Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park
4.5
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Monday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Tuesday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Wednesday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Thursday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Friday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Saturday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
Sunday
8:15 AM - 7:15 PM
About
Extending along the lava flats of the Kona Coast, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is home to some of the most significant traditional Hawaiian sites in the Hawaiian archipelago. One of the most prominent features of the park is the Puʻuhonua or place of refuge which is enclosed by a massive 965 foot long dry stacked wall. Serving as a sanctuary in ancient times for defeated warriors, noncombatants, and those who violated kapu (sacred laws), Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau remains a sacred place to those who set foot on its grounds. The protected waters of Hōnaunau Bay combined with the availability of water from brackish springs provided the ideal location for the aliʻi - Hawaiian royalty - who established important residential and ceremonial sites nearby, specifically an area known today as the Royal Grounds of Kauwalomalie. The deification house known as Hale o Keawe, is where many of our islands previous rulers were made into gods among their people. Visit Respectfully.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • freutmich
    760 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Took My Breath Away
    My family's visit to Pu'uhonau O Honaunau surpassed all of my expectations. I knew I'd enjoy it, as I tend to like any site that offers a glimpse of a destination's history. But this place is spectacularly gorgeous. As I stood on a massive slab of black lava with waves gently lapping near my feet, I could see the mountains on my far right, a public beach with people enjoying the water on my near right, a recreation of a historic Hawai'ian village on my left, and the vast Pacific Ocean straight ahead. As I walked around what used to be the playground of Hawai'ian royalty, I could really imagine what life would have been like in this seaside village hundreds of years ago. The attention to detail in recreating the site, and the information contained in the map brochure for a self-guided tour, provide an exceptional educational experience. But even if you're not interested in history, stop here for the scenery. It's one of the most beautiful settings on the Big island.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 31, 2023
  • Edward
    Santa Rosa, California2,484 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Atmospheric and Interesting Historic Site
    Pu'uhonua o Honaunau national historic park is on the southwestern shore of Hawaii island, the Big Island of Hawaii, on the Kona coast a little south of Kailua. It is one of the largest and most extensive historic Hawaiian sites and includes the remains of the royal grounds, the royal complex, as well as the sancturay and religious site. It includes remains of fish ponds and large stone walls, and is set on a scenic and atmospheric cove. There is a visitor centre, there are reproduced buildings, and there is a gift shop. The park includes a guide to the various sites with much information, including specific stories linked to the place about historic figures such as King Kamehameha the Great, who came to rule the Big Island and then unified all of Hawaii into one kingdom. We visited it first in 2016 but that time, by the time we got there, the visitor centre was closed so we just spent some time walking around and exploring it. We loved it so much that when we got back to the Big Island in June 2023 we visited again when it was fully open.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 3, 2023
  • BRUCE H
    Green Valley, Arizona718 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ponder the Meaning
    Signs note that visitors should be reverent at this sacred place, but too many visitors either do not read or do not care. Nevertheless, the grounds are laid out and maintained well, and it is worth a visit to contemplate the ideas of repentance and redemption embodied in the traditions associated with this Place of Refuge. It is also a lovely location.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 7, 2023
  • Jeremy C
    Atlanta, Georgia903 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating Historical Park
    Learn about the Hawaiin culture, see the royal compound and the refuge area. Very interesting exhibits but sometimes its a little tricky to find each of the points of interest. Make sure to use your yearly National Parks Pass to enter the "City of Refuge" national park and save the $20 entry fee.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 18, 2023
  • Emily C
    San Diego, California17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful, powerful, serene
    You can’t help but appreciate the centuries of history and memories imbued in this place. The various spot along the self guided tour are informative, but just standing and taking in the views, it’s easy to see how this site has been sacred for so long. We visited around 2:30-3:15 in the afternoon and it was warm and humid but sparsely attended that that time. Taking a few minutes to learn about the history of this spectacular place makes every other moment on island event more special.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 4, 2023
  • CMelissa
    Vancouver, Canada190 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful and picturesque historical site
    Stunning ancient historical site. A beautiful place to learn more about the history and culture of Hawaii. We saw a sea turtle and numerous colorful fish from the shore in the royal cove and enjoyed exploring the grounds of this sacred place.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 5, 2023
  • iowacityia
    2,414 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Saturday, December 2nd midday visit.
    We visited as 1 of our stops on a Holland America Cruise shore excursion. On a motor coach from Polynesian Adventure, driven by Uncle Dennis. Dennis was wonderful! He was great throughout the excursion, with wonderful commentary as our driving tour guide. This National Historical Park was beautiful. And we had a lovely day to enjoy it. I am glad we got to see it. I would return.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 13, 2023
  • RobertSuzanne
    Tucson, Arizona167 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    See the wooden Gods
    Very interesting Park with a lot of history of the Islands and its culture and beliefs. The movie was excellent and it really helps to explain what you will be seeing in the Park. Definitely worth seeing. The Park has 2 sides, the Royal Grounds and the Pu’uhonua. The exhibits are very good and the brochure with the self-guided tour map provides good information about what you are seeing at each location. The wooden images of the Hawaiian gods are fun to see up close.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 22, 2024
  • angeleyes27
    Brigantine, New Jersey5,330 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Historic ancient Hawaiian site
    Admission to this site is covered under the senior pass. There is a small visitor center with gift shop, a theater which plays a movie, and the site itself. The area is lovingly maintained with scenic views. It is where those scheduled to be executed could be pardoned if they managed to get to this place of refuge. They had to swim through shark infested waters
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 3, 2024
  • Lisa J
    Plant City, Florida936 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Pu'uhonua O Honaunau NHP
    Such a beautiful park, I could sit there for hours. I love all the carvings and the colors of the wood aginst the water and the sky. The history is significant at this location, there is a movie that tells you all about it. Loved this park
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 19, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,313 reviews
Excellent
1,568
Very good
613
Average
111
Poor
15
Terrible
6

