Punalu’u beach

Punalu’u Beach is the most impressive Hawaiian beach with its fantastic landscapes, located on the Big Island, near the Volcanoes National Park. It was the volcanic activity that took place in the past that gave it such an amazing view of the black coast. Oddly enough, its name translates as "diving behind corals." Traveling along the Kona-Kohala highway, you should definitely make a stop on this picturesque wild beach of the island.

Beach description

The sand of black color formed from basalt chips and small fragments of volcanic lava and shimmering in the sun with a glossy sheen gives the Punaluu coast surrounded by coconut palms a truly extraterrestrial appearance. The huge sea green turtles that crawl out of the ocean onto the well-heated sand for sunbaths look especially impressive on this seemingly lifeless shore.

Among the main reasons for the attractiveness is also worth noting:

  • easy accessibility – among all the beaches with a black coast it is the most easily accessible, and therefore most visited – there are always plenty of vacationers here;
  • the ability to observe several species of rare green turtles in one place;
  • Punaluu is a great place for walking along the picturesque long coastal line and organizing picnics on the shore;
  • it’s a little paradise for snorkelers, but it’s worth considering that in some places the bottom is rocky when you enter the water; it is best to dive in Ninole Bay.

In terms of swimming, the main minus is insidious strong currents that can occur completely suddenly. Therefore, diving here is recommended for a short time, and it is best to go into the water in a sheltered bay on the northeastern (also least rocky) outskirts of the coast.

Also, another specific feature of this beach is the difference in temperature of ocean water. You can feel both cold and warm water while swimming, which is associated with the presence of underwater freshwater sources here. According to one legend, in ancient times, in the drought, the Hawaiians dived under water with jugs in order to collect fresh moisture in this place. Therefore, according to one version, the name of the beach can also be translated as a “source of moisture."

When is the best time to go?

To lay off on the beaches of the mainland, it is best to come in the summer, when a sufficiently warm temperature is settled for swimming. Places like Florida or the Hawaiian Islands are comfortable all year round.

Video: Beach Punalu’u


On the coast of Punaluu you can find enough amenities for a comfortable stay. The beach is equipped with toilets and showers, there are organized places for picnics, and a convenient parking is provided for cars. There is also a sea golf course on the coast. But it is worth taking into account when resting here that the beach is not controlled by either the guard or the lifeguard service, and we ourselves observe the safety measures on the coast.

The nearest town to the beach is Naalehu, which is about 17 km away from it. It's even easier to get here from the Hawaiian volcanoes park. It’s best to stay at the Sea Mountain Resort – hotel, from which you will have to walk no more than 8-10 minutes on foot.

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Useful information

  1. Caution should be exercised when walking along the beach in the surf. At this time, the waves can be very high and powerful, so it is recommended to walk along the coast at a considerable distance from the ocean.
  2. Caution is also required when walking along the sand. Fine-grained black sand is warmed by the sun so well that it can just burn your feet. Therefore, it is better to walk along the coast in shoes.
  3. When observing turtles on this beach, it is worth considering that they are protected by law. Therefore, it is not recommended to feed them or try to touch them. Walking in the neighborhood of turtles is possible only at a distance of at least 4.5 meters (or as far as possible if you can’t keep such a distance).
  4. Local tradition says that the goddess Pele will curse everyone who dares to take a stone from the beach. In fact, this was invented with the aim that tourists would not take apart volcanic pebbles and sand from the coast.
  5. Behind the palm trees on the beach lies a freshwater pond, which is ideal for swimming, unlike the more unpredictable ocean waters. And near the parking lot you can see the oldest church in Hawaii.

The beach participates in ratings:

34 place in rating North America 15 place in rating TOP-100 of the best beaches in the world 3 place in rating USA 2 place in rating Hawaii Islands
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