Hike, kayak or take a boat cruise to the monument celebrating the life of the famous British explorer.
Captain James Cook was the British naval explorer who first brought Europeans to the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. Upon his return a year later, the Hawaiians killed him at the picturesque Kealakekua Bay. A century after he first reached the island, a 27-foot (8-meter) tall monument was erected in his honor. Today the monument is a popular destination for history fans and adventurers alike.
Situated in a remote bay, the monument isn’t easy to reach. The spire stands alone against a rocky cliff, and must be reached by hiking or by sea. Get up early and rent a kayak, the most popular method for reaching the monument. Those who arrive early enough have the chance to see dolphins playing in water nearby, or the iconic Hawaiian sea turtles that the area is known for. You can rent a kayak on the Hawaii Belt Road prior to the turnoff to the bay.
Chartered boats are also available in the area and offer a relaxing alternative to kayaking. Many of these tour operators include lunch in the program. Jump off the boat to experience the excellent snorkeling opportunities. Kealakekua Bay is a marine sanctuary and so fishing is prohibited.
Trek across the rugged landscape to reach the monument by land. The 4.25-mile (7-kilometer) hike takes you through stunning scenery. Reaching the monument is a rewarding experience. Be sure to bring your swimming costume because after this hike you’ll want to cool off in the water.
Kealakekua Bay is located approximately 30 minutes by car from Kailua-Kona. Parking is available at Napo’opo’o Beach, from where you can choose to travel on foot or by boat to reach the monument. There is no fee to visit the Captain Cook Monument.