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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Big Island Circle Tour - Green Sands Beach - South Point, Hawaii


If you're going to be visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, and you're driving between Kona and Hilo, you really, really, really must stop at South Point Park at the southern tip of the island and visit Green Sands Beach (Mahana Beach).

If you've rented a Jeep, you can drive down the 12 mile paved road off of Hwy 11 and continue on past the parking lot to the rugged 4x4 road that will take you along the shoreline to the top of the cliff above the beach.

If you've rented an economy car, you will need to park it in the parking lot and hike in the 2 miles in on the 4x4 roads.  The hike is beautiful, following the lava rock coastline with ample opportunity to watch the surf crash and look for whales.

Either way you travel in, you win. (We hiked).

The climb down to the beach looks intimidating but is actually quite easy, with footholds seemingly carved into the cliff wall, and we saw several children on the beach with their families as testament to the beach's easy access.

There are warnings about this beach being dangerous for snorkeling due to the presence of a rip tide, but the day we were here (early Feb.) the waves were crashing but not seriously, and we experienced no current at all where we were swimming.

The beach is made up of black lava sand mixed with olivine mineral crystals and the effect is a dark green color which is only found on this beach.

The cove where the beach is located is breathtakingly beautiful and well worth the hike even if the beach were not so amazing.

We visited on a weekend and there were only handful of other folks there when we arrived around 2:00pm. We swam for at least 40 minutes before tearing ourselves away from the beautiful aquamarine waters and drying off a bit before our climb back out.

On our hike out, a local with a pickup asked if we wanted a shuttle out - for a mere $10/person.  We were in the mood for a little more hiking so we declined the offer and were glad we did when we saw a pod of whales off the shoreline blowing spray and doing tail-slaps and even the occassional full-body jump.

Not far from the Green Sands parking lot is another parking lot where you can stop and visit the southern most point in the entire USA.  We stopped there on our way back from the beach and were amazed to find cliff jumping platforms hugging the cliff's edge {um... no thank you}, and two kite-boarders getting some crazy air jumping over the sizeable waves {again, fun to watch but not on my bucketlist}.

After a fun day of hiking, sun and surf, we were ready to head back to our B&B room in Kurtistown and relax for the rest of the evening, a perfect ending to a perfect day.

If ever we return to the Big Island, South Point Park will definitely be on our "must-see-again" list.

Aloha -

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy our Big Island Tour Part II and Part III posts.  Thanks for reading!


Jess said...

Oh dear Lord... you're supposed to jump off of those things??? No thanks! :)

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