Think about no traffic, no bills, no cubicle, no pressures and responsibilities for a little while.
Now, think about the sand between your toes, the waves lapping at your feet, the gentle sun on your head and the warm smell of gardenias in the air.
That’s what a vacation at Kealakekua Bay can be like for you.
Kealakekua Bay and Molokai have been a favorite of vacationers for decades.
Their spectacular selection of reefs, sandy beaches and turquoise waters make them desirable spots for surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and other island fun.
About Kealakekua Bay
The name Kealakekua comes from the phrase “ke ala ke kua” in the Hawaiian language, which translates as “the gods’ pathway.”
Located on the Kona coast of the main island of Hawaii, Kealakekua Bay was settled roughly a thousand years ago, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its historical significance.
The south end of the bay once was home to a luakini temple, and an imposing cliff called Pali Kapu O Keoua was a burial ground for generations of Hawaiian royalty.
Over the years, the area became the site of massive Makahiki ceremonies to honor the god Lono.
In the 1770s, Captain James Cook became the first documented European to discover the islands. Later in the century, American ships put in at Kealakekua. Some crew members remained on the island and became trusted advisers to the natives’ leadership.
Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
Today, Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park is a popular destination for visitors.
The park features the Captain Cook Monument and a spectacular view of Hikiau Heiau, a traditional religious shrine. You can also do other fun activities like hiking and swimming in the clear, still waters of Kealakekua Bay.
Filled with coral formations and schools of tropical fish and even the occasional spinner dolphin, the bay’s pristine waters are designated as a marine sanctuary, as part of the Hawaii Marine Life Conservation District. When snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, keep an eye out for colorful species like parrot fish, yellow tang, Moorish idols, trumpetfish and butterfly fish.
Should you wish to kayak in Kealakekua Bay, several companies offer commercial kayak rentals.
Please note that personal kayaks can no longer be launched from the wharf at Napo’opo’o Beach Park, or are allowed to land at the Captain Cook Monument.
The delicate nature of the reef and the coral mean that measures have to be taken to preserve the ecological condition of the bay.
Should you visit the obelisk that marks Captain Cook’s death on the island, the best way to avoid having to obtain permits or sign on with a tour is to just hike.
It’s a very scenic (but strenuous) hike of about two miles each way, with a very steep and exposed trail. There is shade along the first portion of the trail, before it drops into wood, pastureland and ancient lava beds on its way to the ocean.
Accommodations in Kealakekua
Since Kealakekua Bay has become such a popular tourist destination, there is no shortage of accommodations for your stay on the island.
Thinking about a Kealakekua Bay bed and breakfast?
There are several to choose from, ranging from modest to luxurious, and all with the relaxed pace of life on Hawaii.
Let the stresses and pressures of day-to-day life melt away and pamper yourself during your stay on the island.
For those looking for a more conventional stay, there are many hotels to choose from as well from top brands such as Marriott, Sheraton, Wyndham, Holiday Inn Express and Four Seasons. Many of them feature a lush, resort-like atmosphere, with amenities like a pool, hot tub, valet parking, tennis courts, shuffleboard and more.
It’s an unbeatable way to enjoy the beauty of Kealakekua Bay with all the comforts of a stay in a modern hotel.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau
In ancient times, the Pu’ohonua o Honaunau was a sanctuary for any Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the island’s ancient laws).
The area was also a destination for defeated warriors or noncombatants – there, they could be absolved and forgiven by a priest and would be free to leave once again.
Today, this sanctuary, or “city of refuge,” is a national historical park, complete with its Great Wall, statuary and other religious symbolism lovingly restored by islanders. It’s a glimpse into a time when a Hawaiian could be sentenced to death for the smallest infraction, yet could be absolved by a kahuna, regardless of how great or how small their crime.
There are plenty of options for vacation getaways on the Hawaiian Islands, but few are as stunningly beautiful as Kealakekua Bay.
When you’re booking your next trip, consider the natural beauty of this garden spot and enjoy everything it has to offer.