Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park was an ancient city of refuge. Back in the day, under the old laws of Hawaii when chieftains and priests ruled the land, if you committed a crime, it was game over.
If you could out run and/or outwit your pursuers and make it to one of the refuges you were essentially home free. I’m not sure how you were supposed to survive once you got here, or whether just getting to homebase was all that was required? Pretty awful place to be stuck, all that sand, sun and palm trees in a beautiful setting…
Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau is a sacred area and the royal grounds adjacent apparently hold the remains of old chiefs. There are several ancient ruin sites remaining including the temple platforms, royal fishponds, sledding tracks, and some coastal village sites. The Hale o Keawe temple and several thatched structures are modern reconstructions.
As it was and is still considered a sacred site, the following is not permitted – No commercial filming, nudity, beach chairs, towels, mats, beach umbrellas, coolers, picnicking, pets, weddings or wedding photos, smoking and recreational activities such as frisbee throwing, football tossing, etc.
The park is open 7am until 15 minutes after dusk and the visitor centre is open 8.30-4.30pm.
Entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $3 per person.
If you have a cellphone, you can listen to the phone audio tour – see the official park service page for more info http://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm
There were a lot of turtles here, you can’t snorkle or swim here but there is a beach and snorkling area just next to the National Park where you can swim.