Kapoho Tide Pools

Kapoho Tide Pools


Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess deserves kudos for her pioneering work with thermal ponds. These naturally heated hot tubs form when ground water moves through hot magma rocks on its way to the ocean and in the process mixes with cold water.

Located on the Big Island’s east shore at Kapoho Bay, the Kapoho Tide Pools offer a unique outdoor bathing experience. There are various and interconnecting tide pools that reach up to 200 yards (183 m) offshore. Some of the pools are still volcanically heated and quite warm, up to about 90 degrees F (32.2 C).

In the Hawaiian language, “Kapoho” means “heated” and it refers to the many warm salt-water tidal pools in the area.

A wide variety of marine life can be spotted in the outer pools, such as fish, crabs, shellfish and sea cucumbers, etc. Nevertheless, it is best to stay away from the surf line and further inshore because strong rip currents are common further out.

The inner pools are almost invariably calm and are an excellent area for snorkeling since the water here is clear and protected. There is no sand in the entire shoreline, which is made of rough and sharp black lava rocks.

A few beach houses line the shore, and a few residents have included some of the smaller pools at the edges of their properties to use as swimming pools and “hot” tubs, so you might find an unexpected bathing partner.

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