Throughout the centuries, Niʻihau’s picturesque beaches, valleys, and mountains have remained largely unexplored. The Sinclair/Robinson family bought the island in 1863 for $10,000, promising the ruler at the time, King Kamehameha IV, that they would preserve the island’s culture. The family upholds its promise to this day, restricting outside access and safeguarding the island’s way of life.
The closest visitors can get to the island is on a boat tour or helicopter flight. Boats make the crossing from Kauai to the coast of Niʻihau, where you can snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal clear water and observe the island’s mysterious shores from a respectful distance. Helicopters depart Kauai and soar over Niʻihau, with some even landing (with owner permission) on a secluded beach far from the island’s inhabitants.
Things to Know Before You Go
Save money by booking a joint tour of both the Na Pali Coast and Niʻihau.
The crossing from Kauai to Niʻihau can be rough, so maybe rethink a boat tour if you get seasick.
How to Get There
The only way to see Niʻihau is on a boat or helicopter tour. The island is off-limits to independent travelers, so don’t attempt to go on your own.
When to Get There
Tours to the island run year-round and offer a pleasant escape from Kauai’s crowds (especially during the high seasons).
Where to Go if You Can’t Visit Niʻihau
Restrictions can make it difficult to visit the Forbidden Island; however, numerous more accessible locations off the coast of Kauai offer similar sightseeing opportunities. One option is a boat tour along Kauai’s iconic Na Pali Coast, known for its pristine snorkeling, stunning coastlines, and postcard-perfect beaches.