Makaiwa Bay Beach

Phone (808) 323-4322
4.5 stars from 3 reviews
Address Kaniku Place, Waikoloa, HI 96738
A hidden gem of an almost secret beach.

• Facilities: Bathrooms • Type: Protected From Open Ocean
• Sand Type: Regular • Parking: Poor / Few
• Good For: Snorkeling

Full Description
Makaiwa Bay is located close to the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection. If the ocean is calm and the water is clear, this can be a great spot for snorkeling. The beach itself is tucked into a cove like area and, while not fully protected from the open ocean, does get some protection from ocean waves. Behind you are several multi-million dollar homes with the same gorgeous views you can enjoy for free!

Getting here isn't exactly straightforward, though we've pinpointed the actual beach on our map for you. If you're coming from the nearby Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, you'll simply enjoy a short walk to the beach. Some people suggest parking at the Mauna Lani Spa parking lot, but that technically isn't the proper place to park so do so at your own risk!

Instead, use the actual beach access and parking area which is a 15 minute walk away from the actual beach. To find the lot, turn onto Mauna Lani Drive from Ka'ahumanu Highway (Hwy 19). Take the second exit at the roundabout to stay on Mauna Lani Drive. You'll pass The Shops at Mauna Lani on your right, then make the first left onto Pauoa Road. Shortly after you do, you'll make a right into the parking lot. You'll see a sign that reads "Historic Park Shoreline Access". This lot is also where the bathroom is for the beach. Though this isn't a heavily used beach, there are around 20 parking spots here so go early for best luck in getting a spot.

Now, if you were simply dropping guests off who want to avoid (or can't physically handle) the 15 minute walk you should be able to drop them off closer. To do that, turn onto Mauna Lani Drive off of the Ka'ahumanu Highway, just like I mentioned before. This time, at the roundabout take the third exit (as if making a left turn) onto South Kaniuk Drive. Drive until you reach a roundabout with no exits (they'll all be gated, forcing you to turn around).

On the right side you'll see a small area where you can unload your guests (but can't park here). It will be next to the Mauna Lani Beach Club gate. Let them out and they can use the ungated sidewalk to the right of the Beach Club gate. It's an easy and short walk down to the beach from here. Then use my directions above to go park and take the longer walk.

Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
The path is paved with asphalt, which is nice and travels along a windy trail through lava fields. It is very well maintained as you'd expect in this affluent area. It's about a 15-minute walk to the beach at a moderate pace. You'll pass lava caves and tubes along the way and beautiful fish ponds.

Eventually, you'll come across a gorgeous cove in front of the private Mauna Kea Beach Club, which was once referred to as the "owner's beach".

The beach is a small cove, with spaced out beach chairs. The water is calm, inviting, and perfect for snorkeling. Especially first-time snorkelers. Although this is a safe beach, there isn't a lifeguard present (I'm sure because of insurance liability issues, but that's another story), so don't go beyond your capabilities in the ocean.

The surroundings are top notch in this resort area. I mean, really nice. Peaceful and relaxing. Mornings are exceptionally lovely at Makaiwa Bay.

If I were staying at this resort, I probably wouldn't want to leave for the entire duration of my trip. But, this is a resort, and if you want real seclusion, it's not to be had here. It's a resort with paddleboards and sailboats. People sunbathing on beach chairs. But if you want to venture out beyond the resort, check out our other articles.

Also, be certain to check out the glyphs on the lava caves when walking back to the parking lot. There are signs posted outside the caves with information about the drawings on the walls.
Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
Though it lacks facilities and good parking, this is a beautiful beach to spend time at. The distant parking lot will take you through some lovely fishponds so it's not exactly a bad walk. The beach is often calm and it's not heavily used. Some think it's one of the best kept secrets on the Big Island, I can see why.
Gina D
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 19
Likes Received: 2
This is one of my favorite beaches to snorkel. It's calm and the coral/fish are amazing. I wish it wasn't so crowded but it's a small price to pay for the beautiful setting.
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