Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

Discover the majestic Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site on Big Island, where King Kamehameha I fulfilled a prophecy to unite Hawaii. Immerse yourself in history and culture through ranger-led programs and self-guided tours.

Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is a Heritage Site located in the city of Kawaihae on Big Island, Hawaii
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Things to Know About Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site


  • Overview: Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, located in Kawaihae on Big Island, Hawaii, is a must-see for history enthusiasts and those interested in Hawaiian culture. This well-preserved site offers a glimpse into the past, showcasing the rich heritage of the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Highlights: The main highlight of Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is the massive temple (heiau) itself, which was built by King Kamehameha I in the late 18th century. This impressive structure stands as a testament to the king’s ambition to unite the Hawaiian Islands under his rule.
  • Activities: Visitors to Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site can enjoy a self-guided tour of the temple grounds, take part in ranger-led programs, and explore the nearby Hale o Kapuni Heiau, an underwater temple dedicated to the shark gods.
  • Information: Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is open daily from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Admission is free, making it an affordable attraction for all travelers. The best time to visit is during the morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler and there are fewer crowds.
  • History & Significance: Pu’ukohola Heiau was constructed by King Kamehameha I in 1790-1791 as a means to fulfill a prophecy that would help him unite the Hawaiian Islands. The temple was dedicated to the war god Kū, and its completion marked a turning point in Hawaiian history, eventually leading to the unification of the islands under Kamehameha’s rule.
  • Tips & Insights: To enhance your visit to Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, consider attending one of the park’s cultural demonstrations, where you can learn about traditional Hawaiian crafts, music, and dance. Additionally, bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat, as the site offers little shade and can get quite hot during the day.

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