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Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcano Safari Lava Caves, Falls & Highlights Small Group

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Hilo, United States
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcano Safari Lava Caves, Falls & Highlights Small Group
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icon6 hours  (approx.)
Pickup from select hotels
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here


When your ship docks in Hilo, use your time in port to get acquainted with Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth. Embark on a tour through the Nanawale Rainforest, a lush, tropical landscape in the Eastern Rift Zone. Explore lava caves; stroll along the most recently formed black-sand beaches; feel the warmth from volcanic hot pools, and discover Rainbow Falls. Travel trough Hawaiian back roads and discover the destructive path of the volcano's most recent eruption. Round-trip transport from the port or hotel is included.
  • Explore Nanawale Forest Reserve, Rainbow Falls and the Ahulanui geothermal pools
  • See towns evacuated due to Kilauea's lava flows
  • Round-trip transportation from the Hilo port
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
Saved to wishlist!
Port pickup and drop-off / Hilo Hotel pickup and drop-off
Professional guide
Bottled water
Lunch- Stop made by local vendor for customers to purchase
This operator has two meet-up options available. You can either meet at the departure point below or select a location for pick-up.
  • Port of Hilo , 80 Kuhio St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

    CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS MEETING LOCATION: When departing the ship you will enter a large terminal building. Look for your guide holding the sign "C Big Island Tours." If you have exited the building, you've gone too far. MEETING TIME 10-15 min prior to tour time

  • Hilo Hawaiian Hotel , 71 Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

    HOTEL GUESTS: Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel located at 71 Banyan Dr. Hilo HI . Please wait in lobby for pick up. The lobby also has a cafe lounge if needing something to drink.

  • Hilo Hawaiian Hotel , 71 Banyan Drive, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4693
  • hilo port
  • Hilo
  • This activity will end right where it started.
    Following pickup at the Hilo cruise port, board a tour vehicle and set out over the back roads of the Big Island to explore its spectacular natural features. 

    Arrive first at Rainbow Falls, known in Hawaiian as wainuenue, the falls crash over a natural lava cave, throwing up rainbows almost every sunny day in the rising mist. 

    Drive through old-growth mango groves and through the verdant foliage of the Nanawale Forest, stopping to see the recent lava flow that caused the town of Pahoa to evacuate. See the few houses and commercial buildings that were burnt by the oozing fire. View dramatic scenery in spots where the burning lava met the cool, salty sea. Stop in Kaimu to see the site of the former Queen bath and town, both destroyed by a lava flow in 1990, now being reclaimed by the wild rainforest. View an exhibit showing what the area used to look like and snap photos of the active volcanic vent in the distance. Stroll down the black sand beach, reached via a 15-minute walk over old lava flows.

    Continue to Lava Tree State Park, where lava burst from fissures in the ground and coated the Ohia trees, leaving amazing tree molds. See the warm springs at Ahalanui, geothermally heated by water traveling through lava tubes. 

    Stop at a dramatic overlook, surrounded by salt cedar pine trees and home to the old Kings Trails. Admire views of the waves crashing below towering sea cliffs.

    Your half-day tour ends with drop-off back at the Hilo port.

    Worry-free Shore Excursion:

    We will ensure your timely return to the Hilo port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.
    Pass By:  
    Liliuokalani Gardens
    This is the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1917. Throughout the gardens are stone lanterns, gazebos, and torii gates, recalling the Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii.
    Pass By:  
    Drive through the historical downtown Hilo as you will learn about the devastating tsunamis of the past
    Stop At:  
    Rainbow Falls
    Breathtaking 80 ft waterfall, Rainbow Falls. These beautiful falls get their name from the rainbow that is often visible in the mist that rises as the water cascades to the rocks 80 feet below.
    Duration: 20 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Kaumana Caves Park
    Time to explore lava caves is next! We walk you down into a lava cave through a skylight, also locally known as a lava tube. Kaumana Caves was created by one of our largest volcanoes, Mauna Loa. The guide will explain how molten lava makes these spectacular lava tubes and the fascinating colors inside.
    Duration: 20 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Pass By:  
    On our drive we will drive through a quaint town called Pahoa. Once a booming plantation town and now a laid-back hippie town with old school artistry charm and wood-plank boardwalks. You will see the current lava flow that nearly wiped this town off the map.
    Stop At:  
    Lava Tree State Park
    We will walk a trail among lava trees that looks somewhat of a petrified forest and look down into a deep fissure. This unusual volcanic sight is one stop that shouldn’t be missed.
    Duration: 25 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Uncle Robert's Awa Bar and Farmers Market
    For a lunch stop we will be taking you to a local Hawaiian favorite, Uncle Roberts or other local vendor, located in Kalpana which survived the last volcanic eruption. After a yummy bite to eat, next door is a local’s galley of local made blown glass, crafts, paintings and more
    Duration: 40 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Pohoiki Bay
    WALK ON THE NEWEST BLACK SAND BEACH IN HAWAII!! is truly an amazing creation by Kilauea’s lava flow. Let us show you the newest created black sand beach. Once in this location was the old boat harbor and ramp that you can still see and has now been cut off from the creation of a large black sand beach.
    Duration: 20 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    VOLCANICALY HEATED HOT POOL If conditions permit, as a special highlight we will be walking a small trail to a volcanicaly heated hot pool where you can feel the warm water as the guide explains how it is heated volcanically. This small hot pool is quite special since the last lava flow as wiped out all other volcanicaly heated hot ponds. After this wonderful experience enjoy the sights back to port.
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Leilani Estates
    Several earthquakes cracked open the roads, lava fountains started spewing lava 300 ft into the sky and nearly 2,000 residents we evacuated. This amazing force even evaporated Green Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in Hawaii. We will be showing you areas of mass destruction from Kilauea Volcano.
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Admission Ticket Free
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Moderate tour - Involves walking over relatively level terrain, possible gravel, lava or uneven ground. Comfortable walking shoes recommended.
    • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately; light rain jacket or poncho
    • A stop is made to purchase food
    • Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
    • At time of booking, cruise ship passengers must provide ship name
    • Exact departure time may vary depending on the cruise ship's disembarkation time
    • Not recommended for those who cannot walk over uneven ground
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
    • Most travelers can participate
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
    • OPERATED BY C Big Island LLC
    You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
    • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
    • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
    • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
    • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
    • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

