Captain Cook Monument, Big Island

Honaunau & Napoopoo Real Estate

Encompassing over 40-square miles of land that extends from sea level up into the high elevations above Mamalahoa Highway, Honaunau-Napoopoo real estate is home to approximately 2,500 residents. The area is admired for both its beauty and Hawaiian history.


Without question, Honaunau-Napoopoo is the most historically significant area in South Kona, featuring the marine life sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument (to the north) and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, also known as the Place of Refuge – a national historical park (to the south).

Honaunau - Place of Refuge

This area is best known as a former sanctuary for ancient lawbreakers. In the 12th century, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) was built in Honaunau and used as a religious refuge.


In those times the Hawaiians had to abide by the kapu system (rules and laws) – with the breaking of a kapu usually resulting in immediate death.


If a lawbreaker managed to get to a Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge, the lawbreaker’s life would be spared. Upon arrival at the place of refuge, kahunas (priests) performed absolution ceremonies.

Place of Refuge on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Pu’ohonua o Honaunau had walls extending 10-ft located adjacent to the Royal Grounds, the sacred home of the ali’i (chiefs). Fierce-looking wooden images of gods known as ki’i guarded the Hale o Keawe heiau, the sacred temple which once used to house the bones of deceased ali’i.

Napoopoo - Kealakekua Bay

Located three miles north of Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, you will find Napoopoo Village on the south end of Kealakekua Bay, a tiny oceanfront community exuberating a surreal Hawaiian utopia of yesterday that features lush tropical landscapes and gorgeous shorelines. Residents are very close here, many of whom are part of long family lineages tied to the area – adding to the area’s unique character.


Of course, the most spectacular part of the area is Kealakekua Bay which stretches one-mile end-to-end and is considered by many as one of the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii. Most notably, however, Kealakekua Bay is where Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii – and where he later lost his life after a skirmish broke out between his crew and the native Hawaiians who populated the area in 1779. Later in 1878, the 27-ft Captain Cook Monument was erected on Kealakekua’s north shore in memory of Captain James Cook, one of the world’s greatest circumnavigators.


There are many other fun activities to be had here in addition to snorkeling and sightseeing, such as dolphin sightings, kayak tours, and standup paddleboarding to name a few.


Extending mauka (up the mountain) from the village, Napoopoo Road winds 4.5-miles up the relatively steep slopes to an elevation of 1,300-ft near both towns of Captain Cook and Kealakekua. Along the way, you will see many beautiful homes lining both sides of the road from top to bottom – all with unparalleled ocean views.

Penn Henderson

Kona Realtor® (RS-83962)

Big Island Kona Realtor - Penn Henderson - NextHome Paradise Realty Hawaii

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April 16, 2021, 1:41 pm

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