Thursday, May 19, 2011

Natural Steam Baths in the Big Island's Wild East

Puna—the far east of the Big Island between Hilo and Volcanoes National Park—is wild country, where land is lush and cheap, since it is a high-risk zone for volcanic eruption. Pahoa is the 'captiol' of Puna, a gathering spot for organic farmers and denizens of the rain forest.

Just down Highway 130 from Pahoa (near mile marker 15) are the Pahoa Steam Caverns. It's rustic, for sure. But adventure hedonists can take a short walk through ferns and ohia trees to a jumble of rocks where hot steam rises. You'll find two 12-foot diameter, 8-foot deep indents to sit a spell and absorb mineral moisture from deep in the earth.