Papakolea Green Sand Beach
Papakolea Green Sand Beach
4.5
About
The big island of Hawaii's southernmost point features the Green Sand Beach.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Gin NZ
    Auckland, New Zealand13 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Green Sand Beach by 4WD
    Dont walk it with kids. Such a long way in the sun. If you dont have a 4wd then go with the locals. But dont let them into talking you out of taking a 4wd if yoy have one as they charge USD20pp, which is excessive. Luckily we took our own car which was fun. The drive was definitely rough but the green sand beach was a little under whelming, Surf was rough so not good for small kids. Still pleased we did it. But give yourself at least a couple of hours from the main road.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 27 July 2023
  • Vishtron
    Houston, Texas23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun ride and a unique beach experience
    The beach is a unique in being one of 4 places in the world with the volcanic green sand. The drive down to the beach is strictly 4 by 4 or a ride in the back of a truck by local beach guides. You can also walk but iMHO the 6 mile round trip is not worth the heat and the sun. The ride in the back of the truck is a treat in itself and well worth the 20$ and an hours wait time at the beach. The woman who drove us is an off-roading expert and went through all the gears crossing rocky, bumpy, sandy and steep ruts of the track. The beach had a very strong current, but it’s fun to take a quick dip and feel the green sand under your toes. Depending on the time of the day pictures give off different hues id green.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 August 2023
  • myownpower
    Tablas Island, Philippines174 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing and worth the $$
    This was my daughter’s bucket list and I was skeptical about hearing you could hire a local to drive you down. ( it is 2.25 mile trek through open “desert”). There is a group/family that has made this beach accessible. Stay to the left at the south point road and the crew will help you park and get a ride for you. Once they have a group gathered you decide how long to stay at the beach. Rodney was a great guide and has been driving to the beach since he was 13. It is about a 10 minute drive out to the beach and you will quickly see why the “hike” is not for everyone. Once you get to the beach you will have to climb down to the water. The locals have installed some stairs (stay to the right) to help with the climb. Be sure to pack water,sunscreen, a towel and a snack.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 September 2023
  • Go788928
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Couch potato survived and loved it
    I’m not an athlete nor do I regularly work out. That said, i decided to join my husband in hiking down to the beach — both ways — and despite my whining, it was well worth it. The swell was strong that day so only the strongest of swimmers stayed out in the water for long periods of time. The sand is a glorious color and texture, much closer to black sand than white. If you too decide to embrace the hike, bring a lot of water. It was easier with closed toe shoes, although you don’t need hiking boots. We brought only our phones (along with hats, sunscreen and water) which meant that we didn’t have any c@sh on us to get a ride with a local after we were done in the sand. No one that day took Venmo, hence we went round trip on foot. When we got back, I was exhausted but elated that I had done the hike and stopped along the shore on the way back to enjoy the surf.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 18 September 2023
  • Cyndi L
    Bradenton, Florida265 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique Beach Experience; Take the Ride
    We loved the Green Beach - sand unlike any we have seen before. It even has gold specks in it - beautiful! We opted for the $20 ride (hold on - it's an adventure!) and were so glad we did (read the next review (Chris) for all the details). It was fun standing in the back of the truck while making our way over the rugged trails. We all agreed on the trip back that it was the best $20 we spent all day, especially after seeing those who were hiking in the heat, sun, and dust! The entire way is scenic. We climbed down to the beach plus up to the cliffs. We had about 45 minutes to explore, which was fine for us, and our driver offered to take photos of everyone. We only waded due to high surf. Very unique beach. Definitely worth experiencing.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 22 October 2023
  • Buzanits
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must see
    As it is only one of few green sand beaches in the world it is a must see. Nice to swim in the big waves. If you don't want to walk there you have to hire one of the semi legal 4WD drivers that bring you there for about 20 bucks.
    Visited December 2022
    Travelled with friends
    Written 14 November 2023
  • smhr
    Pickering, Canada298 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting place. Even more interesting journey to get there. Must do for Big Island
    We went around dusk and didnt really see the green colour. We did notice that with imagination, the beach appears to be olive green. its very difficult to get to the beach from the parking lot. The locals charge $20/person for a roundtrip. They will take you there in their trucks. To get there, it takes about 25 mins each way (ie 50 mins in total) from the parking lot via the truck. I strongly recommend that because unless you are ok to walk long hours, and also know the way, you wont get there. Do not even think of taking your AWD or SUV there as the unpaved path is extremely dangerous. You will get into a serious accident. The parking is free and there is no entrance fee also
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 November 2023
  • kevan j
    Norman, Oklahoma1,484 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A great hike to a beautiful beach.
    I highly recommend this place for those of you who enjoy a good hike to a beautiful and highly unusual beach. We hiked the 3 mile trail to the beach in about 45 minutes. It's a fairly rough trail with lots of rocks and a few slight ups and downs through the dunes. Be sure to wear good shoes. Follow any trail as long as it follows the coast. When you arrive at the beach, it is startlingly beautiful, and YES the sand is green. But know in advance that how green it looks may depend on the other colors around you (including the sky), and on the degree to which you may have subtle color blindness. The climb down to the beach is steep and follows some homemade staircases, but it is not too difficult for most people. Be careful if you swim as the undertow is pretty strong. The beach was so nice, we hung around for an hour before making the 3 mile hike back to the parking lot. Definitely bring a snack. A couple of observations: 1. If you don't wish to hike, you can pay a local at the parking lot for a ride out to the beach and back ($20-30), but I don't necessarily recommend that as it seems pretty expensive and the people seem pretty sketchy. 2. Don't leave any valuables in your car in the parking lot.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 22 December 2023
  • Sabrina P
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Memorable
    Green sand beach is a must when traveling to Big Island as there are only four of them in the world! It is to be noted that you will have to pay 20$ round trip to reach the beach itself, unless you prefer hiking 6 miles round trip on rough terrain or have an AWD vehicle. I highly recommend going with Dangerous Don as he was very charismatic, helpful and knowledgeable. He made the experience a memorable one. Green sand beach was beautiful and you should definitely check it out!
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 8 January 2024
  • Deborahjune
    Toronto, Canada698 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the Hike
    This was a must see on our list of attractions on the Island of Hawaii. The parking lot has lots of room for cars. The port a pottys are horrendous and poorly maintained so please be warned. They are disgusting. Bring your own toilet paper or tissues and hand sanitizer. Bring CASH for the $20 return pick up truck ride to the beach and back. They don't take credit cards! It is worth the bumpy ride on a very hot day. If you'd prefer to walk, which we did, it is a long hike to the beach and back. Wear lots of sunscreen and a hat is a must! Carry as little as you can and you'll need plenty of water. It's worth it once you get there and you will see a very rare site of an olive green sand beach. We were lucky enough to see turtles too. It's a long hike down to the beach and not an easy one as you hug the side of the cliff in spots but we did it and we are over 65!
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 January 2024
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,194 reviews
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Satish K Maduri
Princeton, NJ65 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Very unique beach , approx 3 miles walk one way from parking lot , which is rough terrain and mostly windy near the shore point . Locals take on back of their truck for 20$ two-way and wait there for an hour .. totally worth the round trip .. I won’t recommend anyone taking their own vehicle or rental one , as the drive is very diff with extremely rough terrain .. hike down to beach was also tough .. but beach is very unique with quite sunning Mountain View on the back.. we enjoyed the trip there
Written 5 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

