Papa’iloa Beach: A Playground for Turtles

I have a friend that is from Hawaii, but moved away to the mainland for graduate school. He mentioned to me that he had never seen a Hawaiian Sea Turtle in action at the beach while he lived on the islands. I was blown away because they are so numerous … if you know where to look. One of the places on Oahu where you are guaranteed to have an encounter with a turtle is at Papa’iloa Beach in the North Shore town of Haleiwa. The beach is actually tucked away behind residential homes and so it is often the perfect place for a secluded beach experience.

Me and Joel stopped over today to check out Papa’iloa because I’ve been itching to test out my new GoPro Hero HD camera in the water. After testing the timelapse capabilities of the new GoPro (see video below), we decided to go and seek out those turtles. I was hoping to see some turtles and my goodness did I see turtles. We actually found a family of turtles. I counted about 15 Hawaiian Sea Turtles all in one spot of the beach. They were just chillin’, riding the waves, and having a great time.

Papa’iloa Beach was also a major filming spot for the television show LOST. In fact, take a look of some of the shots below and you’ll probably recognize the background. The beach was used as the official beach camp for LOST – pretty awesome, huh! During this time, Papa’iloa was also known as Police Beach, because it was common for it to be heavily guarded with Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers during filming.

Explorers: Coty Gonzales and Joel Sabugo.

Just beyond this sign paradise awaits. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Beautiful view of Papa’iloa Beach. LOST fans wil recognize this as the main beach camp for the stranded Losties. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Joel Stabilizing The Tripod. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Slippers are the best way to get around the island. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Rocky Papa’iloa Shoreline. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hawaiian Sea Turtle Just Chillin. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

A Hawaiian Sea Turtle popping up to say hello. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.


  1. Hi there! Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are new to the island, your blog is really helpful for finding some places to explore off the beaten path! I noticed this was written about 2 years ago, and updates since then or would you still recommend this as a good place to spot sea turtles? Thanks!

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