Ancient bathers share the beach with modern visitors at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. The park is a bit south of Kona, on the west side of the island, and on the way to Volcano National Park. The park area once served two purposes: it was a royal residence, and also a refuge for those who had broken the sacred laws, or “kapu.” Punishment could include death, but if the law-breaker could make it to a refuge (pu’uhonua), he could be ceremonially absolved and return to society. Since the area was also a well-guarded fort, with thick high walls and a rocky coast, getting in was not easy.
The park includes the nearby Royal Grounds, fishponds, a temple and workshops, and gives a real glimpse into early Hawaiian culture. Other attractions in the area nearby include coffee plantations and processors, with tours available, as well as the volcanoes to the east. And some of Hawaii’s famous big sea turtles make this area their home, and share the water off the beach with visitors.
Click here for more information on the park and surrounding area.
Click here for Dr. Fumblefinger's blog on Volcano National Park.