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Pu'uhonua O H?naunau National Historical Park, A Place of Refuge, Big Island

Pu'uhonua O H?naunau National Historical Park, A Place of Refuge, Big Island

Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Kona Big Kahuna Tour

Shaka Guide

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Start Planning!

You’re about to go on an awesome adventure visiting beaches and learning about the history of Kona.

But first, there are a few things you should know about the tour before you get started. 

  • You can start the tour in Waikoloa or Kailua-Kona.
  • The drive from Kailua heading south to the Pu'uhonua and back only has narration in one (counterclockwise) direction.
  • In addition to shopping at Big Island Bees and sampling their honey, you can also pay to take a guided tour. Check their website for current hours and pricing.
  • The Painted Church has free admission but donations are welcome. It's open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park costs $20 per car, and $10 per motorcycle - valid for 7 days.
  • The self-guided tour of Kona Coffee Living History Farm costs $20 for adults and $10 for children. Open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 am-2 pm.
  • Visitors must pay to park at Kahalu'u Beach. Learn more here
  • Pack snorkel and swim gear! You can visit Kealakekua Bay and Two-Steps — two great snorkel spots.
  • The tour takes about 4-6 hours. Our recommended start time is before 9 a.m.

What to Expect!

1. To Spend 4-6 Hours Exploring

This tour takes about a half day to complete, depending on how much time you spend at each spot and whether or not you do it all in one day or break it up into two days.

We recommend taking two days to fully explore the coast to the north and south of Kailua-Kona.

The tour is concentrated on the Kona Coast, so the drive time is minimal. You’ll spend most of the time exploring the fun stops we’ve picked out for you.

2. To Be Active

Although this tour only has a few short hikes, there’s no shortage of activities!

We take you to multiple beaches, coffee farms and historic sites with walking trails.

3. To Hit the Beach

The Kona Coast has some of Big Island's best beaches and snorkel spots, and we’ll take you to several on this tour.

To learn more about all the beaches you’ll see, check out our detailed Kona Big Kahuna Tour suggested itinerary here.

4. To Try Local Food

This tour is one of our favorites for foodies! You’ll make stops at so many local spots where you can try local favorites like poke, Kona coffee, and chocolate-covered mac nuts.

We’ll take you to a bee farm, a fruit stand, and a coffee farm. You can find places serving up fresh Hawaiian food, gelato, and plate lunches. Maybe you'd like to try Hawaii’s self-proclaimed “oldest restaurant,” the Manago Hotel Restaurant.

5. To Learn

Kona and the surrounding area is a really unique corner of the Big Island. For a small region, it packs in a lot of history.

On this tour, you’ll visit the Birthplace of King Kamehameha III, discover Hawaii’s first royal residence, hike to some petrogylphs, and explore a Pu’uhonua or ancient city of refuge.

Budgeting

How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs:

  • $15.00 per person: Lunch
  • $5.00 per person: Local snacks or treats
  • $20 per car and $15 per motorcycle: Pu'uhonua Historic Park
  • Free entry, but donations welcome: St. Benedict’s Painted Church
  • $$: Optional activities such as the Big Island Bees tour, coffee farm tours, or admission to the Kona Coffee Living History Farm.

Start Packing

Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day.

  • Sneakers
  • Hiking Clothes
  • Jacket or Layers, temperatures vary drastically across the island
  • Water Bottle
  • Towel
  • Bathing Suit
  • Sandals
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun Glasses and/or Hat
  • Snacks
  • Cash
  • Car Charger *Very Important*
  • Phone Mount 

Malama 'Aina

In Hawaiian the word malama means “to take care” and the word 'aina means “land.”

When you’re in Hawai'i, we ask that you practice malama 'aina and pick up your trash; respect the marine life, plants, and animals; and avoid spots that are unsafe.

Hawaii’s natural resources are precious. It’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources for generations by respecting the aina when you visit.


We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more help planning your day check out our Kona Big Kahuna Loop suggested itinerary.

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