ALOHA!

 

So what are among 2 of the top things to do on the Big Island?!

  1. See turtles!
  2. See a black sand beach!

 

And, with a visit to the Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to check off 2 of the Big Island bucket list items at once!

 

Turtle Beach, Big Island. Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island Hawaii. Turtles kona day trip. Swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtles. Best things to do in Big Island itinerary. Black sand beaches with lava. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

You will definitely see a black sand beach with a visit to Punaluu Beach.

As far as seeing turtles at the Punaluu black sand beach, there is a chance that you might not see them.

Turtles are wildlife (marine life) after all, so it’s not a 100% guarantee that you’ll have the chance for a turtle sighting.

But at least they are predictable in the sense that they do visit this beach often.

You could call Punaluu Beach the “turtle beach” of the Big Island!

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to swim with turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

I visited Punaluu Beach 3 times in the span of a week, and I saw turtles every time!

And basically there were 3 main areas that I saw the turtles. (On some days I saw them in 2 different areas.) More below on where you have a chance at spotting turtles!

 

 

When to go to Punaluu black sand beach

The Punaluu black sand beach can be a perfect part of your Big Island itinerary when you make the drive from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

If you’re on a Hawaii cruise, you can also reasonably make the trip from the Hilo cruise port too.

 

 

🐢🌴

 

And Punaluu Beach isn’t the only black sand beach on the Big Island. If you’re interested in more (probably no turtle spotting), there are more black sand beaches on the Big Island with amazing overlooks! And for another colored beach, many people make a trip to the green sand beach on the same day as Punaluu Beach.

And if you’ll be headed to another Hawaiian island:

 

 

And now…

Where on Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles?!

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This will basically be a walk-through of the beach and where I saw turtles during my visits to the beach!

 

 

Parking at Punaluu black sand beach park

There are 2 main parking lots at this beach park.

To see turtles, it doesn’t matter too much which lot you park at since this beach is not that long.

But, so you can walk from one end to the other directly, this turtle spotting beach walk will start at the parking lot that you’ll reach from taking Ninole Loop Road off the highway.

This is the parking lot that’s closer to the bathrooms, if that matters. 😉

This is also at the south end of the beach.

 

 

So once you’ve parked…

Walk to the black sand beach!

Punaluu black sand beach from ninole loop road parking lot. Hawaii travel blog

 

Yes, it really is BLACK!

You’ll see old lava rocks everywhere on this beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach. lava rocks. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

And then…

The turtle spotting beach walk

So once you start walking across the beach, in a very short time you may come across an area of beach that is seemingly blocked off by rocks.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog

 

If the blocked off area is there, it will also come with signs about not getting too close to the turtles.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog

 

The sign reads:

  • Please give turtles space
  • Please never touch turtles
  • Please never feed turtles

 

This is your first indication that this is a spot that turtles like to rest up at!

I saw 2 turtles laying in this area on one of the days I went to the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Turtle spotting area. Hawaii travel blog

 

This was also the area that I saw one turtle swim off into the ocean too.

 

 

Then, continuing the beach walk…

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Lifeguards and beach facilities. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Lifeguard tower

Punaluu black sand beach park. Lifeguards and beach facilities. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

Well, side note, one of the things that makes this a nice beach (aside from the bathrooms of course) is that there is a lifeguard here.

One of the days that I went to the beach, there were cones set up in front of the lifeguard tower.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Turtle spotting area. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

Because…

There was a turtle!

I saw one turtle here on one of the days I was at the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach. Where to see turtles on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Then, continuing the beach walk…

You’ll come across the other parking lot. This one actually has less parking spaces, so you might even have better luck with parking at the other parking lot anyway.

 

Punaluu black sand beach parking lot. Hawaii travel blog

 

And then, keep walking basically to the other end of the beach.

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

As you’re walking, keep an eye out on the water, because you might see turtles popping their heads out!

Unlike the other sections of the beach in which the turtles came to rest on shore, it’s in this area that I saw several turtles swimming in the water on multiple days!

So if you want to go swimming with turtles on the Big Island, it seems that this might be the best spot on the beach to go snorkeling.

The way I saw them was from shore when they would pop their heads up.

If you’re in the water, you might see even more that are just feeding on food underwater.

So, you might want to get in the water here to go snorkeling for some fun swimming alongside turtles! (But not too close!)

So if swimming with turtles is on your Big Island bucket list, then you might try Punaluu black sand beach to see if you can check it off your list!

 

And then…

This end of the beach can be a good area to find a spot to rest up at a picnic table or under the palm trees.

 

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Otherwise…

Walk back to the parking lot!

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Punaluu black sand beach park. Where to see black sand beach on the Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Be sure to check the same areas to see if more turtles have arrived!

Turtles come and go so new ones might come, and the ones you saw earlier might also have left!

 

 

And then…

What else to do near the black sand beach?!

If you’re trying to figure out how to make this black sand beach a part of your Big Island itinerary…

A perfect day might be:

  • Visit to the green sand beach
  • Visit to South Point aka the southernmost part of the US
  • Visit to the black sand beach!

 

A perfect day on the south coast of the Big Island with the black sand beach

 

Visit the Papakolea green sand beach

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. Green sand beach to black sand beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit South Point park

I saw a pod of dolphins swimming off the coast here!

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. south point cliff to black sand beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles

Things to do near Punaluu black sand beach, south coast Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Also, the drive from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Punaluu black sand beach is around a 30 minute drive. So it can also be reasonable to go for a visit to this beach on the day you visit the national park.

 

HAPPY VISIT TO PUNALUU BLACK SAND BEACH TO SEE TURTLES ON THE BIG ISLAND!

 

Punaluu black sand beach in Big Island Hawaii. Where to see turtles in Big Island Hawaii. Swimming with turtles. Best things to do in Big Island itinerary. Black sand beaches with lava. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Big Island maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Kona!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Big Island:


ALOHA!