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“It's a hike!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kalapana

Kalapana
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI
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Type: Neighborhoods
Attraction Details
Volcano, Hawaii
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“It's a hike!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

You have to wait till the afternoon to go in for lava viewing. I know it's cool to go in the dark, but the hike to the viewing area in the dark is not easy. Bring flashlight & water, wear sturdy sneakers or hiking shoes, bring a jacket. It is a magnicient sight if you do go. They do not allow you to go in after 8 p.m. and everyone must be out by 10 p.m. This is a county run area, not a national park area. Even so, they adhear to the rules exactly, and there are no exceptions made.

Visited April 2013
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61 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Amazing Lava Experience!!!!!!!t”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

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!!!

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nanaimo, Canada
Top Contributor
270 reviews 270 reviews
61 attraction reviews
Reviews in 102 cities Reviews in 102 cities
353 helpful votes 353 helpful votes
“Starting point for KCT Tour. Unexpected Black Sand Beach!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Already reviewed our great experience with Kalapana Cultural Tour.

Whilst waiting for the folks from KCT to take us to the trail head, we ventured down a path towards the water. Low and behold was a really soft, black sand beach with a few kids from the village bodysurfing and boogie boarding. Great spot to watch the water, the kids and gaze upon the only black sand beach I've seen!

Other than that the small restaurant serves good food and the store has a decent collection of stuff to stock up on for your lava hike.

Parking in Kalapana is an issue as they do have deficit of avaiable space. Make sure you are parking in the right spot!

Visited March 2013
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Vancouver, Washington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Crazy Volcano Walk”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Kalapana was a collection of T-shirt and shell vendors and people looking to "guide" you out on the lava to see the fresh flows. I hooked up with a local guy (who took me for free) to see the advertised flows. It was a little nerve-wracking: he warned me that fresh lava could break out behind us and cut us off from getting back to the cars and regaled me of the story of a photographer who fell off a lava cornice into the ocean never to be seen again. Then he started climbing a kipoho (island of green in the middle of the lava) where any old crevice or rock could mess up the adventure.

I'd go again just to gaze on the endless variety of lava shapes and colors. I would also research a guide who knew what they were doing for a lava walk.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oregon
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“The end of the road”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Kalapana is at the very end of the old road that has been obliterated by lave flows. Before it was invaded by Madame Pele, it was a beautiful subdivision, right nest to the ocean. A few brave individuals still have homes there (there are even a few new homes, apparently by people who believe the laval will never come near there again), and there is a rugged scenic quality. Probably only good for a drive-by -- unless you're looking for the latest "walk-in" spot to see the fresh lava. This location varies with the lava flow, so be sure and check on-line before heading out so that you know the location and the length and difficulty of the hike.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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