Petroglyphs on the Big Island of Hawaii

categories: USA Travel
Hawaiian Petroglyphs

Carved rock tells a story from years ago in Hawaii

It’s fun to lay on the beach under a swaying palm tree sipping a mai tai in Waikoloa, on the Big Island of Hawaii and envision the islands way back when.  The times of old coconut huts and rustic outrigger canoes before resorts and cabanas dotted the ocean shores is intriguing.

But just who was there before and how did they protect their territories? Walking around the lava fields shows who was there; the ancient islanders and how they left their marks to prove it.

Large areas of century’s old hand carved symbols are easy to spot in the Puako Preserves by the upscale King’s Shops and Queen’s Market off highway 19, 21 miles north of the Kona airport.

Between 1400-1800 A.D. while native islanders lived and moved through the area, they communicated by making symbols on rocks using sharp instruments to engrave the images.  Single lined canoes, birds, sea life and human figures are some of the easier symbols to identify in this stretch of rocky terrain.

An island historian explained that all the islands have petroglyphs but the only double hull canoe is found here.  Special care has been taken to keep the historical site intact and signage directs adventurers to the trails keeping in mind the rocks sacred nature to the island people.  The King’s shops offers guided tours a few times a week and the schedule can be found at

Many of the old formations have been overrun by lava and the mix of lava and rock make for uneven walking around the site.  It’s advised to wear hiking type shoes and go before the sun starts beating down on the reflective black tar like substance.

Seeing history one step at a time makes a greater appreciation for the mai tai and relaxing environment.

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M'Liss Hinshaw

by M'Liss Hinshaw

M'Liss became a freelance travel writer after retiring from county service in San Diego, her home town. She likes exploring foods in her travels and also discovering different restaurants close to home. She says "travel is a window to the world and we like to open the window for others."

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