I really wanted to visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park in Hawaii during our honeymoon to the Big Island in 2014, but sadly we weren’t able to make it happen. The national park was on my list for our second visit to the island for its historical importance. I like to mix historical and entertainment activities when visiting a place to really learn about a place and its culture.
The park isn’t far from Kailua-Kona, but we squeezed a visit in after driving back from Hilo on the other side of the island. Admission is only $5 per car or $3 per person if you walk in.
We embarked on a short, self-guided tour of the park and skipped snorkeling, though you could definitely take advantage of the adjacent beach if that’s more your style.
By taking this self-guided walk you get a sense of what life was like for early Hawaiians. According to the park’s website, “The Royal Grounds adjacent to the pu’uhonua were a favored residence of Hawaiian chiefs. Hale-o-Keawe acted as the royal mausoleum and held the remains of 23 chiefs. The mana (spiritual power) of the remains bestowed sanctity upon this sacred area. This temple was constructed in honor of Keawe’ikekahiali’i o kamoku, the great-grandfather of Kamehameha I.”
Note from the website: “A snorkeling area locally known as ‘two step’ lies adjacent to the park, and is managed by the Hawaii Department of Natural Resources. ” Also, “snorkellers are asked NOT to enter the water at Keone’ele Cove in the park. This is an important cultural site and the park strives to maintain the cultural landscape. Please respect this site that is important and significant to the Hawaiian people.”
There’s also a 2-mile backcountry trail that requires more time, but we didn’t have it in us that warm day. You can learn about Hawaiian history at this park even if you only have a few hours to spare during your trip. I highly recommend it.
Have you been to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park?
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