Honokaope Beach / 49 Black Sand
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Honokaope Beach, also known as 49 Black Sand, is a charming and unique salt-and-pepper beach nestled between the Hilton Waikoloa and the Mauna Lani. To reach this hidden gem, head south from the Mauna Lani roundabout and make a left turn onto Honoka‘ope Place. The accessibility to this beach varies; sometimes, you'll receive a parking pass at the guard station, while on other occasions, they'll simply open the gate for you. The parking area can accommodate up to 20 cars, and it's open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
From the parking lot, a short, pleasant 2-minute walk along the path, which passes by the tennis courts, leads you to the beach. Like many beaches in this region, it can get windy in the afternoon, and the sand tends to heat up (though only slightly) due to its dark composition. If you're up for a hike, the ancient Ala Kahakai shoreline lava trail presents a scenic route, taking approximately 30 to 60 minutes to reach the beach. The trail commences near the Mauna Lani fishponds and showcases stunning lava cliff landscapes. When the surf is up, waves dramatically crash onto the gnarled lava formations in the ocean, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
At Honokaope Beach, swimming and snorkeling are enjoyable during calm conditions but can be challenging when the water is rough. The beach's unique shape may lead to some surging, so take caution when entering the water. Visibility underwater can occasionally be limited. However, when the surf conditions are just right—neither too big nor too small—you can float face down with a mask and snorkel at the surf's edge. As you are gently moved back and forth by the waves, you'll notice the intriguing sound created by the black pebbles mixed with the sand as they too shift in harmony with the tides. This sensory experience adds to the beach's distinct charm.
Honokaope Beach / 49 Black SandThe Big Island's Salt & Pepper BeachHonokaope Beach, also known a ....