Are you planning a baby boomer vacation on Hawaii? Be sure to take a break from resort activities in the Kailua-Kona area to experience Hawaiian culture and history. A 30-minute scenic ride south on Highway 11 will introduce you to Pu’uhonau o Honaunau National Historical Park, also known as Place of Refuge.

What did ancient Hawaiians do if they broke one of the many laws of the kapu system? To avoid death by clubbing, strangulation, fire or spear, they ran for the nearest place of refuge or Pu’uhonau, where the lawbreaker’s violations could be absolved through certain rituals. Pu’uhonau o Honaunau Historical Park is a well preserved example of a Place of Refuge.

The park includes royal grounds,which are separated from the place of refuge by a 10-foot-high wall that is 17 feet thick. Situated on Keone’ele Cove, where only royals were allowed, the site includes black lava flows that seem to creep into the ocean in a jagged tangle. Farther back from shore, coconut palms shade the heiau (temple) where wood carved tiki statues stand guard.

Statues stand guard

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