There’s a Hawaii away from the famous Waikiki Beach. Most visitors never see this side of the islands (and we don’t mean honeymooners who never leave their hotel room). Even lifelong Hawaii residents have never set foot on these “secret” places. We’ve selected seven “secret” places below, but shhh. . . don’t tell anyone.
Valley of Kings
One of the secret places in Hawaii is Waipio Valley on the Big Island. Considered sacred by Hawaiians, this is the place where Hawaii’s kings, including King Kamehameha the Great, trace their ancestry.
Off the Hana Highway, on the island of Maui, lies a hidden Hawaii of an earlier time, where an indescribable sense of serenity prevails. Hemmed in by Waipio and Hoalua bays is the remote community of Huelo, which means “tail end last.”
The Unknown Island
When people think of traveling to Hawaii, they probably don’t think of the island of Lanai. Once a giant pineapple plantation, today the small, rural island has a couple of Four Season Resorts, a quiet way of life, and a relatively uninhabited landscape to explore.
The Forgotten Islands
The islands of Molokai could be counted among Hawaii’s secret places, given that they’re not nearly as well-known as their cousin islands of Maui or Kauai. Indeed, Molokai is considered the “most Hawaiian island,” where residents still, like their ancestors, live off the land and the sea.
The Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District
Hawaiian stick-figure petroglyphs are a great enigma—no one knows who made them or why. The largest concentration lies within the 233-acre Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District, on the island of Hawaii. Here, a total of 3,000 designs (depicting dancers, paddlers, fish hooks, spears, poi pounders, canoes) have been identified in the chocolate-brown lava fields along the 1.5-mile Malama Trail, next door to the Mauna Lani Resort.
The Hindu Temple
Believe it or not, a sacred Hindu temple is being carved out of rocks from India and deposited on the banks of Kauai’s Wailua River. The San Marga Iraivan Temple is being built to last “a thousand years or more,” on the 458-acre site of the Saiva Siddhanta Church monastery, a sacred Hawaiian site called pihanakalani, “where heaven touches the earth.”
Kukaniloko Birthing Stones
Few know the most sacred site in central Oahu: two rows of 18 lava rocks once flanked a central birthing stone, where women of ancient Hawaii gave birth to alii (royalty). According to Hawaiian belief, the bowl-shape rocks held the power to ease labor pains. Birth rituals involved 48 chiefs who pounded drums to announce the arrival of the newborns likely to become chiefs.