We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“An excellent last-minute find” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Vavoom Volcano Tours - CLOSED

Vavoom Volcano Tours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Vavoom Volcano Tours has been providing fun and educational tours of Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls and visits to other popular spots in the Hilo area such as the Mauna Loa Mac Nut Farm since 2007. We can now customize your tour to also include ziplining, horseback-riding and ATV adventuring on the slopes of Kilauea. Just call or email us to reserve your Big Island adventure with Vavoom Volcano Tours today.Note: The business has a new owner as of June 2013. The new owner is Kyle Rogers and can be reached at the listed number and email address which has been updated.
Winter Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“An excellent last-minute find”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2013

Not knowing what my work schedule was going to be like in Hawaii, my husband and I were not able to commit to booking any kind of tours in advance, should our plans change at the last minute. However, when I got my schedule we were too late to book tours and as we found out that most companies don't do tours on Sundays...the only day we had free. After some internet searching we found Vavoom and Lori told us on the phone that it was no problem to do a Sunday tour. We were stoked, but admittedly a little apprehensive given the short notice. We got to the airport and were met by Joy, Lori's sister, who picked us up in her personal car. Apparently we were the only two people for this tour! We hit the volcano overlook, Jagger Museum, steam vents, Thurston lava tubes, and did the caldera hike where we roasted marshmallows over the vents...more like steamed marshmallows... Our guide was super friendly and we never tired of talking during the whole trip. On our way back to the airport we meant to hit a coffee farm (plantation?) but it was closed Sundays....as was the macadamia but factory (but the store was open, score!)... but that's not Vavoom's fault. We also stopped for lunch at the military camp (never expected to find a bowling alley near a volcano) which was pretty good too!

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank inxsary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

89 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    69
    6
    1
    3
    10
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Loved the tour!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2013

We had a great day with Lori which was particularily nice to have a local tour guide. Many guides are now not from Hawaii. Lori is a warm, friendly and knowledgable guide.
We visited Rainbow Falls first then onto the steam vents then Kilauea Museum. The view was great and the explanations of the volcano and eruptions were very informative.
We also did the hike onto the crater floor. Everyone loved this the crackle and crunch of lava stones beneath your feet. I really enjoyed seeing the plants that were growing out of the lava rock. Lori new the plant names and also the Hawaiian folk lore that went along with it.
We also went through the Thirstin Lava Tube.
On the way back we stopped at Mouna Loa and also the Orchid Farm.
We also asked Lori's recommendation whether we should stop at Akaka Falls on our way home - we would highly recommend this falls stop to others.

I book tours on my first time trips as I find it helps with finding locations, identifying risks, hearing the history and folk lore. We all enjoyed Lori's tour and would recommend it to others.

Loved the Big Island and hope to return.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank BonnyMS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Worst tour! It was a waste of time and money...”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 8, 2012 via mobile

I hope this feedback on Lori, owner of Vavoom Tour will help you in your selection. I booked this tour on Thanksgiving day because my husband mistakenly booked our rental car at Kona airport and our flight was arriving at Hilo airport about 3 hours away. Realizing this on thanksgiving day, the day before our flight, I found Vavoom Tour after not being able to find a rental car. She was available to do the tour for $130 pp +$80 for child. Total cost $610 for a private tour. Then when we arrived Friday am, there was a rental car and I asked if we could cancel and she said no and that there is a 48 cancellation policy even though I booked it 10 hours before and this was not said to me. She said this was on their website which I did not go on the night before. She was not flexible despite my situation and also tried to add two other people even though she said this would be a private tour the night before. Because she was going to charge, we went ahead with the tour and everything went downhill from there. First, She missed the turn for the waterfall and we had to reverse. She told us that it would take 30 mins to walk the waterfall trail when in fact it took 15 mins. She kept saying to my family (my mother and father inlaws are from Japan age 68 and in excellent health) that the walk is not for this with health issues. She said this also at the volcano which was really insulting. We collectively decided as a family to do this tour and she kept insinuating the tour walk will be difficult for people with health issues. It was as if she did not want to do the walk and just wanted to take us around in the vehicle. She also forgot to bring bottled water for us even though it was suppose to be included. Then at the end of the tour, she took us to the macademia plant which closes at 5pm. We got there at 5:20 pm and it was closed. How could a tour operator not know the closing time? Then the last insult was she tried to charge $120 additional for going over the tour time. I had explicitly told her that our flight was at 7:30 pm and we had to be back at the airport by 6:30 pm which was the time she dropped is off. She said her tour is 6 hours and additional time over that would be charged. I told her that was not explained to me at the beginning. To throw this at the end of the tour is sneaky and not acceptable. I would avoid using this tour company. To me it felt like Lori was all about money and not focused on the customer experience. You are better off renting a car or another tour with a better reputation, or going with a taxi company.

Helpful?
10 Thank yleeito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Did my research (like you are now) and this tour was awesome!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2012

I travel quite a bit and must admit that I use tripadvisor often for information but don't post reviews (I know..I should post reviews). However, I felt compelled to write a review for Vavoom Volcano Tours because of the recent reviews from two people who said this was the worse tour ever. I was there that morning and as you can see in the pics I have attached, it was the exact opposite.

