This scenic beach is located on Molokai's Kalaupapa Peninsula. The peninsula is backed by the world's tallest sea cliffs. Because of its remoteness and the fact that it is difficult to access, those inflicted with Hansen's disease (leprosy) were forced to live in exile here between 1866 and 1969. Today, the peninsula is home to a few surviving Hansen's disease patients.
A narrow trail leads down from the Pala'au State Park on top of the cliffs to the peninsula below. However, visitors have to join a tour group that is led by a guide. Alternatively, you can see the beach from a public lookout that is located next to the trailhead, 1,664 feet (507 m) above the peninsula.
Because Kalaupapa is difficult to access and either involves a hike or mule ride, Awahua Beach doesn't see many visitors. The beach is composed of detrital sand, which appears black. It is therefore also known as Black Sand Beach. The swimming conditions are poor here. There is no protective reef and the nearshore ocean bottom drops off quickly. Strong rip currents make swimming hazardous.
Awahua Beach Overview
Remote and difficult to access beach on Molokai's north shore, on the Kalaupapa Peninsula
Picturesque dark sand beach, backed by lush vegetation and the world's tallest sea cliffs
Hazardous swimming conditions
Peninsula is only accessible via a guided hike or mule ride