A preserved Hawai'ian heritage- Waikapuna Bay in Hawai'i

The Big Island of Hawai'i is definitely a place where there are endless possibilities to see nature in its rawest form. There are numerous hiking trails, some of which need special permissions and precautions beforehand. If they are worth the visit, why not get ready?

The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is one of the iconic trails that I will remember for a long time- not only because of the striking beauty of Waikapuna Bay but also because of the intricate legends and myths that surround the place. 

Waikapuna Bay, Big Island, Hawai'i

This Bay, which is part of the historic trail, is situated in the southern part of the Big Island of Hawai'i, part of the Ka'u district.

If you look around carefully, you will be lucky to actually see some of the petroglyphs made by native Hawai'ians!

This ancient fishing village is rich in native Hawai'ian cultural heritage and includes house sites, lava tube caves, and ancient trails. The Bay is surrounded by large stands of native coastal vegetation, tidepool complexes, and sea caves. If you wish to see Hawai'i preserved in all its glory, Waikapuna Bay is the place to be! The region is all about honoring the ancestry of Hawai'ian natives, by building a connection between the descendants and their natural resources. A hike towards the Bay, after a 6.5 km long dirt ranch road accessible by jeeps and trucks, takes around three hours. There are lots to see in the Bay, and I would suggest eight hours for the entire trip.

The Bay and its surroundings are protected by a trail association that works to preserve indigenous, endemic species of Hawai'i. Some of these species are the tree Wiliwili, the shrub Maia pilo, and the endangered bird Noio. Petroglyphs by native Hawai'ians and their burial and non-burial sites are amazing sights. 

Wiliwili, an endemic tree species of Hawai'i

This preserved land can be visited only after approval from the trail association that we went with. The visitors have to take responsibility for the journey and the ethics that are to be followed. The association is very protective of the Bay as many previous tourists had caused tantrums by throwing waste and drinking, without respecting the ancient history of the natives.

One of the members of the Ala Kahakai National Trail Association (http://www.alakahakaitrail.org/waikapuna) joined us for the field trip and by the end of the hike in the late afternoon, I learned a lot about the island and its culture. And of course, I shouldn't forget the pretty pahoehoe lava flows from the mighty volcano Mauna Loa spread all around the sanctuary!

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