8 Tips to Know Before you go to Secret Falls in Kauai, Hawaii

Tips Before you go to Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls) in Kauai, Hawaii

Planning to see some waterfalls during your trip to Kauai, Hawaii? Secret Falls (also known as Uluwehi Falls) is among one of the most unique waterfalls in Kauai to visit since you can swim under it. After my trip to Secret Falls, I realized most of the group wasn’t prepared for the trip. With that being said, I thought it would be nice to share some Secret Falls tips with you, this way, you get the best out of this experience.

Secret Falls Waterfall tips - Kauai Hawaii
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at NO additional cost to you.

You Can Go to Secret Falls by Group or Yourself

During our trip, we went to Secret Falls on a group trip. I could definitely recommend this experience because we had a local guide who gave us a lot of insight about the lands, plants, animals, etc, throughout our trip. Moreover, Secret Falls is easily one of the best waterfalls to see on Kauai.

To get there, you have to kayak to Secret Falls down the Wailua River, wade in the water (without your Kayak), and then hike through the forest. On top of that, there were no signs pointing out where to go. We took our tour through ali’i kayaks (not sponsored), and had such an amazing experience! 

However, if you are feeling very adventurous or don’t like doing things in a group setting, you can rent a kayak or Sup Board and come to Secret Falls. 

Kayaking to Secret Falls in Kauai. view of river with yellow kayak.

Bring a Waterproof Bag

Another one of my top tips for visiting Secret Falls is to bring a waterproof bag. Because we went with a tour group, they provided us with waterproof bags, but if you decide to go on your own, you will have to get into the water and walk a couple of feet to the beginning of the trail.

Bring Sunscreen and Bug Spray

For the first half of the trip, you will be going down the river directly in the sun. This is why I always like to pack sunscreen so I won’t have a sunburn ruin my trip! I like to use chemical-free sunscreen, and I find sunscreen, in general, is more expensive at my vacation spot.

Additionally, Hawaii has banned all non-reef-safe sunscreen, so it is important to make sure your brand is reef safe. We always use Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 and Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer

Once you get into the forest, this is when you will want that bug spray! You will be doing a short hike in the dense forest to the waterfall. Don’t put this on until you get to the hiking area since it will come off in the water. You can get this at a local 7-11.

Waterproof Shoes

One of the Secret Falls tips I wish I knew was having waterproof shoes. We packed sneakers for the hike and sandals for going in the water, but water shoes would have been so much better.

I highly recommend them after failing with my flip-flops sticking in the mud and then floating up in that water! I love my Teva sandals that work great in the water.

The hike can also be very slippery and muddy, especially if it just rained. The hike is pretty short, but the path is not that maintained.

Bring a Lunch to Secret Falls

A tip our tour guide told us was to bring lunch, and we are so happy we did. Most people eat lunch once they get to the falls because the trip itself could work up an appetite. We went to Subway since it was located right by our tour company, and it was quick and easy.

Bathingsuit and Towel

This sounds obvious, but don’t forget your bathing suit and towel! You can swim in these falls, but it’s shaded, so drying off in the sun is not an option. Let me tell you, the water is freezing, and getting out is even colder!

We love using our Quickdry Towels, which are lightweight and really easy to pack. We have the large size.

Waterproof Phone Case

While most phones do have a water-resistant feature, I’d still recommend a waterproof casing of some type, just in case. These are expensive electronics, and you want to keep them safe and not lose all your epic photos from Kauai.

My go-to for anything underwater is my GoPro hero 7 which does not need any casing up to 10 meters! Additionally, I look into a phone casing such as this one.

It is not Recommended to Go Under the Waterfall

Secret Falls is marketed as a waterfall you can swim up to, which is true. However, one of the Secret Falls tips I wish I knew was that they do not mention there are signs everywhere saying danger or death to go under the falls. The reason is that you never know what might be coming down the waterfall. It makes sense when you think about it.

As the water pushes down, it can bring branches, rocks, etc. In that case, if you are under the waterfall and a rock loosens and comes down the waterfall…. you are a bit away from any hospital. So basically, going under the waterfall is at your own risk.

The good news is that there is a decent-sized swimming area that you can still enjoy without directly being under the waterfall and still get cool photos!

Sunglasses, a Hat, a Smile, and a Good Attitude

Additionally, bring your sunglasses, and a hat and enjoy! During your day trip to Secret Falls, you will get to see beautiful views while going down the Wailua River, including some mountain views. Then you will get to hike through a tropical oasis; they call Kauai the garden island for a reason! And, of course, you get to see and swim at a waterfall! 

Hiking to Secret Falls in Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai Secret Falls Tips Wrap-up

I hope you found these Secret Falls tips helpful! If you have any questions about these Secret Falls Kauai tips, let me know in the comments below!

Other Hawaii Guides to Check Out!

Did you find Tips for Secret Falls helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Secret falls travel tips Kauai, Hawaii
Photo of author

Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.