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Sunrise Shenanigans at the Venus Pool, Maui

Description: Magical hidden natural pool in East Maui.
Downside: Parking is on the side of the road and limited. Do not park in a driveway.
How to Get There: To get to the Venus Pool, get as close as you can by parking on the side of the highway on Hana Highway (Highway 31), a mile past mile marker 48. Look for the new bridge; you will see a trail with a sign in front of it. Follow the path until you hit a ‘concrete thing.’ Veer to the right a bit, and you will see a stream that leads into the Venus Pool. Make sure you go early in the morning, when not many people are there, as you might then have a chance to have the pools to yourself! Bring all the necessary hiking and sun protection necessities before you go down, but travel lightly! You will not need much once you are inside the pool.

Waioka Pond parking on Highway 31 (Hana Highway)

Waioka Pond parking on Highway 31 (Hana Highway)

Adventure Details:

When I first heard of Waioka Pond, aka ‘Venus Pool’, outside of Hana, I must say, I was hooked from the beginning just because of the name. The locals I met at Red Sand Beach told me about this amazing, brackish pool that not many people knew about, and if you went at the right time, you could have it all to yourself. Even though it was a bit difficult to find, but I knew I had to go see it.

The name ‘Venus Pool’ might be the only way to describe such a beautiful, brackish body of water although, the Hawaiians call it ‘Waioka.’ It looks like something magical, so perfect a painting you would not want to touch or ruin, but yet, you can go inside of it. Sitting right next to the ocean, the Waioka Pond provides a bit of peacefulness for the spiritual traveler. You can jump off of cliffs into the water here (try near the cliff and stream bed near the mountain), swim in the deep spots, or just sit and admire the breathtaking scenery. Just look out for the surf zone where the undertow is quite strong.

Access to trailhead for Waioka Pond, Maui

Access to trailhead for Waioka Pond, Maui

From what the locals that I met told me about the Venus Pool, I was a bit skeptical when it came to finding it.

Path leading to Waioka Pond, Maui

Path leading to Waioka Pond, Maui

I felt that I was going to get seriously lost on my way, but I was so surprised at how easy the hike was and how simple it was for me to find the pool.

Portuguese oven marking path to Waioka Pond

Portuguese oven marking path to Waioka Pond

The reason that I knew I was close was when I saw the ‘concrete thing’ along the trail, which turned out to be Portuguese oven. The oddly placed oven is the biggest trail marker here, as it stands out. In the guidebooks, they say that it is just a ‘concrete oven’, but I pondered for a minute of what it would have been like when someone was cooking up bread and meals here, however long ago it may have been.

Sunrise at Waioka Pond, Maui

Sunrise at Waioka Pond, Maui

After heading down the rest of the trail, I saw the pool. Sitting right beside the stunning, pounding waves of the blue ocean, the sight was magnificent. I was happy I made the trip. Inside the pool, I would be protected from the ocean waves by rugged rocks that were formed by lava formations. For a moment, I skipped soaking in the pools, and found a lookout point where I could admire all the scenery for a few minutes.

Contemplating on jumping off the cliff at Waioka Pond, Maui

Contemplating on jumping off the cliff at Waioka Pond, Maui

Although from where I was standing it looked like the perfect place to jump off and dive into the water, I decided to not take my chances-as I usually tend to get into mishaps more easily than others during my adventures. So, I’ll leave it to the adrenaline-seekers, who should still check the water for hidden, submerged rocks, if they want to make the leap down.

Proceeding with caution, I scrambled down to the lower ledge and jumped into the water (from not too high up). Once in, I took a relaxing swim and felt again like I did at many of the places I visited in Hawaii; at peace, tranquil, and calm. Although it was a December morning and a bit cold, I was not going to let that stop me from enjoying the ‘warmth’ of Waioka Pond.

When I say morning, it was really early. I looked up and saw the sun beginning to rise against a background of pastel skies. As I watched, I noticed the sound of the waves beating against the perimeter of the pool, and took in every bit of this sliver of magical time that only exists for a few moments between night and day.

As the sun came up, I was mesmerized by all the bursts of color that started to awaken all around me. The sky was turning pink, the lava rock formations were a soft black, the foliage was a cool shade of tropical green, and the ocean waves were a deep blue with crisp, white tips. It really looked like something out of a postcard.

Time probably wasted away while I was sitting in Waioka Pond, but I didn’t notice. I was enjoying myself, feeling like one with my surroundings. After daylight came up, I noticed many lush, tropical trees lining the pool. It made me feel as though I stepped back into time, to a place where everything was just the way it was supposed to be, before me or anyone else had any modern-day worries.

Before long, I knew it was time to leave this beautiful piece of nature back to its solidarity and packed up my things to go. Make sure when you come here not to leave anything behind (especially trash), as it would be disrespectful towards Waioka Pond and Hawaiian customs. When I climbed out, a few yards away, I noticed the Black Sand Beach, where people can lay upon rocks and soak up the rays of the sun. I felt like I had been re-awoken at Waioka Pond, walking away like a goddess herself.

What other natural pools have you swam in? Comment below and let us know so we can Go! See! Learn!

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Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae is the creator of The Traveling Vixen, which captures her adventures around the world. Her passion is to inspire others to grow by experiencing and learning new things in the world.

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