We had been told by Lori, the tour operator, to meet at 9am (I still have the email). We assembled at the meeting spot at 8:45am, looking around for a Vavoom sign. After about ten minutes, I inquired and was told that tour was meeting at the gate (the area were were waiting was crowded so we thought: "No big deal, we'll just walk up to the gate to meet them.") When we arrived, there was a group of people assembled and a gentlemen on his phone yelling into his cell phone while everyone was staring. I asked if this was for Vavoom and people said yes. The gentlemen on the phone hung up and then starting telling everyone around him "Start looking for a different tour...she's not coming." Myself and a few people asked what she said and he wouldn't give us solid information; instead, kept trying to get the group all worked up asking how people paid and we better hope we used a credit card, etc.

After about 5 mins of hearing this guy work the group up, I found the email on my phone from Lori with her contact number and called. She answered right away. I told her where we were and asked if she was on her way. She stated "Yes, I am really sorry...I will be there in 5 mins...I had a break light out and wanted to switch vehicles. I just told the other gentlemen I would be there in 5 mins...is he letting everyone know." I told her "...he was now across the street asking other tour operators for prices and had informed us that you were not showing up." She then said "I'm really sorry...please tell everyone I will be there any minute." Within 5 mins, she parked her vans and we could see her approaching us.

In any case, as you can see...what this person wrote was false. Yes, Lori was late by 15 mins...she arrived at 9:15am and was very apologetic and told us she would make up any lost time on the back end of the tour. Things happen and once everyone else in the group had accurate information (and not incorrect information from the other person who seems like his goal was to ruin Lori's day), we all smiled and hopped in the vehicles. The fact of the matter is we are in Hawaii on vacation and the rest of the group laughed it off, hopped in the van, and off we went. The other guy (and his group) were still at the pier looking for another operator.

The tour was exactly what was promised. We first drove to the falls, the whole time Lori giving us information about the island and surrounding area. After spending time there, we went to Kilauea Volcano. What was great about this tour was at each stop, it was just the 12 of us in her van. We could hop out, explore, and then get back in when we as a group wanted. All around us at each stop were big tour buses with people lined up to get on and off their buses. This flexibility to get out and explore and then get out of there was nice.

The next stop was the lava tubes were we hiked through a lava tube and spend time taking pictures. Next, we went to the crater. Lori had three vehicles that day so anyone that elected to not do the hike was offered an alternative thing to do at this point.

The hike across the crater was unbelievable. When we got down there, Lori gave us marshmallows and skewers to roast over some vents. It was a fun and a unique thing to do and great opportunity for pictures.

After the hike back up, we drove to the Mauna Loa Macadamian Nut Plantation. Along the way, Lori had us laughing in the back while she did a trivia contest on all the information she had told us through out the day. We shopped at the Mauna Loa factory outlet, had some amazing coconut macadamian nut ice cream there, and then after time spent walking around, we gathered up again and head back to the ship.

Please look at the pictures I have attached. You'll see Lori in the picture between my parents and sister at the Macadamian Nut Plantation with a volcano hat on. Lori was warm, friendly, gracious, and information. This is a family run business and she made us feel like we were friends and she was giving us a tour of the island for the day.

It's sad that the two other bad reviews can even be published, as they are completely false. I can say that because I was there and witnessed it. He mentions "she finally shows up at 9:45am with one van". She showed up at 9:15am with three vans and I'm not even sure how he would know what she had, as he took off with his group in search for another van.

In addition, the other reviewer mentioned "Lori's van was pretty beat up...". Again, you have to remember this reviewer never was in Lori's van, as they didn't take the tour. The van was absolutely fine and we had no problems. In fact, we all commented on how the van was much better than a large bus.

In closing, I am all for people being able to use this forum to provide feedback on their experience. However, I feel these two reviewers were way off-base and far from accurate on what transpired that morning. Did she have an issue with a break late and show up 15 mins late. Yes. Did it ruin the day? Certainly not for those, including myself, that kept our cool and waited the 15 mins for her to arrive. Their reviews were nothing more than a mean attack on her with the sole purposing of hurting her business. We need to support these businesses these days, not destroy them with exaggerated, false claims. What these two reviewers have done is mean-spirited and irresponsible.

Please check out my pictures and see for yourself the great day we had. If you have any questions, I encourage you to contact me via this website. Thanks Lori...the tour was great! Keep doing what you are doing and others will see how great your tour is.

For the record, I have no affiliation with Vavoom Tours or Lori. I live in San Diego and my only contact with Lori was before this tour and the day of the tour.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
8 Thank bsm9034
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great people to show us Hilo.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2012

We were a group of 4 that enjoyed our tour. Yes there was a delay as a van had a problem and had to be replaced, I don't know how those people can rate a trip if they don't experience it. Thoses people must never have car trouble. Patienence is a virtue. and we got plenty of tourist time in Hilo. My only issue was the food time ( it was late) as I need to eat at a more specific noon time. They agreed and apologized. Joy was a wonderful guide. They otherwise were very accomidating and made sure all the patrons were happy. As for the van they replaced it with, I was in a brand new van which is why it could not go through the gates as it had to be permitted along with the driver. I was also in a wheelchair and they couldn't have been nicer. I loved seeing the crater,sulfur steam pots, films, Park and the macadamian nut factory. So give this tour company a try! Thank you!

Helpful?
2 Thank Knotsnut9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Vavoom Volcano Tours also viewed

 
Hilo, Island of Hawaii
 

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing