Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Catch a glimpse of what Hawaiʻi looked like before European contact. An unmissable destination for culture buffs, this sacred site stretches along the lava flats of Kona's western coast. Behind a massive wall stands an ancient "pu'uhonua" (place of refuge)—where defeated enemies and those who violated the "kapu" (laws) could seek pardon. The park also shelters the Royal Grounds, a residential and ceremonial epicenter, and the one-mile 1871 Trail along the coastline. Tip: This is a religious site; be respectful and don't smoke, picnic, play sports, take wedding photos or carry beach equipment (including towels) here. Just north of the boat launch—outside the park— lies Two Step, a phenomenal scuba and snorkeling spot.
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Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

This park on the Big Island’s black-lava coast north of Kailua-Kona is where ancient Hawaiians who had broken the law could elude certain death. It was known as “The Place of Refuge,” and is still considered a sacred site today. Featuring traditional carved kii (tiki-like figures) and a 263-meter-long (965-foot-long) lava-stone wall, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau is located on scenic Honaunau Bay.

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Experiencing History and Nature Together on the Big Island
During a leisurely drive along the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii, we decided to stop at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. I knew I wanted to visit because I enjoy history and learning about the local culture, but I wasn't expecting it to be my favorite experience on the Big Island of Hawaii. The National Historical Park was once a place of refuge for people who had broken the sacred laws (or "kapu"). If they made it here, they were safe from death. It is still considered a sacred site, so visitors must follow specific protocol, including no beach towels, sport activities, or smoking. The park consists of the former village and royal grounds and includes many traditional structures and carved statues. Activities such as hiking, picnicking, and occasional cultural demonstrations are also available. After strolling the park, we joined a small group of people snorkeling nearby and were treated to the best snorkeling of our stay. Not only is the location beautiful and peaceful, the array of fish and beautiful sea turtles also make this place special. However, there are restrictions as to where snorkeling is allowed in order to maintain the heritage of the park. Snorkeling is allowed at adjacent Honaunau Bay; check the website for further details.
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Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Catch a glimpse of what Hawaii looked like before European contact. An unmissable destination for culture buffs, this sacred site stretches along the Kona coast's lava flats. Behind a massive wall stands an ancient puuhonua (place of refuge)—where defeated enemies and those who violated the kapu (laws) could seek pardon. The 1.7-square-kilometer (0.65-square-mile) park also shelters the Royal Grounds, a residential and ceremonial epicenter, and the 1.6-kilometer (one-mile) 1871 Trail along the coastline. Tip: This is a religious site; be respectful and don't smoke, picnic, play sports, take wedding photos or carry beach equipment (including towels) here.

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State Hwy 160, Hōnaunau, HI 96726, USA
+1 808-328-2326
Sun - Sat 7am - 7:15pm