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We met up with Brett at Hawaii Forest and Trail's cute store in Kailua-Kona. He drove us all over the Big Island for the next 13 hours, steadily talking, facilitating conversation, and/or leading fascinating activities for at least 3/4 of that time. The other 1/4 of the time I was dozing off after staring off dreamily into whatever transcendental vista then was at hand. This is by no means a commentary on Brett, who likely was continuing his witty and entertaining narration the whole time. I just can't stay awake in a moving vehicle.
My family has been to Hawaii 10 times. In all of that, I can wholeheartedly say that we have never had such an educational, life-affirming, Hawaiian-culture-loving experience as our time with Brett. And that family Hawaii history includes a bunch of luaus with amazing costumes and dancing and fire and storytelling and fake rocks made of styrofoam I'm looking at you, Firenesia. Brett told us about birds, and rocks, and trees, and dirt, and goddesses, and love, and spite, and mountains, and and and.... The man LOVES Hawaii, LOVES Hawaiian culture, and LOVES life. What's not to love?!
But for all of Brett's knowledge and love of Hawaii, and for all of our love of Brett, the most educational part of the trip, at least for the 13-16-year-old crowd and certainly the most humorous for the rest of us, was our surprising encounter with a paunchy, middle-aged Hawaiian resident now known in the family lore only as The Banana Hammock Guy. While Brett pulled over in a quaint little town and hopped out of the bus to fetch our hot catered dinner tasty sweet/soy marinated chicken, The Banana Hammock Guy treated us to a delightful display as he weed-whacked his front lawn next to us wearing no more than a Speedo, flip-flops, long dreads, and a killer tan. Our fascination with The Banana Hammock Guy was only enhanced when one of Brett's colleagues, happening to pass by at the same time, observed that The Banana Hammock Guy is there about 40 of the time. Local flavor, indeed!
Brett showed us many angles of two different volcanoes, he taught us about lava tubes and different types of volcanic rock, and he told us stories and myths and jokes. But best of all, he showed us how to fall in love with Hawaii all over again. Thanks, Brett, you Puna-tic! Aloha!
Justin did an excellent job as our tour guide the caldera-to-lava field hike was great and Kilauea's nightime glow lived up to expectations!
Besides going to the Pearl Harbor memorial,this was the coolest thing we did on our vacation. Seeing the active volcano at night was beautiful and spooky. The glow coming from the caldera and the lava shooting up into the air was heart stopping. Our tour was lead by Steve a very friendly, knowledgeable and professional guide. He took us all over the island, we saw all the volcanoes plus rainbow falls waterfalls. He also was cordial and friendly to people who thought he was a park ranger plus he has a low key sense of humor. He was well versed in Hawaiian legend and religious beliefs. He also served good food for lunch and dinner. We couldnt of asked for better except maybe a full on volcanic eruption.
This was a really amazing tour. Our tourguide Justin took us to some hidden places and had the perfect timing for the sundown and the lava glow. He was very knowledgeable and had many stories about Hawaii to tell including Hawaian history. Food and picknik locations were very good as well. Pickup service was on time as well.
Our guide was amazing!
Remarkable, well planned and well executed excursion. Not only did Justin make the long trip enjoyable, he even managed to wonderfully balance the weather, schedule, and a hungry group of travelers.
Our itinerary included Volcano NP and surrounding areas, with pick ups from the Kona side of the island. Yes, it was a long day, but full with memories!
Mark's the tour guide passion about the island, wildlife, Hawaiian culture and volcanoes is infectious. He is a wealth of knowledge which can rival any wikipedia page on the topic. Even though the weather was a cloudy and rainy at times, Mark's enthusiasm over the 12 hour tour never waned. He is a national treasure.
An amazing tour, where we were lucky enough to go on a long hike into the volcano. Our guide had an amazing knowledge of the nature around us. We did have a wet day, but it didn't ruin our day at all. The glow of the caldera against the low clouds was very Eerie! I'd definitely go again!
Due to some schedule clashes, we had to make a last minute request to change our booking to another day. Lucky for us, Forest Trail was really accommodating and assisted us in arranging for a new date.
The volcano national park tour was really interesting and educational. Our tour guide Matthew also made sure we are well taken care of during the tour. Kudos to Forest Trail for making the tour an enjoyable one for us!
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