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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  • Blondina70
    Morro Bay, California14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highlight of our trip!
    What a surprise! We just happened to be driving that direction and stopped off spontaneously. Such a beautiful, serene, perfect spot that has so much rich history about the indigenous culture. Not crowded, easy to trek around due to its small size, carefully maintained. Learning about this "place of refuge" enriched our trip beyond measure! Must do!
    Visited April 2023
    Written 22 April 2023
  • Carrie D.
    Cleveland, Ohio1,987 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful & Meaningful NP Experience
    We knew nothing about Pu’uhonua o Honaunau NHP before arriving at it, other than that we wanted to collect our passport stamp there. It turned out to be one of our favorite places on the Big Island. It has a beautiful visitor center with a nice little gift shop. The movie is a must watch upon arrival—it really helped us to understand what we were seeing and the historical and cultural significance of the park. The grounds are incredibly beautiful to wander around, with a lot of very interesting cultural artifacts and displays throughout. We ended up really loving our experience at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau NHP and would highly recommend it to Big Island visitors.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 4 June 2023
  • Ravenito
    Charlotte, North Carolina494 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Really nice stop, very educational
    Really enjoyed learning about this place of refuge. Doesn't take too long to get through, maybe an hour or two, but it's is really neat. There's a nice picnic area you can drive over to as well. Lots of people park in the parking lot here and go snorkeling over at two-step, which there are signs explicitly asking you not to do but no one really seemed to care.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 12 June 2023
  • Wood77
    Los Angeles, California1,931 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful Location
    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.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 June 2023
  • freutmich
    787 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 31 July 2023
  • Edward
    Santa Rosa, California1,974 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 August 2023
  • BRUCE H
    Green Valley, Arizona739 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 7 October 2023
  • Jeremy C
    Atlanta, Georgia892 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 18 October 2023
  • Emily C
    San Diego, California11 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 November 2023
  • CMelissa
    Vancouver, Canada149 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 December 2023
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 waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,308 reviews
Excellent
1,563
Very good
613
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111
Poor
15
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Traveller_123
San Francisco, CA866 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Easy place to visit and learn some history of natives. Well preserved and well maintained. The colored fishes in the shallow water make it an interesting place.
Written 3 April 2024
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.

packedandready2go
California948 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
This is a nice place to spend an hour if you are interested in Hawaiian culture. This was both a site of refuge for those who broke with traditional Hawaiian customs and at one time was a burial place for ali'i, Hawaiian high chiefs. The park is quiet and peaceful. Certainly not a spectacular destination but definitely worth a visit if you are interested in Hawaiian culture and history.
Written 20 March 2024
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.

Lisa J
Plant City, FL762 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
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
Written 19 March 2024
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.

Samantha T
Longview, WA12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
This definitely is a place of refuge, it is so relaxing and a great place to experience a part of Hawaiian history. The buildings and statues are neat to look at and you can watch the fish in the lava tide pools
Written 13 March 2024
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.

angeleyes27
Brigantine, NJ5,203 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
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
Written 3 March 2024
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.

kikibangbang
Ocean View, HI48 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
Beautiful walk at the park. The weather and breeze was awesome. Great parking, close to park, awesome presentation. Highly recommend this is Hawaii.
Written 27 February 2024
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.

RobertSuzanne
Tucson, AZ145 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
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.
Written 22 February 2024
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.

FSUgonoles
Littleton, CO12 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
Beware, the park superintendent closes down this park if there are clouds and a chance of rain. We arrived as the rangers were closing and locking the gate. We parked outside and walked around the park but there isn't much to see . The sun came out less than a half hour later so we drove back but the park never reopened that day. When we got home we emailed the superintendent and asked him to email us passport cancellation stamps so we could at least paste the stamps into our kids' NPS stamp books but after three email attempts we gave up as the superintendent was unresponsive. The same superintendent also closed down the sister park. We did enjoy touring Pu'ukohola Heiau which is run by a different superintendent and remained open that same day and this park I highly recommend as it was wonderfully educational.
Written 25 December 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.

kevan j
Norman, OK1,444 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Friends
I would only recommend this park for people who like Hawaiian history and museums. We found it to be quite interesting, especially the stories behind the location and the historical ruins. However, if this does not sound interesting, definitely skip it. No swimming, not for kids. We stopped in because we had a couple of hours between snorkeling tours up the coast. There's a nice little walk around the facilities...be sure to have a park brochure to read about each site. Very pretty, and nice rangers when we were there.
Written 22 December 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.

iowacityia
iowa city, ia1,850 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
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.
Written 13 December 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 - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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