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Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

1,644 Reviews

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

1,644 Reviews
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1871 Trail, Honaunau, Island of Hawaii, HI 96726
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

1,017 reviews
Exploring Hawaii’s Big Island can be a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Avoid the stress of planning out all the details with this guided tour that includes round-trip transport, lunch, snacks, and bottled water for your convenience. Because there’s minimal walking distance during this tour, it’s perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels. Plus, if the weather gets dreary, rain gear is provided to keep you dry.
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Christopher M wrote a review Jun 2020
Brookfield, Wisconsin191 contributions107 helpful votes
It’s about 40 minutes south of Kona, get gas and pack snacks/water before you go there isn’t much outside of Kona. It was a cool historical site to check out. They have a gift shop and restrooms. There isn’t a ton to do here. It’s a quick low impact walk around the grounds. We were here for about 45 minutes then headed down to Punalu u Black Sand Beach. It was great to see and learn about the Hawaiian culture.
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Date of experience: January 2020
trmaui56 wrote a review Apr 2020
Kihei, Hawaii7 contributions1 helpful vote
Having never visited The City of Refuge, it was my first stop on a trip to the Big Island. I had only seen pictures. This place was amazing. The purpose of it's establishment, the history of the place was/is fascinating. To use a local term ,it gave me "chicken skin" (goosebumps) walking around the grounds.
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Date of experience: January 2020
TravelTea wrote a review Apr 2020
San Jose, CA1,816 contributions239 helpful votes
Since we'd visited Volcanoes NP in Hilo, we used our yearly National Parks Pass to enter the "City of Refuge" national park. Without a Parks Pass, it's $20/car for entrance/parking. Plenty of parking in the front lot; clean bathrooms and water fountains. There is no cafeteria; bring food/drinks for a picnic. A small gift shop for souvenirs. Highly educational and a nice respite from the crowds. We noticed the large tour buses did not stop here. There are plenty of shade for resting and you can wonder out on the volcanic rocks during low tide. We followed the numbers in the self-guided handout to learn about the history of this park. You can easily spend 2 hours at a leisurely pace.
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Date of experience: February 2020
972TravelingPete wrote a review Mar 2020
New York City, New York11 contributions32 helpful votes
Are you looking for a quiet moment after touring countless parts of the Hawaiian islands at a hectic pace (and spending cash at an unbelievable rate) or you have just arrived to the Big Island and just want to chill with a good book as you enjoy the Hawaiian Serenity, while hearing surf and birds chirping without people playing they’re radios to concert level decibels, come here. Remember to bring lunch (either pre-made or cook it on their grills). Place of Refuge (aka Pu’uhonua Honaunau) National Historical Park – In ancient Hawaii, if you broke any kapu (sacred laws & beliefs), the punishment was death. To save themselves from the pursuing village enforcers, they undertook a difficult and arduous journey, in which few survived, to the Place of Refuge to seek sanctuary and forgiveness. Fortunately for us, the journey today can be accomplished by a car ride (60 minutes from Waikaloa, 30 minutes from Kailua Kona) to the southwestern area of the Big Island to a region called Captain Cook. This park is sacred to the Hawaiian people and visitors should bear that in mind. This 180 acre park is composed of separated areas which can be viewed virtually on their website: *Visitor Center (restrooms, gift shop, teaching center), *Royal Grounds (see village life with natives as they talk about their culture and show off their crafts in thatched covered open air houses), Hale o Keawe where deceased royalty was once kept, fish ponds which served as a food source. The grounds are bordered by the Great Wall (12 foot wall made of stones). *Puuhonua, the Place of Refuge which is a field of lava rocks between the Great Wall and the shoreline. WEAR CLOSED TOE SHOES if you walk here. SANDALS AND BAREFEET ARE NOT ADVISED HERE. The lava field is uneven in contour, loaded with spikes and crevices, and peppered with sharp rocks. It is easy to lose your balance here. If you trip and fall onto these jagged rocks, you just might spend the remainder