When most beaches of the world get their popularity from their glistening golden coloured sand, there are five such beach destinations which stand out from the rest because of their green coloured sand. One amongst those five destinations is Papakolea Beach popularly also known as the Green Sand Beach which is present in the southern tip of South Point which lies in the Kaʻū district of the Big Hawaiian Island. The remaining four beaches include the Talafofo Beach in Guam, the Punta Cormorant in Floreana Island of Galapagos Island, and the Hornindalsvatnet in Norway.
Apart from the sand of the Papakolea Beach being green the second attractive feature of the place is that it gives you the chance of enjoying a beach sitting in the cinder cone of an ancient volcano. It is primarily the second feature of the place which gives rise to the first. The greenness of the sand is the result of the mineral olivine which is present inside the cinder cone. Olivine is a mix of iron and magnesium and is mostly found in the lavas of the volcanoes in the Hawaii region. The cooled magma form green crystals which are also popularly called “Hawaiian Diamonds”. For all these reasons the area is also tagged as the National Landmark District.
The beach gets its name from either being formed out of a cinder cone or also on the people of the neighbouring region who in turn get this name from the Pacific Golden Plower which is sometimes visible during the winter season. This is the point on which the first Polynesian settlers landed and made the first Hawaiian settlements. The Papakolea Beach has a half circle shape where the eastern part of the 49,000 year old cinder has been eroded by the ocean.
Though the uniqueness of this place is one of its kinds in the world but, this has not led to the starting of any guided tours to this isolated part. If you want to be a part of this wonder of nature then, you have to take up a 2 ½ hour drive from the Kohola Coast where most of the resorts of Hawaii are situated. However, one thing to be kept in mind is that while driving across this path you need to have a skill to tackle rough roads. It is perhaps for this reason that most people opt for a 2 ½ hour hiking trip each way to see this scenic wonder. In addition, the path takes you only to the edge of the cinder cone, in order to reach the beach you need to climb down the cone.
Apart from the natural significance of the area, it is also a rich fishing spot, a location for the coastguard lighthouses and also has a U.S Air Force landing strip.