Big Island of Hawaii ATTRACTIONS See all

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii’s tallest and the highlight of many ... 

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mikecooper40

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

Great trip, knowledgeable guide. Provides a great contrast with temperatures and environment of the resort areas. You travel though the diverse climate and environmental zones of the Big Island.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Craig B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

Excellent I have been on a few helicopter rides on the island but this one was by far the best . My mom is 89 years old and she was very impressed with the knowledge of the pilot about the island and the history. I would highly recommend this helicopter ride and the staff was 100 also like to thank Paradise Helicopter and the owner for a great day.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Carol K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

Outstanding views at the top! We really enjoyed this trip and would do it again. Just incredible! The tour was great because we were picked up on the Hilo side of the island near where we were staying. The sights at the top were great and we saw a beautiful sunset. The stargazing was a bit disorganized, but you can really see all the stars up there including the Milky Way.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

charles s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

We enjoyed a safe drive and comfortable accommodations in a 4WD Expedition SUV. Pickup was on time at our Hotel in Waikoloa which says alot already. We had friendly conversation with our guide both there and back. He also thoroughly explained why it was necessary to stay at the 9000 ft viewing area to acclimate to the altitude before going onto the 14,000 ft peak, where there is 40 less air oxygen than at 9000 ft. He was very attentive to my family as some of us still experienced the dizziness and shortness of breath associated with the altitude. Thank you After the sunset, we went back to the viewing area and waited for the dun to set and the stars to POP! So beautiful.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

Susan G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

Our pilot was as excited as we were to see the lava from the volcanoes, even though he had probably seen it many times. Pricey, but worth it!

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

david d

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

good trip
the pilot was great
very tight in the helicopter

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Gail L

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2017

Our dissatisfaction although that may be too strong a word was not with the tour guide, Daisy, or with the content of the tour. Both of those were terrific. However, we drove 45 minutes to meet the tour only to find out that she had already picked up two people who were staying near us. We could have done without the 45 minute ride especially at the end of the long tour. Also, there were 7 people along with the driver in a large SUV that seated 8 people. The people were really squished in the back seat, had little A/C and had trouble hearing the tour guide. In spite of that, sunset from Mauna Kea was spectacular and the stars a d commentary at the visitors' center was equally impressive.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

johnnie_bean

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

What a blast! Our pilot, Ryan, was awesome!! He explained where we were headed before we took off with a map of the island. He played great music that matched the ride. Professional and funny. Because of the weather winter in Hawaii he modified our trip--yes, he let us know that in advance--he took us to the north coast for the waterfalls, too many to count. He made sure that everyone got to see the sights no matter what side of the helicopter you were on. Not only did we get to see fantastic views of the island, we saw whales too! Great experience, yes, I'd go back in a heart-beat.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Lawrence L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

This is an outstanding tour! If you are considering booking it, I'd suggest asking for Glenn.

My girlfriend and I took this tour with Glenn as our guide and I cannot say enough good things about him. He is knowledgeable in the local history and culture, the geology of the volcanic activity, and botany and zoology, among many other things I'm sure. His passion for the culture and the natural beauty of Big Island really shines through and adds to a very strong itinerary.

Each of the separate activities ziplining, helicopter tour, and walking lava tour lives up to billing and the combination makes for a very full and enjoyable day. My personal favorite was probably the lava tour - the sight of lava bubbling at night is pretty magnificent - but it's a close call and, aside from driving between activities, I didn't feel that there was any wasted time.

Doing what: Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

Michael G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Amazing tour. Met and exceeded our expectations. Our guide was knowledgable and answered all of our questions. He was also incredibly chatty, which was great for us because it allowed us to learn a lot about Mauna Kea and Kauai. Incredible view from the summit and stars at the visitor center were breath taking. Definitely worth the money. A once in a lifetime experience and I would not venture up that road with a rental car something we tossed around for quite some time before booking this tour. Overall, great experience and would recommend to anyone looking to see a beautiful sunset and observatories at 14,000 feet.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

Jill R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

The travel guide Daisy was fabulous...had much knowledge about the Island, and Botany!I would recommend this trip to absolutely everyone who has an adventurous spirit..

