Taikobo Hawaii
Cultural Tours • Sightseeing Tours • Private Tours • Nature & Wildlife Tours
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8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Permitted Commercial Maunakea Tour Operator. Providing guided tours to the summit of Mauna Kea since 1983 as well as other famous tourist destinations on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Awards
Travelers' Choice
2022

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Taikobo Hawaii
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Travelers talk about
(15 reviews)
(13 reviews)
(11 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
134 reviews
Excellent
124
Very good
4
Average
2
Poor
2
Terrible
2

Maia M
1 contribution
May 2022
Our experience with Taikobo couldn't have been better! We did the Mauna Kea Sunset Tour. We booked with very little time in advance and they only featured one place left at their website. I wrote to them asking if by any chance they had another one (I went with my husband) and the reply was super quick and luckily in a few hours time they replied again saying another place had opened up and we could arrange with them. The customer service was excellent since we had some issues with communicating by phone (we are form overseas and our roaming wasn't working properly) and they were super helpful.
The tour in itself was marvelous. Such a wonderful and unique experience. Shin was our guide and he was so lovely and caring. Always making sure all of us were okay throughout the trip (I had read that you can get altitude sickness but we were okay). He told us a lot of things during the ride to Mauna Kea about the places we were driving through, he took lovely pictures of us, explained us about the constellations in the sky and the stars, and was overall a great guide.

At the beginning of the tour they gave us a goodie bag with local snacks, water, and packets of hot chocolate for the coldest part of the tour, which was great.
We made a stop at the visitor center mid-way going up to get accustomed to the high altitude of the summit, and saw a terrific sunset once we got there. We also saw in the distance at night the glow of the volcano, which was one of the highlights for me.
They gave us parkas to keep us warm as well.

It was one of the best experiences of our trip and we are so glad we did it with Taikobo. It is an investment of money but you will not regret it.

Thank you Shin!!!
Written May 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

yff
10 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
If you’re in Big Island, just don’t miss Maunakra sunset( or sunrise) tour!. It can be “the” experience once in life time. Spectacular views knocking you dead and a full of star lights make you feel you’re standing in the middle of universe.
Thank you so much Shin, our tour guide who spent some extra time for stargazing and helping us photo shooting( so helpful, we need ourselves photos with mountain and starlight view( our selfie stick is broken so with Shin’s help is so thankful)
Also their van is roomy, to compare to other tour we took a few days before ( that was a cage, so uncomfortable). Also the reason to join this small group tour, only tour companies with permissions to go up the summit can reach out. So if your rental car could be a sedan or not heavy duty, you just can’t enter. We give them a Five ⭐️Arigato a bunch Shin! A+Y😆
Written April 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scott H
Austin, TX1 contribution
Nov 2021 • Couples
I highly recommend this tour! My wife and I booked this at the last minute and we were not sure it was going to be worth it. By the time we were dropped off we understood the cost of this tour and would do it all over again.
Our tour guide John was knowledgeable about the history and culture surrounding Mauna Kea. Along the trip to the top we listened to narratives that were very informative - and gave us a greater appreciation for the sanctity as well as the utility of such a place as Mauna Kea. John was attentive to the group and offered a chant at the top that was packed with meaning.
After watching the sunset we stopped somewhere between 12-13,000 feet elevation to observe the night sky. John tested our astronomy knowledge and shared much of his with the group - significantly increasing our knowledge and awareness. He also used his telescope to show us select bodies in space.
Highly recommended!
Written November 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

fredk
New Canaan, CT15 contributions
Jun 2022
We had a wonderful private trip to the top of Mauna Kea with our tour guide, John. He picked us up at our hotel, drove well, conveyed interesting information in a very friendly manner, and took us to great places to see the sunset and stars. During the trip, he provided a warm parka, which was very necessary, and hot chocolate, and did a great job of pointing out key aspects of the heavens. He also provided us with really cool pictures of us with an incredible number of stars behind us. It was a first-class trip and one I would recommend wholeheartedly.
Written July 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bianca O
2 contributions
Jun 2022
This tour is a must! From pick up to drop off we had a great experience. We were picked up right on time and given snacks for the trip. Our tour guide Shin was an absolute gem. Shin is incredibly kind, welcoming, and genuine. He constantly checked in with everyone to make sure they were okay, offered to take photos at every stop, and made sure we had the best spots and opportunity to view the sunset and stars. His knowledge of the Island and constellations was impressive and we learn't much about Mauna Kea, the Island, and stars. The snacks that were provided were delightful. Upon our return, Shin drove us all the way to our hotel for drop off to save us the walk. He went above and beyond for us which made an already incredible tour even better. We can't recommend this tour enough.
Written June 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Daniel C
1 contribution
Sep 2022 • Couples
Top 5 excursions we have ever been on. The view of sunset from the top of Mauna Kea was epic and unlike anything i have seen before. On top of that, the view of stars was once in a lifetime, i have never seen such clear skies and so many stars with the naked eye. Our guide John was fantastic and helped connect us to the local culture surrounding the volcanos and the significance to the Hawaiian people. It helped align the views with importance of the volcano that provides them. To top it off, John brought a telescope so we could see planets and the constellations with greater detail. Can’t say enough good things about the service he provided. You can tell he went above what most other tours were doing and was there to ensure an excellent Experience for his guests. Yeah we’ll worth the money to not have to stress about the drive and just enjoy the views and experience.
Written September 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Operopic
1 contribution
Jul 2022
The van was new, clean and comfortable. The snacks were tasty and our driver/guide was professional, experienced, and shared just the right amount of information. Experiencing the Hawaiian sunset from 13,780 feet and then the brilliance of the Milky Way was an unexpected, and unforgettable, addition to our vacation. Thank you, John.
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pratibha
San Francisco, CA1 contribution
Jul 2022 • Couples
I would recommend this experience as a must do at Big Island. Our guide John was very knowledgeable and gave us just enough to absorb during the trip. He shared so many stories that made us understand local culture, significance of Mauna Kea and why it’s truly an astronomer’s paradise.

