Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
December 14, 2006
From journal Big Island 2--Kona to Volcano
by wanderer 2005
December 5, 2006
According to legend, Hawaiians who broke a kapu or one of the ancient laws against the gods could avoid an otherwise certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge, or pu’uhonua. They could then be absolved by a priest and free to go. Men, women and children, those weak and ill, those defeated in battle, or those who were non-combatants in battle but on the losing side, also came to see refuge until the battle was over. The only way to get to the pu’uhonua was by swimming and once there, you could be absolved in as little as a few hours.
This was one of the coolest places I have ever been to. The wooden statues are amazing and the grounds are immaculate. Sea turtles rest here and there is snorkeling, if you’re interested. The tours are self guided, so you can go at your own pace. There is a really weird silence here. It’s almost serene. The white sand is warm to walk on and the great lava rock wall was put together using no mortar, the rocks were just snugly fit together. I liked hiking out on the lava, to the water’s edge and just taking it all in.
There was a local carving an outrigger canoe out of koa wood and I saw 2 sea turtles, scooting up on the beach to take a rest. There is a reconstructed temple that housed the bones of at least 23 chiefs. The Hawaiians believed the bones gave more protection to the grounds.
There is a $5 entrance fee and they only accept cash. The nearest ATM, is back up the hill about 5 miles. There are fully functional restrooms here as well as an information desk with maps that cover the entire grounds. All tours are self-guided and they offer all-terrain wheelchairs free of charge, because it’s all sand and lava rock. The park hours are 7am to 8pm, 365 days a year. The visitor center is open from 8am to 5pm. There are no food outlets here, but feel free to bring a picnic lunch with you. There is a gift shop that offers bottled water and souvenirs.
If you keep driving through the parking lot, down past the palm trees, you can park there and have a quiet lunch on the beach. Don’t skip this place. It was very, very cool.
From journal They Call it the Big Island of Hawaii for a Reason
Charleston, West Virginia
January 5, 2006
From journal Island Hopping in Hawaii
by Tami and Mike
September 10, 2005
From journal Kona Coast Resort
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills), California
January 25, 2005
I highly recommend a picnic to watch the sunset at the picnic area by the ocean, to which you can drive (it's across the parking lot).
From journal One Week Around The Big Island
November 13, 2004
From journal What an Amazing Experience
September 23, 2004
From journal Kailua Kona
January 8, 2004
From journal Big Island
October 11, 2003
The City of Refuge was a place ancient Hawaiians could come to escape punishment for violating Hawaiian law. Sacred rituals were performed on them to cleanse the bad Kapu from them, belived to protect the island from the wrath of the gods. It was believed angered gods would punish the island with lava flows or a tsunami.
The Temple of Refuge located here is the largest in all the hawaiian islands. It is said that you can still feel the sacred power of the temple today.
The City of Refuge is one of the most beautiful places on the Big Island. The city area is black lava surrounded by the sapphire sea surf and rows of tall royal palms that seem to shimmer in the reflection of the sun and sea.
This place to seek refuge was not an easy place to get into for the ancient Hawaiians. The land side has a 10 foot tall, 17 foot thick morterless lava rock wall and the other side is the sea.
There are some buildings and statues from the ancient times here to see. Local Hawaiians helped rebuild the area using the traditional tools. The hand carved wooden temple gods were recreated to help protect from evil spirits.
The gift shop has maps and brocheres to help guide you through the history of this place and other ancient sites at this national historic park.
There is also a beach park here that allows swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Snorkeling and kayaking are allowed in the bay right in front.
As we spent our entire day enjoying the absolute beauty of this location, I wondered if people ever did things wrong just to live here. When visiting Pu'uhonua O Honaunau bring a picnic and your swimsuit and spend the day seeking refuge in ancient Hawaii.
This is a 180-acre park that contains the 20 acre area that is the City of Refuge. There is also the remants of the palace of Ali'i of Kona. Some of these buildings have been recreated. There are also some fish ponds and other ancient delights. The entire park is still considered to be sacred grounds by the Hawaiians, so show respect to the grounds.
Admission fees to the park are $5 per person, the visitor center is open daily, and the beack park area is open from 6am to mid evening everyday.
This national historic site provides adventure at whatever level you choose.
From journal Seeking refuge in Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (City of R
Port Angeles, Washington
May 26, 2003
Picture the attendants and servants of the ali’i pounding taro, gathering traditional plants for food and medicine, or taking fish from the fish ponds. Women might be making dye or evaporating salt using "bowls" carved into the rock. Traditional structures, called hale, were made of ohi’a wood tied with coconut fibers, and thatched with ti leaves. In them, women might be cooking. Or men might be building a new canoe for the king. When work was done, folks might relax with a game of konane, played with pebbles on a stone playing surface. Suddenly, a boy runs through, and announces that the royal canoes are landing in the cove!
Some of the traditional structures have been rebuilt at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. At Hale O Keawe, ki’i (wooden images) guard the reconstructed temple. Originally the temple also contained a masoleum with the bones of 23 ali’i. Fishponds have been rebuilt and have some tiny fish in them, and there are traditional plants all around the grounds. You will see the "bowls" in the rock, the konane gameboard, and a wooden canoe. As I was walking through the grounds, I had a very powerful feeling come over me when I was near the fishponds. I could feel the presence of those who had lived there before, and I swear I could almost see them. My friend who was with me felt it at the same time, and asked me if I could feel the energy. I could. I had felt it before she mentioned it.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the grounds is the Place of Refuge. This is an area that was set apart by a massive stone wall which was built in 1550. At one time, Hawaii was governed by a set a sacred laws, or kapu. If a commoner were to break a kapu, such as allowing his shadow to fall across the path of royalty, or a woman eating the wrong food, the penalty was death. The people felt that breaking a kapu would anger the gods. So in order to avoid punishment from the gods in the form of tidal wave, or volcanic eruption, the kapu breaker had to die. But if the kapu breaker could make it to the Place of Refuge (usually reached by an extremely dangerous ocean crossing), then a priest could perform a ceremony to absolve the person and they could then live. The Place of Refuge was also a destination for defeated warriors.
Pu’uhonua O Honaunau should definitely be on your "must-see" list.
From journal Big Island Camping Adventures and Cool Places