Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park is one of Hawaii's most sacred historical sites. It was a royal ground and a place of refuge for ancient Hawaiians lawbreakers and defeated warriors until the 19th century. It is located on the coast of Honaunau Bay in south Kona, on the island of Hawaii.
In early Hawaiian culture, anyone who broke the "kapu", a complex law system, were punished by death. Their only chance of survival was to dodge their captors and arrive at the nearest pu'uhonua or a place of refuge. A priest would perform a cleansing ceremony and absolve the offender of his sins and set him free from any physcial harm.
A 10ft tall stone wall separates the royal grounds from the sanctuary. The royal grounds were home to several generations of powerful chiefs. It features a reconstructed Hale O Keawe temple guarded by carved wooden statues called "Ki'i" and is known to have housed the remains of 23 royal chiefs. It was believed that the spiritual power or "mana" in the bones gave additional protection to the people.
You could walk on the lava rocks, explore tide pools by the water, you could spot pretty colorful birds on the trees and admire gorgeous ocean views. Turtles are commonly seen in the water and even resting on the shores.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii. You could still feel the peace and calm surrounding this sacred place. Shade from coconut trees and the cool ocean breeze makes for a very tranquil escape away from the crowded parts of the island.
We used Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. As a secondary camera Fuji X-70.
Read Next: Punalu'u Black Sand Beach
Where to Stay: We stayed in a vacation rental in Volcano town close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Check out other options. For accommodations closer check here.
Getting there: From Kailua-Kona head south on HI-11 (20miles) and turn right onto Hwy 160. In 3miles look for signs to the park on your left.
Hours and Cost: Open 7:00am to sunset. $5 per vehicle.
Trail: Flat sandy walkways throughout the park.
Very uneven and rocky towards the ocean/tide pools. Wear sturdy shoes and watch your step.