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Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

New York City, New...
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Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

Greetings,

This December I will be going to Hilo for one overnight stay from Oahu for an evening hike to the lava flow. Will be arriving in Hilo early morning. The hike tour will start either at 1:00PM or 3:00PM, I was told by the tour company, it's still too soon for them to be sure.

My question is if I arrive early enough, around 8:00AM does anyone have recommendations of what to see or do for the few hours we have free before the tour. We will rent a car. We took this overnight trip only for the hike tour and are very excited but was wondering if it would be a wise use of our time to see some additional sites.

Any recommendations would be great.

Thank you in advance for your help!

AT

Canada
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11. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

It's a shame, you will be arriving so late in the day. Hilo is an interesting place to poke around in East Hawaii.

You have limited time with just an overnight... The tropical gardens might have been an option with an earlier arrival ...and a 3 p.m hike start time.

Big Island, Hawaii
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12. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

Please don't patronize illegal tours. It's not fair to the companies that are doing the right think with obtaining the necessary permissions, permitting, and insurance and going the legal route. Moreover, no surprise but the legal companies have much better safety standards and training. This is not an activity where you want to take unnecessary risks.

Island of Hawaii...
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13. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

To be clear about Ahiu, this is overall a legal guide tour company with as you noted, good reviews, but when the lava flow recently changed, they opted to offer tours into the closed reserve area. The details of why this is illegal are noted in the Lava Viewing Topic, which you must not be following, or you would have seen the recent posts about Ahiu.

In addition to being a legally licensed company, guides must have landowner permission to access flows on private property, which is something that Kalapana Cultural Tours and Volcano Discovery Hawaii pay strict attention to securing, but other guides may not.

Tripadvisor allows people to post reviews without regard for checking on the companiesʻ legal status. Other visitors who have not apprised themselves of the legalities and the facts may have left glowing reviews, but that is no guarantee, and there is no substitute for doing other research than reading reviews. Sorry, but the volcano sends lava out without regard to whether it is National Park, private land, or public reserve, and every time the lava flow pattern changes, everyone has to adapt -- guides and customers.

Island of Hawaii...
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14. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

PS.

I realize it can be difficult for travelers to grasp that land where lava is actively flowing can indeed by private property and that it can be seriously regarded trespassing to hike over private property to see lava. It seems as if people imagine that lava flow automatically changes the status of the land.

If anything, as lava is closely tied to the spiritual beliefs of Hawaiians regarding Pele, the volcano goddess, such land may be considered all the more sacrosanct by its owners. They may find it highly disrespectful to have unasked for adventure seekers tromping over this land. Itʻs a very different perspective than what people are used to on the mainland, but visitors, as guests, need to show respect for beliefs even if they do not share the beliefs.

Ahiu, as a Native Hawaiian run tour company, ought to be respecting the Reserve status and trail closure, and I do not know why they are not, other than the allure of the dollar.

Now it is possible that by December, the lava will be flowing somewhere else that is legal for them to go, but you just do not know that. You are taking a big gamble if you are pre-paying, booking a lodging, and booking a flight. You should have a Plan B for what to do if you canʻt take a lava hike that day.

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15. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

I found the Lava Flow topic that was mentioned here, 17 pages and a headache later it just made it all the more confusing lol. Well, I understand that lava activity moves and it's unpredictable. But I really do not know too much about the area or the laws in these areas, that is why people rely on tour companies/guides. Even in the event that the lava moves to a legal area how would I truly know this? Is there a tour company which is licensed and has efficient permits? I understand that the lava flow is being monitored, even the tour company told me this.

With that said, if no hike is to take place at that time, as a plan b I'm sure I'll find something to do. There's also the option of plan C and canceling the whole trip to the big island. I reserved the tour but they did not ask for advanced payment.

Edited: 10:56 pm, October 04, 2013
Island of Hawaii...
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16. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

With the Lava Viewing topic, there is a ton of important information in the top post. People wanting to see lava should follow the links and especially bookmark the Kilauea update status reports, which give a daily picture of the viewing options and hazards.

In order to avoid confusion, read the most recent posts, and maybe go back a month or two for context. You do not need to read a yearʻs worth of posting. The info on Ahiu is the most recent posting before the update by VolcanoDiscovery, which is a great update.

One of the points of the forum is to let people speak of experiences, and what is and isnʻt legal, a place where local residents can participate and help with those questions. No tour or guide is going to put on their website that they are doing illegal and dangerous hikes.

As we have posted here probably hundreds of times, the two most reputable lava hike companies are Volcano Discovery Hawaii and Kalapana Cultural Tours. Hawaiʻi Forest & Trail isnʻt doing the Kalapana hikes, but they are another company that follows the rules.

There are all too many guides who are casual about it and on the edge of legality. Same with tours. You do need to ask.

17. Re: Hilo recommendations for half day/couple of hours.

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