Kaneana Cave

Kaneana Cave (Makua Cave), Oahu

Kaneana Cave is a mysterious site on Oahu's leeward (west) coast, almost as far away as you can get on the island near where the road ends. It sits at the base of a cliff outcropping and is about 100 feet (30 m) high and 450 feet (137 m) deep. The cave is estimated to be around 150,000 years old and was once underwater, carved out by the waves of the ocean.

There are many ancient legends that tell about the cave's history. One legend tells that it was here where mankind was born, from the womb of the earth goddess. That's why the cave is called Kaneana (Cave of Kane), named after Kane, the god of creation.

Another legend tells of the shapeshifter Kamohoali'i, who could transform himself from a shark into a man. He and his human wife had a son, Nanaue. When Nanaue discovered his taste for meat, just like all man-eating sharks, from then on he always had an appetite for human flesh. So whenever he was hungry, he disguised himself as a human to trick his victims. He then dragged them into the cave and ate them. But when residents later found out about Nanaue's true identity, that he was a shark man, they captured and killed him.

The interior of the cave is dark and sometimes slippery. From the main cavern, a few smaller tunnels branch off to narrower areas. Stay away from these tunnels because they are not safe.

Kaneana Cave Overview

  • Cave is not maintained – stay out of the narrower areas
  • Bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes
  • Cave is dark and can be slippery
  • This is a sacred site, but nevertheless it has been vandalized in the past (graffiti on the walls)

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Reviews and Comments:
it is almost on the northwest section of the island. but in any case the place is a mess and you don't want to go too deep into it. it is not stable.
Vincent Eblacas, Sun Feb 18, 2018
Cave is right before Ka'ena State Park sign. Still a great place to see.
Mango808, Wed Sep 13, 2017
I don't know what the other reviews are talking about. There is absolutely no cave there. I have ran, walked, hiked, and even swam in the ponds and there is no cave at all. They must be thinking of some other place.
David Ghramm , Sat Feb 18, 2017
This is a sacred site but has been badly desecrated; graffiti on the walls, bad urine smell, and rubbish abound. The opening to the cave is huge though and you can't miss it if you're going in the town-bound direction (or looking in the rear view mirror when going out there) because the cave is on the north western face of the hillside right off the road. Please show respect people
G P, Wed Feb 03, 2016
In 1994 my then boyfriend (a local boy) and I went into the cave. I had no clue of it's history. About 1/2 way in we heard a child talking in a different language, further in there were two conversing, we were alone. He said, "do you hear that"?! I said knock it off I'm sure there are kids on top of the cliff or outside. We began walking out, at 1/2 way out it was only the one child's voice again. He exclaimed, " You hear that right, see I told you"! We got outside the cave, it was a sheer mountain, no cliff and ABSOLUTLEY no one near. I was a true believer in all the spirits and legands after that experience and many more that followed during the 8 years of living on the island.
Tammy Pearce, Fri Nov 07, 2014
"Southwestern" shore- NO!!! on the windward side, more like northeastern in direction, but north-south-east-west directions do not work here!

The Sierra Club of Oahu joins with Marine Environmental Dept the second Saturday of each even-numbered month to perform service projects to maintain a welcoming habitat for migrating native birds
Joanna Alexander, Sat Aug 11, 2012