Akahu Kaimu Bay is a unique spot along the South Kohala coast where you can find multiple anchialine pools. Anchialine pools are coastal landlocked pools with subterranean ocean connections. The largest of Akahu Kaimu’s pools is commonly referred to as Lone Palm Pond, and is deep and swimmable as it moves inland. The ocean offers a dramatic backdrop to the pools, and the crystal clear waters of Lone Palm Pond are incredibly inviting. Despite the harsh and barren lava rock surrounding the interior of the bay, offshore wildlife is abundant. During the winter season, this is a great spot to whale watch, so bring your binoculars. In the summer when the ocean is usually calmer, explore the tide pools that litter the shoreline. Most likely you will see some honu (turtles) basking on the beach or swimming close to shore.
Akahu Kaimu Bay can be accessed from a couple of different locations. From the north, you can park at 'Anaeho'omalu Bay (A-Bay) and hike south for about 1 mile along the shore. This option goes past sandy inlets with swimming and snorkeling spots, and it is a common spot to see turtles. When the sand gives way to a more jagged and rugged coastline, a faint trail marked by coral follows the shore slightly inland. You will know you’ve reached Akahu Kaimu Bay when you see a large pool of water with one lone palm tree.
Another popular access point is at mile marker 79 on Highway 19. A path through the ʻaʻā lava field will take you to Keawaiki Bay. There are some neat spots within this area worth visiting, including “The Golden Ponds,” which are freshwater ponds with a rare algae that give the ponds their golden color. To preserve these unique ecosystems, do not swim in these ponds. From Keawaiki Bay, continue up along the coast past Pueo Bay and around Weliweli Point, a promontory just south of Akahu Kaimu.
The last (and least scenic) access point is at mile-marker 78 on Highway 19, and it is a little less than 1 mile of hiking. There is a small gravel pullout along the highway, and a trail goes directly inland through the ʻaʻā lava field. Once you hit the coast, you’ll need to walk north until you hit the lone palm. All three access points cross a trail called the King’s Highway, or Mamalahoa Trail. This is a trail that was constructed in the 1800s and connected Kona to Puako, which is about 32 miles long. You can make a loop using the King’s Highway, but keep in mind that the trail is inland and does not receive ocean breezes, so it is a much hotter option. Regardless of the route you take to get to Akaku Kaimu, expect amazing coastal views while walking on rough ʻaʻā lava.