Another highly popular must-see while in Honolulu is the National Cemetery of the Pacific, otherwise known as the Oahu Punchbowl or Punchbowl Cemetery. This 112.5 acre, 34,000 grave cemetery was established in 1949 as a calming military resting place. The punchbowl itself was formed 75,000 to 100,000 years ago after Puowaina Volcano erupted violently. Originally dubbed the "hill of sacrifice," this location in the middle of the Puowaina Crater became the site of many secret Alii, or royal burials, as wells as the sacrifice site for offenders of kapas, or taboos. In the 1800s this area served as a strategic kingdom stronghold and today attracts many guests from around the world to witness its silent majesty and honorable beauty up close.
This historic burial site honors veterans of four different wars total and provides absolutely striking and unparalleled views of the city of Honolulu from the inside of a volcanic crater. The lush shades of well-manicured greenery contrasts nicely with the respectable white granite and stonework strewn about the cemetery. Within the gates, to the immediate left, your group will find a scenic pathway that leads to the memorials as well as an outstanding view of the surrounding cityscape. This cemetery is known by many to be the "most beautiful and moving" cemeteries in the United States and visitors recommend planning at least a couple hours here to take in all the historical points and breathtaking views from Puowaina Lookout. If you are hungry stop in the nearby Liliha Bakery and Diner to try some of their famous, locally-loved Coco Puffs.