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“Loved the snorkeling - Not "beach people"”

Ho`okena Beach Park
Colorado Rockies
Level Contributor
145 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Loved the snorkeling - Not "beach people"”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2013

We headed to Hookena Beach for snorkeling and got exactly what we came for. We're not "beach people" so never spent any time on the beach, except standing up visiting with a great couple that happened to know my cousin. Just came to snorkel and were very pleased with it. Not for beginners unless a very calm day. We're experienced swimmers, snorkelers and divers, so didn't have an issue with the waves or coral - but on the R side, the coral is RIGHT below water level if the tides are down - which makes for good snorkeling. The fish are close, thousands of them, schools even, and wide variety. Then, before we left, spotted dolphin and humpback whales (early January).

Visited January 2013
1 Thank DineRight4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Love Hookena”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

My family returns again and again to the Big Island of Hawaii...Hookena is one of our favorite beaches. I would like to ask if anyone knows how to contact Hale Kai Retreat Center. I dream of staying there but I am unsure of how to contact them.

Visited September 2012
Thank annlalala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Stunning camping experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

We were trying to plan our camping trip in Hawaii from back home, in Europe. One of the first camping spots we found was Hookena Beach, however, it was kind of a wild guess to book it.

After flying over 20h and encountering a jetlag of 12hrs, we arrived in Kona, picked up our rental car and drove down to Hookena (about 45mins). Between 6PM and 8PM, someone from the management comes down to the Beach, so we could verify that our payment (pay pal) had come through and get acquainted with the camping rules. Basically: you can take any free spot, on the left hand side of the palm trees. (How good does that sound?)

We've never been camping on a beach before, so this was pretty amazing. You can hear the sounds of the mighty ocean in your tent and it has a nice and calming effect. The bathrooms are on the other side of the site, near the place where the "local Hawaiians" hang out. It's quite basic, with a restroom, two outside showers and two outside sinks. However, it all adds to the charm of a camping holiday.

During the morning hours, the dolphins come to swim in the bay, which is quite spectacular. The swimming is excellent and my friend has been snorkeling in the bay as well and was pretty enthusiastic about it. At some places, there are rocks, however, it is perfectly possible to avoid them while swimming / body surfing. (Some other reviews say something else, however, we didn't get cut AT ALL and spent about 6 nights camping here.)

So it's been an amazing experience! We camped at other campsites as well, however, Hookena Beach Park was the best one! Totally recommended! We're hoping to go back there at some point...

Visited October 2012
4 Thank WorldTravellers1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“"Caveat Emptor"”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2012

Indeed, "let the buyer beware." We reserved a campsite on line for 3 people. We paid via Pay Pal. When we got there not only were there no campsites available, there was no person to talk to. We were told somebody "sometimes comes around in the morning." It is a shabby looking place. We had to drive back to Kona and stay in a hotel. I e-mailed them and got no response. We are still trying to get out money back.

Visited December 2012
Thank Sandy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Level Contributor
86 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Nice beach, nice snorkel!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

We were staying in Kona, so it is a little far (at least 1h driving to the South). The access is not difficult by car, there are some curves, but we had no problem with the big old car we have rented.
We spent one morning there, and I was really enjoyable! There is a camping area, and bathroom facilities. During the morning, there was just a place selling some snacks and renting some stuff near the camping. A local man said to me that some people come to sell things by midday, but we didn’t see that on the day we were there.
You can get confused trying to arrive at the parking lot, like we did, hahahaha. It is public, but there is big house on the left of the parking lot entrance, so you may think the narrow road is private property. But it is not, go ahead and you’ll see the parking lot and the camping.
We had a nice morning, just a few people on the beach. There are some waves, but if you swim to the deep part, you start to see the corals and fish! But I don’t recommend you to snorkel there with kids, if you don’t know how to swim or if you are a snorkel beginner. You have to pass through the waves and swim a bit to start to see something, and depending on the wind and the tide, the sea is not so calm. If you stay on the salt and pepper sand, you’ll also enjoy! The sand part is large, I don’t remember to see a place like this in Big Island, which is characteristically so rocky. Really nice to play if you have kids and there is a lot of space to sunbath.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Poly_Rafa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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