Papakōlea Beach: Sunbathing in a Technicolor Dream Coat

Ah, Hawaii. A place where the breeze carries a hint of pineapple, and the beaches are out to steal the limelight from any Instagram influencer. But among its constellation of sandy superstars, there’s one that wears its uniqueness as boldly as a peacock in mating season. Ladies and gentlemen, sun worshippers and sandcastle architects, allow me to introduce you to Papakōlea Beach, or as it’s affectionately known, Green Sand Beach. No, your glasses don’t need cleaning. Yes, it’s genuinely green, and no, leprechauns have nothing to do with it.

This beach isn’t just off the beaten path; it took the path, tossed it into the ocean, and dared it to find its way back. Nestled near South Point in the Kaʻū district of the island of Hawaii, getting there is a bit like trying to find the end of a rainbow. You can hike, sweat, and possibly swear under your breath during a somewhat challenging 2.5-mile trek from the nearest parking area. Or, for the less masochistic, local tour guides with 4x4s can turn the journey into an adventure rather than a pilgrimage.

So, why is the sand at Papakōlea Beach as green as your neighbor’s envy when you tell them where you’ve been? It’s thanks to olivine, a common mineral (though not in beach sand) born from the fiery loins of the nearby Mauna Loa volcano. See, while other beaches are flaunting their golden, white, or even pink hues, Papakōlea went for something delightfully out of the box. It’s like Mother Nature decided to throw a curveball just to keep things interesting.

Once you finally arrive, don’t expect your standard beach amenities. There’s no café serving piña coladas, no cabana boys ready to fluff your towel—just unadulterated, rugged natural beauty, pristine emerald-colored sands, and the kind of tranquility that makes you ponder ditching your day job to become a full-time beachcomber.

So, if your idea of a beach day involves something a little less ordinary and a little more ‘Emerald City by the sea,’ pack your hiking boots, prepare for a mini adventure, and make sure to leave the place as untouched as you found it. After all, gems like Papakōlea Beach are rare, and keeping it green is a task we should all be up for. Just remember, while taking selfies with the unique backdrop, try not to look too smug. Your friends are going to be green enough with envy as it is.