Makauwahi Cave and Tortoise Sanctuary (Poipu)
Easy to difficult, depending on your approach
1 mile to 4 miles round trip
A part of the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, this area is unlike any other part of the island. From the developed center of Poipu, you will venture into an arid geological wonderland of caves, caverns and plains dotted with tortoise! The actual area of Maha’ulepu is vast and expansive, however staying central to the Tortoise Sanctuary and Makauwahi Cave will provide more than enough for you to explore. The Tortoise Sanctuary is privately run but open to the public, and the owners are more than happy to talk with you and share about their ecological endeavors. You may even get to see newborn or baby tortoise! From there, a quaint trail system connects the Makauwahi Cave, beach and Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail. For an immersive experience, take a free guided tour of the cave and learn about its rich and significant geological history!
Free cave tours Wed-Sun, 10-2.
How to get there: Warning: rough road! On Poipu Road, continue past the Hyatt for approximately 2 miles. The road turns to dirt and gets rather bumpy with large potholes. At the crossroads, turn right and proceed to a green gate with a shack on the right. Turn right just past the shack down a dirt driveway. Drive along the edge of the field and park on the left side at the bottom of the field, just past signpost 18.
To get to the cave: From the tortoise sactuary, turn towards the ocean and follow a path that crosses a footbridge, turn right and walk to sign post 15.
Alternate access: Walk two miles along the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail that starts from Shipwrecks Beach near the Hyatt. This trail is not for the faint of heart, as it passes by steep cliffs along the ocean.