One of the few things you will find in the world is a green sand beach, in fact, there are only four beaches in the world with green sand. The Big Island of Hawai’i is one of those four places where you will find a beautiful beach that is full of green sand! It isn’t an easy beach to get to. However, it is so worth the trip.
Green Sand Beach
To make it to Papakolea Beach AKA Green Sand Beach, you will either need to make a 3-mile hike along the coastline to reach the beach and then hike 3-miles back. You can also take a 4WD vehicle through rough terrain to get there, which isn’t all that comfortable to do and if you don’t know where you are going, you could end up making the drive much longer than it should be. DO NOT try to bring your rental vehicle along the trail; you won’t make it, and it is most likely against the contract.
There is no shade, drinking water, or facilities at the beach. Be sure to bring everything you will need, including plenty of water and sunscreen.
The cinder cone is rich in olivine, a silicate mineral containing iron and magnesium, also known as peridot when of gem quality. Olivine is a common mineral component of Hawaiian lavas and one of the first crystals to form asmagma cools. Olivine is locally known as “Hawaiian Diamond” and is notably found in Oʻahu’s famous Diamond Head landmark. The source of the green coloration of the beach sands is due to the olivine crystals which are winnowed from the eroding headland by the action of the sea. Olivine, being denser and tougher than the ash fragments, glass and black pyroxene of the rest of the rocks and lava flows, tends to accumulate on the beach whereas the usual volcanic sand is swept out to sea.
Don’t forget that while you are the beautiful Big Island of Hawai’i, we don’t appreciate our sand taken away or the landscape graffitied up. Please respect the area and treat the land with Aloha.
Just like the green sand beach here on the Big Island of Hawaii, we also love our black sand beaches!