SHIPWRECK BEACH ON KAUAI – CLIFF JUMP, COASTAL WALK, WHALES, TURTLES
Shipwrecks beach is my favorite beach on Kauai. It has so much to offer but it is hidden from the unsuspecting eye. What exactly do I mean by this? If you roll up to Shipwrecks it looks like a nice beach but not much else. However, there is so much going on here if you know where to look. There is the Maha’ulepu Coastal Trail beginning on the left of the beach, the cliff-jump out at the point, turtles and whales out in the ocean and a surf break when the swell is up!
Shipwrecks is in Poipu and not too far from popular tourist town Kapa’a. It’s a great spot for a chill session if you don’t want to head all the way north or west!
Shipwrecks Beach Cliff Jump
I slept in the parking lot in my car a few times while I was on the island and would wake up for sunrise at the beach. Special moments like that are what travel is all about. The cliff jump is right at the end of the cliff on the left side of the beach as you look out towards the ocean. It’s pretty hard to miss.
You walk up the cliff from behind and then edge your way down to the jumping spot right on the tip of the coastline. I think the jump is about 40ft or 13m but it could be a little less according to some. The depth of the water could have been deeper but we never touched the bottom. As always you will need to check this yourself to watch out for changes in tides, sandbars, rocks, and debris.
We sent a few backflips from this height and never touched the bottom. Any time we were in the area during our month of hiking in Kauai, we would pull in and have a few jumps at Shipwrecks. It’s definitely the most popular cliff jump spot on Kauai and the only ‘real’ well-known spot for jumping from a decent height into the ocean.
If you are heading to Oahu, definitely check out my guide to the best cliff jumps on Oahu before you plan your adventures.
Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail
The Maha’ulepu is one of the easiest hikes on Kauai and is actually more of a coastal walk. The walk begins at Shipwrecks beach and winds along the coast. It’s a little under 2 miles each way but you can really turn back at any point unless you are trying to reach the caves. The Makauwahi caves are at the end of the trail and it’s truly a sight to behold. In this cave is lush green grass and plants but also fossils, which are millions of years old.
Whale watching at Shipwrecks
From the beach its not uncommon to see whales breaching out in the ocean. I visited during January and there is a day where multiple whales cruised past the coast, exciting everybody on shore. Nic flew the drone out to get a closer look at the whales and captured some epic footage.
The free hot tub hack: Grand Hyatt
If you are like me, you are likely not keen to spend hundreds a night in a fancy hotel. Luckily though security is lax and you aren’t harming anyone by sneaking in for a cheeky hot tub session. After a few cliff jumps, we blended right in at the Grand Hyatt, which is right on the beach at Shipwrecks. A 30-minute hot tub session was enjoyed and then we were on our way! Definitely, give it a crack!
Where to stay on Kauai
I’m going to recommend five places to stay on Kauai. All five of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. Two are is a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection and the last recommendation I have for you is where I recommend for the budget backpackers.
Kauai Shores Hotel – Luxury (but value also): Okay so Kauai is expensive that is just a fact. So luxury on Kauai is REALLY expensive. We are talking $700+ a night at many hotels. Kauai Shores Hotel has the luxury feel with the resort style property, palm trees, and a beautiful pool area. However, it is less than $300 a night. The best part about this hotel is that it is right on the beach. The restaurant literally looks out to the waves, which is an awesome spot to start your day with breakfast. This is a great choice if you do want a high-end hotel for your stay in Kauai but you still want to keep things reasonable and not blow thousands and thousands on your getaway. Remember you will want to do lots of activities and get a rental car as well maybe so saving a couple of hundred a night by staying at the Kauai Shores Hotel compared to the Marriot will give you the resort vibe but not be extravagant on your budget.
Koloa Landing Resort – Luxury (high-end): I was lucky enough to spend three nights reviewing Koloa Landing Resort and honestly the place is just phenomenal. It is part of the Wyndham Autograph collection and has the LARGEST pool on all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas. Palm trees surround the pool and restaurant areas on what is one of the most luxurious properties on the island. The rooms had all of the trimmings and it was definitely an amazing experience to spend a few nights at Koloa Landing Resort.
The Grand Hyatt Resort – Best Family Resort: With the best kids’ club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy. Plus, five of the resort’s 11 restaurants have children’s menus at The Grand Hyatt Resort.
Hilton Garden Inn – Value Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t cheap it is still over $200 USD but this is Kauai. $200 USD is a bargain. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting awesome value and the resort experience. The Hilton Garden Inn is where you go when you want to enjoy the hot tub, pool and beach access but don’t necessarily care about all of the trimmings at the resorts that are 4 figures or more per night. If I was on a honeymoon or with a family, this is where I would stay and spend the saved money and helicopter tours, rental cars and experiences!
More Kauai Blog Posts
I spent an entire month exploring the island of Kauai. In particular, I was hiking all of the trails and made several guides for the best hikes and easiest hikes so you can enjoy the trails of the island.
North Shore Hiking Guide: 4 AWESOME HIKES ON THE NORTH SHORE OF KAUAI
Kauai Hiking Guide: 15 BEST HIKES ON KAUAI
Easy Hikes on Kauai: 8 EASY HIKES ON KAUAI WITH GREAT VIEWS
Cliff Jumping Guide to Kauai: BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON KAUAI
Open Door Helicopter Flight Kauai: EPIC DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF KAUAI