Picture your perfect beach. Does it include fine white sand (but not so powdery that it gets everywhere)? Is the water clear and calm so you’re not fighting the surf? Are there trees for shade? Is there only a handful of people on it? Are there showers and toilets? Welcome to Kukio.
This beach is actually in the resort attached to the Four Seasons hotel, but it is technically, a public beach. You have to ask for a parking pass at the guard house and there are only a few parking spaces (looked like less than 30). There is then a loooonggg walk through piles of volcanic rock with tantalizing glimpses of water to the actual beach.
Oh, but it’s worth it. I’m not a beach person. This was the first time I went on a vacation specifically to sit on a beach (and my idea of sitting is 30 minutes, an hour tops). But this beach had your postcard palm trees, slender and curving up to the sky. A gentle slope to the water that was dead calm due to a large breaker just offshore. And to make things interesting, there was also a patch of grass (!) and volcanic rocks for contrast.
The swimming was literally like a swimming pool, it was so calm, but with little fishies. For those looking for something more strenuous, you could swim/snorkel out to an outcropping of rock and swim around it and get a bit of surge. In the morning, it was clearer and the snorkelling wasn’t bad (got really cloudy later though). Off to the side was an even shallower, calmer pool where we found loads of baby fish!
Conditions were perfect and photography here was easy. And as a terrific bonus, around a bend, closer to the resort, there were turtles!!! We saw a big one (about a metre, but still a juvenile) and the only way I could take a photo was when the wave came in and it was like a looking glass into the water (otherwise it was too cloudy from the surf). Smaller ones came up onto the beach to sun themselves (unfortunately, their angle to the sun was all wrong! how could they!)