Olowalu is located between Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina on West Maui. Olowalu contains one of the largest collections of petroglyphs on the island of Maui. In ancient times, Olowalu was a place of safety and refuge. If someone was accused of committing an offense against an individual or an ali’i (royal) they could find refuge, or pu’u honua, in Olowalu. Once inside, you were considered untouchable – violating sanctuary was an automatic death sentence. Olowalu allowed a cooling off period to resolve disputes.
Historically, crops were planted in the higher areas of Olowalu with taro and luxuriant shady breadfruit groves. Closer to the sea, they grew coconuts and sweet potato. Olowalu Reef is home to one of Hawaii’s most unique ocean reef systems. Some large coral heads are hundreds of years old. Amongst the tropical marine life is a Manta Ray cleaning station, and a Black Tip Reef Shark nursery.