The town of Kalapana, at the end of the road in Puna on the island of Hawaii, was mostly 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 lava continues to flow today very near to Kalapana.
Kalapana has a place at the end of the road to park and walk in for viewing the lava flowing into the ocean. The County of Hawaii provides parking and control of the area since the flow is outside the boundary of Volcanoes National Park. Here is Hawaii County's safety information for viewing the lava. The County's Lava Viewing hotline, with the latest status on the lava flow, is (808)961-8093.
The path to the remote Kaimu beach, goes from Kalapana through the lava field and is about a 1/3 mile. The active Kilauea Volcano emissions are visible from the path in the distance.
A while ago,a local resident in Kalapana started a campaign to plant new coconuts. Her efforts may ultimately result in a transformation of the beach and returning 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 cafe next to the parking lot in Kalapana.
We had some great burgers and a huge fish sandwich. And ice cream!
There was a place to buy honey for the road.
Directions to Kalpana:
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.