Fern Grotto

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Fern Grotto

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Fern Grotto - Fern Grotto. Copyright Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson. Just a spacer

On Kauai's East Side, the Fern Grotto is one of Kauai's signature attractions. Accessible only by a short boat trip up the Wailua River, the grotto is a natural lava-rock grotto lush with hanging ferns and tropical foliage, cooled by the mists of a waterfall. There was a time when the Grotto was off-limits to all but Hawaiian royalty. But for more than 50 years, riverboats have provided tours of the site.



See thumbnails of all photos for this point of interest.

Overview



For and unusual Hawaii adventure, cruise up the Wailua River to a lava rock grotto covered with tropical ferns. At the grotto, you will be serenaded by Hawaiian musicians playing traditional, local songs. The acoustics within this natural amphitheater are fanatastic and greatly enhance the singing and guitar accompaniment. The trip up this historic and sacred river takes about 40 minutes via a long flat bottom riverboat. Boats depart from the south side of the river every 30 minutes. The Wailua River is the only navigable river in Hawaii and, along with the cruise boats, kayakers, motor boats and water skiers "go with the flow". On the way to the Fern Grotto, you will encounter numerous photo opportunities of the tropical gasslands lining the river and cloud-capped Mt. Waialeale looming in the background.

Directions:
Take Highway 56 north toward Wailua. Cruise boats and kayak rentals are located on the south side of the Wailua River (before crossing the bridge).

Useful Information:
  • Fern Grotto is accessible via tour boats or kayak, however, the main boat dock at the grotto is reserved for the tour boats
  • Only river boat trip in Hawaii
  • Waialeale Boat Tours depart for the grotto every 30 minutes - cost is $15/person
  • Beautiful scenery along the river and at the grotto
  • Cruise trip up the river to the grotto takes about 40 minutes
  • Short, paved walk from the dock to the fern-draped grotto
  • Hawaiian musical entertainment provided at the natural amphither


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