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Puako town is located on the Big Island’s western coast in the South Kohala district about four miles south of Kawaihae. This area is known for its coral and black sand beaches as well as fringing coral reefs. Also along these shores are many tidepools that provide fun areas for exploring.

About 6 miles (10 km) offshore southwest of Puako was the epicenter of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake which caused significant damage on the Big Island in 2006.

Puako is a very small town and is located only about five feet above sea level. The town has a general store and a scattering of homes, apartments and churches along just three miles of paved road running parallel to the sea. The town has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.1 sq. km) and is home to about 500 people.

Along the coast in this area is Puako Bay which features great snorkeling and tidepools, A trail near the bay leads to the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve which has the largest collection of Hawaiian petroglyphs in the state of Hawaii.