Kauai Sea Cliffs

South Kauai Sights

Whether you're an armchair geologist or simply appreciate Mother Nature's stunning handiwork, you'll want to check out the fascinating Makawehi Lithified Cliffs on Kauai's South Shore.

Located next to Shipwreck Beach in South Kauai, these ancient limestone sea cliffs have been virtually sandblasted by a combination of wind, salt, and water over millions of years. Lithified cliffs form as weathered fragments are removed by erosion and transported by gravity, running water, glaciers, waves, and wind. These weathered rock fragments then eventually come to rest as layers of loose, unconsolidated material called sediment. This material may subsequently be subjected to compaction and cementation, causing it to be lithified into solid rock.

Sediment is lithified when it is compacted by the weight of overlying layers and cemented as percolating groundwater fills pores with mineral matter. When sea levels drop, these cliffs are exposed as we see them today at Makawehi.

This entire stretch of Kauai's coastline is also a treasure trove of fossils, petroglyphs, and burial grounds. The numerous fossils in the sand can also be explained by the lithified cliffs as they formed under water. As fish and other organisms died, they would fall on top of the sediment layers and eventually be covered up by new layers. This allows them to be preserved as the fossils we find in the sand today.

Please DO NOT remove these fossils from the cliffs and sand so that others may also enjoy them. This area is considered particularly sacred and valuable to both locals and conservationists.

To get there: Take Highway 50 from Hanapepe and turn right onto highway 520 toward Poipu. Turn right onto Koloa Road and then left on Poipu Road. The cliffs are located at the east end of Shipwreck Beach.

Popular South Kauai Sights

If you're headed to South Kauai, prepare for loads of beautiful surprises! Lush botanical gardens, family-friendly parks, a blowhole that can put on quite a show, historic sights, unique expressions of culture, and much more await you. Check out some of these popular South Kauai sights and add them to your Garden Isle itinerary. 

Our Favorite Kauai Sightseeing Tours

While it sounds cliché, Kauai really does have something for everyone; whether you're a history buff, an outdoor adventurer, or a family with kids. Check out some of our picks for Kauai sightseeing adventures and book your tour today. 

Recommended Tours Nearby

Makawehi Lithified Cliffs Reviews

Guidereview:
A (based on 174 visitor reviews)

Geolocation Data

Geographic Coordinates

Latitude: 21.87400104
Longitude: -159.4334782

Open in Google Maps

Makawehi Lithified Cliffs Photo Gallery
Terms of Use

The use of this website is your expressly conditioned acceptance of the terms, conditions, and disclaimers found within our Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability page without any modifications. Your use of this website constitutes your acceptance of all the terms, conditions, and disclaimers posted herein. If you do not agree with any part of these terms and conditions, you should not use this website.

Article Published/Updated: