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Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

big island/kailua kona
Public Recreational/Beaches

State Hwy 160
Hōnaunau, 96726

Picnics, SCUBA


Hours of Operation:

    8:30 AM–4:30 PM
Picnics, SCUBA

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

The Big Island's Place of Refuge

Nestled on the shores of Hōnaunau Bay in South Kona, Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park offers an immersive journey into Hawaiian culture. This expansive 180-acre national historic park was once the royal grounds and served as a refuge for ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers.

Kapu, the sacred laws of Hawaiian culture, held immense significance, and violating these laws often led to severe consequences, including death. For those who transgressed the kapu, their sole chance of survival was to evade capture and reach a pu'uhonua, a sacred sanctuary. Within the pu'uhonua, a ceremony of absolution would grant them a second chance to rejoin society.

Rich in history and beautifully restored, Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau remains a hallowed site, preserving Hawaii's ancient heritage. Visitors can embark on self-guided walking tours using the park map, exploring the grounds, including the awe-inspiring Great Wall, standing 12-feet tall and 18-feet thick. Fierce ki'i, wooden god images, stand sentinel at the Hale o Keawe Heiau, a sacred temple housing the remains of 23 ali'i (chiefs). A rugged black lava rock shoreline served as a natural deterrent for those who had broken kapu and sought refuge by sea.

Beyond the pu'uhonua, the adjacent Royal Grounds, the sacred abode of ali'i, offer further insights into Hawaiian history. You can visit Keone'ele Cove, the royal canoe landing, the Keōua Stone, which was the preferred resting place of the esteemed chief Keōua, as well as hālau (thatched workhouses), fishponds, and one of the park's oldest structures, a heiau (sacred temple). The park exudes exceptional beauty during sunset, providing a profound glimpse into early Hawaiian culture and history.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical ParkThe Big Island's Place of RefugeNestled on the shores o ....

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