Amidst the rocks and reef that make up the Puna coastline of Big Island, most of which isn't fit for swimming, lies a true hidden gem: the Champagne Pond. The pond remains unknown to many people since it's blocked from the public by a locked gate and a private neighborhood, and miles of lava rock on each side. However, you can still access and enjoy it if you don't mind a bit of an adventure.
Serenity in Kapoho — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
With a rocky beach area on one side, some shade and plenty of space, it's a great place to spend a day. The pond is a blend of fresh ocean water and quite warm fresh water that's heated naturally by geothermal heat (there's lots of lava activity nearby). Always completely calm and perfect for swimming and snorkeling, the Champagne Pond is a must-visit place.
Calm Champagne Pond — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Outside of the pond is the open ocean, and please remember not to go in there. There are two ways to get to the pond, which is located right in front of a private community/neighborhood called Beach Lots accessed by road only through a locked gate. Unless you're staying in the neighborhood for vacation, you'll have to access the pond by the lighthouse road.
Coming down from Pahoa, go straight at the four stop signs rather than turning right onto Hwy. 137. The road turns to dirt right away. Drive for about five minutes. Down by the lighthouse you'll see a very noticeable lava road on the right. Take that, and drive along the coast for another five minutes or so. You'll see the pond on your right. You don't need an actual 4X4, but don't take a car. Instead, take a slightly higher vehicle like a Jeep, Rav4, etc.