The Spitting Caves in Oahu (I can’t believe these aren’t more popular!)

I can’t believe the Spitting Caves aren’t more popular with visitors to Oahu! Maybe it’s the name that conjures up negative images of getting spit on, but that’s not anything you need to worry about. What you will actually find at the Spitting Caves Oahu offers are amazing rock cliffs, pounding waves, and spectacular views.

The name Spitting Cave likely comes from the way that the waves crash against the rocks. The force of the crash and cliff caves cause an ocean mist to spray high into the air. It can even be felt all the way up on the cliffs.

While here, you might see a few fearless cliff divers jumping into the water far below, though I don’t recommend it. The cliff jumping Oahu offers often seems dangerous, but appears to be especially true at the Spitting Cave.

Spitting Caves Oahu
Spitting Caves Oahu

What to Do at the Spitting Caves in Oahu

There are a number of unique things you can enjoy at the Spitting Cave Oahu offers. 

Get “Spit” On

The wavy rocks and crashing waves create a unique phenomenon of water spraying into the air. While you have to be careful that it can make the rocks slippery, it is exciting to get close enough to feel the ocean spray of the Spitting Caves!

Take in a Sunset

Given that this spot isn’t as popular as many others on the island, you are much more likely to be able to take in a sunset with a lot fewer people around. I find the rhythmic crash of the waves to be relaxing.

When standing on the cliff you are naturally facing west, the direction the sun sets in. From this angle you can take in the open Pacific Ocean as well as the city of Honolulu. The balance really is amazing.

Cliff Jumping Oahu

I’m generally up for the thrill of the cliff diving Oahu offers, but can’t currently recommend jumping here. Many people say that this is a great spot, but what I observed were waters that were too rough for me to feel like I could safely get out of the water. I worried I would get slammed against the rocks.

When considering the cliff jumping Honolulu offers at the Spitting Caves I wasn’t only worried about getting tossed by the waves, but also that I couldn’t see how deep the water actually was. Supposedly, there are times where the waves calm down and you can safely see where to dive. You can see that previous adventure junkies set up a ladder to help them get out of the water and back to the top of the cliff.

One other thing to be aware of is that even if the waters are calm, the climb out could still be daunting. Lava rocks are especially sharp so you may want to wear water shoes to protect your feet.

The cliffs here are supposedly up to 70 feet high. If you are looking for something that is a little bit less intense you could try the nearby China Walls, or journey across the island to Waimea or Laie Point Cliff Jumps.

Cliff Jumping at the Spitting Caves Oahu
Cliff Jumping at the Spitting Caves Oahu

Whale Watching

While I didn’t see any whales myself, this is supposedly a great place to observe them as you can see out across miles and miles of ocean. I’ve seen pictures that capture these giant majestic creatures.

Spitting Cave Location

Another reason I’m so shocked that the Spitting Cave isn’t more popular is that it is really conveniently located. It is only about a 20 minute drive from Waikiki. It is located pretty close to other really popular attractions like Hanauma Bay or the Koko Head Hike on the east side of Oahu.

The exact location is a bit of a maze to get to, but if you type it into your GPS it will pop up and lead you directly there. Since it is in the middle of a residential area, make sure to be respectful of the community.

A similar spot that is directly next door is China Walls. The cliffs are a lot smaller, which entices many people to go fishing there. Also, on a calm water day I would feel much more comfortably cliff diving at China Walls than at the Spitting Cave.

Spitting Cave of Portlock

Some people call the area the Spitting Cave of Portlock. I never figured out where the alternative name comes from, but know that people refer to the area by either name.

Parking for the Spitting Cave Oahu

There is no set parking lot for the Spitting Cave Oahu offers. The entrance is actually in the middle of a neighborhood of million dollar homes. You can park along the street, but be sure to follow the Hawaiian laws that prohibit you from parking too close to a driveway, stop sign, or fire hydrant.

There is plenty of street parking available, you can see what it looks like in the picture. 

Hike Down to the Cliffs

If you aren’t looking closely you can miss the path down to the cliffs. Fences and trees almost obscure the entrance. It looks like you are heading to a back alley, but the trail soon drops down to the cliffs. The final steps down are a little intense (see pictures). When I was there one girl elected to sit on her butt and slide down instead.

Don’t miss all that the Spitting Caves on your next trip to Oahu. Even if you aren’t looking for the cliff diving Oahu offers, there are still plenty of amazing reasons to visit. 

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