Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Explore Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, a sacred sanctuary revealing ancient Hawaiian life, marvel at the ki’i-guarded entrance, and enjoy nearby Two Step beach.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a Heritage Site located in the city of Honaunau on Big Island, Hawaii
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Things to Know About Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park


  • Overview: Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, located in Honaunau on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a must-see destination for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the rich cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands. This sacred site offers a unique glimpse into ancient Hawaiian life and traditions.
  • Highlights: The park’s main highlight is the well-preserved Pu’uhonua, or “Place of Refuge,” which served as a sanctuary for ancient Hawaiians who broke kapu (sacred laws). This site is surrounded by a massive lava rock wall and features wooden images of Hawaiian gods, known as ki’i, which guard the entrance.
  • Activities: Visitors can explore the Pu’uhonua and its historical structures, take a self-guided tour along the park’s Royal Grounds, and participate in ranger-led programs that provide insights into the park’s cultural and natural history. Additionally, snorkeling and picnicking are popular activities at the nearby Two Step beach.
  • Information: Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is open daily from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The entrance fee is $20 per vehicle or $10 per individual (walk-in or bicycle). The best time to visit is during the early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid the heat and larger crowds.
  • History & Significance: Established in 1961, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park preserves the site of an ancient Hawaiian place of refuge. This sacred ground allowed those who broke kapu to seek forgiveness and avoid severe punishment. The site also includes the Royal Grounds, which served as the residence for Hawaiian chiefs and their families.
  • Tips & Insights: To enhance your experience at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, consider participating in a ranger-led program to gain valuable insights into the park’s history and cultural significance. Don’t forget to bring sun protection and water, as the park can get quite hot during the day. Lastly, be sure to respect the sacred nature of the site by not climbing on the rock walls or touching the ki’i statues.

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