The beautiful Fern Grotto.

Not so long ago it was one of Kauai’s most famous attractions. A boat trip up the Wailua River on east Kauai carried visitors through an environment alive with historical significance and legendary splendor. A lovely stroll on a jungle trail opened onto a beautiful sight. Its entrance fringed by enormous hanging ferns, a secluded open cave provided an incomparable setting for weddings or simply contemplation. Prior to 1935, a huge waterfall had dropped into the area. In 1935 the local sugar company perted the water for their crops, cutting off the waterfall’s flow and creating the Grotto.

Sadly, Hurricane Iwa in 1982 and then Hurricane Iniki ten years later caused some serious damage to the whole area. The fatal blow came three years ago when more than 40 days of rain caused landslides that did irreparable damage to the ferns.

If the Fern Grotto remains on your list of things to see on your Hawaii vacation or perhaps a potential site for your wedding, cross it off.

But wait. A boat trip on the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto area remains a really nice way to spend about 90 minutes when you visit Kauai.

Your tour boat captain will narrate the ride along the river, indicating points of interest, describing the flora and fauna along the river’s banks and relating tales of the significance of the river and surrounding areas (such as Mount Kapu) to early Hawaiians. The trip features live Hawaiian music and hula dancers.

Today you can walk through tropical flora to a new viewing platform with railings that will allow you good views of the grotto. The ferns are starting to grow back. A small group of entertainers performs the Hawaiian Wedding Song, a tradition in the Grotto, where almost 20,000 weddings took place.

The trip costs about $20. If you’re interested, pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Website or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll work it into your plans for you.

But don’t plan for a Fern Grotto wedding. We can help you find a comparable site. These islands are full of them!


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