We traveled in a very comfortable 4WD and John maneuvered a pretty tricky terrain while we all soaked in the sights.

He made few pit stops before the summit to help us acclimatize. Him offering a chant to the goddess near the summit was a specially nice moment.

After sunset, be ready to be mesmerized by the sky. John helped us read the night sky. We even saw the international space station. The milky way took my breath away for a bit. Viewing galaxies and stars millions of light years away was exceptional.

To top it off the snacks were amazing and all locally sourced. Hot chocolate in the freezing cold cheered us all up.

John also clicked a couple of memorable pictures for us with the Milky Way as the backdrop. On our way back we listened to local music (another nice little touch).

Thank you! John. You are the best guide ever :)
Written July 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hypo Chen
1 contribution
May 2022
I'd think the best way to go to Mauna Kea is by joining a tour. One of my colleage traveling at the same time rented a car and could only go up to the visiting center half way and won't be able to see the summit and the telescopes.

We were picked up at 2:30 at their office at Kona. Our guide's name is Shin. He was very knowledgeable about everything around Big Island. He did a great job driving safely, as well as introducing the scenery and animals on the way there. It's an alternation between his chats and pre-recorded audio so that he could concentrate on driving when the roads became steep and curvy.

The biggest difference between this tour and other tours is that no big food was provided (~$20 less than others). When I saw the website I thought absolutely no food will be provided. I was wrong. Shin brought up a bag with water and local snacks (purple yam chips and coconut butter stuffed bread were my favorite). Thinking back, that's the right amount of food cuz on the way we don't have much time (and energy) to eat a bigger meal. The road was bumpy and windy so I thought eating too much may become a burden.

Shin was happy to take pictures for everyone in the trip during the trip (12-ish ppl that day). It was really cold on top of the mountain. I had hard time handle my own camera well from time to time. So I really appreciate his kindness taking so many photos for us. He took extra photos when stargazing the southern cross, as many of us came from areas southern cross cannot be seen.

At the end of trip back to Kona it was almost 11 (dropping people off took a while). He maintain energetic chating casually with us and giving trip advises. Everyone got a very well-made sunset postcard by the time we leave the van. The photos taken during the trip were sent to us the same night. This is very quick!

I highly recommend this trip to others folks planning to go. I totally feel they gave us more than we paid for.
Written May 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Christina S
3 contributions
Apr 2022
Fantastic tour! If you are on the Big Island do not miss going up to the top of Mauna Kea. John was a wonderful tour guide with lots of interesting info about Mauna Kea and the surrounding area. You can tell he really loves sharing all of his knowledge and he tries really hard to make sure everyone has a good time. Watching the sunset from above the clouds is an amazing experience that you will never forget.

The tour made several stops. First at the Visitor Center for about an hour to adjust to the altitude, then a few more times at various viewpoints and to see the observatories up close, before finally reaching the summit. We did not have any problems with the altitude, although you can definitely feel the lack of oxygen once you get up there (I got a little winded just walking to the bathroom and back). But as long as you're careful you don't need to worry. John keeps an oxygen tank in the van in case anyone has a problem, but no one in our group did.

One of my favorite moments was when we stopped near the observatories and John pointed out one of the sacred points on the mountain, then did a traditional Hawaiian chant to honor the goddess of Mauna Kea. Such a cool thing to be a part of, and very respectful of Hawaiian traditions. And the stargazing afterwards was also incredible, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy the night we went but for about ten minutes we got some amazing views of the sky. But that's ok, it just gives an excuse to go back another time!
Written May 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Taikobo Hawaii (Kailua-Kona) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go