We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best white sand beach on the Big Island” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Makalawena/Pu'u Ali'i

Makalawena/Pu'u Ali'i
Off Highway 19 between mile marker 90 and 91, Hiking trail near Kona Coast State Park, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740
8016730220
Improve this listing
Ranked #4 of 112 things to do in Kailua-Kona
Attraction details
State College, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Best white sand beach on the Big Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

We visited Maakawena beach during our 8 days stay on the Big Island. This is far the best white sand beach on the island. White powdery sand, water has all shades of green and blue, and the lava rocks create just the perfect contrast. We exited between mile marker 90 and 91, the unimproved road was slow going but easy in our rented Ford. We jumped a chain fence on our right (parking is on the left) and hiked north for about 10 minutes. Eventually you will be reaching a beach area with red buildings, pass them and proceed north. At this point you will find yourself on a lava path in between a lava field, we hiked through it with reef shoes but I would recommend doing it with a proper pair of shoes, that was painful and took us about 30 minutes! At the end of the path you'll have to pass some sand dunes and then... the oasis will appear! We reached the beach pretty early (around 10 a.m.) and there was just us and another couple, but they were far enough to make us feel alone. Beach is really stunning, we did snorkel and it was good, even if not the best snorkeling on the island. Beach is too rocky for body surfing. Bring lots of sunscreen and enjoy!

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

128 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    103
    19
    5
    1
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Our new favorite beach!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

Our day at Makalawena beach was definitely the highlight of our 6-day stay on the Big Island. While we enjoyed Mauna Kea beach for a lazy afternoon with no "roughing it", Makalawena is well worth the trouble of getting there! The water was crystal clear and went from pale aqua to jade to medium blue to deep sapphire. The waves were just right for body-surfing and didn't muck up the waters like at Hapuna (I could totally skip Hapuna, FWIW).

We took the "better" road but it was still very rough and I was SO glad we had a Jeep! I can't even imagine taking the 4WD only path. The little shade provided by the trees was quickly snatched up by those who had arrived earlier (we should have arrived at the gate at 9:00 when it opened, but didn't get there until an hour later). Fortunately, we brought a big beach umbrella with us, so we could choose any spot on the beach we liked. I can't wait to go back!

There were other people there--especially in the afternoon--but we didn't mind because we all shared an equal appreciation of this slice of paradise we'd hiked to.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Jeep to paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

We took a jeep in from the highway and had a great time. There are some difficult spots to pass along the way and when you get to the end of the road it is still a short 5-10 minute walk to the beach. This beach is unreal. Beautiful white sand and gorgeous turquoise waters. The beach is very remote and you will be able to enjoy a very relaxing day.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Hey guys, I found heaven..”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

Take the extra walk down to Makalawena.. but don't tell anyone else about it. The seclusion is the BEST part. Signs will guide you, sort of, keep an eye out. Over a few lava fields and BAM - there's the pearly gates.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banff, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“You will never want to leave....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

About as perfect as white sand beaches get. The hike in is straightforward and enough effort to keep many away- it felt like I had paradise to myself!

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Makalawena/Pu'u Ali'i also viewed

Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 

Been to Makalawena/Pu'u Ali'i? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Makalawena/Pu'u Ali'i, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.