Tikis.

Pu'uhonua - Place of Refuge

Field review by the editors.

Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

Kapu, the sacred laws, were tough in ancient Hawaii. You couldn't walk in the royal chief's footsteps, touch his things, or even let your shadow fall on palace grounds. If you did and weren't punished, a volcano might decide to erupt, or a tsunami could erase your village. So everyone joined in to bring violators to justice. Often the penalty was death!

You might have one chance: an all-out run and swim for Pu'uhonua, the Place of Refuge, pursued by warriors. And another waited to club you to death near the entrance. But if you made it, a priest would perform a ceremony of absolution, and all was well again.

Place of Refuge.

The ancient Hawaiian sanctuary has been restored and preserved as Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park since 1961. It sits along a black lava sand shore among stands of palm trees. Beyond the visitor center, it really feels like you've entered ancient Hawaii. There are large sea turtles in the cove, and everything seems untouched by modern civilization.

As with most Hawaiian ruins, black stone walls and platforms are explained with signs: the Great Wall, the Royal Grounds, the chief's resting stone. There are a number of replica thatched structures, including a temple and mausoleum, with many carved poles and Tiki heads. This was never a bar.

Special game for bored kids: don't let your shadow touch anything.

Pu'uhonua - Place of Refuge

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Address:
HI Hwy 160, Honaunau, Big Island, HI
Directions:
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. South of Kona, HI Hwy 11 to HI Hwy 160, mile post 103-104 follow signs down hill to parking.
Phone:
808-328-2326
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Painted ChurchPainted Church, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI - 2 mi.
Hawaiian Shoe Tree: Flip FlopsHawaiian Shoe Tree: Flip Flops, Honaunau-Napoopoo, Big Island, HI - 2 mi.
Big Island Bees Museum and TourBig Island Bees Museum and Tour, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI - 3 mi.
In the region:
King Kamehameha I Statue #1, Kapaau, Big Island, HI - 56 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Hawaii

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Hawaii.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

June 25, 2019

My Sights

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Hawaii Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

National Enquirer Live!, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Jun 24-30, 2019)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Nearby Hotels: Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

Nightly rates found:

Book Now