Painted Cave Combo

Paddle into the world’s largest sea cave! Departs from Santa Barbara Harbor

"We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty, and we enjoyed the day out at the islands! The crew was also awesome at stopping on the boat ride to seek out dolphins and whales. 10/10 recommend for a lovely day out at the islands!"

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Experience the world’s largest sea cave.

Board the 64' TRUTH as we expedition to the remote shores of Santa Cruz Island in search of giant sea caves.

Downwind Paddling
Kayaking
Snorkeling
Boat Tour
Whale & Dolphin Watching
BBQ Lunch
Sea Caves
whale-breaching-off-the-coast-of-californiainside the painted cavefish-under-water-in-the-channel-islandskayaking-into-the-giant-cave

Kayak into the world’s largest sea caves!

  • Kayak into some of the largest and deepest sea caves on earth!
  • Experience a remote wilderness area of the Channel Islands National Park.
  • Highly trained guides and naturalists to share knowledge of the marine ecosystem and escort kayakers into the sea caves.

Downwind Kayak Expedition

  • One-of-a-kind downwind kayaking means you don’t have to paddle back into the wind and double back for half of the trip.
  • Our custom built boats are designed to get you in the water easily and bring you to the islands in comfort.
  • Paddle with the current behind you, similar to riding a bike downhill!

Modified Snorkeling

  • Snorkeling gear and farmer john wetsuit included, we do not provide fins for modified snorkeling.
  • Snorkel from the kayaks at the end of the paddle.
  • You will be required to wear your PFD while snorkeling.
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Boat Journey to Santa Cruz Island

Truth loaded up at the dock ready for a channel islands adventure

Depart from Santa Barbara Harbor

Get ready for a full day at Channel Islands National Park. Check in is at 6:40am, don’t worry, you can nap on the boat!

A light breakfast of smoothies and granola is served at boarding. Coffee and tea served all day.

whale coming out of the water

Whale and Dolphin Discover Crossing

The 2.5 hour crossing is a great opportunity to watch for whales and dolphins. We cross a known feeding area for Blue Whales and Humpback Whales.

put in at painted cave

The Put-in along the cliffs of Santa Cruz Island

We’ll begin our downwind paddle at Blimp-hanger Cave.

delicious food catered aboard the boat

Organic BBQ Lunch served at the end of the tour.

At the end of your paddle a hot BBQ lunch is served before we begin our journey home. Enjoy a selection of organic meats, veggies, and soup… all homemade.

porpoise-riding-the-wake

Crossing the Santa Barbara Channel

Our bunk room is open and ready for you to enjoy a nap on the crossing. Don’t worry, we’ll announce wildlife encounters over the PA when they come up.

At the islands, enjoy a full day of adventure!

getting in kayaks at the painted caves

Easy Loading from our custom Swim Deck

We gear you up with wetsuits, paddle jackets, helmets, and paddles. Your guides give you a safety talk and then we launch directly into a sea cave called Blimp-hanger.

kayaking to the painted caves

Steep Volcanic Cliffs… and caves!

Your guides will escort you downwind on the curated route we have created bringing you to the largest and most incredible sea caves at the West end of Santa Cruz Island.

Paddle into Fern Grotto

Fern Grotto

One of the coves we visit on our way to Painted Cave is the gorgeous “Fern Grotto” where the lichen colors and crystal clear water are stunning.

 

Boomers Cave back room

Boomers Cave

The second largest sea cave on this stretch of island, and probably a guide favorite… Boomers delivers incredible acoustics and unmatched exploration opportunities.

Seal Secret Cave

Seal Secret Cave and Cove

Our last cave before we round the point and enter the darkness of Painted Cave is Seal Secret cave and cove, a great place for a break and snack. Many sea lions use the cave at the back of this cove as a haul out, and we usually get a great show!

kayaking-into-the-painted-caves

Find your inner peace.

Painted Cave is recorded as the longest sea cave on earth, winding into the darkness more than 1,274 feet or 374 meters. We explore the depths of the cave on our quiet kayaks.

As you exit the depths of Painted Cave you’ll be renewed in spirit and energy as you look out North towards the mainland. It’s a very peaceful experience.

modified snorkeling

Modified Snorkeling from your Kayaks

As we finish our kayaking route we stop in a secluded cove where the water is crystal clear and the wildlife is abundant. This is our snorkeling spot and you’ll slide off your kayak and don your mask where you can kick around on the surface taking a peek at the underwater world below.

Painted Cave Tour FAQ

Boat Transportation is Provided

We own and operate a custom expedition vessel fleet, boat transportation is included in your trip!

The minimum age on this trip is 7 and we recommend previous experience.

Our age limits are for your safety and enjoyment.

You must know how to swim to participate in the snorkeling, and you will be wearing a PFD (lifejacket) per our insurance requirements.

We will load single kayaks for solo paddlers and odd numbers groups.

No, this is a NON LANDING trip.

If you would like to land and hike at the Channel Islands National Park, please visit Island Packers or call 805-642-1393

Yes, prices vary based on day of week and season. Visit our Charter page and send us an inquiry.

100% credit up until 10 days prior to departure!

All bookings are transferable to a future date up until 10 days prior to your departure. Credits expire after 12 months.  No changes permitted within 10 days.

