The Napali Coast of Kauai needs no introduction. Situated in Northwestern Kauai, the 6175-acre Napali Coast State Park is decorated with elevated sea cliffs, narrow streams, valleys, and cascading waterfalls.
The Napali Coast consists of 5 primary valleys along with various smaller ones. One of these deeply embedded valleys is Nualolo Aina. It’s home to a now secluded ancient Hawaiian fishing village, Nualolo Kai, that is only accessible to visitors through authorized boat landing.
Nualolo Aina is an inland valley which is separated from the Pacific Ocean and Nualolo Kai by sheer cliffs. This particular place is cut off from the rest of the island by high ridges, leaving no land access to this secret garden.
Being one of the most researched archeology sites in Hawaii, Nualolo Kai poses scintillating findings to this day. A study revealed that this small fishing village was home to an ancient Hawaiian civilization, predicted to have thrived on the island since 600 A.D.
Nualolo Kai’s History
Similar to the majority of the early Napali residents, the people of Nualolo Kai survived mostly via fishing and cultivating Taro along the fertile banks of the valley. With a large valley behind, the steep cliffs of Nu’alolo offered protection for the people who resided here.
Even today, at Nualolo, you could spot remainders of old taro plots on the hillside. These stone outcroppings may look a bit different because these are actually ancient terraces where Taro and other plants used to grow.
With a steep landscape to deal with, the ancient Nualolo people were wise to turn such a complex terrain into the fertile growing territory. Remnants of these Heiaus, canoe houses, and terraces are a clear indication that the people of Nualolo Kai lived a spiritual, industrious, and simple life.
A freshwater spring provided them the essential water source for survival and farming. However, the spring has now turned brackish, and restoration efforts are going on because of isolation.
Nualolo Kai Today
In today’s modern era, this once-secluded paradise on the Napali Coast is in high tourist demand for its historical significance and geographic peculiarity. Geographically speaking, Nualolo Kai looks like a narrow concave pit resting between the ocean and a colossal perpendicular cliff. The sharp sea cliff base rests in the shape of a semi-circle, with its edges kissing the ocean on either side.
The beach at the front is surrounded by a shallow reef that serves as a protective barrier against violent waves crashing onshore. This reef is an enormous feeding ground for Honu (sea turtles), who like eating the seaweed coming off the reef. This particular area is also commonly visited by Hawaiian Monk Seals, who are often seen resting on the shore.
The existence of a large barrier reef and rich marine life make Nualolo Kai one of the most sought-after snorkeling spots on the island. The 2000 ft high cliffs above water and variety of marine life below offer a rewarding snorkeling experience in this undisturbed paradise.
Interested in learning more about Nu’alolo and the rest of the wonders of the Na Pali Coast? Come join us on one of our Napali boat tours. We have plenty of boats you can choose from to suit your style.