The town of Kalapana, at the end of the road in Puna on the island of Hawaii, was destroyed by an eruption from Kilauea in 1990. Kalapana was a Hawaiian fishing village with a beautiful palm tree covered black sand beach called Kaimu. The lava flow covered the beach with 50 to 75 feet of lava and destroyed most of the village and nearby Royal Gardens. In 2008, lava began to flow again, destroying the remaining structures in Royal Gardens and doing additional damage to Kalapana.
The County of Hawaii has a parking lot at the end of the Chain of Craters Road with a viewing platform which is open when the lava is flowing. The County's Lava Viewing hotline with the latest status on the lava flow, is (808) 961-8093.
The path to the new Kaimu black lava beach is about a 1/3 mile and starts from the parking lot of old Kalapana. The active Kilauea Volcano emissions are visible from the path in the distance.
Local residents in Kalapana planted new coconut trees to help return it to its previous beauty.
The black sand beach, at the end of the walk, is Kaimu Beach. It has a treacherous surf, too dangerous to swim, but beautiful to see.
Here is a video of our walk to the black beach.
If you get hungry after all the walking, there is a store next to the parking lot in Kalapana.
Directions to Kalapana:
From Highway 11, take Highway 130 south through Pahoa. The road changes name to Kapoho Kalapana Road. Kalapana is located where the road deadends and intersects with Highway 137. The drive from the Hwy 11 turnoff can take an hour or much more depending upon the weather and traffic. The two lane road is the only way out of the very populated Puna district and there are slow papaya trucks and a lot of traffic.