Kaneʻeleʻele Heiau

Hawaiʻi the Big Island

Also referred to as Punaluʻu Nui, 800-year-old Kaneʻeleʻele Heiau was the region's luakani, or place of human sacrifice. A large flat stone below the southwest corner of the temple walls is believed to have served this purpose, while a pit full of bones discovered during construction of nearby sugar warehouses appears to confirm it. Reach the heiau by following a short steep trail up above the warehouse foundations at the northeast corner of Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach Park. It's not easy to spot.

Look for a path heading east from the heiau paved with smooth gray stones set to ease the journey of barefoot warriors over the rough aʻa (rough, jagged type of lava). This section of the 175-mile Ala Kahakai (Trail by the Sea) National Historic Trail is well preserved and provides a great day hike east to Kamehame Beach (3 miles), a turtle nesting site protected by the Nature Conservancy, or southwest to Kawa Bay (2.7 miles). You may need to ask the lifeguards for navigational help.

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