As you all know by now, I had an incredible time in Kona this summer at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort, so much so that we really didn’t even leave the resort. On our last full day there we decided that we should probably explore the island to see what the Big Island had to offer.
A few of the things that I knew Kona was famous for was their coffee, the black lava rocks and volcano, and the fact that the Big Island offers not only the beauty of white sand beaches but also black sand beaches and a very rare green sand beach.
I spotted the green sand beach on the map and we decided to make it a point of destination as we made our way around the island. As we approached the turning point off the main highway, we realized it was going to be another 12 mile drive to get to the green beach. Okay, not too bad.
Finally, we see the sign for the green sand beach and it leads us into a dirt parking lot. We park our car and start to walk toward the beach about 200 yards in front us when all of a sudden we are approached by a big Samoan man. “Hey, where are you are guys from?” I immediately think “uh-oh”. I keep my mouth shut as my husband thinks I’m way too friendly to strangers and I decide to let him do his usual brush-off. Then I hear “the San Francisco Bay Area”. Samoan man: “So you here to see the green beach?” Hubby: “Yeah.” Samoan man: “Well you know it’s another 3 miles, right?” Both my husband and I: “Huh?” Samoan man: “You can hike it or I can take you for $15/ea.” as he points to an older Dodge Ram with a little girl in the back seat. “That’s my daughter” he states. Okay, it’s bring your kid to work day. It’s at this point that I notice three or four trucks lined up in a row and realize this is a business for these guys.
Well, it was a hot day and I’m not a big hiker and I could see that the terrain was bumpy and knowing that my husband trusts no one, I thought “well we came all this way just to turn right back around without seeing the green beach”. Then I hear the hubby say “OK.” What? Are you kidding me? Are we going to be the main headline on the local news tonight? “Two tourist from the Bay Area found dead at that the green beach.” My husband later shared with me that he figured we wouldn’t be murdered with his daughter in the back seat.
So the three mile drive to the beach takes us about 15 to 20 minutes because the road is so bumpy. I’m sitting in the front seat of the cab squeezed between the big Samoan to my left and my 6’4″, 240lb hubby to my right and we are bouncing around like rubber balls. Good way to get to know some one real quick. Turns out the Samoan’s name is Kimo and he turns out to be a really nice guy. He gives us the history of the land, some info on the island and so forth and then we finally arrive to our destination….the green sand beach.
We’re perched high above it and I look down and think “where is it?” and Kimo says “Here it is!” I think Really?! That’s the green sand beach? then I say to my husband “well I see a hint of green” and the hubby responds “Uh-huh.”
Kimo explains that the beach has lost its color over the years because so many people have climbed up and down the black dirt mound that it has mixed into the green sand and diminished its appearance. At this point, I’m saddened by this and almost don’t want to climb down to contribute to this degradation but after a 20 minute ride for 3 miles and $30 bucks later, I’m going down to see the green sand beach.
So we climb down, stand around for a few minutes trying to be in awe of the green sand beach. I snap a picture of this dog who I think is wondering where the green sand beach is as well, and then we head back up.
Within these 10 minutes or so, Kimo has made a new lady friend and wants to know if we would mind if she rode back with us but we have to wait for whoever she’s with to get back. The hubby declines, Kimo apologizes to her and we’re on our bumpy way back.
As we’re bouncing our way back, Kimo asks “so do you want to see a real green sand beach?” Uh, yeah! We drive practically back to the parking lot and Kimo takes us to a little area just to the left of the parking lot and shows us a stretch of green sand beach that has not been ruined by the many tourist that visit the area. Are you kidding me?! We just went through this whole show and then disappointment to find out the “real” green sand beach is 200+ yards from the parking lot. But at this point I don’t care…we’re alive and safe and now I get to see a real green sand beach.
Apparently, this green sand beach is an extreme rarity and I am happy at this point that I was able to see it. We hop back in the truck, drive the 15 feet back to the car and pay Kimo his $30 plus a tip. Really, what’s an adventure if there’s no story to tell! We had a blast.