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  • Writer's pictureJyothi Vummiti

Kaimu Black Sand Beach - Big Island, Hawaii

Kaimu Beach Park is one with rich history located in Puna district on the southeastern end of the Island of Hawaii. It was once a popular black sand beach with fine sand, coconut palm lined shores and high surf. ​Two decades ago the lava flow from Kilauea eruption completely destroyed Kaimu town and the beach burying the entire area in more than 50ft of lava. Months of continuous lava flow created new land pushing the shoreline out into the ocean. This beach is a perfect example of natures cycle of destruction and rebirth over the years, now trying to recreate the lost black sand beach all over again.

Kaimu Black Sand Beach Park - Big Island, Hawaii

We visited this beach only by chance as we stopped at Kalapana cultural tours for a bike lava tour and went about exploring the area since we had some time to kill. The original beach was very close to the parking lot and Uncle's Kitchen compound where now few eateries and local craft shops are. A good spot to grab a bite before going on hikes and tours.

Food at the entrance / 1/4 mile easy walk

Beautiful red cinder trail

A 1/4 mile walk on red cinder gravel trail leads to the beach. Landscape along the trail is beautiful, cooled lava sparkling in the sun light and several baby coconut trees planted as an attempt of restoration. Little ferns, grass and wild plants emerge through the cracks.

Baby coconut palms / Hawaiian cultural art on the lava

This beach is not for swimming or sunbathing as the shore is full of black lava rocks and stones, and usually less busy for the same reason. Black sand is barely visible, only when the waves retreat. Strong waves grind the rocks against each other breaking them into smaller pieces, and probably into fine sand in years to come.

Kaimu black sand beach

It is sad to imagine a whole village buried deep underneath the black rock we walk on now. In the future, this could become a stunning beach park with tall coconut palm lined shores just like the old one. Or fall prey to one of the most active volcanos in the world and go through devastation all over again.

Gear Used: We used Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. As a secondary camera Fuji X-70.

Useful Information:

Where to stay: We stayed in a vacation rental in Volcano town close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Check out other options. For accommodations near the beach check here. Hours and cost: Open 24/7 and no fee. Trail: Rugged red cinder trail, mostly flat and easy to walk on.  In your bag: Sunscreen, water, hat, sunglasses, shoes and a camera. Things to do in the area: Drive on Kalapana-Kapoho rd (137) for great views and Kehena black sand beach. Go on a hike or bike tour with Kalapana cultural tours. Grab something to eat at one of the eateries near the park entrance.



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