gutygroup
Stittsville, Canada74 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
Not worth $20 fir parking a map and poorly marked self guided tour Only real landmark is the temple and a few statues. The rest you need to use your imagination. It’s a lava beach with pools with a few yellow fish. Go to the free adjacent Beach with free parking and you’ll get more for your day
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

2CanadianTravellers
Edmonton, Canada771 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Admission fee to this national historical park is $20 per car and good for 7 days. You sit by the rocks by the water on a warm sunny day and you see tropical fish like Yellow Tangs coming to you. People are snorkeling next to the park, but you don't need to snorkel to see Yellow Tangs here in the park, and that makes this place so neat to visit on the Big Island.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cindy H
Alameda, CA1,518 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The lava provides great cover for underwater life. People are perched all over the rocks as they snorkel the area in search of beauty. It's a difficult area to park around with people selling all kinds of things but it makes for fun scenery. You can see the fish just standing on the side swimming around without going in the water, but if you are a die hard snorkeler, this is a favorite spot. It's next door to Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. You have to pay to go into the park, but we purchased a National Parks pass so we were able to go in and enjoy the site with no additional charge. You have to respect the sacred space that the Park provides and not encroach on the serenity it evokes.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

404HappyTraveller
Saskatchewan, Canada481 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This historical site is so well preserved you feel like you can walk back in time and become part of the rich history of Hawaiian. There isn’t much of an interpretive centre, but the rangers provide interesting talks and have answers to most of the questions posed to them. There is a self guided walking tour of the site with good explanations as you wander the site. Easy parking in a large lot. My only grumble is the usual because you have to buy a 7-day pass instead of just a daily admission.
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jane w
Richmond, CA72 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This park is steeped in rich traditions. The royal grounds are beautiful with palm trees, amazing carvings, samples of what past life there was like, traditional structures and a wall that was built over 400 years ago . This was a place for chiefs, living and dead, and for people to have a chance at redemption if they broke a sacred law. There is an easy, self-guided trail. Don’t miss the gourd garden next to the visitor center.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pfefmeister
San Francisco, CA4,305 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Couples
This national park ($20) was so cool to visit. A place of refuge, what an interesting concept. Thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the ruins, appreciating the carved statues, gazing into the waters where hundreds of yellow tang were hanging out. Not a place to snorkel or sun bathe - says it’s prohibited, but, no worries, just go next door to Two Step. Fascinating place and for sure worth a visit
Written February 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cmills
Chandler, AZ116 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We enjoyed the self-guided tour. They make it easy to understand the grounds. It is a solemn place, so if you have small kids with too much energy this isn't really the place for you. We look forward to bringing family here. The views from here are spectacular. It's easy to see why this was chosen by the Royalty.
Written January 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

scubadave1960
Discovery Bay, CA41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
What an amazing park/site/history! Coming to the Place of Refuge is a beautiful and sombre place. The views are amazing, the displays and performances really bring the culture and history to life. Walk slow, look around. There is So Much to see here. My image is just because I was looking around and saw the shot. Relax, take your slippers off and tour the park.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

siochainDenver
Denver230 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
This is a very large park and much is being kept in order to keep hotels and other developers from taking the land. The volunteer rangers were friendly and very knowledgeable. They were helpful in giving instructions that is part of the park an where you can find sea turtles without having to walk about 10 miles.

At the beach area, which is a fairly short walk from the parking lot, there were tons of turtles in the water. None on the beach at that time. As usual, there were several people who ignored the orders to stay 20 feet away and acted as entitled as they possibly could.

This is for the benefit of the turtles folks, and the fines are extensive. More importantly, interfering with the turtles and getting in their way can really hurt them. Please do what you are told so generations beyond your's can see these wonderful creatures.
Written September 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wood77
Los Angeles, CA3,287 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park is on the west coast of Hawaii south of Captain Cook. It’s a sacred place where defeated Hawaiian warriors and those that committed kapu sentenced to death can perform their penance at this place of refuge. There is one Hawaiian house with a canoe inside. In another one, a woman was demonstrating how to make Hawaiian baskets from palm fonds. The Hale o Keawe an ancient Hawaiian burial site was undergoing restoration. There were two protector statues on the sea wall facing the bay. You can see schools of yellow tang fish swimming in the shallow bay. At a small outdoor amphitheater, a live speaker was giving a history talk about this place. Walking the trails takes one hour or less. Washrooms on site. Parking lot has a sign instructing snorkelers weren’t allow to park there. There was another sign that no snorkeling, sunbathing, or picnicking were permitted because this is a sacred Hawaiian site.
Written June 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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PU'UHONUA O HŌNAUNAU NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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