A lot of people go to Hawai’i and lounge on the beach or snorkel in the crystal clear waters. I, on the other hand, spent my time visiting historical and cultural sites. Here are some more of those sites from my trip to the Big Island in 2014.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Established as a national park in 1916, this area has been home to Native Hawaiians for more than 1,600 years. Two volcanoes sit within the 323,431-acre park: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the biggest shield volcano in the world.
Pu’u Loa (Hill of Life) Petroglyphs contains over 23,000 images and motifs. The pahoephoe lava was created about AD 1200-1450. Descendants of the people from the Kalapana region to this day carve holes in the rock for the piko (umbilical cord) of a newborn for blessings of health and spiritual strength.
Historically, Onomea Bay was a fishing village known as Kahali’i. In the 1850s it became a key shipping port for Onomea Sugar Mill. Most of the vegetation comes from the sugar mill era; after the site was abandoned in the early 1900s it was quickly overgrown. The Bay abuts the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park
This waterfall, not far from Hilo, falls 442 feet into a gorge.
Puakō Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve
There are more than 3,000 kii pohaku, or petroglyphs carved into lava rock, dating back to 1200 AD. The petroglyphs mark births and other important events in the lives of the people who lived in the area.
Upper Huehue Flow
The most recent eruption of Hualālai was 1800-1801. After Kilauea and Mauna Loa, it is the third most active volcano on the island.
Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
Captain James Cook landed here on January 17, 1779. At first he was welcomed by the locals but after attempting to kidnap the chief he was executed on Valentine’s Day at this same spot. The monument to Cook is at the point of land to the left.