Wave action creates pressure inside an old lava tube, causing the water to jet out of a hole on top of a rock bench. In addition to the main blowhole, there are several holes that generate smaller fountaining or at least get flooded from inside as the wave pounds the rock. Catching a good blow in a picture requires good timing and patience, especially with a digital camera.
I'm putting this tip under the Tourist Trap category, mainly because this place seems to get crowded a bit out of proportion with the interest of the attraction itself. There is also a row of souvenir stalls next to the parking lot. I don't know if they offer good deals - one of my guidebooks suggests that this is a good place to buy Niihau shell leis - but they do add to the feel of a "tourist trap".
I took the Fern Grotto tour in the late 1980's prior to the massive hurricane "Iniki" in 1992 which annihilated much of the island. It was fun, you took a boat down to the grotto and walked a rough and tumbled path to the grotto. At that time you could actually walk in to the grotto area.
Ok so in 2009, the flat boats still take you up top the grotto area but to my horror they want everyone to participate in some cheesy songs to get you in the mood to see the grotto. We got off the boat and again to my shock the whole area had been outfitted with beautiful wood planking and the the walk through the foliage was well tended and trimmed. The grotto itself is now off limits and there is a large umbrella that the crew stands under while they yet again sing a couple of songs one including the Hawaiian wedding song. Arrrgh! Too much commercialism in this tour. The Fern Grotto has been sanitized into a "manicured jungle."
Unique Suggestions: Sit in the back of the boat and take lots and lots of pictures so you don't have to do the "hooki-lau" or any of the other tourist-y things they want you to participate in for a "Hawaiian" experience. Believe me, King Kamehameha would be incensed to pay $20 per person for this nonsense.
It's just a cave with a few small ferns growing near the top. Maybe it was awe-inspiring before hurricane Iniki trashed it in 1992, but now, well...I've got more green stuff growing in my fridge.
My disappointment was compounded by the boat ride, which is the only way to get there and back. Not mentioned at the time we bought our tickets were several mediocre singers on the boat performing tired tourist trap songs with poor sound equipment. (The tweeters were completely shot. If the woofers had failed too it wouldn't have been a great loss )
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go, switch boats before you come back. The singers ride one boat up the river and then another back down. When you get your tickets, ask where the singers are. Start without them. When they switch boats, you switch the other way.
Fun Alternatives: If you like dank dark wet caves with slippery mud floors, go to Haena Beach Park, and cross the highway. It's bigger cave with more mud to slip in.
One thing I highly recommend is to acquire a Kaua'i guidebook of some sort before you go on vacation. There are some very expensive restaurants on Kaua'i. Some earn their weight in gold...but, others aren't that great for the price. My best suggestion is to read reviews online and check out guidebooks if you want a special dining experience. If you want to stay cost-effective, check out the many local grinds that the island has to offer. Refer to my restaurants page for good info on some of these.
Unique Suggestions: If you do want the higher end restaurant experience, one thing you MUST do is make reservations ahead of time....and this usually means 2-3 weeks ahead of time...not 2-3 hours ahead of time...especially if you want special, romantic seating.
Fun Alternatives: Try the local eats for a great experience that won't blast your wallet!
Polynesian Adventure Tours, was by far the worst thing we could have waisted our money on. My family had decided that we wanted to see another island besides Oahu. So, we though that we should visit the garden island, Kaua'i ! We were so excited because of how everyone spoke of Kaua'i. It was a paradise! So, we said, lets go for it! We went to our American Express travel assisitant at the hilton hawaiian village desk at Oahu, and he booked it for us. He didnt know much about this company. So he couldnt really say much about it, except it would pick us up at 5:00am. So, $1000.00 dollars later (3 adults) we were off to Kaua'i. Little did we know that we would be stuck on a bus for 8 hours looking at nothing but a highway .. the whole day... the brochure said we would tour a sugar kane plantation, a waterfall, we would have a river boat ride, and even see the fern grotto! We were so excited, we thought we would be hicking up the tropical forrests, and see some amazing things. Well , we ended up seeing a waterfall, from 1000 feet away, from a bridge on a major high way , we passed the sugar kane plantation on the highway going 50 mph , too fast to even snap a picture ... of where we would have turned in to tour it ... and then a river cruise to the fern grotto , which has be closed due to falling rocks for 6 months, no one bothered to tell us it would be closed , instead they took us all the way out there to only keep us hostage on this damn river cruise and have to be forced to listen to these tourist money sucking hawaiians ( no offence ) sing us the hokipoki ? (put your right foot in, and your right foot out, sing the hokipoki and turn your self about) hello ? its not even hawaiian! they even wanted tips ! i dont think so , i was very disappointed, and the whole time , i had to witness one of the hawaiians picking his nose the whole time... on a boat... with 100 people ! talk about a bad experience!
Unique Suggestions: bring an MP3 player, you'll be on the bus for a long time, you mine as well keep your self busy doing something ! Maybe bring a coloring book ? haha ... no seriously , jump off the bus and go swimming ! Ditch the bus !
