Kamokila Hawaiian Village gives a sense of what living along the river used to be like. Tour the indigenous village of huts, and then explore the same river waters that the original Hawaiians traveled along.
The huts at Kamokila Hawaiian Village are located on an authentic 3-acre site, and they’re modeled to look like real indigenous buildings. Explore the patch-roofed homes, community pavilion and other structures located here. There are enough huts to spend about 45 minutes touring.
After you’re done touring the huts, make sure to get on the water. Canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals are all available, but you’ll want to go with one of the larger canoes or kayaks so that you can explore more of the river.
Of particular interest is the Fern Grotto, Swimming Hole, Secret Falls and Royalty Baths, all of which can be accessed by water (and perhaps a short hike). Not to be overlooked, all of these attractions are uphill from the village. The paddle back will be much easier to do if you’re tired from swimming or exploring.
If you don’t feel comfortable navigating the river alone or don’t want to put the work into paddling, guided tours to the main attractions are also available. These usually include a short paddle and enough time to have fun at the destination, and then another paddle back. You may be in a standard canoe or one with an outrigger, like the Hawaiian people used to navigate more open water.
Prices for the canoes and kayaks run $35, and the tours are $30 or $20 depending on the attraction. Admission to the village itself is only $5.
A few of our favorite features at Kamokila Hawaiian Village include:
The Village itself is one of the few places where you can get a true sense of indigenous architecture and culture in the area. Spend some time walking through the buildings, and you’ll have a true sense of the Hawaiian people’s history.
One of the shortest paddles from the Village, Fern Grotto is an ecologically rich area that’s lush with green. The ferns, trees, and other flora here are peaceful and relaxing. You’ll likely also see birds, and maybe other fauna.
Secret Falls requires a 30- to 45-minute hike, which leads to an elegant waterfall. The secluded waterfall makes for a great place to picnic.
A little further paddle upstream from Fern Grotto, the Swimming Hole offers a place to cool off when the weather’s warm. Beach your canoe, and enjoy the refreshing water.
King & Queen Baths
The King & Queen Baths are tranquil pools that serve as another peaceful retreat. They’re on the way back from Secret Falls, and well worth stopping to admire.
Stop by the gift shop before heading out on the river. You can pick up any supplies that were forgotten (e.g. bug spray and sunscreen). Also, get a bag of birdseed for the birds that you’ll inevitably see.