My wife and I spent 4 days in Puna at the start of August. We stayed at The Peaceful Cove Cottage(Google Peaceful Cove Cottage Hawaii). It was about a half a mile from the end of the road by the new black sand beach. It was gorgeous. A short stroll through the back yard brings you to the crashing waves. Flowers and birds all over the place. (And I think it was only @ $100.00 per night). I was a little leery at first because it was so cheap...but I was wrong. We arrived during the weekend and the beaches and pools had parked cars everywhere. Too crowded for my tastes. But when we checked them out on Monday morning we pretty much had them to ourselves. The nude beach was beautiful,but a little too rough to swim in, the heated lava pool was delicious and the state park was fun to watch the surfers. Pahoa town itself was a kick. NOT touristy at all. Went into the Black Rock cafe at 1:00 Sunday afternoon. The bar was half full with more than half drunk people. But they were very friendly.( 3 of them literally stumbled out of the place. But they weren't driving.) We saw a heavy contingent of the backpacing crowd. We saw a bunch of people smoking dope(...but I guess that famous Hawaiian friendliness doesn't go so far in the sharing department). The narrow roads are trecherous and stunningly canopied in green. I never felt threatened or picked up a spooky vibe. If/when I go back I'll spend more time there.