Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Naalehu: Address, Phone Number, Papakolea Green Sand Beach Reviews: 4.5/5

Papakolea Green Sand Beach
The big island of Hawaii's southernmost point features the Green Sand Beach.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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2,118 reviews
Very good

Eric F
Arlington, WA13 contributions
So amazing, but don't go
May 2021 • Couples
Beach was one of the most amazing experiences ever.

The sad part is the people there and even reviewing on here that are fine supporting those that illegally drive through a protected area to get lazy people to the beach. If you can't walk then it's not for you. Look at a picture. But to justify destroying one part of Hawaiis beauty to see another is beyond me.

If you don't pay the people for a ride they will go away.
Written May 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

New York City, NY586 contributions
Just amazing to see!
Apr 2021
This beach is just so different from anything else we have ever seen anywhere in 70+ countries of traveling. You can hike the one hour or so, or pay $10 each way to be taken in a 4WD vehicle. Either option is fine and if you time it right, you can save yourself an hour of hiking in the sun by taking only the return. There are plenty of vantage points along the way that make the hike more than worthwhile!
Written May 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Debbie L
Kailua-Kona, HI19 contributions
Can be a hot hike so start early
Apr 2021
We've been wanting to do this hike for several years so it was great to finally do it! It's about 1 1/2 hr. drive from Kailua Kona. We arrived at the parking area around 9:30. There is no fee for parking. There are no bathrooms there but there are outhouses...though they are not very clean and are tilted and there is no toilet paper...but it was better than nothing! It's about a 2 1/2 mile hike to the Beach...walk down to the boat launch and then take the road to the left from there...after that there are lots of paths and roads but they all lead to the Beach. It's pretty flat through grassy fields, along the ocean, with cool breezes that time of day, some gravel, some red dusty roads . When we got to the Beach, it looked like it would be impossible to get down to it, but there is an easy ladder style of steps at the top and then some large rocks and grooves you can walk through that feels really safe. The sand is an olive green, not as green as I expected. The water was beautiful and felt so cool on my hot feet. There are no bathrooms or outhouses there. We stayed about 30 min. It was definitely a much warmer walk back, which is why I say to start early. Also, I hear the winds can really sand blast you and they get worse in the afternoon. The Beach is definitely worth of only 4 green sand beaches in the world!
Written April 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jessica Bass
Kailua-Kona, HI1 contribution
Apr 2021
I had a fantastic day at the beach but sadly it was marred by something that I witnessed in the car park.

The sand was so soft, so green, full of tiny crystals. My 5 year old loves to make little mountains of crystals and then we look for sea life in the surrounding rocks. Very tranquil. So beautiful. I can't fault it but it is not a nice place for tourists, let alone locals.

There is a group who are operating a shuttle, (it is illegal to park close to the beach, there is a 30-40 minute walk from the car park to the beach), and this shuttle is not a legitimate business. They are here most days and have never been professional since I have been visiting the beach.

I saw 4 men physically and aggressively attack two hikers in the car park. There seemed to have been some discrepancy over where the hikers had parked, (the car park was empty), it seemed as if the "shuttle" operators just wanted to fight.

Really frightening, I grabbed my five year olds hand and ushered him away from the violence. He was quite shaken up. Terrible. One of the hikers seemed seriously hurt.

Written April 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Matt A
Hermosa Beach, CA364 contributions
So glad I decided to go!
Apr 2021
I was going to skip this beach during my trip to the Big Island, but then I ran into a couple who said it was their favorite thing they did. I’m so glad I decided to go!

It seems like most people get a ride in a truck but I really enjoyed the hike - it’s about 45-60 min through colorful terrain right along the ocean.

If possible, go as early as possible, as you’ll likely enjoy yourself more the fewer people are at the beach.

The sand at the beach is an olive color, but up on the ridge to the right of the beach there are actual green sand crystals!

Written April 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Columbus, OH92 contributions
bring cash and hire a truck driver
Mar 2021
I'm an active person, and was on the fence about hiking out there or driving, and because of time, we decided to pay a driver $20 a person and we are SO glad we did. Is it doable to walk , yes, but the ride is fun, in the back of the truck and the beach is cool, but if we would have wasted all that time to walk it, I would have been disappointed. And it's hot and windy, we go there around 10am and were able to get a truck, but there was about triple as many people by the time we got back and only 1 truck left to rent. Even if you have your own jeep, I wouldn't attempt this drive unless you are a very seasoned off roaded, its an intense drive, but a fun ride. Even in you think you'd like to walk, pay for the drive out and walk back, but I guarantee you'll drive back. Also, this gave us time to go out to the cliff jump on the southern point.
Written March 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chico, CA7 contributions
Great hike!
Mar 2021 • Couples
My husband and I are not hikers by any means, but had a great time hiking out here. It’s overall pretty flat, but very bumpy and uneven. You definitely want hiking shoes or at least sneakers of some sort. The hike itself is gorgeous and the beach is pretty amazing too. We started our hike right after sunrise and were the only ones out there besides one other couple. It was very windy and cloudy when we started (which we loved), but was sunny (and still very windy) by the time we were heading back. I don’t think we would have enjoyed the hike with many people or so much sun, so I’d go early early. We finished hiking around 10 and had passed many people and trucks on our way back. We hiked pretty leisurely which took us just under and hour and a half each way. It was fantastic overall, but a lot of our enjoyment came from experiencing the hike and beach alone.
Written March 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chattanooga114 contributions
Green Sand Beach Unique, But An "Experience" To Get To
Mar 2021 • Friends
It was cool to go to 1 of only ?5? green same beaches in the world. The green is from the mineral olivine, derived from a certain kind of fine strand-like lava, and peridot is gemstone-quality olivine, so it's like going to a gemstone beach. (You're not allowed to take the sand.)

That said, getting there is an adventure. We hiked the 2+miles, which took us about an hour and a half. What they don't tell you is the wind blows strongly the whole time, and you will get a good exfoliation from all that sand you're being pounded with. Good luck keeping it out of your eyes. And the road is very rutted and rocky. WEAR GOOD SHOES IF YOU'RE WALKING! We saw some folks in flip flops that had to be seriously regretting their first choice. Easy to turn an ankle.
Most people forgo hiking and instead catch a ride with one of the locals standing in the back of their modified pickup truck, holding on for dear life to the standing level installed rails, because the road is HEAVILY rutted. I swear we were tilted at a 45 degree angle at one point and I was sure it was going to tip over when we caught a ride back! It was $10/person one way, $20 round trip.
It IS beautiful, and something you should do. If you decide to hike, just follow the paved road that quickly forms to dirt and lava rock from the parking lot. Close to the ocean you'll see a number of parallel paths- they all go to the same place, take any of them, some are a tiny bit more sheltered from the wind. Go until you're on a semicircular cliff with a picnic table and probably several trucks. There is a sort of ladder at edge near the table, and paths down from there. I'd suggest morning to avoid midday heat.

When you leave, look for the little farmstand/garden with some homemade signs on your left. She's generous with samples, and the cookies and nuts and coffee are really good. You can take a little tour of the garden, plus they have an art gallery.
Written March 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

San Diego, CA7 contributions
Loved this hike!
Feb 2021
One of the 4 green sand beaches in the world and the southern most point in the US! If you are planning on hiking to it: from the parking area to the beach is about 3 miles, flat hike but pretty rocky so wear good shoes and protect those ankles! Wear lots of sunscreen (no shade at all) bring lots of water as it gets very hot (we were there in the morning and in February. ) Bring a picnic so you can hang out at the green sand beach for a while before you head back. (you may want to wear a bathing suit so you can go in the water and cool off when you get there) The views are spectacular and the hike is through areas of lava, mud and grass.
We saw a couple SUVs stuck in the mud, unable to get out without a tow, and the terrain is super rough for cars so I would suggest NOT trying to drive there by yourself.
Written February 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Erin B
New York City, NY56 contributions
Incredible Beach and the Drive is Part of the Fun!
Jan 2021
The beach is spectacular - such a beautiful and unique place. The atmosphere and excitement of the other people of just being there was infectious. The contrast between the water, sand, and rock structures was like nothing I have seen before. We paid a local driver to take us both ways. It was completely worth the price (I think 20pp) and about 25 minutes each way. The experience of getting there was a lot fun and part of what made this beach so unforgettable. You will be standing in the back of a truck. To say the road is bumpy is an understatement so just make sure to hold on tight! When you get there, it is a short but steep walk down to the coast. It was incredibly windy the day that we went. 40 minutes on the shore was more than enough and by the time we left we were coated in sand. I am really glad we paid a driver because the trail is entirely exposed and the wind was becoming quite uncomfortable in addition to it being very sunny. You can also pay a driver to take you only one way to or from the beach if you want to hike. This place is incredible and I highly recommend visiting. It is an easy to access location - We drove from Hilo and spent that the next few days visiting the Volcano National Park. Our entire visit was a little over 2 hours.
Written January 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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