No refunds are issued without CIEx Trip Protect (which is available at check-out).

If we have to cancel for any reason you’ll get 100% refund.

Moderate – This paddle is the same distance as our EPIC Combo, but this area of the islands is more exposed and you may have to paddle in choppy seas. Since we paddle downwind, you’ll be surfing those seas, but it makes the kayak tippy, so previous experience is helpful but not required.

Book Now

$375

Adults (18+)

$365

Youth (7-16)

$375

Senior (65+)

Group Pricing

10 or more people: $325/each

Trip Reviews

Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty, and we enjoyed the day out...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone S.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Definitely recommend - Truly an amazing and unique experience. Recently I had the opportunity to join on the kayak/snorkeling trip at Anacapa Island with CIX. First of all, they have an awesome crew of knowledgeable individuals who love their job. They make sure you're comfortable and taken care of while also guiding you through a one of a kind experience. I learned so much and...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Taylor o.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

If you are interested in whale watching and an up close visit to the Channel Islands, we highly recommend booking with Channel Islands Expeditions. Captain Tim and First Mate Travis were top notch - Experienced, Knowledgeable, Outgoing, Patient and Accommodating. We could absolutely not have had a better day! The trip to Anacapa Island was full of wildlife encounters and the details...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Gail Wills

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing trip! I loved the boat. We had a great time kayaking. The crossing was incredible with dolphins, sea lions, and humpback whales literally breaching out of the water! We really explored the sea caves with guides so far in we could get not see without the help of the guides light. It felt like an adventure but also safe as we had a...

Robert Turner
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Robert Turner

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We went out on our 20th anniversary and really enjoyed the whole trip. The crew was great Marc was very informative and helpful. Ally bubbly personality made the experience great. Our captain was awesome.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Chris M.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Awesome experience. Did a day trip to Santa Cruz Island and went on a guided kayaking tour. Captain Dan and his crew were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Also, the crew member Bailey made some delicious chocolate chip cookies with three different kinds of chocolate for everyone on board, would book this trip again just for the cookies alone.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Anthony L.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

My recent kayaking trip with Channel Islands Expeditions was an absolute gem. We departed from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. There was a CIEx sign set out so I knew I was in the right place to meet. Right from the start, the crew's professionalism and attention to safety made me feel secure and excited. The crossing on the Sunfish was awesome! We got...

Genelise Hazen
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Genelise Hazen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

This was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We came here on my birthday, it was my 53rd birthday. My husband is semi handicapped and we were pleasantly surprised that the group were very helpful and in helping him with the kayaking and the snorkeling so that way he can experience everything just like a full able-bodied person can. We are also gluten-free vegans which...

Nereida La Sirena Rojas
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Nereida La Sirena Rojas

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Garrett, Phil and the other crew members who guided us through Anacapa were outstanding! I would definitely put this on your Summer bucket list. A great way to get fresh air, exercise and actually go through not one, but like 10 sea caves. Emerald Cave and Roller Coaster Cave were favorites. We even jumped out of our kayaks and swam through a cave. We also...

Tracy E.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Tracy E.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We had such a wonderful time kayaking the Channel Islands with Channel Islands Expeditions! The crew was fun, friendly and knowledgeable and made our day perfect. The food onboard was delicious and they even took care of my weird dietary needs. Kayaking through the island caves was so beautiful and they made it easy even for those of us kayaking for the first time. Leaving...

Kristi K.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Kristi K.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Once in a lifetime experience!!! The crew (John, Randy, Beth, Jake, Bryson, Savannah and Max) were all amazing hosts and guides. They have thought of everything to make this a truly unique and memorable experience. The food was incredible, the activities and tours were fun and beautiful, and the Channel Islands and it's wildlife make you feel like you're in a different...

Molly Culp
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Molly Culp

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

What an amazing adventure! I had the honor of going on a kayaking and snorkeling tour hosted by CIEx out of Santa Barbara. I was delighted with a boat vs dolphins race as we exited the Santa Barbara Harbor and headed towards the Channel Islands. We were escorted to the islands by a pod of dolphins HUNDREDS strong. It was like a dream! CIEx provided...

Guidance Moon
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Guidance Moon

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing! So happy I went with this company. You can bring coolers on board & dry bags with snacks are allowed on the kayaks, & take a ball cap for helmet. Dan was our guide Super friendly, very patient, all staff was great. Went on a Thursday, the experience was more intimate, because all the caves were empty, & our group was only 5 visitors.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Cynthia P.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty also! The crew was also awesome...

Simone Shomaker
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone Shomaker

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Channel Islands Expeditions has a top notch kayak trip experience. As a native, I had never made it to the islands just a few miles of the coast of my hometown; Craig our guide and Alex the captain made sure we had a memorable experience. We kayaked the northern tip of Anacapa which is closed most of the year into sea caves and along the...

Lauren C.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Lauren C.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We signed up for the Sea Cave Combo package and it was the best trip ever. Originally we were put on a waitlist for a different (and more expensive) company that had us inconveniently book the ferry + activity separately, but then came across CIE last minute and booked through them. It was a much better choice. From start to finish the whole crew, especially...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Brian Owen

5/5stars

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