Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
This 180-acre (73-hectare) park is located south of Kailua-Kona and bordered by Honaunau Bay’s black-sand beaches. Visitors are drawn to the park for its status as one of Hawaii’s most sacred sites. You can take a self-guided tour of the park or visit on a tour with a guide who provides cultural context and explains the ceremonies that took place at the site. Tours often include stops at other historic sites and a nearby coffee plantation.
Things to Know Before You Go
This national park is a must-see for visitors interested in Hawaiian culture and history.
The Hawaii tri-park pass includes one year of access to Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Haleakala National Park.
The sacred site prohibits snorkeling, playing frisbee, picnicking, beach chairs, pets, weddings, and commercial filming among other things.
Beach wheelchairs are sometimes provided at the visitor center (call ahead), but regular wheelchairs will not be able to navigate the park’s sandy paths.
How to Get There
Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is located 45 minutes south of Kailua-Kona and an hour from the Kona International Airport. You can reach the park by car, bus, or private tour.
When to Get There
If you want to appreciate the sacred site in solitude, arrive just after its 7am opening.
The park’s visitor center is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Free ranger talks are held at 10:30am and 2:30pm daily. Sunset is a popular time to visit the park. The grounds close after sunset.
Ancient Traditions of the Pu‘uhonua
In ancient Hawaii, letting your shadow fall across a chief or eating forbidden foods was considered breaking kapu (religious law) and was punishable by death. If you broke a law, the only way to avoid being killed was to reach the nearest pu‘uhonua (place of refuge), where a ceremony could absolve you of your sins. While pu‘uhonua sites existed throughout Hawaii, Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park has been wonderfully restored for visitors.
- Honaunau Bay
- St. Benedict's Painted Church
- Royal Kona Coffee Center
- Kealakekua Bay
- Captain Cook Monument
- Kona Coffee Living History Farm
- Keauhou Bay
- Kahaluu Beach Park
- Hulihee Palace
- Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Port
- Hilo Cruise Port
- Kona (Kailua-Kona)
- Kailua Pier
- Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
- Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
- How to Get Off the Beaten Path on the Big Island of Hawaii
- How to Spend 3 Days on the Big Island
- How to Spend 1 Day on the Big Island
- Where to Stay on the Big Island of Hawaii
- Don't Miss These Must-Do Activities on the Big Island of Hawaii
- First-Timers Guide to the Big Island of Hawaii
- Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii This Summer