(but remember you wont get a refund !) probably because they know how bad this tour really is!
In case you feel the need to spend 8 hours on a bus tour, here is the info, but i dont recomend it:
Lihue , Kauai, Hawaii 96766
phone: (808) 246-0122
Fun Alternatives: fly to kaua'i, rent a car, and go around the island your self ! you will find a lot more hidden treasures, and you will enjoy yourself even more! the tour is terrible! dont waist your money!
Wal-Mart has a store in Lihu'e. Stop by to get your PASALUBONGS (gifts) here. Beach wear, macadamia nuts, coffee, anything Hawaiian...
Foodland (a grocery store chain) also has a souvenir department.
Kayaking up the Wailua River, the same river the Fern Grotto boats drive and water skiiers fly, to a 100-foot waterfall is apparently a must-do for many tourists. By must-do, I mean while you are kayaking, you see the other kayakers all over the river, on the trail, and at the waterfall. It's not that expensive (compare to all the other tours on island) at $40-$50. While it is really cool, I hate things that are crowded with tourists, and this one usually is.
Unique Suggestions: Do not try to go on a super sun-shiney day. It was by chance that when I went, we put off kayaking to the very last day of our trip. Unfortunately, it had poured the night before and was raining in the morning, and no one would rent us a kayak. So, we started looking at the tours. No one was going due to a flash flood warning that had popped up that morning. Except one company, Kayak Wailua. By the time the tour was to start, it was dry and sunny, but everyone else had cancelled. So, we were the only people on the river, on the trail and at the waterfall. And the waterfall, which sometimes barely reaches the pool at its base, was thundering to the point you couldn't look up at it as you got so much spray in your eyes. If you go, I whole-heartedly suggest trying to find a group going the morning after a big rain. If we had gone ourselves a different day, there still wouldn't have been as few people as there were with our tour (14 tourists, 3 guides). It was one of our best experiences, purely by chance.
I'll get the pictures up later, but here's the website of the company that went when no one else was going...
This is a close to a tourist trap that I can think of, price your souvenirs before you buy. Don't just buy from the first store, when there are a few shops to choose from, first look and then compare prices. We noticed many price variations with stores next door to each other. Sometimes you will buy one item and find the price was doubled upon visiting the next store. This is a typical thing that happens.
Unique Suggestions: Hilo Hattie usually had the best prices. See my shopping tip.
It's allways nice to taste the local brew. And it may appear that the Keoki brand is the local Kauai brew. Both their Kekoi Gold and Kekoi Sunset are fairly good brews, but have a close look at the label and you'll se that is says "Brewed and bottled by: Keoki Brewing Co. Gilroy, CA". So be aware. The company is supposed to have brewing activities on the island, but it looks like the botteled products available in the shops and bars are mainland brews.
My family and I decided to go on a one day tour of Kaua'i. The tour is another story! The souvenere shops, were like set ups. Our tour guide would tell us these crazy stories of shells, and how unique they are, and the red dirt shirts and everything, and we would end up stoping at these rest stops and tourist stores... the prices would be way over priced. I think I saw one shell necklace, which was beautiful, dont get me wrong, but it was priced for $1200.00 ! I think that is outrageous ! They people who work in these stores, probably know the tour bus driver, so they know when a fresh shipment of tourists are coming, and they folllow you around the store, and try to haggle you into buying something you would never think of buying... be careful...and be smart
Unique Suggestions: We didnt really have a choice, we kind of had to go in. We would much rather be seeing lush mountain sides and waterfalls... but, we were stuck here until all the people on the bus were done being ripped off. Well, if you can't beat them- join them. Buy something that you wont regret later, like a red dirt shirt, or bag or soemthing. They are a little pricy, but why not... We got suckered into it, and they are kinda kool.
Fun Alternatives: Dont feel like going inside these tourist traps ? If you dont have to , dont ! Or just use the restroom and leave . They dont make you buy something to use the restrooms, and they are supprizingly very clean! When I walked in, there was someone in there cleaning it... i think they knew we were coming! How nice of them?
If you go to a travel agent to can get a great discount if you will go to a time share presentation. You will get 2 for one offers or even greater discounts.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to spend two hours of your holydays listening to a sales presentation you should accept the deal.
Take in mind. If you agree to go to a sales presentation the chance of purchasing a time share is big. Sales is very aggressive so be strong and say no to all questions.
A sales trick is to ask customers questions they answer with yes. And if you keep answering all questions with yes, you will say yes to the question "do you want to purchase a time share?"
Fun Alternatives: Ask for a discount it is easy to get a 10% discount, just for being who you are.
2373 Ho'ohu Rd, Poipu, Hawaii, 96756, United States
Good for: Business
7083 Alamihi Rd., Hanalei, Hawaii, 96714, United States
Good for: Business
It was a great place, good location. However, Kauai Coast Resort business practice is desired to be...more