Po’olenalena, arguably the best beach in Makena, has just about everything to love about beach life and wraps it up in an stunningly beautiful package.
Although you’ll see it written on most maps as Po’olenalena, you’ll also hear this beach referred to as Paipu Beach, Pepeiaolepo Beach, Love Beach, Keauhou Beach or Makena Surf Beach. Either way, it remains one of the least-used beaches in the area, and many of the people that you’ll encounter are locals. That said, this beach can get quite busy on the weekends. Weekday visits are recommended. Evenings can clear out a bit as well, leaving behind solitude for excellent sunset gazing and the occasional wedding ceremony.
Thanks to a gentle, sloping shore, a well-sanded bottom and generally calmer seas, this is one of the best beaches for swimmers. Sometimes the surf can pick up, making the south end a delight for young and beginner boogie boarders. Likewise, snorkeling is top-notch, with the rocky outcroppings on both ends of the beach hosting prolific coral gardens and a healthy array of fish. These snorkeling spots are some of the most untouched in the area. At first, you might be put off that the fish are unusually skittish. Remember: that’s a good thing. Don’t contribute to the degradation of the ecosystem by feeding fish.
As is typical of this stretch of coastline, turtles abound. Both the northern and southern end are a great place to see them. Although they’re typically elusive, Po’olenalena is also a good spot to catch an occasional glimpse of a lobster, referred to, sometimes, as bugs by the locals.
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, swim all the way around the rocky outcropping at the southern end of the beach (or scramble over the lava rock), and you’ll find yourself a small rocky cove with a bite-sized sandy beach. This is Chang’s Beach. In this protected area, the depths range from 5- to 25-feet, making it that much more interesting. As you get farther around, you will see a wall that is about 40 feet deep, with caves, coral and tons of fish. It’s truly one of the best sites to see in the area.