If you find yourself in or around Poipu and looking for a quick adventure the Makuawahi cave offers just that: a short drive and a quick hike lead you to this archeological gem.

(Note: the cave is only open to the public on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00am-2:00pm)

Getting There: 

Drive down Poipu road, traveling east; the road will turn to dirt and a few obstacles will make you glad to have (or wish you had) a medium clearance vehicle... Take the first right off of the dirt road and then your first left (if you drive into the stables then you have gone too far). This road will end shortly and you will see many cars parked, park somewhere out of the way and start walking towards the cave trail. 

The Trail/Cave:

When looking towards the ocean from the road, head left... a sign will mark the beginning of the trail. Follow this trail until you see the large hole in the ground (here you will find a nice aerial view of the sinkhole and a glimpse into the cave). Continue walking along the trail, and stay left at the bridge. The trail will parallel the stream for a few hundred feet and then you will see the cave entrance to your left. The entrance is small so you will need to crouch to enter. Once inside it's time to walk around and explore*; the main part of the cave is on the opposite side of the sinkhole. 

*Note that, as there are ancient burial sites in the cave, so please be respectful and keep exploration is limited... Guides will give you a brief tour if you want and they will also tell you a bit of the caves history, so talk to them if history is your jam!

What's Next:

There are many neat areas to check out after you are done in the cave: 

  • Reforestation project; just across the bridge and to the left you will see a couple fenced in areas... Inside are many native plant species as well as some large tortoises who help manage the area! This is a great place to take kids as you can enter the enclosure and get a better look at the tortoises, as well as the native flora!
  • Across the bridge and to the right you will find Maha'ulepu Beach: a neat little stretch of beach with a rental house and very few people (compared to some of the other beaches in the area).
  • Maha'ulepu Trail 

Pack List

  • Hiking/Running shoes (or sandals depending on your style)
  • Swim trunks if you want to swim at the nearby beach
  • Camera (there are some neat views along the way)
Show More
RT Distance 0.4 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Beach
Family Friendly
River

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Nothing That Special

It's like a nice surprise on your walk, but not worth listening to the talk or paying the $10, I did feel obliged to listen and pay, was not pleasant. I would see it from above and not go in next time.

Great Day Adventure

We started our hike at Shipwreck Beach for a two mile fairly gentle hike to the cave. Beautiful Kauai southern coast scenery. A part of the trail goes into a golf coarse. Then once at the cave Richard, the cave host/guide, gives you some history, cultural, and geological details. He asks for a $10/person donation but no pressure. Then we continued on to Mahaulepu beach for some beautiful beach scenes with a blow hole (hold onto your hat) and surf crashing areas! We hiked nearly five miles and were picked up at Mahaulepu by my brother. Beware of the car-eating potholes in the road!!! Fun day hike!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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