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Hawaii

Visit the Beautiful Black Sand Beaches of Hawaii

When you imagine taking a trip to Hawaii, one of the first things you may think of are its majestic white sand beaches but perhaps as equally famous and even more unique is the opportunity to visit the black beaches.

When you first step foot on a black beach you almost cannot believe the surreal dreamlike quality the sand gives to the surrounding area. The cool blue of the ocean or the gentle green leaves of plants just seem to pop out at you more vividly because of the amazing contrast. Despite their unbelievable appearance, these unique beaches formed completely naturally and hold a valuable place in the history of the islands. While most sand is formed from the gradual breakdown of marine life such as coral, shells, and animal skeletons, or from the tidal erosion of coastal rock; black sand is forged in fire and forms much more rapidly.

Due to Hawaii’s frequent volcanic activity new geological features and being created constantly such as the famous black sand. Black sand is formed most often when a lava flow meets the ocean. The cool water rapidly solidifies the lava into rock and this drastic change in temperature causes the rock to shatter. The tiny shards of the lava rock are pulled back and returned from the tides to create the black beaches you can see today. The stark black color in the sand is caused by the high amount of iron found in lava which still remains when it solidifies into rock. You can explore these fantastic geological wonders for yourself while attending a CEC Primary Care CME Conference on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

There are certainly many different black sand beaches to explore in Hawaii but the best and most accessible of all these beaches are on the Big Island. Punaluu Black Sand Beach is one of the most famous and photographed beaches in all of Hawaii because of its easy accessibility on the Kau coast and its raw natural beauty. Punaluu draws so many visitors because the pitch blackness of the sand contrasted with the nearby jungle treeline makes for some truly amazing photographs. The inviting black sand of this beach is not only inviting to people but numerous different species of wildlife.

As you may imagine the black sand is incredibly hot so please be advised to wear shoes if you decide to take a trip along this beach, although the hot sand may be uncomfortable for most people’s bare skin it is the perfect place for reptiles to bask and bring up their body temperature. In fact, Punaluu is one of the best places in all of Hawaii to find sea turtles who crawl out of the ocean during the day and relax in the warm sun. Other unique species of wildlife that you may find on the beach include the Hawaiian hawk, the Monk seal, and numerous different plants including palm trees. All of this amazing wildlife make it the perfect place to take pictures or to go on a short hike along the coastline.

Activities on the beach

Besides looking at wildlife some other popular activities to do on this beach include enjoying a picnic, swimming, snorkeling, or learning about the beach’s unique history. If you decide to enjoy a picnic here with your family there are plenty of tables available with amazing views and gentle breezes. If you’d like to swim or snorkel it is advised that you do so only when the tide is out and the water is calm as the area is known for strong currents. Despite not being the most ideal place on the Big Island for a swim it is certainly one of the most unique. Besides being one of the most expansive black sand beaches in the world, Punaluu is also the site of numerous underwater springs. In fact, Punalu’u in the Hawaiian language means, “to dive for spring water”.

Freshwater Springs

Several freshwater springs flow from under the beach and into the ocean, the heavy and cold freshwater sits below the warm saltwater. So if you decide to take a swim here it can feel like you are swimming in two different bodies of water at once. If you swim down far enough the water will suddenly become much cooler if you can find one of these freshwater pockets. These underwater springs held an important place for the ancient Hawaiian people who valued them as places to collect drinkable water. The unique look of the beach also gave it an important spiritual connotation. The ancient Hawaiians used Punaluu for multiple purposes including a port, offering site, and spring. Later on, this beach would become the site where Christian missionaries first arrived on the island in the early 1800s and left an architectural impact that can still be seen in the region today. If relaxing on a beach is a must-do activity on your vacation dossier than don’t miss out on seeing one of the most famous, unique, and easily accessible beaches in all of Hawaii just don’t forget to bring your camera.


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