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“Amazing Experience!”

Big Island Outfitters
Ranked #29 of 43 Tours in Hilo
Attraction details
Anchorage, Alaska
1 review
“Amazing Experience!”
Reviewed December 16, 2012

When I talked to Chris the day before going out, I thought we must be crazy. We're paying some guy $150 to go for a hike, and I have to get up at 3AM? I'm from Alaska, I don't pay to go hiking. Well, I have to say it was worth every penny. I'd have paid 5 times that much. Not only was this one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, but hiking around with Chris was great too. He's an anthropologist, and is from Hawaii, so he's a wealth of knowledge and a very interesting guy. If you're into molten rock from the center of the earth, you'll love it!

Visited November 2012
Thank shane c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Up close and personal with lava”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Chris Arruda is the man! We went on a lava tour with him at 3:30 am a few days ago in a group of 6. He was on time for our meeting and brought us head lamps and juice. The magma was about a 3.5 mile hike (one way) over old lava fields, but it was totally worth it! Chris grew up in the very spot where the lava is and has a lot of experience getting around with lots of stories to tell from his past. He will take you right up to the magma and let you spend hours poking it with sticks, taking pictures, making pots out of molten hot magma, and even surf magma if you get the chance! He is as enthusiastic and excited as you are to see the magma. This is the best experience you will ever have!

P.S. Have no fear-- mile marker 21 is the last mile marker before the lava flow of the past and is just a convenient spot for Chris to meet you!

Visited November 2012
2 Thank jesicams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Lifetime experience”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

My boyfriend wanted to see lava, as we were on the Big Island and it's something you probably only see once in your life. There is the Nationalpark, but they don't have real lava flow there. There are helicopter tours, but we weren't sure if that is the right thing to do. Then I read about Chris' lavatours in a travel report of other people and visited the homepage (www.bigislandoutfitters.com) right away. I saw the beautiful pictures and the description of the tour and knew this is gonna be it. We had email and phone contact with Chris and settled the details.
As we were staying near Kona we had to get up at 1 AM after about 3 hours of sleep and had to drive across the southern island for 2.5 hours to be at the meeting point near Pahoa at 3.30 AM. There we met 2 other couples and Chris and he gave us headlamps and walking sticks and some security instructions of how to walk on the lava. It was of course complete darkness and the walk was kind of meditative, you could only see the feet of the guy walking in front of you in the light of the headlamp for about 1.5 hours. Then suddenly we saw some orange glows in the far and got excited. Another 30 Minutes and we were there. There was lava flowing out of the ground just in front of us. You feel the heat when you go too close....
We went a little bit further and were in the middle of many of those spots and stayed there for about 2 hours in total, the sun was rising and it was just spectacular to see the cold lava break up at many spot in front of us and orange, glowing lava flow out.
After 2 hours we had to return, the way back was a bit faster because you could see where you walk. At about 9.30 we were back at the cars.
This was an absolutely amazing trip that we would recommend to everyone in good physical condition who wants to see lava really close!

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Nadine8057
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Highlight of our Big Island Trip!”
Reviewed October 21, 2012

We had called a few big companies about lava tours our first few days on the island and got no response or were told there was no lava to see. Digging deeper, we turned up a few good reviews for Chris and shot him an email. He responded right away, and we extremely professional and helpful when we called to get more info later that day. We met early the next morning at 3.30 AM in Kalapana to hike into the remains of the subdivision where lava was flowing. Chris was super helpful in guiding us where to hike, providing hiking sticks, and stopping for ample breaks to readjust gear and drink water. It took about 1.5 hours to reach the lava, and we could see the glow in the distance from about 30 minutes away. We stayed near the lava for over an hour, and Chris was great about letting us take lots of pictures and explain what was happening with the lava. Hiking out also took about 1.5 hours, and again, Chris made sure we were taking breaks and going at a good pace for the whole group. He's a great guide and told us a lot about the history of the area and lava flows and we really enjoyed the whole 4 hours thoroughly - well worth getting up at 2 AM and driving for an hour!

He also does all other kinds of outdoor tours on the Big Island - going up the mountains, kayaking, camping, etc. Would definitely recommend reaching out if you're interested in anything outdoorsy and want a knowledgeable, experienced guide.

A few photos of our tour are below - our friends were amazed by how close we got and how great the flows were. We'd recommend anyone spend the cash to go on a lava tour with Chris - easily one of the best parts of our trip to the Big Island.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank K S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California, United States
Level 3 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Outstanding Adventure With Chris Arruda”
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Hi everyone. I've never actually written a review here, but I'm going to do it for Chris and Big Island Outfitters. First off, my friend and I came with wives and children, and wanted an adventure day for the bros. This sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime outing, and came recommended by a relative who lives in Hilo. I contacted Chris by phone, and he was excellent with his communication, explaining what to bring, when and where to meet, and any updates in the week leading up to our lava trip. We met at 3am, and we're paired with a nice couple from Europe who were as keyed up as we were. Chris was great explaining what to expect as we were heading out. He provided headlamps if needed, broke down safety guidelines, and gave us hiking sticks to use. Chris's family lost a home to lave here, and he was very knowledgeable about the history of the area, what folks went through and what used to be where. He explained what flows occurred when as we passed, and had a wealth of knowledge pertaining to volcanic geology. I'd also say that Chris is a friendly guy, and socially attuned...he led the group well, was interesting, and really added a positive energy to the experience throughout.
Lava is fickle. Unlike the whiney guy who posted the sole negative feedback, Chris was clear about it up front. Flows change daily. Chris sniffs out lava flows like a bird-dog. It took five hours of hiking and a bit of uphill as well, but he landed us square in an active lava field. We took all of the precautions he imparted to us, and had a safe, incredible, up-close adventure in a live lava field. I'll post some pictures here soon. These were some of the best photos I ever took. Printed them on aluminum panels, they came out better than I could have hoped.
We saw rivers of lava, and Chris kept us up there patiently until the last picture was snapped. What was so great is that he was as excited as we were! We hiked down to the cars, the whole trip lasting about seven hours. It was exhausting, but doable for anyone with a moderate fitness level. At just over a hundred bucks, it was an incredible value and adventure. I'll never forget it.
Mahalo Chris! We'll do it again next year!!

Visited May 2012
4 Thank Kent B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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