The Colored Beaches of Hawaii

When you think of beaches, the first thing that probably comes to mind is beautiful white sand and crystal blue seas. This is not always the case though; there is a whole world of amazingly varied beaches out there, with some crazily colored sand.

Sand is essentially an astronomical amount of ground-down rock and this is why beaches can look so vastly different around the world. Hawaii is home to some truly unique beaches and is well worth exploring on your adventure tours.

Green Sand, Papakolea Beach

Looking down on Papakolea Beach from the cinde...

Image via Wikipedia

The emerald green sand of Papakolea Beach makes it one of the most unique beaches in the world, with only one other beach of its kind. Located in Hawaii, getting to this hidden beach is no easy feat. Expect to hike around 3 miles over lava fields with a large amount of volcanic dust blowing through the wind. Once arriving at the beach you will be greeted with some eerie views. The green sand set against a landscape of harsh rocks, a beautiful blue sky and crystal-clear oceans.

The reason for the sand on this beach being green is because of the high olivine content in the area’s lava. As the lava rock erodes olivine crystals are left behind. Microscopic close-ups of the crystal actually show them to be like miniature emeralds.

Black Sand, Punaluu Beach

Black Sand Beach, also known as Punaluu Beach,...

Image via Wikipedia

Watch your toes on this beach! If you thought white sand was hot from the blazing sun, wait until you stand on this beach’s black sand. Located in Hawaii, this beach has black sand due to the large amount of volcanic rock surrounding the beach. Swimming in this beach’s water is best avoided as it can be dangerous due to the large jagged rocks just below the surface caused by previous volcanic eruptions in the area.

The beach is also famous for its endangered Green Sea Turtles that can often been seen basking on the hot sand. Visitors are advised not to handle or go near the turtles as they do not have the immune system to handle human bacteria. The everyday bacteria we carry on our bodies can easily kill these endangered animals.

Red Sand Beach, Kaihalulu Bay

red sand beach

Image by fiskadoro via Flickr

The Hawaiian word Kaihalulu means “Roaring Sea” and it certainly has been aptly named. The waters surrounding the beach are not suited for swimming as its strong currents can easily take you out to open sea and prevent you from being able to swim back. The red sand comes from the crumbling volcanic rock, also known as cinder cone.

When traveling to Kaihalulu beach you should expect a challenging trek, but also an incredibly rewarding one. On arriving at the bay, you’re greeted by the incredible sight of deep red sand merging with the turquoise waters making for a fantastic adventure travel photo opportunity. Be aware though, due to its isolated location, and the inherent difficulty in reaching it, many locals consider the beach to be a ‘clothing optional’ location!


James is an avid traveller with a passion for finding strange, bizarre and out of the ordinary adventure travel experiences.


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