Papakolea Beach (also called Green Sand Beach or Pu'u o Mahana) near Ka Lae (South Point) in the Ka'u district of the Big Island of Hawaii is a secluded green sand beach. It holds the distinction of being one of the only two green sand beaches in the world, the other being in Galapagos Islands. You can visit Voyagers.travel Galápagos Islands if you want to find out more about seeing it.
The beach's olive-colored sand is due to the presence of olivine, a greenish, semi-precious stone from the Pu'u o Mahana cinder cone. The strong waves that hit the base of the cinder cone extract olivines out of the cinder and deposit them on the sand, giving it a unique green hue.
Going to Papakolea Beach is an adventure in itself, involving a 2-mile drive to a rugged and dusty road that eventually leads to the beach. Only vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive can be used on such rough roads. The vehicle should also be owned by a local since rental car companies prohibits off-pavement driving. But the adventure does not end there, you have to climb down the side of a cliff to get to the actual beach.
Before you get too excited, you need to get a permit from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) at 160 Baker Ave. Hilo 96720 (Tel. Phone: 808-974-4250) first to be able to drive to Papakolea Beach.
Driving and hiking to Papakolea Beach is absolutely free but you will have to shell out $25 as deposit for a key in the event the gate at the start of the road is locked. You can get your deposit back upon return of the key. Watch out for unscrupulous individuals who may try to scam you into paying for parking. There is absoulutely no charge for parking!
Caution is advised when swimming at the Papakolea Beach as the waters can get very turbulent.
Getting there is not exactly a walk in the park but its all worth it. After all, there are only two beaches in the world with green sand! So take advantage of the rare opportunity if ever you are in the Big Island of Hawaii.