A few weekends ago, I took my friend, Sheryl, to Maui. It was actually her first time visiting Maui and the two main things she really wanted to see were the “heart-shaped rock” and bamboo forest. I had been to Maui several times, but had never seen the heart-shaped rock. Thank goodness for the internet. Upon searching for the heart-shaped rock on Maui, our quest led us to the Nakalele Blowhole.
The Nakalele Blowhole is actually easy to find. Searching “Nakalele Blowhole” on Google Maps will give you general directions on how to get there. Driving north of Kapalua (on Honoapiilani Highway or HI-30, which then becomes Kahekili Highway or HI-340) through several miles of winding road (not nearly as nausea-inducing as the road to Hana), you’ll have a stunning view of the ocean and cliffs on Maui’s north shore.
When you see mile marker 38.5, turn left to park onto the dirt parking area. You’ll see other cars parked on that side of the road, as others (more tourists than locals) have gone there to see what you also went there for.
There is no marked trailhead, just walk towards the ocean.
You’ll see this sign several yards down from the parking lot:
When you proceed further down towards the shore, you’ll eventually see this other sign:
The round-trip is barely a mile. I did see some visitors wearing flip-flops, but I would advise you to wear a good pair of shoes, as you will be scaling some rugged terrain and sharp rocks on the way down to the blowhole. Take your time and be careful. Like I always say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The Nakalele Blowhole is a spectacle to watch. The blowhole is the result of the ocean undercutting the shore and forcing water up a hole made in the lava shelf.
Keep in mind that safety is of utmost importance here. Even with a few warning signs along the way and news coverage of fatal incidents, some individuals are still going dangerously too close to the blowhole. It may be tempting to get close to the blowhole, but heed the warnings. It can blast water 100 feet into the air! When the water recedes, it creates a vacuum, in which you can get sucked in if you get too close. In other words, don’t be like this guy:
If you look to the right of the blowhole, you’ll see this:
Some call it the heart-shaped rock, but I think it’s more like a heart-shaped puka (Hawaiian word for “hole”) in a rock. Either way, no one can argue that it makes for a great photo op.