January 21, 2004
Across the highway from the falls, a small winding road leads into the valley of Kamokila Hawaiian Village . The ancient village is privately owned and in the process of restoration. A self-guided, walk-through tour costs $5 per person and takes about an hour. Chickens, peacocks, and wild pigs roam freely, and come to greet new arrivals in the hope that snacks will be handed out. We were popular as I tossed around a couple of broken-up cookies, but when the treat ran out, the animals drifted away to wait for the next tourist.
The Fern Grotto is a very popular tourist spot. Definitely one you’ve got to take the time to see. There are several ways to get there, either by guided or self-guided kayak, or using one of the companies that operates tour boats. Easy to reach, the Fern Grotto is south of the Wailua River off of the Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56).
We chose to use Smith’s Fern Grotto cruises to reach the grotto. With our AAA card, a discount of $3 is offered, bringing the price to $12. Arriving just in time for the 12:30pm tour, we enjoyed the leisurely ride upriver on a covered barge. We were entertained with stories, humor, and Hawaiian music by a three-piece ukelele band and two hula dancers. Arriving at our destination, the dancers led us up the path to the beautiful grotto.
The grotto area is a rainforest paradise. Weddings are held here and there is minimal amphitheater seating to accommodate tourists and guests. Covered in several different kinds of ferns (one type appropriately called Bridal Veil), the grotto drips with moisture in this incredible garden of nature. It’s a good idea to have sturdy, non-slip shoes and insect repellent for this site. If you’re a cat-lover, as I am, several cats live here and enjoy the occasional scratch behind the ears from tourists.
From journal Kauai-The Garden Isle