Hana, in East Maui, has beaches of many colors and sizes. Kaihalulu (Roaring Sea), or Red Sand Beach, is worth a trip on the legendary Hana Highway. This beach, located in a volcanic cinder cone, really is red. The coarse, colorful sand is caused by erosion of the red volcanic cinders. The burnt-red sand against turquoise waters, blue sky, and black lava is a fantastically vivid feast for the eyes.
Access to the beach is tricky, due to its wild, remote setting. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or sandals. Take Uakea Road beyond the turnoff to Hana Bay. Keep going until you pass tennis courts on the right and a community center on the left. Across a field between the community center and a hotel, pick up a path. Take the path to a Japanese cemetery and turn right. The trail is steep and slippery and you will need to hang on to the ironwood trees. The trail suddenly turns a corner and into view comes the stunning red beach.
Lava formations make the area safe for swimming. Snorkeling is excellent as well. There is even a sort of natural whirlpool bath on the Hana Bay side of the beach, but be careful not to get too close to the ocean opening of the pool, which can be dangerous. You may even see a nudist or two. Exotic and unusual, Red Sand Beach is also one of the most secluded beaches in Hawaii.
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