The Best List of Caves in Hawaii
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Caves in Hawaii? Hawaii has a long history of volcanic activity, and this means that the island chain is home to many caves. Caves are an interesting topic because they come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them can be explored by anyone, while others require special permission or equipment to get inside.
No matter where you go in Hawaii, there will always be some type of cave nearby – even if it’s just a small hole in the ground! There are over 400 known caves on the Hawaiian islands, so we’ve created a list for you with some highlights from each area.
The Best List of Caves in Hawaii
If you are into spelunking or cave exploration, then the state of Hawaii is an ideal destination for you. It is said that Hawaii is full of geographical anomalies, and the place is full of caves of different shapes and sizes on every major island. Volcanic eruptions causing lava tubes, coastal caves carved up by the oceans, and world-class underwater caves that give you an experience of a different realm altogether.
But are the caves in Hawaii sacred? Yes, the caves are priceless examples of the culture in Hawaii and for this reason, the caves enjoy the status of being ‘sacred’.
The Top Caves to Visit in Hawaii
Like the other natural attractions in the Aloha State, the caves are no different. They are beautiful creations of nature, waiting to be explored by us. Most of the caves in Hawaii are easily accessible, but some are best left to the experienced spelunkers. Make sure you bring a strong flashlight when you come for your cave tours, as the mobile flash will not help you inside the caverns and caves.
Here are the top caves in Hawaii –
- Bobcat Trail Habitation Cave
- Fern Grotto
- Kaumana Cave
- Kazumura Cave
- Makauwahi Cave
- Hanakapiai Caves
- Hana Lava Tube
- Kaneana Cave
- Thurston Lava Tube
- Na Pali Coast Cave
- Mermaid Cave
- Kula Kai Caverns
- Spitting Caves
- Bubble Cave
- Shark’s Cove
- Three Room Cave
- Makaha Caverns
- Wet & Dry Caves
- Waiahuakua Sea Cave
- Ka’eleku Caverns
- Caves at Wai’anapanapa State Park
- Keauhou Bay Sea Caves
Phew! It’s humanly not possible to visit every cave in the state. But how would you know which are the best among these? So, let’s break this down a bit into various categories for your convenience.
Best Caves in Hawaii
We will now check out the best and must-visit caves in Hawaii.
Underwater Caves in Hawaii
What can be more beautiful in Hawaii than the perfect landscapes? An entirely different world exists under the waters with caves and caverns, which, many would agree, is more beautiful than the world above.
Spitting Caves, Oahu
Spitting Caves is the place where you would want to be if you are hoping for a chance encounter with the highly endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. However, you must be careful as white tip reef sharks are a regularity in these waters.
The Spitting Caves consist of 5 caves of different sizes that have been naturally formed because of strong currents and constant pounding by the ocean waters. If conditions are good, then this is the best diving spot in Oahu.
Bubble Cave, Maui
Bubble Cave is a vast cave, and the most striking feature is the air bubble at the surface level where divers can remove their masks and talk within it! However, you need to swim underwater for 50 ft through a narrow lava tube to access this cave. The entrance is wide, but it slowly narrows as you enter the lava tube.
You would need flashlights inside the lava tube, so one needs to carry at least 2 to 3 sources. In the end, you can surface in the air pocket and enjoy the experience of being at the surface of the water but inside a cave.
Three Room Cave, Big Island
The Three-Room Cave is a 200 ft lava tube that has three big rooms. Inside the caves, you will find ghost shrimp, Hawaiian lobsters, and pufferfish. The cave is an excellent attraction for those who love to come close to aquatic animals like Reticulated Butterflyfish and turtles as they roam freely in this area. There is a word of caution, though; the cave is meant only for experienced divers, and one should come there only when the seas are calm.
Water Caves in Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands boasts more than 700 miles of coastline, including striking cliffs and majestic sea caves.
Waiahuakua Sea Cave
It is a double-door sea cave located on the Na Pali coast and is often regarded as one of the best. Once you see the cave, you will understand why it is so revered. The water is vibrant, and there is also a secret waterfall inside the cave.
Many people have heard of the legendary mermaid cave, but not many people have visited the cave or even know it is located! It is a luminous cave that can be spotted on the leeward coast of Oahu, and if you do come here, you will go back with lots of beautiful memories from this picture-perfect place.
Keauhou Bay Sea Caves
Located near the Kona on Hawaii Island, the Keauhou Bay Sea Caves are only accessible via kayaking excursions. These caves are a photographer’s delight, and people love to admire natural rock formations. The only downside is that one needs to sign up for a kayak tour to come here, putting off many visitors!
Caves in Hawaii Big Island
Apart from the underwater and sea caves, Hawaii also boasts of caves on the Big Island, which are of notable worth. Some of these caves are only accessible through a tour, while others have free entrance.
Kaumana Caves leads a somewhat unknown existence and is located within a small park a few miles from downtown Hilo. The cave is open throughout the day, and although not many people are keen on visiting this cave, it does not mean that your trip will not be worth your time. The cave was formed in 1881 from a lave flow, and the cave itself is a 25-mile lava tube with a skylight entrance.
The Kazamura Cave is found on the eastern slopes of Kilauea Volcano. The cave is a huge lava tube that originated more than 500 years ago. In the 1990s, the Kazamura Caves was the longest lava tube in the world at 40 miles. The cave system also has lava formations, such as blades, lava falls, and lava plunge pools.
Thurston Lava Tube
It is a 500-year-old lava tube that nestles within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is a stunning example of a geographical phenomenon when a river of lava slowly forms walls and a ceiling. As soon as the flow of lava stops, the remaining lava goes downhill, and we are left with a tunnel.
There is a 20 min walk to the Thurston Lava Tube but what will amaze you is the 500 ft cave-like tunnel. Honestly, visiting the Thurston Lave Tube is a unique experience that you will cherish forever.
As you can tell, the state of Hawaii has a lot of caves to explore. Make certain to always be safe and prepared before entering any cave so you can make your cave experience a good one!
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