A Travellerspoint blog

Magnificent Big Island beaches - part 1

Hapuna Beach looked like it could be in the Caribbean somewhere (except for the water temperature); we got our second Pfizer doses here in Kona

Hapuna Beach looked like it could be in the Caribbean somewhere (except for the water temperature); we got our second Pfizer doses here in Kona

This spotted eagle ray was the only stingray I saw off the Big Island; he was seen at 49 Black Sand Beach (aka Honokaope Beach)  which is in a gated community with limited guest parking

This spotted eagle ray was the only stingray I saw off the Big Island; he was seen at 49 Black Sand Beach (aka Honokaope Beach) which is in a gated community with limited guest parking

Lapakahi State Historical Park had a walking trail with information on the background of the area during ancient times; there was no beach here with sharp lava to the water's edge

Lapakahi State Historical Park had a walking trail with information on the background of the area during ancient times; there was no beach here with sharp lava to the water's edge

Hapuna Beach is often considered the best beach in all of Hawaii; the beach has it all with clear water, great sand, plenty of free parking and room for everyone to spread out

Hapuna Beach is often considered the best beach in all of Hawaii; the beach has it all with clear water, great sand, plenty of free parking and room for everyone to spread out

Our last day we snorkeled at beach in front of the Fairmont Orchid hotel ($800  per night); I saw 3 turtles, tons of fish and even a wedding

Our last day we snorkeled at beach in front of the Fairmont Orchid hotel ($800+ per night); I saw 3 turtles, tons of fish and even a wedding

Posh houses lined scenic Kiholo Bay but the water is murky here from freshwater springs; this area was the epicenter of a 2006 earthquake with magnitude 6.7 that did $200 million in damage

Posh houses lined scenic Kiholo Bay but the water is murky here from freshwater springs; this area was the epicenter of a 2006 earthquake with magnitude 6.7 that did $200 million in damage

Reef triggerfish; this historical park is sacred for Hawaiians and you're not allowed to take anything to the water (no towels, bags, etc) and the rule is strictly enforced

Reef triggerfish; this historical park is sacred for Hawaiians and you're not allowed to take anything to the water (no towels, bags, etc) and the rule is strictly enforced

Lee saw several reef sharks during our time on the Big Island but I never saw one; a 10 ft. tiger shark attacked a woman swimmer near the Four Seasons on our next to last day

Lee saw several reef sharks during our time on the Big Island but I never saw one; a 10 ft. tiger shark attacked a woman swimmer near the Four Seasons on our next to last day

The Mauna Kea Resort is the only oceanfront hotel on Mauna Kea Beach; at night, hotel spotlights attract the manta rays to this bay where you can snorkel with them

The Mauna Kea Resort is the only oceanfront hotel on Mauna Kea Beach; at night, hotel spotlights attract the manta rays to this bay where you can snorkel with them

This is the friendliest sea turtle I've ever seen as he swam right up to me and circled completely around me checking me out; after slowly doing his 360 he swam off leaving me happy for the experience

This is the friendliest sea turtle I've ever seen as he swam right up to me and circled completely around me checking me out; after slowly doing his 360 he swam off leaving me happy for the experience

From the Pololu Valley Lookout you can often see humpback whales from December to March; there is no coastal road east of here so you have to go inland to Waimea and over to Honokaa before the coastal road resumes

From the Pololu Valley Lookout you can often see humpback whales from December to March; there is no coastal road east of here so you have to go inland to Waimea and over to Honokaa before the coastal road resumes

White-spotted surgeonfish; our guide book said there were unusually tons of fish here with exceptional snorkeling but I didn't think it was any better than surrounding beaches

White-spotted surgeonfish; our guide book said there were unusually tons of fish here with exceptional snorkeling but I didn't think it was any better than surrounding beaches

This peacock flounder wasn't camouflaged very well; when we first arrived at Kapaa Beach Park we were greeted by a passing pod of dolphins (the only ones we saw while in Hawaii)

This peacock flounder wasn't camouflaged very well; when we first arrived at Kapaa Beach Park we were greeted by a passing pod of dolphins (the only ones we saw while in Hawaii)

The Kohala beaches, like Kapaa, are usually much sunnier than the beaches south of Kona because they are not in the cloud/rain shadows of the volcanoes; Kapaa Beach is small and rocky but had good snorkeling

