We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Papakolea Green Sand

Jersey City, New...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Topic
Papakolea Green Sand

Hi,

My wife wants to see the Papakolea Green Sand although I am not a big fan after reading many people here mentioning that its a 2.5 hour hike and confusing to get there. However, my wife will talk me into it so I want to be prepared:

1) Can someone please post the GPS coordinates of the parking lot? I tried street view in Google maps and it just stops here (18.983622,-155.666631 - https://maps.google.com/maps?q=18.983622,-155.666631). Should I go down the south point road from here on or is the parking lot on a completely different road?

2) There are people who mentioned that we could find locals offering rides for $10-$20. Do those rides start from the parking lot? If this is a different parking lot, can you pls provide the GPS coordinates of that lot instead.

3) Is this $20 ride a one-way ride or a round-trip ride?

4) If I am coming from Kona, then is this the correct turn to take? (right on south point road coming from Mamalahoa highway -- https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=19.06082,-155.668387&daddr=18.983622,-155.666631)

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,020 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

Hmm, where to start?

First, you cannot get to the parking lot without violating your rental contract, because South Point Rd. Is prohibited.

Second, it is trespassing to go to Papakolea in any vehicle, local driven or not. Those locals are operating an illegal business giving rides on land where they have no permission.

Third what they do tears up the road and is harmful to the environment.

Lastly, it is not respectful tourism to go there at this point in time, no matter how many blogs and books write it up. It is not a park. It belongs to Dept. Of Hawaiian Homelands or DHHL,

Which is land held for the Native Hawaiians and is not public. You have permission from the landowners to walk in, period, but then there is the issue of driving South Point Rd. uninsured, which is a financial risk on your part.

Edited: 16 December 2013, 17:41
Jersey City, New...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

Ahh.. did not know of all these issues .. thank you. I thought I will be violating the rental car contract if I go BEYOND the parking lot.

Jersey City, New...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

I have seen some youtube videos and after further research I am posting the following answers in case someone looks at this thread in future:

1) Can someone please post the GPS coordinates of the parking lot? I tried street view in Google maps and it just stops here (18.983622,-155.666631 - https://maps.google.com/maps?q=18.983622,-155.666631). Should I go down the south point road from here on or is the parking lot on a completely different road?

-- Seems like the correct coordinates are: 18.914772,-155.682355. When you do street view, it stops at 18.983622,-155.666631 but there is a very tiny bit of street view again around 18.914772,-155.682355.

2) There are people who mentioned that we could find locals offering rides for $10-$20. Do those rides start from the parking lot? If this is a different parking lot, can you pls provide the GPS coordinates of that lot instead.

-- Yes. Those rides start at the parking lot

3) Is this $20 ride a one-way ride or a round-trip ride?

-- I am not sure of this. Doesn't matter because you are bent on getting there and coming back anyway.

4) If I am coming from Kona, then is this the correct turn to take? (right on south point road coming from Mamalahoa highway -- https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=19.06082,-155.668387&daddr=18.983622,-155.666631)

-- Looks like this is the correct turn to take.

Anyway as others have mentioned on this thread on other related threads, you may not want to go there.

Kona
Level Contributor
2,352 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

The DHHL - the owners of the land through which you pass to get to Papakolea - are very clear that they allow walking to Papakolea, but vehicles are prohibited except through a very specific permitting process.

They say that they simply do not have the resources to police all the illegal operators that offer rides to tourists. They go in from time to time and shut them all down, and then they spring up again. These illegal "tours," as KK mentions, are environmentally destructive. DHHL had, perhaps naively, hoped that by allowing passage only by foot would limit the number of visitors in this environmentally fragile area. If tourists keep insisting on making use of the illegal operators, the DHHL will probably have to close the area off to everybody.

