Big Island’s Black Sand Beach

Big Island’s black sand beach is a sight to behold.

Big Island's Black Sand BeachBig Island’s black sand beach is called Punalu’u and is located between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu (Kona and Hilo). In Hawaiian, Punalu’u translate to spring dive for because there are underwater freshwater springs. Legend has it that in times of draught Hawaiians would dive and collect the fresh water. 

But why is the sand black?

Black sand is made when lava reaches the ocean and cools quickly. It solidifies and then shatters into tiny fragments of lava. The results are a striking mix of black sand against the blue ocean and green trees that line the back of the beach. Throw in a blue sky and you have the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon picnic with a side of people watching. Many enjoy swimming and snorkeling here but be careful, the current can be quite strong. You may also see hammocks strung up between the row of palm trees. 

What else will you see there?

Big Island's Black Sand BeachBecause black sand retains heat, you can often find hawksbill (‘ea) and green (honu) sea turtles sunning themselves along the shore. The turtles are endangered species and protected (both state and federal) so be sure to stay away if you see one. Try to give them about 10 feet of room, don’t block their path to the ocean, and be mindful to not disturb them. Fines can range into the thousands. Be respectful and give the turtles their space. 

There are many colors of sand around the world but there is just something about the Big Island’s black sand beach that is a must see. 

What color beach do you most want to see? Or have you been to any non-traditional colored beaches? Which ones and where?

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Landscape lover and memory maker. Addicted to coffee, books, and running. Gluten free for life (celiac disease). Vodka connoisseur. Can often be found having dance parties to 90s music. Based in Phoenix, Arizona but always want to move to where I most recently visited.

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This entry was posted in Landscape Photography + Conservation, Wanderlust.

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