by Dean Christener
Kauai Fern Grotto River Boat Tour - I really had no clue what it was or where it would take us. It didn’t take long however, till I came upon the east side of the island of Kauai, where the district of Wailua is located.
The area where Smith’s Fern Grotto takes place can immediately be taken as a significant region in Wailua as the landscape was very unique, covered in thick over-brush, with a wide river leading up into the valley.
The boat we took up into the valley had a large Smith’s tour logo on the side of it, making it easy and distinct to spot. The boats we used on the tour were very big, and I guess for the inexpensive price you pay for this activity, I could not blame nor second-guess why this activity had so many people on our boat. It did not affect me however at all, as the tour made sure everyone had a great seat to partake in the beauty, going up the valley and taking in Kauai’s beautiful sightseeing.
We had a very knowledgeable tour guide take us on our ascent into the valley, describing different zones along the river that were used by the Hawaiians. According to the guide, this was a place that was very significant because it was a dwelling ground for the Ali’i and Kings in the Hawaiian tribes. Ali’i is the term for royalty, and that is exactly what and who partook in this area.
I cannot exactly remember all the native plants that our guide pointed out for us, however I guarantee you will not be disappointed on how many unique Hawaiian flora you will encounter. As our tour pushed deeper in to this dense valley we came into an area where the river split, or one could say where it connected if you were coming down from the valley. From what the tour guide told us, this was actually how Wailua got its name, “where things connect, or meet.”
After going upstream for almost two miles, a small dock with guides waiting for us could be seen. We were shortly informed after that we would be taken up into the valley, a short ways which was all on a paved path and easy to walk on, to the main attraction of the activity, the Kauai Fern Grotto. Along the way there were restroom facilities that also gave the opportunity to take a rest.
The fern grotto itself was an amazing thing to see, ferns hanging hundreds of feet down, leading into a large cavern. Unfortunately, visitors are no longer allowed to go into the grotto anymore due to a massive landslide that took place in 2006.
However, it is still a cool site, and our guides who we only found out after were great entertainers as well. They played beautiful Hawaiian melodies complimented by an awesome hula performance. After about a half an hour we started to make our way back to the dock where the boat was waiting for us.
The return did not take long from where we started, but we were not disappointed as our crew sang songs and danced the beautiful Hawaiian hula all the way back. Toward the end, people started trying to dance the hula as well — a pretty entertaining and a fun sight to see.
The Activity was great and simple, and was much more than I had honestly expected. I learned a lot about the Hawaiian culture, and was able to get some great sightseeing from royal land that had provided to thousands of people in the past.