Look no further!!! $100 per person to see lava 4 feet from your feet. PRICELESS!
We entered into Volcano National park and drove to the end of chain of craters road and could see the plume of steam from the lava entering the ocean, but it is 6 miles to hike EACH WAY on uneven ground. We looked at the map that night and figured it would be quicker to hike in from the east side (Kalapana) side. Found the site of Kalapana cultural tours that night and called them in the morning to book a tour that night.
The individuals who work there were very friendly on the phone and advised us to arrive a bit earlier as it takes some time to get to departure location. We booked the 5 pm departure. In retrospect, the 4 or 430pm twilight tour would be better to see the lava flow both at dusk and at night.
We checked in to this cool area at the end of the road where the lava flow from years past took over the road. The local community has transformed the area into a fun place with live music on weddings days and Fridays. There is a bar and food vendors down there. Parking is $1 donation.
Some of these people are ones that lost their homes in the lava flow that you will be hiking on.
We were met with our tour guide I'Kaika, pronounced (E-ki-ka). He was very knowledgable, friendly and took pride in showing off his native land of Hawaii. His family was one of the unfortunate ones that lost their home in the flow. He told some native Hawaiian stories along the way and the difficult times his village went through during the lava flows.
This hike was much shorter than from chain of craters road at only 3 miles eachway on terrain that in our opionion was much more level than from the national park We were a group of 10 and are as fast as the slowest person but if you are relatively fit, output will be fine on this hike. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy. You have to concentrate as you walk the entire time as it is very uneven.
The hike from Kalapana is permitted by only a select few companies. All others are considered trespassers. Let this company escort you safely to see the lava flows and the lava entering the ocean. We feel very lucky to have seen this! There were other hikers not with tour groups who were putting their lives at risk walking through the steam plume ( contains sulfuric acid), walking right over active lava tubes which could give way at any moment, or saw some not so smart people walk on top of fresh hardening lava which still had red visibly underneath. This company made us feel safe the whole way.
Surface lava flows right near your feet on our tour that took place on April 17th. Hike was 5 hours total with a out an hour total at each of the lava flow and ocean entry. Highly recommend!!!
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