Fodor's Expert Review Kamakahonu and Ahuena Heiau
In the early 1800s, King Kamehameha the Great built a large royal compound at Kamakahonu, the bay fronting what is now the Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel; today it is one of the most revered and historically significant sites in all of Hawaii. Kamakahonu, meaning "eye of the turtle," was named for a prominent turtle-shaped rock there, covered in cement when the hotel and pier were built. The Ahuena Heiau, an impressive heiau (temple), was dedicated to Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace and prosperity. It was also used as a seat of government. The compound features a scaled-down replica of the temple and is a National Historic Landmark. You can't go inside the heiau, but you can view it from the beach or directly next door at the hotel's luau grounds.