My friend Angela’s favorite spot to watch Humpback whales is a breathtaking place called Makapu’u. It is immensely popular with both residents and tourists offering panoramic views of the Ka Iwi Wilderness Area, Rabbit Island and the Pacific Ocean. On clear days Molokai and Lanai are visible.

Located on Oahu, Makapu’u marks the island’s most eastern point. The cliff forms the eastern tip and is the site of the prominent Makapu’u lighthouse, comprising the remnant of a ridge that rises 647 feet from the sea. The area known as Makapu’u translates to “bulging eye” in Hawaiian and is a reference to an image said to have been located in a cave there called Keanaokeakuapololi.

A paved road and parking lot leads out to the well worn trail heading up to Makapuʻu Head and the lighthouse at Makapu’u Point. The trail is roughly 1.75 miles long, it is a relatively easy hike and appropriate for children if accompanied by an adult. The 46-foot tall Makapu’u Point Lighthouse is visible from the trail and still actively used today. A small white and red building is located nearby that was once part of the lighthouse keeper’s quarters long ago.

The highlight of the spot is the view from the top look out point. Even last week we saw loads of whales and their calves swimming in the clear waters below. It was truly amazing! A telescope is available to the public at the summit lookout to explore the many features such as the tide pools and blowholes along the rocky shore below Makapu’u Head. I encourage you grab your camera and take a few hours to visit this special area. Even if you don’t spot any whales, it will still be worth the trip.

Images by Cara M.


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