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“Green crystalloid sand in the most dry,barren landscape.....surreal”

South Point (Ka Lae) and Green Sand Beach
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$799.00*
and up
Volcanoes National Park and Waterfall Hilo Mercedes 11 PSGR Tour
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Naalehu
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Owner description: The big island of Hawaii's southernmost point features the Green Sand Beach.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,459 reviews
1,376 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,282 helpful votes
“Green crystalloid sand in the most dry,barren landscape.....surreal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

Now that we have experienced fine,black sand,bleached white variety..... we came here to sample the green type, on one of the most unusual beaches on the island.
This olive -green crescent,lies at the base of Mahana Bay.... the greenish tint,a by product of crystals formed in volcanic eruptions. The dry, barren landscape is surreal. Surfing is verbotten,as it is often rough and hazardous. I should mention that this mission,demands two hours of walking each way. So if you are up for it,join us for some time-out in solitude and supreme beauty.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Eli B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Carrollton, Texas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Getting to Green Sand Beach is Half the Adventure”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

From the end of the road near South Point it's a three-mile hike to Green Beach. With daylight running out we decided to take the four-wheel option. Young Hawaiian with a pickup that had obviously made the trip a lot of times. $15 per/rider. He picked his way along surprisingly rough terrain and through deep ruts. The payoff is an awesome little beach, framed dramatically by a giant arrowhead like peninsula on one side. The beach is easily 70 feet below where we parked, with beautiful, olive-green sand. Testy climb down but this 60-something had no problems making it. Undertow is said to be a problem and we were not prepared to get in the water but a number of people were happily frolicking in the surf.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank RichardRayFox4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Unique beach off the beaten path”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2013

My husband and I recently decided to visit South Point and green sand beach (Papakolea Beach) on our recent visit to the big island. The hike was relatively easy and about 6 miles round trip. I was not expecting the winds to be as strong as they were, but it was nice to have a breeze with the temps being as hot as they were (we hiked in the afternoon). By the time we arrived at the beach, we had to clean a layer of dirt off our legs and faces! The beach is small, but very scenic. If you're not up for the hike, but still want to visit, there are locals waiting in the parking lot on either side and will offer to drive you there and back for a fee. :) We were up for the adventure, so we hiked both ways. Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and some comfortable shoes!

Visited November 2013
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4 Thank dmeyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Green Sand Bech”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2013

Was well worth the hike to it! It only took us 45 minutes. It's amazing - really is green! We were the only ones on the beach when we arrived. We got an early start. So, enjoyed walking in the water and sand all alone for 15 minutes. Take water and wear a hat/visor as the sun can be intense. Lovely breeze the whole way though. DO IT!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Beth R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naalehu, Hawaii, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A Green Beach?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2013

Na'alehu is little more than a rest stop at the Punalu'u Bakery on your way to the Volcano, but Green Sands is a destination. Take the well-marked road sign for Green Sands (South Point Road) off the main road (Mamalahoa Hwy.), and you are about twelve miles from the point of entry to the destination. At the end of South Point Road, there is a well-marked director to Green Sand or Kae Lae (the point/South Point). Before your trek stop by the light house and you can say that you went to the southernmost point in the USA.

As some reviewers have already noted, it's about a 45-minute (2.5 mile distance) walk over mostly level and some lava hills ground. TAKE WATER!! In my eight years living near Na'alehu and overlooking South Point, I have seen real medical emergencies from heat stroke and heart conditions, so be sure that you are ready for a semi-strenuous, but not-too-difficult walk.

If you plan to take a rental jeep or 4-wheel, be prepared for three hill climbs over jagged rocks. Drive wheels directly over the bigger ones or you might be looking at an expensive oil pan replacement! If you walk or 4-wheel, follow the trails that hug the coastline for the best views. At this time of year (November - February) you are likely to spot a humpback spouting or even breaching.

Arriving at the worn cliffs of Green Sand is a welcome reward. There are two paths down to the ocean. The nearest to your arrival is a switch back trail that takes you along rocky, narrow path. Around the corner at the north side of the cliff is a somewhat more steep, shorter, sandy path only for those with good climbing shoes to avoid slips.

You may be asking, so how the Green Sand? Hawaii Island is still home to Pele and hundreds of thousands of years ago, this goddess of the volcano was causing a really strong flow to race down the sides of Mauna Loa, the highest mountain in the world (35K + feet) if you measure from her base, causing the superheated basaltic rock to mineralize olivine. That's the crystal we usually call peridot. When cooling the basalt would explode, casting the pulverized olivine into the ocean. The ocean brought the "sand" back over the centuries to form Green Sand Beach and further wore the remaining flow into the dramatic cliffs.

Upon your arrival on the sand, your tired, hot, sweaty body will yearn for the inviting ocean water, but be warned. If waves are crashing higher than three feet, DON'T ENTER. A strong undertow and wave action may make your trip longer...next stop Antarctica! If you're lucky to catch a slack day, enjoy!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
8 Thank Jim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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