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City of Refuge


In ancient Hawaii before the unification of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1810 the royal monarch commanded archaic devotion. Violating royal etiquette could lead to an immediate death sentence, where the violator would be chased down and murdered for their indiscretion. These indiscretions included; crossing your shadow with a royals shadow, trespassing on royal grounds, looking at or coveting a royal’s possessions and so on. But as long you could make it to the last refuge and get pardoned by the high priest you were safe. 

Park on the side of the road (the road goes up a long way) and walk down. You’ll see locals selling kayak rides and other goods and services, but there is no need to pay for anything here. You’re free to park on the side. The park consists of a small beach and outside museum. A park ranger gives guided tours here daily. The tours last for about 30 minutes and you'll find a lot of interesting anecdotes about Hawaiian culture. The woman who gives the tour is really great, you should definitely listen to her if you spot her out and about. But the main draw here is the snorkel. This is one of the best spots for snorkel on the Big Island. If you go snorkeling at all, this place should be at the very top of your list. There are a lot of other tourists around snorkeling, but for some reason it is a very comforting thing to have here. It feels like a giant water playground and the community makes it feel light hearted and safe. There is no walkway or gentle entry point into the water. The simplest way is to sit down on the lava rock and push off into the water when you’re ready. 


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