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Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea, Hawaii USA
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Who Likes This Place?

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These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.

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  • 98%
    Budget Travelers
  • 98%
    Adventure Travelers
  • 87%
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 75%
    Green Travelers
  • 74%
    Family Travelers
  • 63%
    Local Culture
  • 62%
    Spiritual Seekers
  • 62%
    Backpackers
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Member Reviews (34)Write a review

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    Family Travelers
    + 3
    • Green Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Art & Design Lovers

    We love this beach and we think it is well worth the drive and hike. If you are not up to the hike there are usually locals to drive you in for a small fee. You definitely need a 4x4 as the ruts in the road are very deep. once you get their it is magical. The sands is about 40% green and the rest a black/white mixture.

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersBackpackersBudget TravelersFamily Travelers
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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Yes, the sand really is green, due to the abundance of semi-precious stone Olivine mixed in with the sand. Not to be missed!

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersFamily TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsWellness
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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    + 2
    • Vegetarian
    • Trendsters

    one of the most beautiful beaches ever!! its Green sand, super magical, and one of my favorite places!! this gem is definitely an adventure and not for those who can't handle steep hikes or long uneven hikes. 4 wheel drive recommend.

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsLocal Culture
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  • Papakolea Green Sand BeachPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    + 7
    • Wellness
    • LGBT
    • Green Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Spiritual Seekers
    • Trendsters

    One of my favorite places on the island but it's not located anywhere near Hilo! The green sand beach at South Point is made by the volcano. The energy of this the southern most point of Hawaii and of the US is a very powerful place that it draws spiritual seekers from around the world. The beach here is quite a hike but it is free and open to the public. It's an essential stop on a trip to the Big Island.

    Recommended for:Budget TravelersGreen TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsSpiritual Seekers
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  • Papakolea Green Sand BeachPro 2014
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    Adventure Travelers

    Great place to spend a day - especially if you're hiking, which I did. It's 3 miles from the parking lot across rugged terrain. You can take a 4x4 shuttle from the parking lot but that'll cost ya! Plus you don't get to see the views along the way like you do when you hike it. When you get there, look for a ladder that gets you down to the slope and the footpath is clear from there.

    The water is great but don't go swimming as it is pretty rough.

    And yes, the sand really is green!

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersBudget TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsBackpackers
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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    History Buffs
    Adventure Travelers

    It's a pretty long drive from just about everywhere else on the Island, but it's worth it as a day trip if you have the time. You need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get to the beach, but there are people who will give you a ride for about $10/person (or you can walk, but it's super windy and hot). Check out South Point also while you're there.

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersBudget TravelersGreen TravelersOutdoor Enthusiasts
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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Yes, really, GREEN sand, formed by the volcanic eruptions eons ago and pounding ocean surf! Larger pieces are found in the gemstone "olivine", but please don't remove any sand, or risk Madame Pele's fury! This is a MUST SEE on my list, and recently, two local brothers have begun offering guided "drives" from South Point Road for only $20/person!

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Absolutely amazing. There is a parking area that is approximately 3 miles from the beach. It is walking over uneven lava and takes awhile, but well worth the hike. You can drive in closer with 4 wheel drive or pay the locals hanging out at the parking area to give you a ride. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR PARKED CAR!

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Rough to get to this Gem Hideaway. 4 wheel drive or a nice hike. Make sure you take water. Worth the trip!

