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Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

1871 Trail, Hawaii

The Basics

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.

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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.

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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.

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Trip ideas


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.

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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.

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