Visit Hawaii Island’s Hot Ponds

By Karen Rose

Due to a new volcano eruption starting on May 3, 2018, the entire lava landscape of Hawaii Island is forever changed. The Hot Ponds mentioned in this article have been covered by lava. The following article remains as an archive.

Kapoho tidepools. Photo: Lisa.

Have you ever dreamed of luxuriating in a natural warm bath amidst the tranquility of tropical paradise? Look no further than the eastern side of Hawaiʻi Island where the water flows through rocks heated by volcanic magma. The heat emanating from the lava is absorbed by the water and carried to the coast where it starts to cool down when mixed with the cooler ocean water. The end results are the glorious hot ponds and warm springs dotting the Puna coastline.

Exploring the Puna Coastline

Pohoiki Road. Photo: Sean Munson.

The windward (East) side of the Big Island receives up to 300 inches of rain per year. The majority of this rainwater is absorbed into the ground until it collides with a barrier of salt water and slowly makes its way into the ocean, creating several natural hot tubs on the eastern shore. Most of the ponds are accessible to the public and are popular spots for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a day of relaxing in Mother Nature’s baths.

Ahalanui Hot Pond

Ahalanui hot ponds.  Photo: Graeme Churchard.

Ahalanui Park is a popular destination for local families and can get a bit crowded on the weekends. The park is built around the Ahalanui warm pond which has a partial barrier from the ocean, creating a natural, warm swimming pool. The park also has a picnic area and restroom facilities. To avoid the crowds, plan your visit during the week and arrive early.

Pohoiki Springs

Pohoiki warm springs.  Photo: Pua Lehua.

The Pohoiki warm springs are located in the Isaac Hale Beach Park in the Puna District. The largest pond is a collapsed lava tube and is located a short walk down the coastline from the boat ramp, about 80 yards inland. When the water is calm, the beach park offers a sheltered area around the pier where snorkelers can check out the marine life surrounding the reef.

The Kapoho Tide Pools

Kapoho tidepools. Photo: Gael Varoquaux.

The Kapoho tide pools are located about 1.5 miles north of Ahalanui hot pond. The official name of the area is Wai‘ōpae Tide pools Marine Life Conservation District, and it’s a lovely, yet more challenging, location to access. The warm pools are protected from the waves by a natural ridge and offer several diverse snorkeling spots within the many natural depressions. A few of the pools are on private property, so take care to not trespass on to someone’s personal ‘hot tub.’

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