A quick 40 minute drive out of Hilo, through beautiful trees and greenery, you will find the Ahalanui Hot Ponds – or the warm Ponds of Puna. I am a 2002 transplant from Oahu, and now a resident of lower Puna, and this beautiful pond has become my favorite place to unwind and relax after a busy work week. The pond is a natural water inlet where fresh and sea water pools together. It’s a beautiful and soothing atmosphere amidst warm ocean breezes, and beautiful coconut trees. The most delightful and unique aspect of the “warm ponds”, is that the water is naturally and volcanically heated, a perfect place to paddle around, float, and chat with family and friends.
It’s a state park, so there are lifeguards, nice grassy picnic areas, showers, and well-maintained portal-potty. There is a nice view of the ocean and the rugged lava coast of East Hawaii just beyond the inlet. Because it’s a pond, it’s safe for children, and a great place for family gatherings and picnics. My cooler, stocked with good pupu’s (snacks), and beverages, make it a nice and enjoyable way to spend a weekend day.
For visitors to the island, there are several nice vacation rentals in nearby Kapoho and Vacation Land; some of which have their own geo-thermal ponds on the property. This is a unique and special corner of the island, and definitely worth visiting whether you are a resident or visitor to the east side of the Big Island.
Author: Mei-lin Gorman, Royal Hawaiian Movers – Hilo