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Marylou's Big Island Guided Tours - Private Tours
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Keaau
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2014

You have to book time with Ken. He's great! No, he's awesome! He took us where ever we wanted to go. A book of knowlege. Very friendly.

Visited March 2014
Thank 2ayearOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great Tour”
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Marylou picked us up at Hilo Airport and took us for a private tour of Hilo and the Volcano Park. She is very knowledgable and a fun tour guide. Absolutely recommend this tour. Internet booking was easy, thanks to Ken's assistance and all went very smoothly. Sorry we did not have more time to spend, but there will definitely be a next time for us. Kath and Richard from Australia

Visited March 2014
Thank Kathy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia, Usa
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Marylou's Big Island Guided Tour - EXCEPTIONAL MUST-DO!”
Reviewed February 23, 2014

My husband and I were staying on the Kona side of the Big Island for our honeymoon. Instead of taking our rental car and spending 2-3 days exploring the volcanoes and the Hilo side of the island, we preferred having a guide show us around all of the "hot-spots". Based on reviews, we went with Marylou's Big Island Guided Tours and it was by far the best day we had on the Big Island and the best tour we have ever been on.

Ken Smet was our tour guide for the day and he toured us around the whole island for 14 hours! We started the day at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and saw the Kilauea crater, Jaggar Museum, steam vents, Iki crater, and Thurston Lava Tube. Ken took the time to explain the chemistry of the volcanoes, such as the poisonous SO2 gas emitting from the Kilauea crater and Madame Pele, the goddess of the volcanoes. Then we went to Volcano's Lava Rock Cafe for lunch where Ken recommended the Loco Moco, a popular local Hawaiian dish with rice topped with gravy, a beef patty, and over-easy eggs. Next we visited the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens where we tried some local Poha ice cream and Ken explained that one type of orchid costs $20K! Our next stop was the Hilo Coffee Mill where we learned about the Hawaii state Kakui trees, had a coffee and macadamia nut tasting, and did some shopping. We went on to visit the Mauna Loa Macadamia Farm where we did some more nut tasting and gift shipping. Mauna Loa also had a nice sandwich and ice cream shop, as well as a fine-jewelry oyster section. Next, we went to Richardson's Black sand beaches at a local park and spotted some awesome sea turtles. Our next stop was Akaka Falls, which was the most breath-taking and best part of our whole day. It was slightly misty and Ken offered us ponchos which was very nice of him. Then, on our way to Waipio Valley, we stopped by a small local fruit stand and sampled many fruits. We loved the taro chips and tried the Rambutan, a local fruit similar to lychee. Ken pointed out other foods, such as Monstera, which is a local food similar to corn. We ended the tour at Waipio Valley which was a breath-taking view of the valley and ocean. Afterwards, we tasted malsadas, a local favorite similar to a beignet and doughnut filled with bavarian cream or different jellies.

Ken was so wonderful! He explained all of the local culture, interest points, and foods to us and took us to eat at local stops. He also pick us up at 7AM and did a full 14 hours touring us around the whole perimeter of the island for a "circle tour". He offered us food, clothing, or anything to make our trip more comfortable. He even offered to take us to the grocery store before dropping us off at our hotel in case we needed some food or toiletries! He also gave us tips about where to go and what to see on the Kona side of the island where we were staying.

This was the best customized tour I have ever been on, and Ken did not charge us for the tour until the very end to ensure that we were satisfied. Although customized tours can be pricier than "set" tours with set stops and more people, we thought it was worth every penny and much more affordable and stress-free than renting a car and trying to do it by ourselves for 2 or more days. If you are coming to the Big Island, this is a must-do, especially if you only have a few days to explore. You won't be disappointed--HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

Visited February 2014
Thank Vickie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Best Tour Ever”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

We usually take the ships tours when we are on a cruise but I decided to try this semi private tour with Mary Lou's tours in Hilo. What a treat. We had two other couples with us in a van and Ken, Mary Lou's husband was our guide. He was very knowledgeable of the island and let us set the schedule!!! He really went out of his way to show us as much as possible and even customized the trip to our likes. We saw things you would never see on a big tour and even had lunch at a little local cafe, which was very good. This company also does tours in Kona and had we not already paid for a ships tour, we would have used Mary Lou's. Some of our group used them in Kona and had a blast. I would hight recommend this company and will use them again if we return to Hawaii.

Visited January 2014
1 Thank Flseagal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
“Mary Lou's Big Island Tours”
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Excellent experience! Ken knew lots of background about all our destinations, and got us everywhere we wanted to go, all over the island, in spite of locally heavy rain showers which closed roads off and on. I am so happy we were not driving ourselves -- we would have lost hours modifying our route and could never have gone to all the places we wanted to see. Ken and Mary Lou were in regular contact to trade information on what was happening, and to modify routes to adjust. He was fun to talk to as well -- his experience guiding travelers in Montana and Alaska shows in his low-key, affable, can-do attitude. We would happily book with Ken and Mary Lou again.

Visited December 2013
Thank C E K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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