As beautiful as the Na Pali Coast cliffs are, it’s her sea caves that steal the show. While the majority of the boats that tour Na Pali Coast are too large to enter the sea caves, rest assured our Pirate Raft specializes in exploring these natural phenomena. Below are five of our favorite sea caves we commonly see on our Napali Coast Rafting tours.
Waiʻnapanapa Sea Cave
Our first visited cave is most impressive when the seas are lively. Waiʻnapanapa, which means crooked water, explodes like a fire hydrant when the swells push in and out of the cave chamber. The larger the waves, the larger the explosions. Most summer days are too calm to see the giant sea cave explosions that Waiʻnapanapa is known for, but this sea cave has other unique features too. With a thin stream of spring water falling off the center of this cave, it makes for a nice shower for those of our guests looking to cool off during our Pirate Adventure. Be careful though, Waiʻnapanapa is said to be the waterfall of fertility, so be sure to take that into account before asking our captain to dunk you!
Open Ceiling Cave
A crowd favorite for many and also winning the “most unique” award amongst the other Na Pali sea caves, Open Ceiling Cave, aka Pukalani, is a sight to behold. Pukalani is a Hawaiian word which loosely translates to “hole into the heavens.” This sea cave eroded so deep that the ceiling could no longer support itself and collapsed. The rock in the center of this cave is actually a portion of the ceiling. From an aerial view (shown on the left), you can see the donut-like shape this cave is left with. Our zodiac raft specializes in sea cave entry and is not only able to take you into this sea cave, but takes our passengers completely around the donut. World famous musicians have had music videos filmed in this sea cave, as well as other various wedding ceremonies. When you see the Open Ceiling Cave in person, youʻll want to get married there too!
The Honeymooners’ cave gets its name from a fusion of nature’s finest attributes coming together all at once, creating the perfect honeymoon setting. This cave is dark, narrow, and deep with a white sand beach in the back. In addition to the white beach, near the cave opening, there is an approximate 100ft tall waterfall rolling down the cliffside. Because Honeymooners cave faces true west, it has been said that in the late afternoon, Honeymooners cave turns completely orange with the sunset reflecting off the water and cave walls. It is this combination of sea cave, white beach, and waterfall that separates this sea cave from all others in the world!
Assuming the group is still up for adventure and water conditions allow, there are still two more unique and exhilarating sea caves up the coast that most boat companies never reach. When you ride with Pirates, these caves are a normal stop on our tour. Described below are the benefits given to those who dare to go further!
Two Door Sea Cave
Also very unique to the others, Two Door Cave is double-sided and can resemble more of a tunnel than a cave, having a different entry and exit. With a giant rock amphitheater in the back, a waterfall falling from 3,800 ft through a hole on the side, and with a straight dark section of over 100 yards deep, this cave is sure to get your heart racing and video camera recording. Only the small boats of Na Pali reap the benefits of traversing through Two Door Cave. The Hawaiian name for Two Door Sea Cave is Waiʻahuʻakua. This is not only one of the most poetic names in all of Na Pali, but the translation is equally beautiful. Wai, meaning water, Ahu, loosely meaning altar, and Akua, meaning god. When you lay eyes on Waiʻahuʻakua, it is quite obvious why the Hawaiians called this special place God’s Water Altar.
Pirates Cave was not named after us and we were not named after Pirates cave. This sea cave actually gets its name from a giant natural skull shape etched into the cave wall. This is Na Paliʻs tallest and deepest cave. This cave is so deep that there are actually three other sea caves within Pirates cave! The best part of it all is that the only way in and out of Pirates Cave is to drive our boat through a giant waterfall (much heavier flow than Waiʻnapanapa) into the cave. If driving through a waterfall into a giant dark sea cave with a huge natural skull carving in the back does not do it for you, we donʻt know what will!
Sea cave conditions and accessibility can change minute to minute and entry cannot be guaranteed. Your captain will only know if it is safe to enter once he has made a visual assessment. With that said and with safety being our main concern, it is important to understand that there may be days where we can only get close to the sea caves but not go in. (Thank you in advance for understanding.)
Na Pali Pirates Tour
Explore the entirety of the Na Pali Coast by Zodiac boat, including every sea cave on the coast, a high chance of dolphin encounters, and snorkeling at Nualolo Cove, Na Pali’s best snorkel spot!