If you are looking for a unique beach experience, then you should check out Papakolea Green Sand Beach. Papakolea beach is one of four green sand beaches on the planet. The sand gets it’s color from olivine crystals and black sand, which gives it an emerald hue. The beach was formed from a cinder cone, estimated to be 49,000 years old, created by the Mauna Loa volcano, hence the lava flowing from this volcano deposited the green crystals that are found within the sand. If you love adventure and exploring the natural beauties of our planet, then Papakolea beach is definitely a place to visit.

Where Is Papakolea Beach?

Papakolea beach is located at the big island of Hawaii. It is near South Point, also known as Ka Lae, which is the southernmost point of the island and of the 50 United States.

Why Is It Worth Visiting Papakolea Beach?

Catching a glimpse of the green sand makes this destination worthwhile. It is one of the most rarest beaches on the planet. For those seeking adventure it’s a great place to go to since it’s so remote and secluded from civilization. Once you get to South Point and park, there’s a long hike awaiting you. It takes about 2 1/2 miles, one way, to get to the beach. But the scenery is worth it. This hike is estimated to take about 54 minutes to an hour and half. Since there are no facilities to buy anything don’t forget to bring water.

Things To Do In Papakolea Beach

Besides enjoying the pristine beauty of Papak Lea beach, it’s a great place to body surf or to watch sea turtles munching on algae in the cove. You can also build a green sandcastle. Whatever you bring to the beach make sure you bring it back out. It is also illegal to take any sand from this beach as a souvenir. When swimming or surfing be weary of the high surf. On certain days, when the surf is high, it’s dangerous to swim at Papakolea beach. Remember to stay within the bay as well since the currents are severe the further you go. There are no lifeguards at this beach.

Other places to explore near Papakolea beach is Punalu’u beach, if you’re interest in seeing black sand beaches. This beach is near Volcano Village, which is another attraction to check out. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park would also be a great place to visit.

Allow yourself at least two hours to enjoy Papakolea beach or even half a day. Furthermore, try to go earlier in the day to avoid being overheated from lack of shade.

Parking At Papakolea Beach

The parking area is free. Be weary if someone approaches you and asks you to pay. The parking lot is located on the left side of the road at the end of South Point road.

Places To Stay

Since Papakolea beach is a remote beach, you will most likely need to stay in a hotel in Naalehu. For an upscale place, you can stay at Kalaekilohana Inn & Retreat. It is an 18 minute drive to the beach. This place offers luxurious suites with complimentary breakfast and dinner.

A mid-range place to stay is Big Island Bed & Breakfast. It is a 23 minute drive to the beach. They offer low-key rooms in a rural home with free breakfast.

For a budget-friendly option there is Patty’s Motel. It is a 30 minute drive to the beach. They offer a cabin and a suite. It is owned by the same people who own Hana Hou Restaurant.

How To Get To Papakolea Beach

There are two International airports on the big island. There’s Kona International Airport and then there’s Hilo International Airport. It takes about an hour and forty-eight mintues to drive from both of these airports to South Point. To drive to the beach, you turn south off of Highway 11 between the mile markers 69 and 70. You drive to the very end of this road. There is a small harbor at the end of the road and you can park your car on the left side where the parking is located.