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“"Very helpful and a nice stop along the way"”

Maunakea Visitor Information Station
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$186.46*
and up
Mauna Kea Voyage
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$223.96*
and up
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
Ranked #2 of 81 things to do in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Locust Grove, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“"Very helpful and a nice stop along the way"”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

This was our stop to catch our breath before going to the top of Mauna Kea! My husband had to convince me to go, since I have a big fear of heights. The people at the visitor center were very helpful and answered my questions to help me see that I could do it! Just be careful, because you want to stay here for a few minutes to acclimate to the elevation but it was worth it!

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ladybug881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Forget the sunset, it's the stars you want”
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Absolutely amazing (though very cold) trip to the observatories. The tour promoted mainly the sunset, which was great, but the stars afterwards really made this one of my most memorable moments of our Hawaii trip!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Christina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pensacola, Florida, United States
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Very informative”
Reviewed November 12, 2012

We drove up and had the opportunity to watch a small show about the observatory and Mauna Kea--the world's tallest mountain from the base to the top, even though it's only 13769 ft above sea level. We had a 4 wheel drive vehicle, so we drove on up to the top of the mountain, but be warned, it's very steep grade above the information center and a lot of the road is gravel. It's not a bad drive, but you do need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to go. (highly recommended) The view from the top is beautiful and there's no charge for information or the drive.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank Holley P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“A great way to start and end your tour of Mauna Kea”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

We stopped in to the visitor centre on Mauna Kea whilst aclimating to the altitude prior to heading to the summit.

They have a very informative display and programme there and it is a great place to learn and get guidance on the mountain and the stargazing you can achieve there.

The team there are very enthusiastic and put on a nightly programme that includes an intro, watching the "First Light" film about the astonomic history and Hawaian spirituality that abounds Mauna Kea (and the conflicts between the two) and then you head out to their terrace for a star tour and to use the telescopes to view many parts of the nights sky.

Combined with the trip to the summit of Mauna Kea, it is a very exciting and interesting place to pop in and not to be missed if you have travelled up the Saddle Road to get there.

Our only disappointment was that the team that so enthusiastically introduced and hosted us at the visitor centre also spent most of the "First Light" film talking loudly to friends and colleagues which became a real irritation when we were trying to concentrate on the film they so enthusiastically promoted. It really annoyed us and directly affected the amount of the donation we gave at the end of the evening.

Otherwise, a great place to stop and learn with some very keen (if not a touch unaware) champions of the night sky and the mountain.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank RColtz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Truly Awesome”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

What a magnificent experience! Watched the sunset from the summit and it was spiritual. You can even see the highest point on Maui. Even if it's cloudy at sea level, once you make your way to the 9000 foot Visitor Center, you are above the clouds and it is clear and sunny. Only way to get to the summit safely is to take a tour or drive a 4 wheel drive to the summit. Otherwise to hike up the remaining 4000 feet is suicide, especially at that altitude-- not worth the risk, especially if you have to trek up a rocky dirt road and dodge jeeps and tourist vans. The night time view of the stars is spectacular. The visitor center sets up about a dozen telescopes to view stars, planets, nebulas etc. What a terrific experience. Definitely bring a warm jacket and wear long pants and shoes (not flip flops) ... the climate gets cold at that elevation and you'll need a parka to stay warm. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and enjoy watching the stars at night. Only negative is the 1-1/2 hour drive back to either Hilo or Kona afterward at night. Also, the air is very thin, and it's possible to get altitude sickness or suffer some of it's symptoms. Take deep breaths and walk slow... Don't over exert yourself while at the summit. Definitely recommend taking one of the Summit Tours despite the cost.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank LazyTraveller626
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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