The black sand beach at Punaluu, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is one of the most unique beaches in the world! In fact thanks to the constant volcanic activity, the Big Island has another unique beach.
The Punaluu beach has black sand made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean which cools almost instantly as it touches the water.
The beach is literally made up of tiny pieces of lava.
Getting to Punaluu Black Sand Beach
The black sand beach is located between the Volcanoes National Park and the small town of Naalehu. It took us roughly 45 minutes from the Volcanoes National Park to get to the beach. The drive for the most parts is pretty peaceful with not much scenary. However, that changes closer to Punaluu.
If you’re coming from the Volcanoes National Park side, I’d recommend taking the left turn to the beach before the highway turns towards the car parking. Keep an eye out for the signs, the narrower road is a few hundred metres before the main exit. It gets you off right at the beach, next to the turtles’ resting area.
Turtles Basking On The Black Sand
If the black sands weren’t already an attraction for most tourists, add giant green sea turtles (known as “honu” in Hawaiian) to that list. The turtles in the area come to the beach everyday to eat (sea weed) and enjoy their siesta, basking in the sun.
Keep in mind the green turtles are a protected species, and under no circumstances are you suppose to touch them, or get too close to them. Usually volunteers build a boundary of rocks around the turtles to keep people away.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is not advisable to swim in the waters at the black sand beach. The sea bed is still full of volcanic rocks, and the waves are extremely strong! The beach also has a large amount of underground fresh water that flows in it. This fresh water is very cold and looks almost like gasoline mixing with the water.
Tiny Pieces Of Lava
Here are a few more photos of the Black Sand Beach In Punaluu. A MUST see for anyone planning to visit the Big Island in Hawaii anytime soon. In fact, this is one of those unique beaches in the world that you have to see before you turn 30/40/kick the bucket.