Maniniholo Dry Cave
Maniniholo Dry Cave and Haena Beach Park is a popular attraction for those visiting the North Shore of Kauai. This ancient site is located across from Ha’ena Beach Park, on highway 560.
Maniniholo Dry Cave is said to have formed naturally thousands of years ago. The sea level was higher and the ocean once used to hit the base of the cliff. As a result, erosion from the waves formed the cave. The sand was brought into Maniniholo Dry Cave during the 1957 tsunami. In addition, stones have been piled in the front of the cave by locals as well as native Hawaiians.
About 300 yards deep, with plenty of standing room, the cave is great for exploration. The floor is covered by sand as well as large stones. Furthermore, keiki love to explore the cave and run around. Consequently, a flashlight is needed to go deeper into the cave. We used the one on our cell phone.
Hawaiian Culture and History
Maniniholo Cave and the surrounding Haena area has its importance in Hawaiian culture and history. In Hawaiian legends, it is told that this dry cave was once used by menehune to escape danger. For that reason, the cave was used as a passage route to get from one side of the island to the other.
Another Hawaiian legend says that this cave was named after Maniniholo, the head fisherman of the Menehune. Maniniholo used it to catch many fish here at Ha’ena. On one account, after catching many fish, he left some of the catch under the cliff. The menehune then carried the rest of the fish to the island’s interior to other menehune. However, when they returned to gather the rest of the fish, they saw an akua (supernatural beast/ spirit) who took the fish that they had left there. In order to catch the supernatural beast, they decided to dig a cave and make a trap. This cave is the remnants of the menehune work. Other legends say that the menehune dug the cave looking for imps that stole their fish.
Parking and Information
Ke’e Beach, Hae’na and the North Shore was impacted by a severe flood in April 2018. As a result, the road to Ke’e Beach and the surrounding area (right past Hanalei) was restricted due to repairs and maintenance. Since then, a shuttle service has been established to help transport visitors to many popular destinations past Hanalei. This will help preserve the beautiful landscape and limit traffic flow to the recovering areas impacted by the flood. In order to visit this area, you must book tickets for the shuttle in advance as most shuttles are booked two weeks out in advance. Here is the link to the website.
Shuttle services are provided at various locations where you can park and take the shuttle to your destination.
Make sure to make it back for the last shuttle that leaves at 5:00 pm.
Another option to get to attractions, sites and beaches past Hanalei is to purchase a pass for entry and parking. Facilities with limited parking spaces and monitored entry, require parking permits that need to be purchased a week in advance as there are only a set number of dedicated parking stalls for visitors. It is advised that visitors plan ahead if wanting to take a day trip to Ke’e Beach or hike the Hanakapiai or Kalalau Trail. You can get a permit two weeks in advance before heading to the area.
During the winter months, the surf can be very high and beachgoers should heed caution. Inevitably, the beach will be closed by lifeguards when conditions are too rough.
The Maniniholo Dry cave is a great place to take a break from a long drive. As a result our boys get a chance to stretch their legs and run around. They also get to explore one of Kauai’s natural wonders. After visiting the cave, they came up with so many stories. This is where the Batman and Spiderman lives. They also claimed to see blood on the rocks. Whether adult or keiki, your imagination runs wild as you enter the cave. Will the space cave in? How was this cave formed? What was the cave used for? What’s in the darkness? Are the Legends of the Evil Spirit true? Maniniholo Dry Cave and Haena Beach Park is great for exploration and play with your keiki.
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