Fodor's Expert Review Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site

The Kohala Coast Historical
Free Fodor's Choice
Wooden Statues, Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

Quite simply, this is one of the most historic and commanding sites in all of Hawaii: here, in 1810, on top of Puukohola (Hill of the Whale), Kamehameha the Great built the war heiau, or temple, that would serve to unify the Hawaiian Islands, ending 500 years of warring chiefdoms. The oceanfront, fortresslike site is foreboding and impressive. A paved ½-mile, looped trail runs from the visitor center to the main temple sites. An even older temple, dedicated to the shark gods, lies submerged just offshore, where sharks can be spotted swimming, usually first thing in the morning. A museum displays ancient Hawaiian weapons, including clubs, spears, a replica of a bronze cannon that warriors dragged into battle on a Hawaiian sled, and three original paintings by artist Herb Kane. Rangers are available to answer questions, or you can take a free audio tour on your smartphone. Plan about an hour to see everything.

Historical Free Fodor's Choice Historic Sight

Quick Facts

62-3601 Kawaihae Rd.
Kawaihae, Hawaii  96743, USA


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