Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach

Punaluʻu Beach is the most famous black sand beach of Hawaii. Two reasons for the popularity of this beach are the gorgeous black sand beach and the fact that you can often see endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles basking in the sun on the beach. Sea turtles are not to be touched, as their immune system is unprotected against human bacteria. When you're at the beach, it's requested that you keep a 10-15-foot distance from them. Punaluʻu Beach is a great place to go for a quick swim, snorkel, a short coastal hike, camping, or to stop for a picnic. Designated as a genuine black sand beach, Punaluʻu is made from basalt sand formed from the rapid cooling of basaltic lava hitting the ocean water then shattering into tiny fragments. The lava continues to be broken down and the waves push the glassy sand back to shore, forming a beach. This creates a beautiful, jewel like, shimmering beach. As the Kaʻu side of the island is exposed to strong ocean currents, it isn’t always the best conditions for swimming, but it's a sightseer’s dream. In the Hawaiian language, puna luʻu means “spring (water) diver." Unique to Punaluʻu within its aqueous environment is a large amount of underground fresh water that flows into the bay. Legend has it that in times of drought, the ancient Hawaiians would free-dive in Punaluʻu’s ocean waters with gourd vessels to collect fresh water.