Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Island of Hawaii | Go Hawaii

Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau

Scroll to Continue

Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

A place of refuge and royal grounds south of Kealakekua Bay

Located at Hōnaunau Bay in South Kona, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau immerses you in Hawaiian culture. This 180-acre national historic park was once the home of royal grounds and a place of refuge for ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers.

Kapu, or sacred laws, were of utmost importance to Hawaiian culture and the breaking of kapu had its consequences, including death. If one were to break kapu, their only chance for survival was to evade his pursuers and make it to a puʻuhonua, or a sacred place of refuge. Once there, a ceremony of absolution would take place and the one who broke kapu would be able to return to society.

Hundreds of years old yet beautifully restored, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau remains one of Hawaiʻi's most sacred historic places. Follow the park and map and take a self-guided walking tour and explore the grounds including the Great Wall, standing 12-feet high and 18-feet thick. Fierce kiʻi, or wooden images of gods, guard the Hale o Keawe Heiau, a sacred temple that housed the bones of 23 aliʻi (chiefs). A black lava rock shoreline hindered those who broke kapu from approaching by sea.

Beyond the puʻuhonua, explore the nearby Royal Grounds, which were the sacred home of aliʻi. See Keoneʻele Cove, the royal canoe landing; the Keōua Stone, the favorite resting place of the high chief of Kona, Keōua; as well as hālau (thatched work house), fishponds and a heiau (sacred temple) that is one of the oldest structures in the park. Beautiful at sunset, this sacred place gives visitors an important glimpse into early Hawaiian culture.

If you are interested in Hōnaunau Bay, adjacent to Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, please click here.