Hawaii Volcano tours by air, land and foot
I am so excited. It is my third time visiting the Island of Hawai’i and my third time visiting the volcanoes that have made Hawaii one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is only fitting on my third visit to explore Hawaiian volcanoes in three ways. First I will join other tourists in a small van touring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, then I will take to the sky in a helicopter and fly over Kilauea and see the latest lava flows from the 2018 eruptions. Last but not least I will set out on foot to walk the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve located just north of the Fairmont Orchid where I am staying.
A visit to the Island of Hawai’i without experiencing the magic and wonder of the volcanoes is not possible and these three adventures are ready to wow. Let’s go!
Volcano tour with a guide in a van
One of the most popular ways to experience Hawaii Volcano National Park is with a tour group. For this adventure, I have booked with Hawaii Forest & Trail on their Volcano Unveiled tour. It costs $219 per person by booking in advance online and lasts for approximately 12 hours. It includes pick up and drop off at your hotel, 2 to 3 miles of hiking within Hawaii Volcano National Park, a visit to a private lava tube, plus lunch and afternoon pupus. It is the most extensive tour on offer and it is fantastic for first-time visitors to the Hawaiian volcanoes.
Here’s a recap of my tour experience. Pro Tip: no matter the weather at your resort bring options with you as you will travel through many different weather zones. We went from blue skies to rain and back again all in one trip. This is just a taste of what you will experience.
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Looking at the Kilauea crater from the lookout in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It has increased in size since my last visit in 2015 and it’s back open to the public since Sept 2018. New story on 3 ways to experience Hawaiian volcanoes. @theislandofhawaii @gohawaii #lethawaiihappen #islandofhawaii #volcano
Volcano tour by helicopter
This is a first for me and possibly the most exciting way to see the volcanoes in my opinion. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is a very short drive from the Fairmont Orchid hotel and offers three different helicopter tours plus private charter tours. I’ve opted for the Big Island Spectacular with landing. This is the BIG tour and costs $569 per person and lasts approximately two hours. Included with the tour is a 15 minute stop over at a waterfall for once in a lifetime photos.
Here’s a recap of my tour. This is just a taste of what you may see.
Self-guided tour of Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve
Also a first for me is exploring one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Hawaii. There are over 3,000 ancient petroglyphs in the preserve. What is a petroglyph? It is a lava rock carving etched into stone. Hawaii is full of them but Puako Petroglyph Preserve has one of the most accessible and largest collections of them. A short five-minute drive from the Fairmont Orchid and you are there. It costs nothing to experience but I’d read up first so you get the most out of the adventure.
Pro Tip. Wear good shoes, closed toe preferred as the trail is unpaved and lava can be sharp if you trip.
Check out some of the petroglyphs you can discover on your own. Good for all ages. Some of the petroglyphs date back to 1200 AD.
Three visits to the Island of Hawai’i and three ways to experience the wonder of the volcanoes that made Hawaii. It never gets old and every visit there is something new and exciting to see.
I hope you get to experience at least one of these adventures for yourself. Which would be your number one choice?