The Kohala beaches, like Kapaa, are usually much sunnier than the beaches south of Kona because they are not in the cloud/rain shadows of the volcanoes; Kapaa Beach is small and rocky but had good snorkeling

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

Kehena Beach, south of Hilo in the Puna district, is one of the most famous black sand beaches on the island; this hippie hangout was formed in a 1955 lava flow

The end of the road on the NW corner of the island is at the Pololu Valley; here you can hike down a steep trail to enjoy a nice black sand beach but swimming is not recommended

The end of the road on the NW corner of the island is at the Pololu Valley; here you can hike down a steep trail to enjoy a nice black sand beach but swimming is not recommended

The saffron finch, native to South America, was introduced into Hawaii in 1965 and has become a common sight on the Big Island

The saffron finch, native to South America, was introduced into Hawaii in 1965 and has become a common sight on the Big Island

We didn't experience any rain during our 2 weeks on the Big Island but Lee came prepared; it's roughly 300 miles to drive around the Big Island and I recommend allowing at least a week to see the many sights along the way

We didn't experience any rain during our 2 weeks on the Big Island but Lee came prepared; it's roughly 300 miles to drive around the Big Island and I recommend allowing at least a week to see the many sights along the way

Papakolea Green Sand Beach was pretty but also hot with some large waves; the beach (near the southernmost point on the island) was very popular but windy with strong undertow

Papakolea Green Sand Beach was pretty but also hot with some large waves; the beach (near the southernmost point on the island) was very popular but windy with strong undertow

Mahai'ula Beach (2 miles north of the airport) is a long crescent of sand that is rarely crowded; when you get tired of this beautiful beach it's only a 20 minute walk to Makalawena Beach

Mahai'ula Beach (2 miles north of the airport) is a long crescent of sand that is rarely crowded; when you get tired of this beautiful beach it's only a 20 minute walk to Makalawena Beach

Makalawena was easily the most scenic beach we visited on the island and the lack of crowds added to the experience; there are no services here so bring lunch and cold drinks for the day

Makalawena was easily the most scenic beach we visited on the island and the lack of crowds added to the experience; there are no services here so bring lunch and cold drinks for the day

Makalawena Beach is as idyllic a beach as you will find anywhere in Hawaii; there's a very rough road to get here and then a 30 minute walk but that keeps the crowds reasonable

Makalawena Beach is as idyllic a beach as you will find anywhere in Hawaii; there's a very rough road to get here and then a 30 minute walk but that keeps the crowds reasonable

Mahai'ula Beach was one of the gorgeous coves along a stretch in the center of the island's west coast; wear good shows to hike through the lava among the coves (and take a hat)

Mahai'ula Beach was one of the gorgeous coves along a stretch in the center of the island's west coast; wear good shows to hike through the lava among the coves (and take a hat)

Zebra moray eel; it's best to visit Puako Bay at high tide to make navigating the long swim in shallow waters easier; the guide book described an extensive reef here but it was more like narrow tentacles branching out from shore

Zebra moray eel; it's best to visit Puako Bay at high tide to make navigating the long swim in shallow waters easier; the guide book described an extensive reef here but it was more like narrow tentacles branching out from shore

Lee was resting his eyes after lunch at uncrowded (the bay is very shallow with a long swim to get good visibility) Puako Bay; he saw a spotted moray eel earlier at this beach backed by expensive, new homes

Lee was resting his eyes after lunch at uncrowded (the bay is very shallow with a long swim to get good visibility) Puako Bay; he saw a spotted moray eel earlier at this beach backed by expensive, new homes

Orangeband Surgeonfish; Kahulu'u Beach Park is often compared to an aquarium but it is very shallow and tough going at times; once outside the lagoon I enjoyed snorkeling along the outer reef

Orangeband Surgeonfish; Kahulu'u Beach Park is often compared to an aquarium but it is very shallow and tough going at times; once outside the lagoon I enjoyed snorkeling along the outer reef

The crown-of-thorns starfish is a rare spotting in Hawaiian waters; it always seems odd to only see one of a species but with the crown-of-thorns II only saw one on Maui and one here

The crown-of-thorns starfish is a rare spotting in Hawaiian waters; it always seems odd to only see one of a species but with the crown-of-thorns II only saw one on Maui and one here

Posted by VagabondCowboy 06:26

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