You might have heard about a popular landmark on Maui called Dragon’s Teeth. This spot on Maui’s western shoreline is steeped in history and is a meaningful place for Native Hawaiians.
Let’s learn all about it and discover the beauty of Makaluapuna Point – Maui’s Dragontooth.
Where is Dragon’s Teeth on Maui
Dragon’s Teeth is located in Kapalua, an upscale resort neighborhood northwest of Kaanapali. If you travel toward the ocean on Office Road (past the Ritz Carlton Kapalua), it’s the area at the very end of the road at the three-way stop.
If you turn right, there’s a parking lot, and access to the rocky shoreline is through the golf course.
A Popular Tourist Spot, a Sacred Place
Some say the jagged lava rock formation resembles the teeth of a dragon – that’s how it got its English nickname.
Many travel guides rave about it being one of nature’s wonders, but very few educate visitors on the nearby ancient Hawaiian burial site. It’s estimated that more than a thousand iwi (human remains) are buried here, some from as far back as A.D. 610.
Is Entry Allowed at Dragon’s Teeth?
A sign now stands at the entrance to the peninsula, where both the Dragon’s Teeth and the burial sites are located. But that hasn’t stopped dozens from trampling past it every day.
The sign reads: “Makaluapuna is a wahi pana [sacred site]. to na kanaka maoli [Native Hawaiians]. Entry is discouraged except for Hawaiian protocol or cultural practices. Your cooperation and respect are appreciated. Mahalo – Thank you.”
Some interpret the sign to discourage entry to the labyrinth toward the right of the path, which is definitely a kapu (keep out) area. However, the sign refers to Makaluapuna by name, suggesting the entire area is sacred.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Dragon’s Teeth Maui is a dangerous place due to powerful waves that can wash onto the rocks unexpectedly.
So, while entry to Dragon’s Teeth isn’t prohibited, it may be better to explore other nearby scenery.
Where to Go Instead of Dragon’s Teeth on Maui
If you decide to heed the signs and skip seeing Dragon’s Teeth, you’ve still got a lot of incredible scenery to discover.
We recommend taking Lower Honoapiilani Road just a few yards east to access Kapalua Coastal Trail. This oceanside walk will take you above stunning Ironwoods Beach to a rocky cliff that’s possibly more scenic than Dragon’s Teeth in Maui.
Or, you can get back on the highway and drive west to check out Nakalele Blowhole. This is a scenic drive that is sure to wow your entire travel group.
Hawaii’s Sacred Sites
Dragon’s Teeth isn’t the only cultural place in Hawaii, and you’ll likely stumble upon a few others while visiting. Please be respectful and follow the warning signs that may be posted. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask a local or research it beforehand. Otherwise, it’s best not to risk disturbing the site.