You’ve heard about Hawaii’s beautiful white sand beaches and the black sand ones on the Big Island, but a red sand beach sounds like something you’d find on Mars. Minus the surfing aliens, this place actually exists on Planet Earth. It’s a secluded cove on Maui that no doubt tops the list as out-of-this-world amazing.

And while you won’t be needing a rocket ship to get there, it does involve a dangerous hike along the edge of a steep sea cliff. That’s why most prefer taking pictures of the crescent-shaped beach from above, especially for those unexperienced with hiking in such treacherous conditions.

Also called Kaihalulu Beach, the hidden cove in Hana gets its rust-red color from the surrounding Kauiki Head cinder cone. It not only provides a dramatic red landscape but also a cultural history just as vibrant. Kauiki Head was the birthplace of Queen Kaahumanu and the site of historic battles. There are also several burial sites, including a Japanese cemetery and ancient Hawaiian heiau.

It’s impressive how the vertical cliffs of crumbling cinder manages to stay intact at that height – with Earth’s gravity and all. But even more impressive, the somehow calm conditions within the cove, despite the raging waves crashing against the rugged coastline just several yards away. The conditions live up to Kauiki’s translation of “roaring sea.”

While there aren’t any extraterrestrial beings, you might encounter a clan of nudists and eccentric hippies with interesting stories to tell. Perhaps they’re waiting for the Mothership? Either way, when visiting this beach, be warned about the hazardous conditions and the interesting characters you’ll meet.

RED SAND BEACH • End of Uakea Rd., parallel to Hana Hwy. but oceanside of Hotel Hana Maui


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