Big Island Travel Guide

Big Island Sights

Kamakahonu and Ahuena Heiau

  • 75-5660 Palani Rd. Map It
  • Kailua-Kona
  • Archaeological Site/Ruins
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/20/2010

Fodor's Review

In the early 1800s, King Kamehameha the Great built a royal compound at Kamakahonu, the bay fronting what is now the Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Kamakahonu means "eye of the turtle," and it was named for a prominent turtle-shaped rock there, covered in cement when the hotel was built. It was a 4-acre homestead, complete with several houses and religious sites. In 1813, the king rebuilt Ahuena Heiau, a stunning temple dedicated to Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace and prosperity. It was also used as a seat of government. Today the compound is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. One of the most revered and historically significant in all of Hawaii, the site sustained some damage in the 2011 tsunami and has been repaired. (Rather spookily, the tsunami waters caused widespread damage at the hotel but did not impact its rare Hawaiian artifacts or the paintings by famed Hawaiian artist Herb Kane.)

Sight Information


75-5660 Palani Rd., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, USA

Map It

Published 01/20/2010


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