Puuhonua o Honaunau is one of a few National Parks in the district. The one hundred eighty acres are filled with history sacred to Hawaiians. You can walk the self guided tour of restored remains complete with a sacred temple that houses the bones of more than twenty Hawaiian chiefs. The park has its own great wall that is ten feet high and seventeen feet thick. Years ago, long before the Westerners came, this is where the Hawaiian lawbreakers came to hide. The wooden images that depict Hawaiian Gods are further evidence that to Hawaiians this is a sacred place.
For kayaking and snorkeling, Keauhou Resort with its sunny weather is the perfect place. Snorkelers can spot manta rays and some honu, Hawaiian green turtles, in the tide pools. With golf courses, spas and fine dining Keauhou is a tourist favorite. Another historic site, Kailua Village is a short drive away. The Village serves as the starting point for the Iron Man Triathlon every year in October.
Also in the heart of the Village is the Hulihee Palace, once the summer home to Hawaiian royalty. The home was built in 1838 and features artifacts and ornaments from the cultural past of Hawaiian monarchy. You can really get a sense of the culture and history of this peaceful paradise.
Another National Park, Kaloko Honokohau, is filled with natural wonders and man made wonders. You can see the sea to mountain land divisions, of which there are four. View the sacred temples and the two beautifully engineered man made fish ponds. Check in with the visitor center to find out about the guided tours.
Kealakekua Bay Historical Park is the place to go for snorkeling and scuba diving. The surrounding brilliant waters of the bay are exceptionally colorful with tropical fish and vivid coral reefs. The park is historic as this is the land that Captain James Cook first landed on when he sailed to Hawaii in 1778. Before Cook, the Hawaiians had not seen any Westerners. Despite the fact that he was killed in a dispute one year later, the Hawaiians esteemed him and erected an obelisk in his honor.
In the heart of coffee plantations, there is little village called Holualoa that is a center for the art community. The volcanic soil is uniquely perfect for the coffee bean. There are almost six hundred coffee farms here, some of which have public tours. Whether you are coming for the art or the coffee, you will not be disappointed.
To really get a feel for the culture and history of a place, it is best to confine your stay to a small area. This will give you the time to take in all the sights and read about the stories and culture behind the sites. Westerners have left a huge footprint on the land, but the old Hawaii can still be seen and appreciated. Stop and smell the flowers. You will not regret it.
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