Head to the Mauna Loa Helicopters tour offices to start your trip. You can select between morning and afternoon start times when you book. Hop into your safari Jeep with your driver as you head out into the lava fields of the Big Island.
As you ride, you’ll experience three different levels of off-roading, including easy, moderate, and extreme. Don’t worry, you’ll have time build up to the more rigorous off-road rides before getting tossed around, and your driver’s first priority is to ensure a safe, fun trip for everyone. Start by exploring the surreal terrain of the island’s “new” lava fields formed within the past 200 years, learning about the geological forces that helped create the Hawaiian Islands. A stop at a volcanic lava tube, where you can see how the boiling-hot magma cooled, will help put these forces into context.
Continue your trip by driving to a hidden black sand beach, offering the chance to chill out, take a swim in the ocean, and scout for dolphins, whales, and monk seals that sometimes appear just offshore. Make sure to take a closer look at the sand on this beach, as you’ll soon realize it’s composed of micro-sized lava fragments. While at the beach, stop by the nearby tide pools, offering a chance to investigate the tiny pinhead-size “micro-lobsters” that hang out in the water. At the end of your ride, head back to your original departure point.