case of rain

  • Water

  • Snacks

  • Money (most places will still take credit cards)

  • Camera

  • Comfortable shoes for light hiking

  • Auxiliary jack for listening to the tour

  • Car USB charger

  • Smartphone with the Shaka Guide tour installed ;-)

Where are the bathrooms?

What happens when nature calls? Don't worry I will tell you during the tour. But here is a short list of a few major pit stops we will take on the tour, all of which have restrooms:

  • Kauai Coffee Company

  • Waimea Tech & Visitor’s Center

  • Waimea Canyon Lookout

  • Kalalau Lookout (just before the end of the road)

  • Koke’e Lodge and Museum

Customer Reviews

  • 5
    2,551
  • 4
    198
  • 3
    57
  • 2
    21
  • 1
    7

Fun and informative tour of Waimea Canyon

ShaakaFrog | June 2020
Driving directions very clear, stories very entertaining and informative. Tour very flexible, you can choose what you want to see and skip the rest. Highly recommend this tour as well as the tour of the North Shore

3 great tours on Kuaui

Dools from Reno | June 2020
After enjoying the Shaka tour on the Hana road last year, I enthusiastically downloaded the Kauai 4 tour package while staying with family in Honolulu. Although they have lived in Hawaii for many years, they had not been aware of your tours. The Waimea tour was our first and the directions to the many sites along the way and of course the humor made them enthusiasts as well. Second day we did the North shore and loved it as well. Today we did the Wailua valley (after relatives left) and really liked it as well. The history of Hawaii comes alive and seeing the sites at the same time as our guide is reporting is fantastic. 5 star Ono from a mainland Houle and the local family as well.

Easy to Use

Lei~ | June 2020
We used this app to see the island of Kauai at our own and pace. My favorite tour was Waimea Canyon. The guide works by downloading the tour and map in advance so even if you are stuck without cell signal (which you probably will be), it will still function. There are a lot of cool legends and stories that the guide shares. He takes you to some nice scenic places that maybe most other people don’t know about. There are options to do some hiking so be prepared and have the right clothing, walking stick, bug spray, water if you want to do hiking. Some hikes are short, some are several miles and longer. It also gets very muddy if it has been raining so be prepared for that also. It can be very dangerous in Kauai to hike certain areas when muddy so use your own judgement. Would definitely recommend this app and will use the other Shaka Guides when I go back to other islands on Hawaii. I would love to see similar guides for other parts of the USA!!
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