Rugged Off-Roading Jungle Fun With Kipu Ranch Adventures

Kipu Ranch, an ideal place to find excitement and to get a glimpse of incredible and difficult-to-access scenic beauty, is sure to satisfy one’s appetite for a fantastic getaway. Kipu Ranch Adventures offers a variety of ATV tours that give visitors and locals alike a chance to enjoy the scenic Kauai landscape, including the 3 hour “Ranch and Mountain Tour,” which is the topic of this review, the 4 hour “Waterfall Tour,” and the 4X4 VIP tour, as well as Group and Private Tours.

After a brief rundown introducing the guests to their vehicles of choice (how to operate them and emergency scenarios), we were ready to go. Together, my boyfriend Keoki and I chose the Tyrex, their newest addition, a state-of-the-art machine which had just come out on the market. The Tyrex was ideal for our small team of three which included myself, Keoki, and our single-woman camera crew. We rode through a beautiful and mysterious tree tunnel to the ranch; the growling of the ATV engines and the mud splashing set the tone for a remarkable ride that no one could forget.

From the get-go our friendly and humorous tour guide, Lumbo, explained to us just what was so special about Kipu Ranch Adventure’s ATV tours. Not only is the scenery gorgeous beyond description, but the ranch is not readily accessible to just anyone, except of course those who are given access to the land, either with special permission or through their tours. However, Kipu Kai is a feature of the land which is not accessible to anyone except those with special permissions. In addition to hunting land and beachfront property, Kipu Kai includes a secret beach which was the site of the land ownership controversy in the film The Descendants starring George Clooney. The great part about Kipu Kai is that Kipu Ranch Adventures gives you a glimpse of this exclusive land, which many local islanders have yet to see with their own eyes.

The ranch land was sold to the Rice family by Hawaiian royalty, but only after the family promised that they would preserve the land and never resell it. True to their word, the Rice family still owns and maintains the property today. In fact, in a manner that Hawaiian culture purists would admire themselves, Kipu Ranch is for Hawaiian culture “a gift that keeps on giving,” literally. Kipu Ranch Adventures benefit from their tour services, ensuring that the land is preserved and is used to help the local Hawaiian community, local people including Lumbo and other members of the staff. It’s nice to know that all parties involved are happy, and that everyone goes home with something positive to take from the tour experience.

Memorable landmarks from the tour, besides Kipu Kai of course, were a view of Nawiliwili Harbor, a cut out in the cliff face that is in the shape of a baby boy, and old taro fields. The view of the harbor is unique from this area, where it is so rural and lacks industrialization. The lighthouse is in sight as well, which makes the view that much more iconic. Conveniently, the mountains block the hotel developments and restaurants that flank the harbor, which help to “seal the deal” as far as making it a lovely rustic location.

The cliff face, which is part of the mountains that frames the view of the harbor, features a cave that is cut out of the cliff in the shape of what appears to be a baby. There is a very similar story associated with these cliffs as the the legends told in the Outfitter’s zipline tours, because the origins of the story most likely are the same: According to the stories, mo’i (Hawaiian kings) were buried in caves located on cliffs such as this, and the men that buried them were forced to jump from the cliffs to keep the burial sites’ whereabouts secret. The zipline tours are held on Kipu Ranch as well, so it is logical that both tours would discuss the burial of mo’i. There is however, a little bit more intrigue included in the Kipu Ranch Adventures stories because here they show a specific site associated with caves on the cliffsides where the mo’i were buried.

My favorite part of the tour, besides sliding through mud and tearing through the jungle, was our visit to a river which included the rope swing that was featured in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of The Lost Arc.

Overall, the tour was a perfect means to getting a taste of adventure with the security of having a knowledgeable guide there if you get stuck in a rut (literally!). In other words, what better way to have an exciting off road adventure without the stress of riding solo? Kipu Ranch Adventures has a friendly and welcoming staff who clearly understand the wilderness, care about preserving the purity of the jungle landscape, and know how to keep customers happy. And if you like to get a little muddy and crazy when you go off-roading on an ATV, then this is definitely the right tour for you!  

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