freemaee
Los Angeles, CA188 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
I was looking forward to visiting the beach, because of the uniqueness, not to sunbathe. Read some of the reviews, saw photos and came wearing hiking shoes expecting to walk for a while.
The people at the parking lot try to discourage you from walking, so you use their pick up trucks to get to the green beach. I already knew it was illegal, so we just walked past and ignored them.
The way to the beach is gorgeous, however very windy. At times it was difficult to see, since the wind picks up sand and it gets in your eyes (imagine tiny needles in your eyes). Obviously it was hard to keep the hat on too. We were there in the afternoon. At times, I had to hold on to my son since the wind was blowing me back. I contemplated turning around, but pushed through. By the time I got to the beach, I felt like I was in the Sahara Desert walking for days: completely exhausted and honestly unsure how I can make it back. I reluctantly asked one of the people with the pickup trucks to take us back. They charged $15 per person one way, which I knew was wrong on many levels, but at this point was the best thing to do. Others already mentioned how unsafe the roads are. Unless you see it, it’s hard to describe. I didn’t see any trucks attempting to go over the terrain, other than the locals (probably because they didn’t allow anyone to pass through), but no one should be doing any driving there. It was a terrible experience, literally holding on for dear life, standing with 10 other people in the back of a truck. At times leaning from side to side so much that I thought we were going to fall. The thing that struck me was that there were tourists with young kids and babies! In the truck.
I would highly discourage anyone with children going on this hike to the green beach. There are plenty of other beautiful places you can be to enjoy nature. This is not an easy flat walk to the beach and if you are thinking to take the ride with the locals, please consider safety beside preserving nature. The ride is absolutely dangerous and it’s probably a matter of time before someone gets injured on it.
Do not go, if you are not very fit It’s not the terrain, but the elements that make it difficult. If you are in doubt, walk down from the parking lot for 5 minutes and look at the people walking back: do they look tired but exhilarated or exhausted and happy to be back? I know we are all in different shape and have different endurance levels, and this hike will test your ability, especially in a hot and windy weather. Make a wise decision and turn back before you get tired. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? There is nothing to prove.
My only wish is that there is a permanent sign at the parking lot, posting a warning and advising people to consider the weather, especially wind gusts.
Written 9 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Barton C.
Antwerp, Belgium6 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
Stay away from this place! The trek is not worth it, the sand is not green and the dunes are seriously damaged. Let me explain. There are two ways to get to the beach, either by hiking or by 4x4. Both are horrendous ways to get there, and driving on the grasslands is actually not permitted.

