The Guardian Tapu Pokémon are Sun and Moon's version of the typical sub-legendaries that have been a new-generation staple ever since the Legendary Dogs Suicune, Raichu and Entei, way back in gen two. They're some of the best Pokémon in the game, thanks to dedicated Z Moves, abilities, and excellent stats, and so well worth your time.
Each Tapu acts as a guardian for it's own island - Tapu Koko for Melemele, Tapu Lele for Akala, Tapu Bulu for Ula'Ula, and Tapu Fini for Poni Island - and are all found in their island's corresponsing ruins: the Ruins of Conflict, Ruins of Life, Ruins of Abundance, and Ruins of Hope, respectively.
A final warning, too: the Tapu are only catchable after you've completed the main storyline of Sun and Moon, and so major spoilers follow below. Check out our complete Pokémon Sun and Moon walkthrough if you're still trying to finish it!
Where to find and how to catch Tapu Koko - the Ruins of Conflict
Tapu Koko is the poster child of the Tapu, and likewise the first you'll encounter.
After you defeat the Elite Four and Professor Kukui for the first time, a long cutscene will play as a celebration of your achievement, during which Lillie grabs you for a bit of time alone - up at the Ruins of Conflict where you first met.
There, she'll tell you it's time for you to meet Tapu Koko properly and, after you touch the statue in the Ruins of Conflict, it'll come to battle you.
You can catch it here or, if you knock it out, come back to challenge it again after defeating the Elite Four another time. Like all of the Tapu, it comes with the signiature move Nature's Madness, which cuts the opponent's HP by 50%, or 75% when used as a Z Move, so be careful!
|Tapu Koko||Lvl.60||Electric / Fairy||Nature's Madness (Z)
|Ruins of Conflict|
Where to find and how to catch Tapu Lele - the Ruins of Life
Going in order if Alolan islands, Tapu Lele is up next, and can be found inside the Ruins of Life, just beyond Memorial Hill and Akala Outskirts, where you first battled Kahuna Olivia in your Grand Trial.
Like all the others, the Water / Fairy-type Tapu Lele will only appear once you're Island Champion, and does so when you touch the statue inside the Ruins.
There's a small Machamp Shove puzzle on your way inside, too.
Push the first right hand boulder up into the hole; then the central boulder to the left of it needs to be pushed to the hole on its left side, and then you can push the boulder on the left side, now above you, upwards into the next hole, and you can progress.
|Tapu Lele||Lvl.60||Psychic / Fairy||Nature's Madness (Z)
|Ruins of Life|
Where to find and how to catch Tapu Bulu - the Ruins of Abundance
Tapu Bulu is Grass / Fairy-type, and located in arguably the most difficult-to-reach location right in the deepest part of the Haina Desert.
Before entering the desert itself, you might have noticed an old man who gives you the advice that someone said something about 2-1-4-3, but that he had no clue what that meant. Well, that's the number of stacked rocks you need to see as you take each exit to the next part of the desert, if you want to make it all the way to the Ruins of Abundance.
This translates to the following directions:
- Head North from the first exit, passing a stack of two rocks as you go.
- In the next area, head clockwise around the big rocks in the centre until you can head East, past a single small rock.
- There's only one way to go in the next area with the small tree, which is North.
- In the following area, cut across the uneven ground with Mudsdale Gallop to head East again, past four small stacked rocks.
- In the next, you'll find a pedestal with Psychium Z, but will then need to head back out the same entrance, which takes you to a different area to the one you came from - weird!
- From there, head North past the stack of three rocks, and you'll reach the entrance to the Ruins of Abundance.
That won't take you to every corner of the Haina Desert by any means, but it does take you to the essentials, and for now we're just trying to catch Tapu Bulu, who appears after you touch the statue at the back of the ruins.
There's another Machamp Shove puzzle before you get there, though it's a little simpler than the desert, at least. Push the right-side boulder up first, so you can cross the central path to the left, then push the top left boulder all the way up, and you can continue.
|Tapu Bulu||Lvl.60||Grass / Fairy||Nature's Madness (Z)|
|Ruins of Abundance|
Need more tips? Use our Pokémon Sun and Moon Walkthrough and guide for the main story, our choice of the best Pokémon Sun and Moon starter from Rowlet, Litten and Popplio, as well as an in-progress list of where to find Zygarde Cells and Cores and our guide to the Battle Tree and both Battling and Trading in the Festival Plaza. We also have a list of QR codes list, Z Crystal locations, Mega Stone locations, Eevium Z Eevee User locations for Extreme Evoboost, evolutions for Alolan Forms and other new Sun and Moon Pokémon and fast way to increase a Pokémon's Happiness, plus how to transfer across Ash-Greninja from the Sun and Moon Demo, where to catch the Tapu Guardians, how to catch the Ultra Beasts, and how to download the Munchlax Mystery Gift.
Where to find and how to catch Tapu Fini - the Ruins of Hope
Tapu Fini, the last of the Tapu and a Water / Fairy-type, is fortunately much easier to get to than Bulu.
There's a Machamp Shove puzzle, but thankfully you already solved it when you came here the first time with Hapu back on your Island Challenge, so you can head straight inside to challenge Tapu Fini when you're ready.
Touch the statue and it'll appear - but be careful, Fini uses Aqua Ring, which restores a sixteenth of its health each turn.
This makes it a real pain to keep at a low enough HP to catch, so there's a risk of the battle getting long enough for it to run down its health and use Struggle - damaging itself enough to knock itself out if you're not careful. Be ready for a slog, but it'll be worth it!
|Tapu Fini||Lvl.60||Water / Fairy||Nature's Madness (Z)
|Ruins of Hope|
Now you're done with the Tapu, why not follow up on that Enigmatic Card given to you after defeating the Elite Four, and hunt yourself some Ultra Beasts...