Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Black sand beaches can be found all over the Big Island of Hawaii, but Punalu’u Beach located on the island’s southeast shore, is the most popular and one of the most beautiful. This beach is easily accessible and boasts a shore of shiny, jet black sand, made up of ground lava rocks. It was created by a’a lava flowing into the ocean. The area is a well-known nesting place for hawksbill and green sea turtles, both endangered species and the target of many conservation efforts.

On a regular day, the shore is dotted with large sea turtles playing and catching some sun. A word of warning, however: these turtles are not to be touched, as they have no immune system to protect them against human-transmitted bacteria. Visitors are required to keep a 15-foot (4.5 m) distance from the turtles at all times.

The best part to enter the ocean at Punalu’u is at the northeastern end of the beach because there are fewer lava rocks at the water’s edge. There is also a small boat ramp in this area, next to the ruins of the old pier. Swimmers should keep in mind that there is a strong rip current that runs out the boat channel into the open ocean. So it is best to stay away from the northeastern point of the bay.

HTR Big Island Admin

March 1st, 2017

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