    Learn more about cancellations.

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    15 Reviews
    2 stars

    Reviews by Viator travelers

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    Showing 1-6 of 15 reviews
    More than we expected!
    , May 2022
    Wow! Ellen provided great commentary. Flashlights and walking sticks to go into the lava tube were much appreciated. We also were her "guinea pigs" for an awesome 1st side trip to see fissure 8 (and others) with 2 of the property owners. We saw the actual devastation the 2018 eruption caused and experienced the geothermal power thru the exposed volcanic vents. Definitely a highlight and highly recommended she continue to offer the extra experience. Her local snacks were yummy. Even the rain didn't stop us as she also provided umbrellas. Wow!
    icon Response from Host , May 2022
    Aloha Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to write a review! The volcano safari tour really goes into some interesting areas in the eastern rift zone of Kilauea Volcano for sure. 😊
    Wonderful small group tour
    , Apr 2022
    Our tour guide, Ellen, took us to the lava flow (still steaming!), the Japanese Garden, the waterfalls and much more. She was informative, engaging, fun and kept us interested. Wonderful small group tour
    icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
    Aloha Gabriel, since we have redesigned this tour it is one of my personal favorites really going off the beaten path of Hawaii. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. It really means a lot to us and so glad you enjoyed your guide Ellen 😊
    All of it - our guide...
    , Feb 2022
    All of it - our guide Ellen was very friendly, helpful, full of information and obviously loved telling visitors about the island she calls home. Comfortable vehicle, snacks and water provided, a very pleasant few hours.
    icon Response from Host , Feb 2022
    Aloha John, the newly designed volcano safari tour is really off the beaten path back into the old Hawaiian roads. So I am so pleased to hear that it's a hit! Ellen is a wonderful guide and we are so happy to have her part of our team ❤
    Like it a lot.
    , Feb 2022
    Love the Lava tube/cave and craters. Our tour guide was very good. Nice scenic views all the way to the sites.
    icon Response from Host , Feb 2022
    Aloha Silvestra glad you enjoyed the Volcano Safari! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review 😊
    Volcano tour, upfront and personal
    , Feb 2020
    The tour guides made us feel like Ohana. Very informative. Locals reminded us to respect the aina. We enjoyed this tour immensely!
    icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
    Mahalo CK for the review and we are happy to have you join our family for the day. Isn't the new Volcano Safari tour a blast! Going through all the older Hawaiian back roads and seeing the most recent flow through the neighborhood..... gives me chills ever time I go down there. Thanks again!
    This was a disappointment. Our guide...
    Haley T
    , May 2017
    This was a disappointment. Our guide did not follow the things we booked to see. He took us to a trash dump, and the painted churches, and other not expected places. We only got 30 minutes at a lava related stop. He also reported that he forgot our snacks and water. Do not go on this tour.
    icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
    ***** Since the 2018 Lava eruption this tour has been completely revamped into an exciting new excursion! **** Now that some road are open we are taking guests into the Hawaiian back roads and lava devastation. Other exciting stop also include the NEWEST 2018 Black Sand Beach, Lava Caves ( Lava tubes ) Rainbow Falls & much more. :)
    1 traveler found this review helpful

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