When hiking, understand there is no clear path, it's dusty and there is absolutely no shade. It feels like a desert, but with scattered sharp volcanic rocks.

When driving you'll be eroding the dunes. The situation is already extremely bad. There are tons of crisscross tracks and most of the tracks are abandoned because of pot holes. By driving you continue to turn the grasslands into a desert. It's up to you whether you want to contribute to the erosion.

There are locals offering a ride in their pick-up, it's an illegal service and the cars are in bad shape. We even came across a detached bumper on our hike.

Let's talk about the beach and the sand. The sand is not green, it's brown / olive. It's nothing special, doesn't even look green on your Insta when boosting saturation.

The nearby black sand beach (Punaluʻu Beach) is much cooler and that's where you should go instead. It has turtles, life guard, showers, toilets, proper parking and shade. All things you can't find on Green Sand Beach which has a shady parking situation, no toilets, no lifeguard etc.

For those with children, extremely dumb to even think of going to Green Sand Beach without access to these facilities.

Summarized: Don't fall for the hype and stay away.
Written 31 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TouristaVida
Grand Junction, United States10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The drive to the southernmost point in the US was really something, such a different landscape that what we'd seen on the rest of the island. Once we got there and parked, we didn't realize it was a 3-mile walk to the beach! Luckily some locals were offering rides for $20 a rider, in the back of a beat-up pickup truck, so we piled in and off we went into the dunes. The ride was like nothing I'd experienced before and the beach was totally stunning. Definitely an adventure worth the day we spent doing it!
Written 5 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wohdonkey
Newark, OH2,237 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
We had previously read the reviews so we mostly knew what to expect when we got here. We did have one of the locals drive us to the beach which was $20 per person. You pay once they bring you back. The girl who drove us was great but she was very young. It was a bumpy crazy ride but she got us there and back in one piece and we felt safe. It is definitely an experience getting down there. Dirt roads going everywhere, it feels a lot like being on a country farmland next to the ocean. It is pretty amazing once you get there. The sand is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a little steep and uneven getting down to the beach but we didn’t have any issues. The beach looks as though it has been carved out into the middle of surrounding rocks and you can look down into it. It’s definitely worth seeing and was one of the highlights from our trip.
Written 8 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bethney D
United States66 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019
We had no idea what we were in for when spontaneously we took someones advice to see the "green sand" beach. This is something that should be planned as an all day event....getting to the parking area is simple and directions easy to follow. Parking your car at this spot means about an hour and a half walk/hike to the actual beach!! Be prepared to have water, good walking shoes, snacks just for getting to the location. We walked half way and then caught a ride with one of the locals who ferry people back and forth on old vehicles for a modest charge (25$ per person). Walking/hiking is free....but will take time. Once you reach the beach, a walk down steep stairs to the actual sand and water is breathtaking and truly majestic.
Written 8 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

paulaK1843AW
Denver, CO13 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
This is a bit of a hike, about 3 miles each way. The reward is to see a beautiful beach.
The sad part is to watch all of the illegal truck traffic promoted by tourists. All vehicle traffic here is illegal. Please contact the land owner at:
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands DHHL
160 Baker Ave.
Hilo 96720
Phone: 808-974-4250
If you cannot hike it, don't go. Malama 'aina pono.
Written 7 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shon L
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
Breathtaking secluded beach! 45 minute drive with 4wd or a 2+ hour hike, but all proves worth the task. Some of the clearest water I've seen around the island. Crisp white rips of waves and awesome detail in the cove formations.. Another interesting and unique view is the sand... which haddad a green and gold particles. Spectacular!! Worth the time and effort to enjoy this experience..😀
Written 15 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert H
Centreville, VA215 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
As one of only four green sand beaches in the world, if you are on the Big Island, you should make time to see this wonder. The beach is small and very popular (aka crowded) but a sight to see. The cove is ordered by a cliff that is easily accessible and provide an amazing view of this beach. You can get there either by hiking the 3 miles (each way) or getting a ride from the locals for $20 per person. Despite what you may read, the locals were not pushy or threatening, they simply offered an alternative to a long hike.
Written 14 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike H
Phoenix, AZ2,017 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
About a 5 or 6 mile round trip by foot on a 4 wheel drive road. Don't that the rental car if you get stuck it will cost you. There are locals that for $5 a head will take you to the beach and back. You usually have a pickup and stand in the back if you go this way. We were expecting green sand but it really is a black green tint. Still an interesting beach.
Written 15 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Papakolea Green Sand Beach - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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