Step back in time to ancient Hawaii, beautiful, mysterious, and terribly interesting. If you are a history buff on the Big Island, a visit to Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park [1871 Trail, Captain Cook, HI 96704] is a must.
This park is an extraordinary example of Hawaiian history and culture. You may also hear Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau referred to as a ‘place of refuge.’ If a lawbreaker could outrun pursuers and reach this place, no harm could come to them. This was also a place where families could seek refuge in the event of war. Adjacent to the area, yet blocked by a ten foot wall, were the Royal Grounds. This part of Hawaii was a huge religious and political center. Be sure to grab a map before you enter so while you are walking around the trails you can read information about places of interest.
You will see large structures like huts and temples, but sometimes the little details are most interesting. Notice the stone surfaces set up for a Hawaiian game called kōnane. Rules at the visitor center if you want to play a round.
Even if you aren’t big on history it is still really cool to walk around and check out the ki’i, or, carved wooden images.
This park is located in Hawaii, so astounding nature is always present. The bay is lovely, the wildflowers, ponds, birds, and tide pools are all a part of the experience.
Plus, you wouldn’t want to miss a visit to nearby Two Step. Just a few steps down the road is a spot is renowned for its excellent snorkeling, right on an ocean shelf. Lay your things down on the rocks and follow the people to the two steps. A rock ledge which pulls you right out into the deep warm water where your swimming and snorkeling begins.
It’s a really fun thing to do and once you’re ready to head back, wait for the perfect wave to plop you right back onto the steps. Walk down to the small sandy area which is very shallow and lay out for awhile. You might be as lucky as I was to catch some honu (green sea turtles) to swim with!
All of these elements combined created a really unique and unforgettable afternoon filled with Hawaiian nature, culture, and history.