For a relaxing, peaceful couple of hours, take a short cruise up the scenic Wailua River to the lush Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lava cave. During the two-mile cruise on Smith’s open-air boats, you will be treated to live music and stories of Hawaii. Once there, you will disembark and take a short nature hike to the grotto where you will spend time on the observation deck. The entire trip takes about an hour and a half to two hours.
The Fern Grotto tours are conducted by Smith’s Kauai, also famous for their garden luau. Boat tours depart Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the Wailua Marina State Park at 9:30 A.M., 11:00 A.M., 2:00 P.M. and 3:30 P.M. If you are going to the luau after the boat tour, select the 3:30 P.M. time.
The Fern Grotto is a popular site for weddings. At one time the weddings were performed in the grotto, but today weddings are performed on the observation deck. See Smith’s Kauai website for details.
Address: 3-5971 Kuhio Hwy Kapaa, HI 96746
The cruises depart from the Wailua Marina. The marina is located between the towns of Lihue and Kapaa on the Wailua River.
The beautiful Wailua River is Hawaii’s only navigable river.
The trip on the open air boat up the Wailua River is peaceful and relaxing. There is live music and a traditional Hawaiian dancer for entertainment along the way.
Approaching the dock at the Fern Grotto.
On the dock at the Fern Grotto.
There is a short nature walk between the dock and the Fern Grotto.
Approaching the Fern Grotto.
The Fern Grotto where ferns grow upside down from the roof. Several hurricanes have impacted the number of ferns at the grotto, but it is still beautiful.
Live music at the Fern Grotto.
On the observation deck at the Fern Grotto.
See a filming location for Raiders of the Lost Ark on the Fern Grotto river cruise. This is where Harrison Ford runs from natives in the Peruvian jungle at the beginning of the movie.
Seasickness is usually not an issue on this slow and smooth boat ride.
The Smith’s boats share the river with kayakers headed to Secret Falls.
Panoramas of the experience.