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Pahoa is a small town in Puna district on the southeast side of Big Island between Hilo and Volcanoes National Park.


Get in[edit]

Map of Pahoa

Get around[edit]


During 2016 to the last months of 2017, it was possible to see the lava flowing into the ocean in the Kalapana area. Later in 2017, the lava flow shifted to surface areas in and around the border with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on its East Rift Zone. It is possible to hike or bike from near Kalapana to an area were lava might be seen. At the entrance to the cinder and gravel road that leads to the lava flow zone, there are many bicycle rental vendors offering mountain bikes and battery assisted bikes. Shop around for the best deal.) Before heading out to find the lava flow, check with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hot line or the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for eruption location updates. Fumes and clouds of noxious gases can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. The county has signs up and marked paths for tourists. Bring water and good shoes.

  • Many black sand beaches formed by volcanic sand are in the area, the most well-known in Puna being Kehena Beach. Because the sand is black, it gets really hot where it's dry and beach sandals are recommended on sunny days.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


  • 1 Kehena Beach (A short but steep hike down from the road nearby). A black sand beach that's a popular local hangout. The waves are strong, swimming is possible but not advised without clear instructions on how to do so safely. Clothing optional beach. Free.



  • Paolo's Bistro, 330 Pahoa Rd. Wonderful Italian restaurant located on the main street of Pahoa. The lamb is the best, but the fish is also delicious.
  • 1 Ning's Thai Cuisine, 15-2955 Pahoa Rd, +1 808 965-7611. 09:00-21:00. Thai place. Note that they seem to be a little spicy. It has been said that their "medium" spice is more like a "hot". Takeout available. $10-16 Entrees.



  • 1 Oliana Guesthouse, 12-124 Oliana Dr, +1 808-965-1053, . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. A charming small guest house and separate cottage, just up the road from Kehena. You're just in the rain forest and you can hear the bird/insect/animal-song at all times. Kitchenette, towels, kitchen basics (spices, oil, salt & pepper etc) all provided! Can be booked on AirBnB, FlipKey and Direct. Cottage $75/nt, Main House $135/nt.

Stay safe[edit]

Puna can be considered the Big Island's "ghetto." Unemployment and poverty are widespread, and crime and drugs are major problems. The combination of poverty, drugs and people with something to hide can make parts of Puna seem unfriendly. This area sees very few tourists, so respect the locals and try not to stand out too much.


Go next[edit]

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