Puako (pronounced Pu-ah-Ko) is located four miles south of Kawaihae. This small oceanfront community located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island has been a favorite destination for visitors and Hawaiians for over a century. Puako Bay is made up of a 3 mile ribbon of white sand beach, a perfect base for the various beach activites.
Puako is considered by many people to have one of the most spectacular reefs in the state. While scuba diving, there are huge caverns and caves to explore as well as a colorful concentration of coral and marine life to view.
Puako is rich in Hawaiian history. Walk south along the ocean trail to see the petroglyphs (carvings etched into the lava rock that dominates the Kohala and Kona Coasts). There are approximately 3,000 individual designs scattered throughout the Puako Archaeological Fields. Tourists and locals can visit these ancient engravings by themselves or in a group tour.
Kawaihae is a 10 minute drive north and has quaint shops and a gallery of local artists. Waimea is a 20 minute drive upcountry and has an elevation of 2500 ft. North Kohala is the perfect day trip. Along the coast road there are historical sites and glimpses of Old Hawaii. At the end of the road is Pololu Valley, a spectacular area with gorgeous scenery.
The Puako Marine Preserve is a protected environment for endangered sea life. The sanctuary is full of colorful reef fish, coral, and giant sea turtles. Green sea turtles are a protected species. Beyond Puako's reef shelf visitors may sight the Humpback whales breach during their migration to Hawaii from Alaska.
Puako offers ideal fishing, some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling along the shallow reef, ocean kayaking, as well as impressive sunsets. Walking and biking are also popular. Sea turtles, dolphins and whales are some of the common marine life. For the Golf enthusiast there are several championship golf courses in the area.