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

Robert D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

This was worth every nickel, you see more of Hawaii in two hours then anyway else. Getting to look down into the volcanoes was awesome. Really learn to appreciate our Earth seeing all the different things that are happening to it right from a short distance above.
Mother Earth at it's best, and we got to see it up close

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Stephen W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

You may be hesitant to do this because of the cost, but it is well worth it! An amazing experience. Our pilot, Jork, was friendly, informative, and always willing to go back around again for another look! Seeing Kilauea from above was unforgettable. We were also fortunate to see the lava spilling into the sea. The coastline and the valleys with incredible waterfalls were majestic as well. We even saw whales along the coast. HIghly recommended.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Stephen W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Another fabulous Big Island adventure! Our guide, Joe H, was excellent...very informative and passionate about the island culture and the stars! The sunset from the summit was unforgettable, and the thin air experience was really cool. The star gazing was incredible, especially compared to the light polluted northeast suburbs. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

sally s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Even though the summit was closed due to weather, the star gazing was better than I could have imagined. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the region and the local history. I would highly recommend this trip and I will do it again next time I am in the area.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Michael G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Our tour guide, Edmond, was a great guy. We met our guide at Pu'u Huluhulu Steep Trail point off the Senator Daniel Inouye Highway across where you head up to Mauna Kea. Edmond was informative and did his best to help us get acclimatized to the altitude. His advise to walk slowly at top of mountain was good. Four of us went together. We were on a small group tour seven total, which was nice. We definitely recommend this tour. At the visitor's center where you stop before going up to top, we recommend that you immediately use the restroom before the lines get long. On top of mountain there are a few portable toilets. After sunset, everyone must leave the top but you come back to visitor's center for stargazing. The individual who providing the information while people had the opportunity to look though at least seven telescopes was great. They explain why you view the stars from the center. This is a trip worth going on.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

Fred D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Tour was one of the best ever taken. Beware that Viator sends everyone on this tour to the wrong location for pick-up. Do not book this tour thru Viator. Vendor has tried without success to correct this issue with Viator.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Edward R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Edmund was an awesome guide!!! Very knowledgeable and fun too! Plus he was super nice about the fact that I'm afraid of heights and stayed away from the edge of the road as we went up to the summit.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

Anneke H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

What a fantastic trip, a highlight of our Hawaiian holiday

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

ldviator

3 star rating: Worth doing
January 2017

This was a mixed experience.

On the good side, we had fantastic weather and viewing conditions. Edmund, our driver, was informative and friendly. From other reviews, we understood that dinner would be a cup of ramen, so no surprises there.

On the very bad side. the van we were in was awful. I think it was a 14-seater rental van, and it was very uncomfortable. Our group happened to be the last to be picked up, and a previous group was a spreader group where 3 people took up 5 seats. As a result, our group of five was jammed into the very back rows where we had a lot of trouble hearing Edmond on the inadequate sound system, and the heating/air conditioning didn't work very well you need both on this trip.

A better van would have changed our review to 5 stars.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

Note from Viator: 

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We have received the following response from the operator of your tour:

I apologize our company had to rent a van for a few days because we had to send ours into maintenance. When I started calling to cancel because the vehicle so many where upset so we made the trip happen by renting a vehicle.

Vivian F

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
January 2017

We were not allowed to get to the top due to bad weather. The tour operator should have re-schedule and keep us informed earlier.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

Note from Viator: 

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We have received the following response from the operator of your tour:

A weather check is done prior to departure everyday. If the Mauna Kea Road is open the tour is a go. If road is closed we refund or reschedule. Because this is a high mountain the weather can change drastically with out notice and is unpredictable. This all noted in the cancellation details and should not come as a surprise.

Takahiro H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2016

This was an excellent tour for a first-time Big Island visitor like my girlfriend and I. We thoroughly enjoyed every part of this tour. Our guide Hank was extremely knowledgeable and knew the entire place and route like the back of his hand. Driving up the rocky mountain side in a 4-wheel drive van, I knew that it wasn't something I wanted to try myself! He expertly guided us to the best spot, and gave a great star show. The stars were amazing, even though there were clouds in the sky, they were unnoticeable because the stars were so bright. I would recommend this tour to anyone who really loves star gazing.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Autumn Parker P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2016

We had a great time on this tour and would definitely do it over again! Our guide Lawrence was amazing, the pilot Wesley was very friendly and our zip-line crew was very fun. Everyone was great and we enjoyed the experience! Seeing the lava in the volcano was unforgettable.

Doing what: Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

kathleen h

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2016

An amazing tour of the island. Being able to see the island from the air and follow the lava flows from the volcano to the ocean and see how they are building new land in front of our eyes was just amazing. And then flying from the volcanoes over and into the forest and seeing in such a short time the changing beauty of the island was just breathtaking. Highly recommend this trip.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

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