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Painted Cave Kayaking Adventure

One of the Longest Sea Caves in the World!


$204 including ferry transportation
Discounts Available for Groups & NonProfits

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Group Discounts

4-5 ppl 5% | 6-11 ppl 10% | 12-19 ppl 15% | 20+ ppl 20%

NonProfits | Scouts | Churches | Schools | Clubs

5% OFF additional Call Us: (805) 899-4925

  • Details
  • Itinerary
  • About Area
  • Before You Go
  • Food
  • Crossing
Location:Painted Cave Marine Conservation Area
Main Activity:Exploring Sea Caves by Kayak
Duration:3 hrs Guided Kayaking
Includes:Breakfast & Lunch
Skill Level:No Experience Necessary
Departs from:Santa Barbara Harbor
Price:$204 including ferry transportation
 Book Now

Typical Day is 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, but varies per reservation

World’s 5th Longest Sea Cave:

You thought the world’s largest ball of twine was cool? Imagine yourself paddling deep into a sea cave with the bellows of the side chambers making your ears pop from the pressure change. You are still 40 feet from the ceiling of the cave and you can see the sun bouncing off of rocks just below you in the crystal clear water. Now imagine where you are… 30 miles due South from Santa Barbara on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Step aside ball of twine, THIS world record is truly impressive! Full List of World’s Longest Sea Caves

Making the Journey across the Santa Barbara Channel:

It takes the Truth about 1.5 hours to make it’s way from Santa Barbara Harbor to the cave entrance on the West End of Santa Cruz Island (the Truth being the 70 foot custom built live-aboard vessel that takes you there of course). Relax below in the bunks or whale watch on the top deck, the Truth creates a popular bow wave for dolphins and this sight is endless fun! A light continental breakfast, coffee, tea, and cold beverages included.

Disembark the Truth and Board Your Caving Chariot:

CIO fully outfits you with wetsuits, personal flotation devices, helmets, and you can rent a snorkel and mask. A man or woman wearing a strange outfit with a cave light attached to a helmet will begin the pre-trip briefing, that is your guide, listen up! Going into sea caves is an optional experience, but of all the sea caves at the Channel Islands this cave is inspiring, not intimidating!

Catch a bite to eat and get your bronze on…

…or literally catch your bite to each while you get your bronze on. If you don’t succeed with the hook, line and sinker mosey over to the galley where a delicious and healthy lunch is waiting for you. We use local organic produce whenever possible and the tri-tip grazed the hills of Santa Ynez… you traveled further to visit the cave than the food did to visit your plate! After lunch the Truth begins back in search of more whales and dolphins… enjoy an adult beverage if you are so inclined (provided by you of course).

History of Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island, the largest and most diverse of the eight Channel Islands, has a long and varied history that is tied closely to its physical attributes. Its vast grasslands, coastal scrub vegetation, oak woodlands, and rich coastline sustained the Chumash for millennia and they maintained a number of villages and seasonal settlements on the island. For most of the nineteenth century, mariners found shelter in its coves and hunters and fishermen exploited the marine life. Immigrant ranchers grazed livestock, and the military took advantage of the island’s strategic location.

Chumash Civilization and European Contact Archeological investigations indicate that Santa Cruz Island has been occupied for at least 9,000 years. The island was home to the largest population of island Chumash and developed a highly complex society dependent on marine harvest, craft specialization and trade with mainland groups. The Santa Cruz Island Chumash produced shell beads that they used for currency, which formed an important part of the overall Chumash economy. Those living on the east end of the island mined chert from the numerous island outcroppings to make tiny blades for drilling holes to make the shell disc beads. Native villagers had no known contact with outsiders until the 16th and early 17th centuries. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who is credited with the first European exploration of the California coast, observed at least six villages, though he and his crew never stopped at the island. The villages were called Niquipos, Mazul, Xuga, Nitel, Macamo, and Nimitapal. Cabrillo named the island San Lucas, although the Chumash called it Limuw. READ MORE FROM NPS

What to bring on your island adventure

  • Lunch and Breakfast included on this adventure!
  • Water (reusable water bottles preferred)
  • Bathing suit (you will wear this under the wetsuit)
  • Towel
  • Warm clothing (for the ferry ride in the morning)
  • Water shoes that cover the whole foot or that have a heel strap
  • Hat or Visor
  • Synthetic layer for extra warmth such as rashguard, polypro top or other synthetic top
  • Sunscreen/Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses w/ safety strap (example: Chums or Croakies)
  • Waterproof camera or dry case for camera
  • Personal medication

Food Catering

This trip includes breakfast & a hot lunch.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast with pastries, bagels and cream cheese, toast, fresh fruit, cereal, granola, beverages and coffee will be served upon arrival and throughout the crossing.

Hot Lunch: The meal cooked for lunch varies between BBQ tri-tip and BBQ chicken, a salad, a starch, and cold beverages. Please inform the galley cook of any dietary requests you may have. The more time we have to prepare, the better the food we can make! A snack will be made fore the return crossing.

Beverage Bar: Cups are provided for you to fill with a variety of sodas, juices, milk, and hot drinks such as tea and coffee.

Enjoying some sun on the sundeck aboard Truth Aquatics.

Enjoying some sun on the sundeck aboard Truth Aquatics.

Truth Aquatics operates the vessel that will transport us to West Santa Cruz Island. There are bunks below deck for napping during the crossing. There are also sundeck above deck for reading your book and watching out for whales and dolphins. You can also bring adult beverages in a cooler for enjoying on the return voyage. The ferry ticket on Truth Aquatics includes continental breakfast and hot lunch. This ferry departs the Santa Barbara Harbor and parking is validated at the Sea Landing office.

Passage Note: The crossing from Santa Barbara to West Santa Cruz Island is one of the longest crossings we operate. We encourage people who are prone to motion sickness to choose an adventure to Scorpion Ranch, as the passage to that location is much shorter. Once you embark on the Truth Aquatics ferry, you will not have a chance to stop onto dry land for another 8-9 hours. It’s totally worth it if you’re savvy on boats… but we just want you to have fun so we’re letting you know ahead of time!

Our Commitment to YOU!

We LOVE what we do! It is our mission to save the oceans and natural places by fostering an understanding of them through education, adventures, and outdoor experiences.

Would you trust a skinny chef? Channel Islands Outfitters is a guide owned and operated company. We have one of the MOST comprehensive training programs in the world for Sit-On-Top kayak guiding into sea caves. CIO guides have over 150 years of combined experiences at the Channel Islands.

Neon was fancy like 30 years ago! Our gear is NEW, comfy, and specific to kayaking. We use NRS and Kokatat gear and our wetsuits are cleaned after every use. Want others to send a “shoulda gone with them glance” your way… join a World-Class CIO Adventure.

Smallest Group Sizes and Choices The islands are not an amusement park attraction, they are a unique and fragile wilderness environment. In consideration of our precious resources and your enjoyment, we keep our group sizes small so that we can minimize our impact and accommodate EVERYONE’s expectation level. We also believe that the type of kayak you choose is a risk management decision, not a financial decision. Our guides will advise you on current conditions when you arrive at the island, and then you can decide whether you want a single or double kayak.

We Have Your Back! Easy to understand cancellation policies, travel insurance, and friendly staff… CIO is a “Yes” company. Find out for yourself!

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Adventure Happens Here!

It is our mission to save the oceans and natural places by fostering an understanding of them through education, adventures and outdoor experiences.