The Kapoho Tidepools - A must-visit swimming spot on Big Island
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A must-visit spot in the Puna area is the Kapoho Tide Pools. You can think of these pools as one of the great gifts from the volcano.
Formed during an Earthquake back in 1975 about 40 years ago, these pools are like aquarium tanks that you can swim in. You can enjoy close-up views of a variety of sea life - fish, eels, corals, invertebrates, and the occasional honu or sea turtle. These pools are part of a local Marine Life Conservation District known officially as the Wai‘ōpae Tidepools.
The Kapoho Tide Pools is a popular place for locals on the weekends. Weekdays are less crowded. Come prepared with your snorkel masks, swimsuits, and sun protection to fully enjoy your visit to the Kapoho Tidepools! You can watch the waves crash over volcanic rocks, or see waters so crystal clear that you can see a variety of fish just by peering into the pools.
Reminder: It is very important to use ‘reef-safe’ sunscreen here. Chemicals such as oxybenzone in regular sunscreen products are killing the corals and are degrading the reef here you’ll see signs about it when you arrive. If you don’t have ‘reef-safe’ sunscreen, don’t be shy to ask another visitor at the pools – there’s a lot of Aloha on Big Island!
Make sure you park at the designated area, otherwise your car might get towed. When you visit and there is no parking available, your options are to try and wait, or come back another time. If you do find parking, there is a suggested three dollar donation to help upkeep and preserve the area. Be a sport and throw a few bucks into the donation box!
Now, some tips to get the most out of the tidepools.
First - the lava rocks can be very sharp, watch out for them!
Second, most of the corals and the bigger fishes can be found towards the edge of the pools. Be extremely careful especially during high tide. Many of the pools are up to ten feet deep here. If you notice that the water is a little blurry in some areas, it may be caused by the underground fresh water springs mixing with the ocean salt water.
Have fun playing in this giant aquarium! Even if you don’t plan on swimming in the Kapoho Tidepools, you can have lots of fun walking around and peering into the pools through the crystal clear waters!
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