Kapoho Tide Pools:
The Kapoho tide pools go by the official name of the Wai‘ōpae Tide pools Marine Life Conservation District. They are located about 1.5 miles north of the Ahalanui hot pond.
The Kapoho tide pools are a beautiful but difficult to reach snorkeling spot in Kapoho Bay. Some of the ponds are heated by warm water seeping out of the lava rocks and into the pools, which explains why this great snorkeling spot is on the list of Big Island hot springs.
The tide pools are protected from the waves by a basalt ridge just off shore and get flushed out with fresh water twice a day as the tide comes in. Inside there is a maze of tide pools to explore. These are great conditions for coral growth and these tide pools host one of the most diverse and highest coral covers as far as east Hawai‘i reefs go.
These pools front the residential Kapoho Vacationland subdivision, and there is no public parking available near the pools. snorkelers can only park at the entrance to the subdivision near the mailboxes and walk to the tide pools, a distance of roughly half a mile.
There are no lifeguards on duty at the tide pools and public facilities are minimal: one portable toilet and a basic changing closet. This is a well-known spot but generally not too crowded, especially on weekdays.
See a video of the Kapoho tide pools below:
Located near the Hilo side of the island in the Pahoa area, Ahalanui Park, or “Hot Pond” as the locals call it, is a natural pool of water that is heated by Kilauea. It looks like an outdoor swimming pool (about the size of two Olympic poos), and is open to the ocean. There is a seawall that blocks most of the smaller waves. Larger waves do come in on occasion and send foamy cold water into the pool.
The pool is very shallow and great for families with kids ... relaxing for adults also. Although many refer to it as the "hot pool," it is actually a warm poo. Those who are squeamish on what they step on should bring water shoes. Also bring your snorkel gear because the fish are quite colorful. They live at the very bottom of the pool because the temperature down there is closer to what they are used to living in. At the top, the pool is probably close to 90 degrees so after a 30 minute swim, you may actually start to sweat. The water is just lukewarm, about body temperature, during high tide since the colder ocean waters mix with the hot spring waters to dilute it.
This is an easy to access pool that looks like it is man made but it's mostly not -- the Hawaiian family that donated the land for the park made some improvements. There are a few picnic tables nearby, but they were claimed by families who got there early. Tons of little kids running around and there is a lifeguard on duty during busy times. Toilets and showers are also located at the park.
Today was Momi's birthday so we went for a local restaurant in Pahoa -- just few miles from the Kapoho tide pools and the hot pond. It is a moderately priced local joint in the very funky and hippy Pahoa town. Started eight years ago, it serves up good grub which caters to varying tastes: fish and chips, shrimp, pasta, salads, hamburgers and other meat dishes -- all with a Hawaiian flair. Popular with locals and tourists, it is nothing fancy but the Korean Kal Bi (spicy Korean beef short ribs, marinated and char grilled with small salad and rice) that we ordered was tasty.