Makauwahi Cave Reserve
Ways to visit Makauwahi Cave Reserve
Far from the crowds on Kauai’s beaches, the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a little-known natural treasure. Join a guided tour, often led by archaeology experts, to explore the depths of this ancient Hawaiin gravesite and learn about the fossils of shells, bones, and plants found inside—many are more than 10,000 years old. In addition to visiting the caves, most tours include a stop at the reserve’s scenic overlook to take in vistas across the Maha’ulepu Valley to the island’s southern shore, and a visit to the nearby tortoise reserve.
Things to know before you go to Makauwahi Cave Reserve
Kids especially love adventuring inside the cave visiting the tortoise sanctuary.
Visitors mist hike a short trail to reach the sinkhole and cave opening. Wear sturdy shoes, sunblock, and a hat.
The reserve includes a small beach where you can stop for a cool dip.
There are picnic tables near the cave entrance and public restrooms inside the reserve.
You must enter the cave by crawling through a small opening, so the site is not accessible to those with limited mobility.
How to get to Makauwahi Cave Reserve
The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is located along the southern coast of Kauai, just above Mahaulepu Beach. You can drive the unpaved road (a sturdy 4x4 is recommended) to approach the reserve and hike the short trail to the cave from there, or join a guided tour that includes transportation from resorts and hotels in nearby Poipu.
When to visit Makauwahi Cave Reserve
This outdoor site is best visited when the skies are clear and the temperatures mild enough to take on the trail comfortably. The cave is open daily from 10am to 4pm and locked shut when closed—you can hike the trail at any time of day but cannot access the cave outside of opening hours.
Kauai’s Lava Tube
Makauwahi is a limestone cave, but Kauai is also home to a famous lava tube formed by the island’s ancient volcanic activity. Located just 20 minutes by car from the cave reserve on Kauai’s southern coast, the Spouting Horn Blowhole is a natural lava tube that runs right up to the water’s edge. When the ocean’s surf hits the tube just right, the blowhole sprays water up to 50 feet (15 meters) in the air.