So, please, show some respect. If you can get down to the trailhead without using your rental car (itʻs prohibited by your contract), then hike in and enjoy. Otherwise, please donʻt go.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,020 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

Actually it appears all the rental agencies are prohibiting the road to Ka Lae itself, as portions of it are unpaved. The road beyond the parking lot is obviously prohibited and is impassable in any rental anyway, but it's the main road to Ka Lae that KK was referring to.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Kapaa
Level Contributor
23,237 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

Karthik, it's not a big deal that you'll be missing. The sand is interesting, but not bright green, as you might think. More like barely chartreuse. And I'm pretty sure that swimming there is not recommended. And it's a LONG hike, usually in stiff winds.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,020 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

karthik,

Lots of great info you are getting.

One reason this is very confusing if you research past write ups and videos, is that South Point Road was not prohibited until fairly recently. For years, the standard advice in this forum was to drive South Point Road to the trailhead and hike in from there.

However, South Pont Road itself is now off limits to rentals, even though it is not a 4WD road. To walk in from the Belt Highway would be very long and I have not heard of people doing it. Anyone doing the former drive in now is voiding their car insurance by breaking the contract.

I just got back from Maui where I saw many people driving prohibited roads and the same happens here. People take chances on vacation. I feel the same pull to not worry about bad things. I will not be one to tell you to take the risk, as I believe it would be highly unwise. At the least, if someone smashes your window there, you are paying for the whole repair, not only a deductible. If you got in a collision or bumped into something, you could be on the hook for anywhere from a few thousand to the entire value of the vehicle.

You have to decide if seeing this beach is worth that risk.

Edited: 16 December 2013, 20:41
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
159 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

A good portion of South Point Road has recently been paved/repaved. It is an easy drive. The whole area is spectacular in a desolate sort of way, including the green sand beach. Worth seeing IMO if you have the time although I wouldn't prioritize it to the top of your list. There are other beaches around that have traces of olivine which produces the green tint.

I won't lecture you about your rental car contract. I'm sure quite capable of figuring out what is allowed and not.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,020 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

"I'm sure quite capable of figuring out what is allowed and not."

Those of us who have been here on this forum for years, and/or have law practices that see cases involving issues of who pays when something happens to a rental when someone is on an unpaved road or other location in violation of their rental contract, can tell you that's it's not that simple.

Many rental contracts offer only the fine print that unpaved roads aren't allowed and many people don't realize which roads those are. Other agencies continue to prohibit certain roads long after they've been paved (like the Saddle) because it takes a while for corporate and their insurance riders to catch up to a change in local conditions. Many local agents will wink-wink at people renting cars who ask about specific places, giving the renters the impression it's fine, but when something happens, at the end of the day you signed the contract and trust me that kindly agent won't be volunteering that they told you it was fine.

Certain guidebooks actually state that even if you violate your rental contract, if something happens your personal insurance will cover the damage, which is false.

Leaving it up to people who have never been on island to figure it out for themselves is not really doing them a service when there's a lot of useful information out there to help them assess risk versus reward. Everyone's always free to disregard whatever is said here, but it's nothing but helpful IMO to put it all out there.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,020 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Papakolea Green Sand

>>> I won't lecture you about your rental car contract. I'm sure quite capable of figuring out what is allowed and not.

I was not lecturing, and it is not so easy to figure out. No one in the rental process from the agency end tells you about voiding your own insurance. They do not tell you what is prohibited. They give you a Hawaii Drive-O map magazine with maps in the back, and donʻt even tell you to look at it.

I just rented on Maui, and didnʻt hear one word from Alamo about any kind of road we were not supposed to drive. Finn, do you think people planning a trip read all the verbiage in the contract? I donʻt.

However, I spoke personally to a HDCR rep and asked her about the roads we talk about on the forum, and she told me, that map rules. What it says goes. The Big Island map shows South Point Road is currently prohibited. Maybe you can look it up; itʻs online.

I have never seen a problem with South Point Road, and I donʻt disagree it is an easy enough drive. That is irrelevant though. Case law has upheld the right of a car agency to specifically prohibit a road, whether or not it is paved. All UNpaved roads are prohibited, AND any paved roads that are specified by name. So visitors can argue ʻtil blue in the face that the road is improved, but the fact remains it is not allowed at this time.

Any time the internet is choke with videos and blogs talking about how tourists went on roads that are not allowed, but donʻt discuss that part, it is not so easy for the prospective renter to sort out what is up.