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“Puako Petroglyphs, Lava Tubes, Anchialine Ponds and More”

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Attraction details
Owner description: See petroglyphs of men and animals at this site.
Coquitlam, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Puako Petroglyphs, Lava Tubes, Anchialine Ponds and More”
Reviewed April 10, 2013

Some of the best Big Island experiences are nearby and they are free! Take the Mauna Lani exit from Highway 19 and be prepared to walk/hike. Bring some water, good footwear and a camera. If you are not staying in the area stop at the The Shops at Mauna Lani for water and maps or stop by a real estate office in the mall and ask for directions - real estate is slow and the realtors are friendly.
The Malama Trail begins at Holoholokai Beach Park and goes for more than a mile through brush and uneven ground until it opens to a massive historic site containing one of the largest collections of petroglyphs. Amazing. (next to this the Waikoloa petroglyphs are a disappointment).
The Kalahuipua Trail near the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel has some petroglyphs but also has some lava tube shelters and some beautiful salt water ponds and a gorgeous beach. An easy undulating paved walk that cuts through the lava fields and skirts the resort.
Ala Kahakai Trail - miles of beautiful shoreline walking protected in 2000 as a hiking preserve.
Anyone can do the walks but as it can be hot a good head covering and water is advisable especially for the young and the elderly. Children should be watched so as not to damage these historic and sensitive areas.
There is lots to see at this location although it is a bit spread out and one does not have to do it all in a single visit - know that it exists - do some research in your guide books or on the net and just do it!

Visited March 2013
1 Thank bigscreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Very Interesting”
Reviewed March 5, 2013

These petroglyphs are not that easy to locate and take a while to walk to, but once you get there it is very interesting. I believe that these are intended to be hard to locate, in order to keep people from damaging them, since the pathway is over lava and through woods.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank kheagler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Del Norte, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A must for history buffs”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

First of all, use the directions found in the previous reviews and take water (we went in November and it was still hot and humid) and a camera. I think these petroglyphs, hidden in the woods, must be one of the best kept secrets on the Big Island. We only saw one other couple there on the day we visited them. My husband and I tried to use our imagination to figure out what these numerous petroglyphs meant and reflected on the people who carved/chiselled them into the rock hundreds of years ago. The main viewing area has a wall of inumerable and varied petroglyphs, but there are others along the little trails in the area. This is one of the richest petroglyph areas my husband and I have viewed. These far outdo the petroglyphs at VNP. Remember to stay on the trail(s), don't touch or make rubbings, and respect what I am sure is considered a sacred area to the native Hawaiians.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank Suzanne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
138 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Great spot for Hawaiian history/culture”
Reviewed May 10, 2011

Agree completely with the review below. Great site if you are looking for some of Hawaii's history. Note the directions carefully - head towards the Fairmont Orchid and park in the lot by the beach. Don't get confused with the other petroglyphs in the area that can be seen in Waikoloa Beach development (for those ones, park in the Kings Shops parking lot by the gas station and then cross the street) - the Waikoloa ones are in the middle of the resort/golf course, so the setting put us off a little although the glyphs there are amazing as well. The Puako glyphs by the Orchid are in a much more natural setting. What I do find however with many Hawaiian historical sites and hikes is that there is very little in the way of interpretative information or directions, so is best to have a good guide book or reference material with you to add to the background of what you are seeing. We found that Frommer's "Best Hiking Trips in Hawaii" was a good guide for this site and many others we visited.

Visited May 2011
3 Thank CanTravel106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
308 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 804 helpful votes
“A Must-See in West Hawaii!!”
Reviewed October 26, 2006

The Pualo Petroglyphs are in a Historic Park in the Mauna Lani Resort. This is one of the largest preserved petroglyph fields in Hawaii. The setting is serene and natural.. Plan on at least an hour to walk the trail and appreciate the petroglyphs.

To get to the Historic Park and viewable portion of the Puako petroglyph fields, go about 30 miles north of the Keahole airport to the Mauna Lani Resort. At the roundabout, follow the signs right toward the Orchid and Historic Park. Go past the Orchid turnoff and park in the lot at the end of the road, near the shore. There are clean restrooms, a drinking fountain, and showers there, along with a grassy picnic area and tables. The beach is rocky and not that swimmable, but you may see fishermen or surfers, depending on conditions.

The Malama Petroglyph Trail starts just north of the parking lot. There is a sign. At the beginning, there are some REPLICA 'glyphs to show you what to expect and make rubbings--be aware that touching or walking on or making rubbings of the real ones are prohibited. It damages them.

The trail takes about 15 minutes--bring water, it can be hot. The trail winds inland through a kiawe forest. Listen, and you can hear the eerie sounds of the tree limbs rubbing together in the breeze. If the surf is up, listen for the steady "heartbeat of the land" as the surf breaks onshore. Look for the lava tube cave off on the right, and keep an eye out for isolated 'glyphs along the trail. I've been walking it for over 20 years and am always surprised to spot another one I've missed before!

You cross a service road and continue uphill across a grassy lava plain. The viewing area has a gravel, elevated viewing platform and bench. Sit and listen to the wind and imagine what it must have been like here hundreds of years ago...there are hundreds and hundreds of visible 'glyphs on the smooth lava rock surface and more hidden in the surrouding area, covered by grass and brush. The walk around the viewing area (stay on the trail!) is well worth your time, allowing a better view of the images.

This area always has a strong "sense of place" for me and the trip along the trail is a serene and powerful reminder that I am visiting a land with rich history and culture, not just a snorkel spot!

The walk back slowly brings you back to the modern world...take teh time to examine that lava cave if you didn't see it on the way to the 'glyphs!

Petroglyph afficionados should also go see the field at Waikoloa near Kings Shops, but that one is surrounded by golf courses and condos and the overall experience can't match the Puako 'glyphs at Mauna Lani. If you really get into them, call Kona Village Resort and arrange for a tour of their magnificent site--they will do guided tours for the public if you call in advance.

To read about Hawaiian petroglyphs here and elsewhere, I recommend the book, _Spirit of Place: Petroglyphs of Hawaii_ by Georgia Lee and Edward Stasack, available at your usual online bookstore.


14 Thank Honu_Ohana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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