Kalapana is a town and region in the Puna District
on the Island of Hawaii
in the Hawaiian Islands. It can be reached either by Hawaii Route 130 from Pāhoa or by Hawaii Route 137. The small town of Kalapana was once a treasured Hawaiian fishing village. It was also the site of one of the largest and nicest black sand beaches.
The surrounding towns and villages offer visitors many types of holiday accommodations, vacation rentals, condo rentals and other lodging.
The area gained notoriety when the 1990 Kīlauea lava flow from the Kupaianaha vent destroyed and partly buried most of the town
, as well as Kalapana Gardens and nearby Royal Gardens. In July 2010, lava from Kīlauea continued into the Kalapana region leaving 35 homes remaining. The latest flow covered partly the 1986-1992 flow field again, while attracting thousands of visitors a day.
Accommodation, vacation rental and condo rental choices are plentiful.
Today, "rangers" set up make-shift stations to monitor visitor traffic to the site. You can hike across the barren lava fields and view current lava outbreaks
which are easily seen after dark.Today there’s an entirely new coastline here with a few poignant traces of the town that once thrived here. A visit to Kalapana is a sobering reminder of the raw power of Pele.
Located just east of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
, Kalapana offers a good view of activity from Kilauea's
Puu Oo vent, the source of the Volcano’s most recent activity. In 2009 Hawaii county leaders officially opened the Kalapana viewing area to provide safe viewing of the current lava flow by foot. This was the first time lava has reached the sea since June 2007.
The Kalapana viewing site
is located at the end of Highway 130 in Puna. The hike can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours depending on current conditions and demarcations so please be prepared with sturdy footwear, proper attire, sunscreen, a flashlight as well as food and plenty of water. The viewing area is normally open daily. More information should be available at accommodations and vacation rentals dotted around the site.
Puna's natural environment is dominated by volcanic activity, unique geological events and formations. Eruptions
of Kīlauea and the nearby volcano Mauna Loa continue to shape the ecology of the region, and even the land itself. Rainfall is higher on the windward slopes of Kīlauea, while the leeward slopes, extending into Kaʻu, are relatively arid. The western portion of Puna is dominated by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
and the adjoining upper east Hawaiʻi rainforest. Scenic natural settings are numerous in Puna, but they are, for the most part, protected by existing land use controls or public land agencies.
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