Wai'anapanapa Cave

Useful Information

Location: Wai'anapanapa State Park. Highway 360E (Hana Highway), turn left beyond mile maker #32, paved road to the park.
Open: no restrictions [2007]
Fee: free [2007]
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Wai'anapanapa translates to "glistening waters" in Hawaiian. This name was given to the cave because of an old Hawai'ian legend.

Popu'alaea was a princess which had a cruel husband, King Ka'akea. Once she fled from him and hid in a cave. It was a sea cave, and she sat on a ledge at the sea entrance. Across from her sat her faithful maid, who fanned the princess with a Kahili feather, the symbol of royalty. The reflection of this feather was seen by King Ka'akea who was looking for her. He found her in the cave and killed her, and from this time on the water in the cave turns red once every year, as a remainder of the blod of the slain princess.

Hawai'ian legend.

Every year during spring, millions of red shrimp appear in the fresh water of this cave. The tiny red bodies cause the legendary red color. The 'opae 'ula (Halocaridina rubra) are endemic shrimps which hatch in the brakish water during the spring.