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Wai'anapanapa State Park

Sea Arch
Black sand beach sea arch.
Black Sand Beach
Black sand beach.
Honokalani Cemetery
Honokalani cemetery.
Black Sand
Close-up of the black sand.
Black Sand Beach

The 122-acre Wai'anapanapa State Park is located off Hana highway near mile marker #32 and about a half-mile from the Hana airport. It is a delightful location, clean, and well maintained. Cabins are available and come equipped with a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. They are one of the best deals on Maui so reservations need to be made early. Luxury, however, is not one of their strong points. The real beauty is enjoying the tropical jungle setting with a horseshoe-shaped black sand beach (Pa'iloa Beach) and black sea cliffs. The beech is truly enchanting due to the contrast of black sand, white cresting waves, and a blue ocean all surrounded by tropical green vegetation.

On the Big Island of Hawaii, black sand beaches form rapidly when molten lava meets the cold ocean water in an explosive confrontation. The shattered volcanic rock is further broken down as it is smashed together by the waves. Black sand beaches can be relative short lived. The black sand of Pa'iloa beach likely formed this way, but the black lava sea cliffs help to maintain it. However please refrain from taking samples as there is a very limited supply. Swimming is not recommended because the water is dangerous due to strong currents and a rocky reef.

Other attractions include hiking along ancient Hawaiian coastal trails, a Hawaiian cemetery, shore fishing, a heiau, portions of lava tube with skylights, and spring-fed fresh water caves.

As you walk the trails you will come across the "The Legend of Wai'anapanapa Caves"

"Once upon a time a Hawaiian princess named Popoalaea fled from her cruel husband, the Chief Kakae. She hid on a ledge just inside the underwater entrance to this cave. A faithful serving maid sat across from her fanning the princess with a feather Kahili, symbol of royalty. Noticing the reflection of the Kahili in the water the Chief Kakae discovered Popoalaea's hiding place and killed her. At certain times of the year, tiny red shrimp appear in the pool, turning the water red. Some say it is a reminder of the blood of the slain princess."

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