of your vacation and trip back home nursing your wounds. *Picnic Area is south of the above 2 sites and within walking distance of them. This is the park’s designated eating area. There is a parking lot here and people with an SUV can park here with the back of the vehicle facing the ocean. Once in position and the tailgate up, one can sit in the back of the vehicle and admire the water views. There are portable potties here & no public access to running water. There is a beach here with white hard pack sand. There are picnic tables and 8 charcoal grills with adjustable height grates. If you intend to grill your food, you need to bring utensils and your own charcoal. For a total Hawaiian experience, GO TO Super J’s before coming to this park and get a plate lunch of lau lau to go. Super J’s is just north of the Highway 160 turnoff, on Highway 11 just south of marker 107, on the ocean side. Lau lau is a Hawaiian dish of cooked chucks of protein wrapped in taro leaf. Most popular is the pork lau lau which is chunks of savory pork shoulder in a leaf wrap that is something like cooked spinach but without the funny feel you have in your after you have eaten spinach. The macaroni salad is slightly sour with a small amount of mayo dressing (pretty good, and not like some places in which the salad is more like eating primarily mayonnaise with small amounts of elbow pasta). Lomi salmon (aka lomi lomi salmon) is a common cold Hawaiian salad side dish made of diced tomato and shredded salmon and seasoned with sea salt. The lomi salmon was refreshing, the tomato was sweet, and the salmon was fresh. I suggest getting the combo plate (see below dish on right) which has the lau lau, a scoop of rice, mac salad, kalua pig & cabbage (savory Hawaiian style pulled pork with cooked shredded cabbage), and lomi salmon. If you and your partner are small eaters, one combo plate is enough. This dish while not heavy feeling in your mouth, it will stay off your hunger for a good while. The online reviews for Super J’s are very good and after eating it, I can understand why. Eating this at the picnic area, which has a fantastic water view, you come to appreciate the beauty of Hawaii. The air is fresh and sea scented, the bird chirpings mixed with the rolling surf sounds, as you are munching on a fantastically cooked local dish. Afterwards, I suggest pulling up a beach chair and watch the waves. This is also where you can try reading that long awaited book. As the day ends, you will understand why Hawaiians are such nice people, it’s the Hawaiian serenity and all it cost me was the park fee and $14 for lunch, and I did return the next day and saw a whale swim by close to the shoreline blowing water out of its spout. *Heiau are Hawaiian Temples, there are a number of them here, please respect these sacred sites. How to get there? Take the Hawaii Belt (aka Highway 11, aka Mamalahoa Highway) (you’re likely to come from Kailua Kona area and driving south) to Highway 160 (just after highway maker 104) and once on Hwy 160, drive 2-3 miles and the park entrance will be on your left. Park Fee *Vehicle (noncommercial) with passengers (15 people and less) $20, good for 7 days *Hiker or person with bicycle $10 *Motorcycle $15 *Military personnel free *National Park Pass accepted, Seniors (62 YO and older) should consider getting lifetime senior National Park pass (one time cost $80) good for all national parks in USA Parking Available: Yes, paved lot after gate and unpaved lot at picnic area Restrooms: Yes at Visitors Center, they have running water and flush toilets (in my experience, the rest facilities are better maintained and cleaner than state maintained beach park facilities). There are also a number of portable potties at the picnic area. Showers: No, while this park is at the shoreline, there is no swimming or wading here. There is a park next door (Honaunau Bay aka Two Step), within walking distance, and a good place for snorkeling but facilities are limited to portable potties, no showers. What to bring: Beach Chair Beach Mat Beach Towel Book, crossword puzzle Closed Toe Shoes for lava field stroll (highly suggested) Hand Sanitizer Hat National Park Pass (if previously purchased) Prepared Lunch or grill your own (remember charcoal, grilling utensils, matches) Snacks Sunglasses Sunscreen Walking Stick for lava field stroll (highly suggested) Water
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Date of experience: March 2020
Robert H wrote a review Mar 2020
Centreville, Virginia170 contributions49 helpful votes
Nice place to visit with a mix of Hawaiian history and coastal beauty. The $20 entry fee (per car) was worth it to help preserve this park.
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Date of experience: March 2020
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