5 Fast Facts About Ka’u, Hawaii’s Forgotten Paradise
Large in size and geographically diverse, the region known as Ka’u resides along the Big Island’s southern tip and is mostly publicly owned. Split between the state and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Ka’u was once a hotbed for sugar production. While coffee is still a big producer, most of the exports come from macadamia nuts, fishing, fruits and vegetables, but the agricultural bent is just part of what makes Ka’u interesting.
Ka’u has the longest undeveloped coastline on the Hawaiian islands
Staggering long and mostly covered by seaside cliffs, the Ka’u coastline is the largest undeveloped coast in the entire state. There are several factors as to why, but most of the natural preservation is thanks to a very vocal local population that seeks to preserve it’s natural environment and prevent Ka’u from becoming over developed.
Ka’u is the Big Island’s largest geographical area
Encompassing the entire southern coast, Ka’u borders South Kona to the north and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to its east, resulting in tourist pressure from each side. Ka’u commands nearly 1,000 square miles in its entirety, but most of the area is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which boasts tropical rainforests, barren deserts, and crisp volcanic altitudes.
Ka’u’s residents are famously protective of the region
As previously mentioned, the Ka’u locals are hugely protective of their home. Many proposed development projects have fallen victim to the tightly-organized groups, including a spaceport, a state prison, and an expansion to the Sea Mountain Resort. And because of this, visitors to Ka’u can enjoy the natural features of the region without inhibition.
Ka’u is dominated by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
A major feature of Ka’u is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visitors to the park coming from the west pass through Ka’u and there’s plenty of activities and rest areas along the highway, but Ka’u itself manages to avoid the level of tourist activity present elsewhere on the Big Island.
Ka’u is home to the world’s most famous black sand beach
Known as the world’s most famous and iconic black sand beach, Punaluu Black Sand Beach is a must-see for visitors to Ka’u. Positioned between Pahala and Naalehu, Punaluu’s obsidian shores shimmer and twinkle in the sunlight and are often visited by Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (honu).