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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this private tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, and tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and the rim of Kilauea volcano. Because it’s a completely private tour, your guide can customize the pace and number of sights. When you book, note your lunch requirements in the checkout field.

Highlights

  • Small group full-day tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo
  • See active volcanoes, steaming lava fields, Thurston lava tube and lush rainforest in the UNESCO World Heritage site
  • View the Halemaumau crater, said by native Hawaiians to be the home of Pele, goddess of fire
  • Get great views of Hilo Bay from Liliuokalani Gardens
  • Taste fresh coffee and Big Island style treats at a local chocolate factory
  • Take an easy walk to Rainbow Falls and look for sea turtles at a black-sand beach on the Keaukaha coast
  • Includes private vehicle and guide, bottled water, snacks, and hotel pickup and drop-off

What You Can Expect

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

The Thurston Lava Tube is considered to be one of the best examples of lava cave geology

This tour begins when you’re picked up from your Hilo area hotel, and meet your knowledgeable local guide for a day of exploring the volcanoes. Riding around in an air-conditioned vehicle, you’ll begin the day in town of Hilo by visiting a number of highlights, including the Liliuokalani Gardens that honor Hawaii’s former Queen. You’ll also have the chance to look for sea turtles on the outskirts of Hilo Bay, and see a beautiful black-sand beach that’s formed by eroded black lava. 

Outside of Hilo, make a stop at Wailuku River State Park and marvel at Rainbow Falls, where occasionally it’s possible to spot a rainbow when the light hits the curtain of mist. Later, upon entering Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, your guide will make sure you have ample time to experience the most popular sights, including the rim of Kilauea and Haleama’uma’u Crater. If you begin the tour in the afternoon, there’s the chance you could experience the orange glow of the crater’s sunken lava lake, which casts an eerie glow on the sky when the sun goes down each night. 

Throughout the park, you’ll notice steam vents rising from the rock and land that’s just recently been formed, and when driving the famous Chain of Craters Road, the barren black landscape in every direction is a reminder this Earth is still raw. In the section of park that’s covered by rainforest, hike inside the Thurston Lava Tube that was formed by a river of magma, which has left behind a massive cavern, now illuminated with a long string of lights. 

At every stop throughout the tour, your guide is there to answer questions and elaborate on the history and geology, and since the tour itinerary is completely flexible, you’re free to spend enjoy a little more time at the places that interest you the most.

Finally, having scoured this UNESCO listed National Park and witnessed Earth being formed, this Big Island volcano tour finishes back at your Hilo area hotel. 

Customer Reviews

Bond V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

My partner and I booked a tour with Mauka Makai tour named Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour through Viator. The entire experience was excellent! They offered very personalised service from confirmation of booking through hotel drop-off. Joshua our guide was very nice and knowledgeable. Being a native born Hawaiian, he offered very unique insight throughout the entirety of the tour. Josh allowed us to personalise the tour based on our interests i.e., seeing more of the volcanoes. He also offered to stop at anytime along the journey for us to take pictures which we took advantage of. Furthermore, we were staying near Kona and our guide made the trek out from near Hilo to pick us up and drop us off at our hotel. I definitely recommend this tour for anyone visiting the Big Island for the first time or someone who is familiar with the Big Island and is looking to learn new things.

charles w

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Josh was a great source of info on history, customs, legends as well as the highlights of the national park sites. He always had a little extra to add whether it was about the local flora or where to get great chocolate.

Regina M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

This tour was great! Our tour guide, Josh of Mauka Makai Adventures is very knowledgeable and very nice and accommodating. He was flexible enough to adjust the pace and itinerary of our tour based on our interest and energy. It was like we had our very own private tour of the island. Thanks Josh!

Benet P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Our tour guide, Jill, was knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic to teach us about Hilo and the surrounding area. As a native of the area she knew the area in detail. We saw black sand beaches, volcanoes and lava flows. We visited a coffee plantation, and the macadamia nut factory. Along the way we stopped for a picnic lunch. During the drive Jill talked about the plants we saw. She taught us about the culture and shared some of the mythology of the islands.

FELICITY E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

We had a brilliant day, lasting about 9 hours. Josh was very knowledgable and friendly. He picked us up from Kona and took us for local pizza at our request and showed us round all the sites we wanted to go to as well as giviing us ideas for other places to visit during the rest of our stay. The views were stunning and we would highly recommend this tour as he tailors it to what you want to see in a private car, rather than a crowded bus where you only have a certain amount of time allocated to each stop which made the day really relaxing.

Mabel L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

We had a great tour despite that it was raining most of the time. Tour guide was very nice, n attentive. She even took us to a local restaurant for dinner, not a tourist spot.

KENNETH M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

It was great! Our tour guide was a native and knew so much about the history, plantlife, and the ocean sealife. It was a last minute decision and it worked out perfectly. The reservation could not be confirmed right away so you stayed involved until we had confirmation. Thanks

Cathy P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

EXCELLENT!!! As this tour group was new to Viator, I was a little nervous but took a chance. I'm so very glad I did. I received a confirmation call from Jill the day after I booked. Josh picked us up right on time from our hotel in Kona in the tour van. We were able to customize the trip to our liking and Josh was extremely informative. Josh was also very accommodating as one of our group was limited in their walking ability. Because of Josh's familiarity with the area, we were able to avoid the larger crowds which made the trip extremely enjoyable. Our tour was approximately 11 hours and we were able to see everything on the group wish list. Josh provided umbrellas and ponchos as needed along with a water and snacks. We were able to adjust stops to take photos and breaks. I would, without hesitation, recommend the local tour company to anyone that wishes to view the wonders of the Big Island. I will definitely use them on my next Kona trip. Thank you Jill and Josh for the professional services, friendly and informative trip and the perfect means to view the many beautiful sites of Hawaii. Mahalo!

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