Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kauai's Kamokila Village

Drive up the Wailua River a few miles and take the steep road down to your left across from Opaeka'a Falls to Kamokila Village, where you will travel back in time---at least to 1995 when a gaggle of well-known Hollywood Stars (Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey) collaborated to make the underrated science fiction movie, Outbreak. Even so, the former bang-bang movie set is not a tourist trap. Thanks to the infusion of dough from Hollywood, the family who operated the village for generations was able to rehab the grounds and restore the recreated Hawaiian village that had been smashed by Hurricane Iniki a few years earlier.

Admission is cheap, and they're not going to charge you just to drive down and take a look. The several-acre grounds contain authentic Polynesian structures, set fetchingly amid a tropical greenery alongside the wide Wailua River. Just enough stuff without being overwhelming. This is also one of the best places in Kauai to rent a kayak, since you don't need to haul the craft anywhere or hook up with tour guides. Their easy-entry dock is not far from one of the island's best natural attractions, Fern Grotto, which is a state park, even though private paddle boats conduct tours there.