Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park also known as the City of Refuge

In old Hawaii, if you broke the law, the penalty was death. Your only option for survival was to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest puuhonua, or city of refuge. As you enter, the great wall rises up before you marking the boundaries between the royal grounds and the sanctuary. Many ki’i (carved wooden images) surround the Hale o Keawe, housing the bones of the chiefs that infuse the area with their power or mana. If you reached this sacred place, you would be saved.



Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau is considered a sacred site. I walked this park feeling at ease, protected and stood in silence feeling its spirit. I felt the warm breeze across my face, hearing the waves crash and studying the ki’i and wondering what must have went through someone’s mind as they reached this sacred place knowing they had been saved.


There is so much for your senses  to take in. There is natural beauty, the historical significance and spirituality. You can possibly see green sea turtles laying on the sand, go for a short hike, or perhaps walk past the many ki’i through the palm trees and step out onto the lava and watch the waves come in.



Whatever you do with your time at this park you can guarantee this will be one of the highlights to your trip to Hawaii. It truly is a must do on any trip to to the Big Island.



  1. Nicole Brady says

    We visited Hawaii before moving back to the Midwest. The flights out of LAX were so much cheaper so we wanted to take advantage. The kids were very young so we made sure everything we did was of interest to them also. They’re older now and I can’t wait to go back and see this kind of stuff!
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