Between 10,000 and 1,500 years ago, the Hualalai volano erupted. Molten lava poured down the hillside and cooled to rock at the ocean’s edge.
The local people call this landscape ahupua’a—the land that connects the mountain with the sea.
The ancient people who lived here believed a spirit inhabited the area. They chose to make their home on the lavabed, despite the dangerous, jagged rock and lack of a reliable fresh water source.
They designed innovative pools to trap and breed fish, which they traded with upland neighbors for taro and breadfruit. They lived in peace with the green sea turtles that have roamed the Pacific since before the Hawaiian Islands were born.
Today, the lava field on the western coast of Hawai’i is part of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Here you can learn about this indigenous Hawaiian culture and enjoy the natural beauty of the ahupua’a.
After a stop at the visitor contact station at Hale Ho’okipa, walk the short trail down to the beach. Look for the migratory birds that return every year to the fishpond at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Perhaps you’ll come across a monk seal lounging on the rocks.
Don your snorkel for a better view of the underwater life, including the tropical fish and sea turtles that swim among the coral reefs.