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Regardless of how you get to the beach, there are currently no services in this area, so if you go, you’ll need to bring ample water, a supply of food, and bags to carry out your trash. Sun protection is also a must as there is no shade at the beach or along the way to the beach. Sturdy shoes are recommended whether or not you plan to hike due to a steep and a potentially slippery walk from the top of the cliff down to the beach. One of the local concerns about visitors at this beach is the potential damaging effects of sunscreen on the ocean’s ecosystem. If you’re planning to get into the water, consider wearing reef safe sunscreen or UV protective swimwear. Currents can be strong in this part of the island, so if you plan to get in the water, check ocean conditions ahead of your visit. There are no lifeguards here, so if in doubt, stay out. Aside from unusual shade of Papakölea’s sand, one of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive at this beach is its distinctly semi-circular shape. This comes from the beach’s origin as a volcanic cinder cone called Puÿu o Mahana that formed on the flanks of Mauna Loa. The sand at this beach gets its shade of green from olivine, a mineral that lines the walls of the cinder cone. The ocean waves erode the olivine and create the green sand. It may be tempting to take a scoop of Papakölea sand home as a souvenir, but it is illegal to do so. Leave the sand at the beach and walk away with vivid memories of the stunning cliffs, the waves, and of course, the sparkling green sand. 104


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