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General Information

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Description - Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu, one of the ancient laws against the gods, could avoid an otherwise certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or pu'uhonua. They could then be absolved by a priest and free to go. Defeated warriors and noncombatants could also find refuge here during times of battle. The grounds just outside the great wall that enclose the pu'uhonua were home to several generations of powerful chiefs.

Attractions - This 182 acre park includes not only the pu'uhonua, but a complex of archeological sites including temple platforms, royal fishponds, sledding tracks and some coastal village sites. The Hale o Keawe Temple and several thatched structures have been reconstructed.

Begin your visit at the park's visitor center where you can pick up the park's brochure that includes information on the self guided trail. You might take in one of the orientation talks in the amphitheater at 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. The self-guided trail takes about 30 minutes and takes you through the royal grounds and place of refuge (pu'uhonua). Often you can find cultural demonstrators working and sharing their knowledge on traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts.Three audio messages along the visitor center's mural wall describe pre-contact history. Additional facilities include restrooms and cold drinking water. Food is not available in the park.

For those who enjoy nature, you can often spot green sea turtles or humpback whales during the winter months. Handouts on the local plants and birds are also available.

Picnickers can take the gravel road adjacent to the visitor center. This leads to a picnic area located near the shore and shaded by coconut trees. Barbecue pits and tables are available.

Visitors looking for a hike can follow the historic 1871 trail that takes you along the coast for about a mile to the park boundary. Along the trail, you can see many archeological sites including temple sites (heiau), some sledding tracks (holua), and old house sites. In addition, an open lava tube ends at the face of a sea cliff. Watch your head as the ceiling is low and flashlights are recommended. Ask at the visitor center for a backcountry trail guide.

The park is open 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. The Visitor Center is open 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 pm daily.

Recreation - Activities within the park include viewing the historic sites and interpretive information, hiking, fishing, bird watching, swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and viewing wildlife.

Climate - Hawaii's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures are usually warm with moderate humidity, but summer days can be hot. Bring comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen on your tour.

Location - This park is located on the island of Hawaii about 22 miles south of Kailua-Kona.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: John
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: If you are interested in marine life as well as history, this park is a must-see on the big island. This park is well worth a visit not only for those seeking sites of historical significance, but also for the fabulous snorkeling immediatly adjacent to the park. The bay just north of the park can be accessed from a small beach within the park or via a slightly daring jump (still easy access) from the lava rocks outside the park. You wont soon forget the crystal clear water and colorful underwater world that opens up before you. Please be respectful of the local people (many children) as well as the abundant living coral and other marine life.


Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Beach Activities Beach activities available.
Yes
ICON Viewing Historic Sites Includes the pu`uhonua and a complex of archeological sites
Yes
ICON Viewing Interpretive Exhibits The Hale o Keawe Temple and several thatched structures have been reconstructed.
Yes
ICON Picnicking Picnic area located near the shore and shaded by coconut trees.
Yes
ICON Viewing Wildlife Can often spot green sea turtles or humpback whales during the winter months. Handouts on the local plants and birds are also available.
Yes


More Information

Contact Information:
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, P.O. Box 129 , Honaunau, HI, 96726, Phone: 808-328-2288, Fax: 808-328-9485
, PUHO_Interpretation@nps.gov

Additional Information:
Big Island (Hawaii) - This island is known as 'The Big Island', due to its size, which is nearly double that of the others in the archipelago combined. Hawaii has a plethora of natural areas including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii,s Historic Sites -

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