We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Ancient Hawaiians Place of Refuge”

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Hawaii Island Experience
Ranked #1 of 8 things to do in Honaunau
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This 182-acre park contains the Puuhonua, a sacred place of refuge, as well as other temples and coastal sites.
Springfield, Missouri
Level Contributor
453 reviews
247 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 683 helpful votes
“Ancient Hawaiians Place of Refuge”
Reviewed October 26, 2010

Upon arriving at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, stop at the Visitor Center and pick up a map of the grounds. The Pu'uhonua was a place of refuge from certain death if a commoner broke the "kapu" or laws that regulated the ancient Hawaiian's everyday life. If a law was broken and the guilty party could swim to a pu'uhonua, a ceremony of absolution was performed and that individual was allowed to return home safely. No blood could be shed on a pu'uhonua.

The map has numbered areas and a trail to follow with explanations of each area of historical significance. This place is sacred to the Hawaiians. Green sea turtles come to the Keone'ele Cove, and you actually have a good chance of seeing them. But do not enter the water there or approach the turtles in any way. Keone'ele Cove was the royal canoe landing and forbidden to commoners.

There is a beautiful swimming and snorkeling beach next to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. You can visit the Place of Refuge and then swim in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific. For more information, visit the website: www.nps.gov/puho

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is an incredibly beautiful and unspoiled place. From the beautiful soft sand beach, to the lava field, to the tall palm trees swaying in the island breezes along the incredibly blue ocean, you will see the grandeur of what Hawaii once was, and still is, in this special place.

Thank Sailorsgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,163 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Modesto, California
Level Contributor
578 reviews
252 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 536 helpful votes
“A Must See!”
Reviewed October 23, 2010

Visited here a few weeks ago during our trip to the Big Island. I thought this place was just beautiful and enjoyed reading about and seeing stops of interest in this "City of Refuge." This park has a unique history and appears to be well maintained. The park was free to enter because there was no one available to take money at the entrance. There is a very small gift shop for souvenirs, books, etc. Next to the park is supposedly one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii and I did see snorkelers in the water. This is a wonderful place and I highly recommend!

1 Thank MSWMom50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Loved it”
Reviewed October 21, 2010

The attraction is not large but a must for the amazing statues setting and spiritual feeling you get once you are there. They only charge $5 to get in and they could charge more and if this was in England they would, you would be mad not to add this beautiful place on your list of things to do. We were even lucky enough to see a beautiful turtle on the beach.While there we met a ranger called Charles who was lovely and gave us a little gift after spending time talking to him re allsorts.
A must in my opinion

1 Thank maffei40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Simply, I so loved this place it made me...”
Reviewed April 12, 2010

Simply, I so loved this place it made me laugh. Po‘okela ka Hōnaunau, ‘a‘ole ‘oe ha‘i ka ‘ōlelo ‘ekahi ka manawa.

Thank Kawela_748590760784
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shamong, New Jersey
Level Contributor
29 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Park is really interesting, snorkeling was so-so.”
Reviewed March 8, 2010

We went to the park on an overcast day, it was about to rain and the sun was not out. The ocean was not very calm, so we should have probably not went out snorkeling. It's pretty easy to get in the water, but not so easy to get out when the seas are not calm. Also, since there were dark clouds, the water was dark and we could barely see anything at all. We stayed in for about 30 minutes and then left because the weather was getting worse. I am sure this place is great, but only go when the weather is nice. The park is really beautiful and worth seeing even if you don't snorkel at two-step.

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

Travelers who viewed Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park also viewed

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii
Captain Cook, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii

Been to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing