Romance in the Tropics – Fern Grotto

Fern Grotto is the most romantic place on earth. I always wanted to come back here with someone I love”. This was my husband. He had visited Kauai years ago with his parents, a short while before he met me. After years of promising, we were finally in Kauai and he was finally able to be in the Fern Grotto with me.

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It started with a small wrong turn. Google told me this was the way to Fern Grotto. I was surprised by the steep, dirt road that my husband didn’t remember and I was not a fan of. And the parking lot looked all wrong. It turns out you can’t drive and walk into the Fern Grotto, you need to take a boat tour to the Fern Grotto. And this was not where you get that boat. It just happens to be the closest spot to Fern Grotto that you can drive to. Apparently the poor man at the Kamokila Hawaiian Village tells people that all day long. Sigh.

We enjoyed the village, but it wasn’t the Fern Grotto

So we drove back up the steep, narrow, dirt road, around the river, and to the Smith Family Gardens, where you can catch a boat to the Fern Grotto. We were able to reserve tickets online and caught the last boat tour of the day.

Excited to finally get to the correct spot

Once loaded onto the boat, you float down the Wailua River with the friendly tour guide giving you a history of Kauai and the area, pointing out places where movies were shot, and the plants of the area.

The boat ride was beautiful and relaxing

Then, you are taken to a private boat ramp, where you walk the short path along some amazing tropical flowers and plants. At the end of the path is a viewing area where you can see the Fern Grotto.

The pathway to the grotto was covered in beautiful flora and fauna*

This naturally created grotto was cut from the stone by water and rain over time. The ferns grow vertically creating a curtain effect making the grotto seems hidden from the world. Unfortunately in 2006 a storm caused rocks to fall from the roof so you can now no longer go into the grotto. But you still get a spectacular view from the viewing station.

The beautiful Fern Grotto
Loved the green and ferns that covered the cave*

Known as the most romantic place on earth, this grotto is famous for weddings that occur under it’s ferns. In fact, a couple on the trip were celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary, and they had married in the Fern Grotto. It was pretty amazing. The Smith Family played some music while a woman hula danced for us. Then, as per tradition, at the end of the song, lovers were supposed to kiss. The kids shrieked and “eww”ed as my husband and I kissed.

Entertainment was provided by our tour guides*
At the most romantic place with the love of my life

Once back on the boat, the musicians joined us to play some music on our ride back, and teach us a simple hula dance. We enjoyed listening to the music, learning the moves, and participating in the culture in this fun way. But soon we were back at the dock and it was time to disembark.

Final hula performance of the trip

We wistfully looked back at the boat and the river as we drove away toward dinner and then the airport. We had loved our time in Kauai and the last minute boat trip to Fern Grotto turned out to be the perfect way to cap off our trip. Sure, the Hawaii trip was to celebrate our oldest son, but isnt’ he a symbol of our love? The dreams of the lush greens and beautiful grotto have kept us going during this long months of quarantine, and we look forward to returning someday, hopefully soon.

This trip was part of our series The Best Adventure – Milestone Birthdays in Kauai

*Starred photos taken by Atma Photography

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