Ancient Farms and Villages
As you cruise along the Na Pali coast, you will see many places and probably think to yourself, “Wouldn’t that be the perfect place for a house?” The amazing scenery and location would make a potential property a world-class place to hang your hat. These days, that is not possible, as the majority of the Na Pali Coast sits inside a protected state park to ensure that countless future generations can enjoy the same beauty that exists today. But that was not always the case.
For centuries the ancient Hawaiians had villages and homes along the Na Pali coast. These villages were thriving communities where the people would live off of the land (aina) and sea (kai). It was a good life, and the people here enjoyed the bounty of living in a tropical paradise. One of those old communities took place at Nu’alolo.
With a large valley behind, the steep cliffs of Nu’alolo provided protection for the people who lived here. However, just as it prevented outside intruders from getting in, it sometimes stranded the local people in the winter when the raging surf and storms would prevent them from going out to sea. As such, they were required to be great Taro farmers, at some times needing to live off that alone. Taro is very important to Hawaiian culture, and is still farmed today on the North Shore near Hanalei – you can see the large fields from the lookout in Princeville before you descend down the hill.
Even today at Nu’alolo, you can see remnants of these old taro plots on the hillside. If you notice some of the stone outcroppings to look a bit un-natural, that is because these are actually old terraces where Taro and other plants would grow. With such a steep landscape to deal with, the ancient Nu’alolo people were ingenious in turning difficult terrain into fertile growing territory.
Next to Nu’alolo valley is Nu’alolo Kai, the main access point to the sea. This area is surrounded by a shallow reef, helping to keep the beach protected from violent waves crashing on shore and washing out the sand. This reef is a huge feeding ground for Honu (turtles) who love to eat the seaweed coming off the reef. The area also served as a launch point for fishermen to head out in their canoes to go fishing and travel to other villages or islands.
To See More…
If you want to find out more about Nu’alolo and the rest of the wonders of the Na Pali Coast, we invite you to join us on one of our tours. We have different boats you can choose from to suit everyone’s style. To learn more about our tours, click here. If you would like to book now, you can click here.
We hope to see you on the Na Pali Coast! Aloha