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    This is one of my favorite places on the Big Island. The beach really is green sand; it is olivine (a magnesium iron silicate), instead of the typical white silicon dioxide sand. The wind has carved out a semicircular bay from the cliffs that deposits the olivine sand on the beach below and has created a series of stone "stairs" in the cliff that allow you to easily walk down to the beach. It is typically deserted because the only ways to it are 1) walk in three miles and out three miles (flat and a little windy), 2) drive in with a four-wheel drive or 3) sometimes there's a guy with an SUV giving rides for $5.00 a person. It is an amazing sight and well worth the walk. If you have a four-wheel drive, go through the two gates, over a small hill (the only place you really need a four-wheel drive) and then immediately bear left as far as possible. If you continue to bear left, you will avoid the multiple erroneous roads that go straight ahead, but lead you into eroded ruts that are literally 4 to 5 feet deep in places. If you stay as far left as possible, you will eventually come to a barbed wire fence. Follow the fence to the right; as you progress, you will start to see glittering green sand in the roadway. You will eventually come to a large nearly flat area at the edge of the cliff that creates all the green sand. Be careful of the big surf if you go into the ocean below. If you walk in, just go approximately straight, parallel to the beach since you can walk around the giant ruts. Go back the same way you walked in or drove in.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Green Sand Beach is close to South Point, so if you are going there, don't miss the green sand beach. You have to park and hike to it, so take plenty of water, food, sunscreen, towels, good walking shoes and hats. Seeing it once was enough for me, but it was worth it.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    We love this place, but it is a 3 mile walk each direction. You can pay the locals $20 per person to drive you in the back of their 4x4s.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    You need 4WD or you can hike or catch a ride with a local who offers rides in. Usually they charge a fee. It's not a large beach, but when the sun is shining just right, the sand looks like emerald green. Amazing.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    A bit of a drive down to the green sand beach, as well as a 3 mile hike out (and back) to the beach. But well worth it...there are only two green sand beaches in the world, and this is one of them! The green sand is actually olivine crystals that are being weathered from the nearby cinder cone.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    A great day trip! 65mi. 4 wheel drive a must. Local drivers will take you in from parking lot for a fee.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    + 3
    • Green Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Art & Design Lovers

    Hike 3 miles or drive a 4 wheel to this spectacular Green Sands Beach near south point on the Big Island of Hawaii. Bring water, hat, and good shoes... no facilities.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    One of my favorite places on the island. A three mile hike in. But totally worth it. The sand is an emerald green. There is also a couple locals that will drive you in and out for a nice tip.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand BeachPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Business Travelers
    Foodies

    Warning: If you're going to come here get ready to walk and walk a lot. There is quite a path to get to the green sand beach, and while there is green sand on your way there do note the time it takes to walk - about 45 minutes. You can also ride in a Jeep too if that's what tickles your fancy.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    First to Review

    Papakolea Beach, located near the Big Island's southern tip, is known for its unique olive green sand. Olivine is a semi-precious stone. Here in this area these small green volcanic stones originate from the littoral cone that surrounds the small bay. The ocean erodes these stones and crushes them into fine sand. The sand is too fine to be considered gem stones, but beaches like this are rare. So it's almost like walking on jewels.

    However, getting to this beach isn't easy. Papakolea is located at the base of Pu'u O Mahana, an old littoral cone in a wild, undeveloped terrain. Access involves a three-mile (4.8 km) hike through lava fields. If you're going on a sunny day, keep in mind that it is usually quite windy in this area, which blows up the dust.

    It is a good idea to prepare yourself for what some call a long and arduous walk. So wear hiking boots, a T-Shirt, comfortable pants or shorts and a hat and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. It is a common sight to see tourists arrive in sandals and bathing suits who turn around half way because they can't make it.

    Also, there aren't any signs, markers or maps to follow. There isn't even a specified trail. A good tip is to stay a little bit more to the left on the way there. Even though the trails near the ocean are nice, they are more rugged with sharp lava rocks and in the end will take longer.

    Once you make it to the beach, you'll be rewarded with one of the best views on the Big Island. The green beach appears almost unreal against the backdrop of steep cliffs and boulders. At sunset, the play of colors against the sand is simply breathtaking. To get down to the beach, you'll have to hike down a low sea cliff. The best spot is the area where the cliff is less steep. The steep face of the cliff is dangerous because the ground is loose and can slide away.

    The sparkling blue water appears calm, but beware that currents are often times difficult to spot, so it is best to stay close to the shore if you plan to swim here. If the surf is up, don't go into the ocean because if you get in trouble here, you're miles away from any help. There are no lifeguards on this beach.

    A visit to Papakolea Beach is a full-day trip, so plan ahead. The hike to and from the beach alone takes about 2-3 hours, depending on how fast you can walk, and then you still need to calculate for some time on the beach and the drive time it takes to get to South Point. It is best to leave the beach well before sunset because as mentioned above, the area is undeveloped, there are no lights and the terrain is rough. It is not a good idea to walk here in the dark.

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  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

    Awesome remote beach. Bring lots of water and proper walking shoes for the 6 to 7 mile hike round trip to reach this special place.

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OverviewEdit

4.5 out of 5
34 members' reviews
106 people visited Papakolea Green Sand Beach

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