This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
Discovery of the Week: Waipio Valley
Where it is located: In the Hamakua District of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi
What it is: The largest and most southern of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains.
The Waipio Valley is a mile wide at the coastline and almost six miles deep. Along the coast is a beautiful black sand beach often used by motion picture production companies (the final scene of Water World was filmed here).
On both sides of the valley there are cliffs reaching almost 2000 feet with hundreds of cascading waterfalls, including one of Hawaii’s most celebrated waterfalls – Hi’ilawe.
The road into the valley is very steep (a 25% grade). In order to travel into the valley, you must either ride down in a four wheel drive vehicle or hike down to the valley floor.
Waipi’o means “curved water” in the Hawaiian language. The lovely Waipi’o River flows through the valley until it enters the ocean at the beach.
The Waipio Valley is often referred to as the “Valley of the Kings” because it was once the home to many of the rulers of Hawaii. The valley has both historical and cultural importance to the Hawaiian people.
According to oral histories as few as 4000 or as many as 10,000 people lived in Waipi’o during the times before the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. Waipi’o was the most fertile and productive valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Aside from its historical importance, the Waipio Valley is a sacred place for Hawaiians. It was the site of many important heiaus (temples).
Did you know about this place? Let me know in the comments section below.