Turtle Watching on Kaua’i’s South Shores

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

On the South Side of Kaua’i, you will have your best chance to view Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles as there are many vantage points standing  along the shoreline.  The South Shore’s rocky shoreline is lined with seaweed, seagrasses, and rocks that are covered in algae which provides food for hungry turtles.  This environment provides a natural feeding area for turtles, who can tear grasses and scrape algae off rocks with their sawlike beaks.  In turn, Green Sea turtles contribute to maintaining the homeostasis of these reef environments by eating the algae.  

Views from Koloa Landing also Known as Whaler’s Cove

The area that we like to bring our keiki to for viewing Green Sea Turtles is Koloa Landing also known as Whalers Cove.  If you are staying at the  Koloa Landing Resort, there is an access path through the hotel that leads directly to this spot.  Whenever we stay at Koloa Landing, we make this an evening family activity.  From the hotel, cross the street carefully to the boat ramp entrance. If driving, when approaching the south shore, take the roundabout exiting Poipu towards spouting horn.  Then make the first left towards the Sheraton hotel.  You will see the boat ramp entrance on the right.

At the base of the ramp, there is a viewing area to the left that doesn’t take much maneuvering to get to.  The evening we went, there were a plethora of sea turtles that came right up to the shoreline at this spot.  Evenings are the best times to view the Green Sea Turtles in action.

 On a different visit, the boys decided they wanted to climb the rocks and head to the cove on the right.  My 5 year old was able to do this on his own as my 4 year old succeeded with a little help from dad.  Once you reach the edge of the cove, there are flatter rocks to stand on.

We spotted one large Sea turtle camouflaged into rocks across the cove.  Nonetheless, we also viewed 2-3 sea turtles as they swam by us.  These were mostly submerged slightly below the water and appeared as shadows until a head or arm poked through to the surface.  My boys kept yelling, “brother, brother did you see that!” in excitement.  If you don’t feel like making the short trek down the ramp, you can also park on the side of the road near the lava rock wall and view from the overlook.

Camouflaged Sea Turtle

Other Viewing Spots

Other spots along the south shore that provide viewing points are Brennecke Beach which is located to the left of Poipu Beach Park.  Lawai Beach located across from Lawai Beach Resort and next to The Beach House restaurant also offers another up close vantage point.  There is a lawn fronting the Beach House restaurant with a walking path that follows the shoreline.

Another spot is the walking paths behind The Point at Poipu.  These walking paths behind this hotel, which hug the shoreline, connects with the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa on the right.  (See Hotels We Love) We have also spotted Green Sea Turtles while at Baby Beach in Poipu which is protected by a rocky shoreline (See Best Beaches For Keiki – Baby Beach, Poipu) for a video of the encounter.  

Shores behind The Point at Poipu leading and walking path to Grand Hyatt Kauai

The Hawaiian Honu is of symbolic importance and represents navigation, wisdom, and good luck.  Legends tell of a Honu who transformed into a young girl and performed as a guardian protecting the keiki from enemies.

Remember, Green Sea Turtles are protected by state and federal laws (See 10 Things You Should Know About Kauai) so keep your distance and use common sense.  Do not try to feed, touch, ride, or harass sea life.

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