Koko Head is a peninsula forming the shoreline of the Hawaii Kai area; it is the headland that defines the eastern side of Maunalua Bay along the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu. Koko Head is an ancient volcanic tuff cone which stands 642 feet in height. Koko Head’s last erupted around 30,000–35,000 years ago. Koko Head has three significant depressions or old vents, the largest of which forms the well-known Hanauma Bay, a marine embayment formed within a tuff ring that was breached by the ocean.
Adjacent to Koko Head is Koko Crater, which in size dwarfs Koko Head with its peak called Kohelepelepe (or Puʻu Mai) rising 1,200 feet high. Koko Crater is a popular landmark on Oahu’s southeastern shore. Within Koko Crater are horse stables and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, established in 1958. the garden’s hot, dry climate is suitable for Plumeria and Bougainvillea; specializing in tropical cacti and succulents. One of the most exciting attractions is the Koko Crater lookout point. Getting to Koko Crater lookout point from Koko Head Regional Park is a steep trail consisting of 1,048 railroad tie stairs and it’s infamous railroad tie bridge, originally built years ago to get supplies to the military bunkers at the top. Even from a distance one can see the hiking trail that leads to its 1,208 foot peak with breath-taking unobstructed 360-degree views looking down on Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Makapuʻu Head, Hawaii Kai, Honolulu and the Koko Head Crater Botanical Garden.[gallery link="file" ids="5582,5580,5579"]
Koko Crater, known as Kohelepelepe means “labia minor” or “fringed vulva” in the Hawaiian language. It got this name from an ancient legend, which tells of one of the sisters of the volcano goddess Pele named Kapo, who had a magical “flying vagina” that she could send anywhere. When Kamapua’a, the pig god, tried to rape Pele, Kapo came to help her. She distracted Kamapua’a by throwing her vagina to Koko Head, where it made the crater.
Other area attractions include:
Lānaʻi Lookout, a scenic lookout that features a very distant view of the Island of Lānaʻi, visible only under good atmospheric conditions and Molokaʻi, directly across the Kaiwi Channel, closer and nearly always visible during the day.
Hālona Blowhole, a rock formation and an ocean water blowhole just off of Hanauma Bay at Hālona Point. On windy days when the tide is high, the ocean breeze sends the waves rolling on to the shore where the rock formation then shoots sea spray high into the air through the cave acting like a geyser.