Papakolea Beach / Green Sand Beach

April 18, 2023

One of the top beaches to visit on Big Island Hawaii

Green Sands Beach, also known as Papakolea Beach, is a unique and beautiful destination located on the southern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Here are some tips and information you might find useful should you decide to make this stop on your trip to Hawaii!

Green Sands Beach is located near South Point Hawaii. The beach is not easily accessible by car and requires a bit of a hike to get there. You can park your car at the trailhead and then hike for about 2.5 miles to reach the beach.

The hike to the beach itself is also challenging, as it involves a steep climb down a cliff face but there are some steps to help you.  The terrain can be uneven and rocky in places, so it's important to wear sturdy shoes and exercise caution while hiking.  Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as there is no shade on the beach or during the hike in.  The wind can also blow sand and dirt around which can sting your bare skin and get in your eyes.  Also, wear comfortable shoes for the hike, and be prepared for the heat and humidity.

Once you reach the beach, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the green sand and turquois water.  The beach itself is small and secluded, and it's surrounded by cliffs and rocks. The water can be rough, so it's not always recommended for swimming, but it's a great spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and enjoying the views. 

The unique green color of the sand is due to the presence of olivine, a green mineral that is common in volcanic rocks. The olivine was formed by the ancient volcanic activity on the island, and over time, it eroded from the rocks and accumulated on the beach.

The roads leading to Green Sands Beach can be challenging and treacherous, it is unpaved and can be narrow, rocky and bumpy in places.  It is actually illegal to drive this road but we have seen many a tourist with good driving skills ignore this law and end up tipping their vehicle or tearing off their bumper.

Overall, while the road and the hike to Green Sands Beach can be challenging, the experience of visiting this unique destination is well worth the effort. Green Sands Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii. Its unique green sand and stunning views make it a one-of-a-kind experience that you won't find anywhere else.

Please always be respectful of the environment and take your trash with you when you leave.

Besides visiting the beach, there are other activities you can do in the area. South Point is known for its fishing, and you can also hike to the nearby Ka Lae Point, which is the southernmost point in the United States. Also check out “Paradise Meadows” for great macadamia nuts and chocolate and “Big Dog Hot Dogs” stand just at the top of South Point Road.

To watch a video on Green Sands beach please click this link or copy and paste in your browser: