The best preserved ancient refuge in Hawaii.
Hawaiians who transgressed the ancient kapu (forbidden or taboo in Hawaiian) laws could escape death by clubbing if they outran their pursuers and reached this place of refuge. In this old coconut grove amid ancient fishponds, with a ten-foot-high rock wall built around 1550, you get an eerie feeling that the ancient past is alive around you. This is a national park, featuring an audio walking tour as well as park rangers. You may well see Hawaiian green sea turtles, known as "honu" in the shallows or on the beach.
Though the 182-acre refuge ceased functioning as such in the 19th century, it's still considered a sacred site and remnants of its original purpose remain. The Hale o Keawe Heiau, a sacred temple built in 1650, was destroyed but it's believed that the spiritual power (mana) of the the bones of the 23 chiefs it housed still offer protection; It's guarded by wood-carved statues known as ki'i carved with intimidating expressions to scare off intruders.
The massive 1,000 foot-long, 10-feet-tall and 17-feet thick wall, built in the 16th century from lava rocks, separates the chief's home from the site. Visitors can also check out Keoneele Cove, the royal canoe landing as well as halau (thatched work house) and fishponds.