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Where is Captain Cook Monument?

Captain Cook Monument is Located in Kealakekua Bay | Captain Cook, Hawaii

Captain Cook Monument is a white obelisk located at the north end of Kealakekua Bay near the point. It is where the famous Captain James Cook met his final end. The combination of history, and natural beauty both in and out of the water make Kealakekua Bay’s Captain Cook Monument one of the top must-see hotspots on the Big Island of Hawaii.

a snorkeler swims in tropical shallow water near the shore where a white obelisk sits among the trees


Where is Captain Cook Monument?

Located feet from the ocean in the north-western side of Kealakekua Bay just inland from Cook Point, the Captain Cook Monument is not easily accessible from shore. The nearest road is located up a steep cliff 1.9 miles from the monument itself. The nearest ocean entry is a mile away. This makes the site a bit of a challenge to get to. There are 4 ways to get to Captain Cook Monument.


How to get to Captain Cook Monument

There are 4 ways to get to captain cook monument

  1. Snorkel Tour
  2. Kayak Rental
  3. The Traditional Way (canoe)
  4. Hike

The easiest way to get to the Captain Cook monument where the snorkeling is some of the best in all of Hawaii is by boat. The second easiest is by taking a Kayak tour and paddling there. The final and least fun way to get there is by hiking down from the high bluff above.


Captain Cook Snorkel Tour

The best and most fun way to snorkel and see the Captain Cook Monument is by snorkel tour boat. Tour companies like Kona Snorkel Trips go regularly to this gorgeous and impressive spot to share the rich history and amazing reef snorkeling. Along the way to the site it is possible to see marine life and some of the coastal features of Kona. Upon arrival visitors can’t help but notice the massive cliffs surrounding the north end of the bay.




The Top 3 Best Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tours

Captain Cook Kayak Rental or Tour

By Kayak it’s just over a mile to the monument from the pier if you can maintain a straight line in the wind and swell. There are a few different permitted rental companies that will rent a Kayak or take you on a guided tour of Kealakekua Bay and the Monument.

Ehu & Kai conveniently rents kayaks and makes it easy to put them in the water at the nearby launch so you won’t have to transport it by car. If it’s a really calm and less windy day, you can also rent a paddle board there.



Captain Cook the Traditional Way

Traditionally the Hawaiians were big on canoes. They used them like we use automobiles today with the ocean acting as their highway. You and some friends can paddle K-bay the Hawaiian way on a double hull outrigger canoe.




Captain Cook Hike

It’s relatively straightforward to hike to the Captain Cook Monument. Park on Napoopoo Road and hike 1.9 miles (3 km) down to the Monument. Once there you can have lunch at the monument under the trees. It can get hot here so bring a swimsuit and slip into the water. Careful if the swell is up as it can be treacherous getting in and out of the water on the sharp slippery lava rock. Don’t forget to bring water!

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Captain Cook Die?

When the crew of the HMS Endeavour returned to Kealakekua Bay they were treated with some suspicion by the Hawaiians. They thought Cook was an incarnation of the god Lono the first time he showed up during the appropriate time of year. This time he came back during a time of year when the Hawaiians were less peaceful. When Cook tried to trade with the Hawaiians there was a dispute over property and the Hawaiians Killed Cook before he could get back to the skiff. The 27 foot tall obelisk that resides in Kealakekua Bay (some call it K-bay for short) is dominion of the British Commonwealth and marks the spot where Cook Died. In a way it is a symbol of the end of an era for Hawaii with the arrival of foreigners forever changing the culture.

a group of people on a raft in a body of water


Where Can I See Captain Cook Monument?

While you can see the Captain Cook Monument from the south eastern end of the bay it is located a mile away on the inaccessible northwestern side of the bay. There are 4 ways to get up close and personal to the monument.

It will take an average of 42 minutes to hike down to the Captain Cook Monument and 52 Minutes to hike back up the steep ascent. Give yourself some time for snorkeling once you arrive at the monument before hiking back up.


Why does Captain Cook have a monument in Hawaii?

Captain Cook Died on the shore in Kealakekua Bay his monument marks the spot where he met his end.


Can you snorkel at Captain Cook without a boat?

Yes. If you hike down and enter the water from the rocky lava shore.


Which Hawaiian island is Captain Cook on?

The island of Hawaii which is also known as The Big Island. It’s located on the western side in Kealakekua Bay in the town of Captain Cook.


Can I drive to the Captain Cook monument?

The closest you can physically drive is about 1 mile (1.6 km) away. After that you will need to rent a kayak or take a boat to get to the monument. There are other ways to get close to the monument, though not by car.


Have we answered the question where is Captain Cook Monument? I hope so! If you’re looking for other experiences we highly recommend checking out the manta ray night snorkel as it is easily the most unique and popular snorkeling activity in all of Hawaii.

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