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“Awesome way to see lava but be careful”

Lava Ocean Tours Inc
Ranked #2 of 13 Tours in Pahoa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Lava Ocean Tours is your exclusive way Explore the Hilo side of Big Island. View volcanic activity on our boat & hikes to see the LAVA. Our state of the art vessels are modern aluminum catamarans including the "Lavaone" 49 passenger 40x14 catamaran powered by 4 Honda 250hp motors. Whether lava is flowing on the land or sea we will get you to the closet viewing point safely possible. We also offer the Ultimate Boat Waterfall Tours departing Hilo to see over 30+ boat only waterfalls and dolphins in uncrowded waters. During Hawaii Whale Season (Dec-Apr) enjoy whale watching in Hilo Bay and surrounding waters on an intimate ocean cruise. Our tours include Lava Boat Tours, Guided Lava Hikes, Volcano Boat Tours, Waterfall & Dolphin Tours, Charter Fishing, Hilo Whale Watching and Private Tours.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed September 8, 2010

This was just awesome experience to see lava flow into the ocean up so close. During the ride, we even saw few small explosions supposedly underwater. We were very close to lava and can feel the heat from steam and actually smell the gas. The ride to lava flowing area is about 20-25 minute one way and the ride was bumpy. We did morning boat ride ( not the sunrise tour) and took our kids with us. Kids got seasick and I am sure the gas is not good for kids so I don't recommend this to kids. The view and the entire experience were just incredible. Few negative things. They quoted me $150 over the phone and the next day when I called back, the price went up to $165. When I confronted them, they said they will charge $160 which was the advertised price on website anyway. So make sure to check your price. and they have no website reservation and you have to call several times to get someone to answer the phone. The other thing is safety. Few explosions we have witnessed made me wonder if there was a big explosion, it may throw the boat away. I am not too sure if that is possible but seeing rocks fly away towards us makes you wonder. At one point, i felt like we were way too close to lava and when we were sailing through steam, it was scary for me.
Choice is yours. It definitely a great way to see lava flow into the ocean. Way better than National Park.

2  Thank Judy1120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 28, 2010

I was a little skeptical of the company at first... you call and get someone's cell phone number, and you may have to try many times before someone answers. When you do, the guy sounds like a surfer dude (which he is) and you're not sure you want to give your credit card information to him. He also speaks in bold terms about how perfect the conditions are, "the best in 25 years" blah blah... exaggeration which you know can't be true. But not to worry, the trip itself is outstanding.

You arrive at the small beach park (Isaac Hale) with the nonexistent harbor and wonder how can they launch boats there... there's no dock! As it turns out you climb on the boat while still trailered, they back it into the water, turn it around and gun the engines to get out through the swells before a rouge wave breaks in the channel. The trip down to the lava is bumpy but once you get there the sights, sounds and smells are extraordinary. The ocean and the lava are constantly battling each other... lava pours into the ocean, explodes into balls of steam and rock, gets covered by the next wave, and the cycle repeats - but never the same. The views are constantly changing depending on the lava, waves, steam cloud, sun angle, clouds and the position of the boat. The boat goes within about 20 yards of shore at times. You feel the heat of the lava radiating against your face and see the hot, steaming lava fragments floating on the water. The crew will pull up a bucket of seawater and you'll find that ocean there is hotter than bathwater although not scalding hot. Certainly there is no better way to see the lava... from a helicopter I would imagine you'll see streams of orange but that's about it.

There's a lot of discussion about the safety of these boats and what you'll see but we survived, my lungs still work and we saw a lot of lava flowing into the ocean. Apparently this is currently the only place in the world where you can see that.

One other thing, when we were there LavaOcean had a great offer - come back the same week for only $99 per person. Of course that might not always be available, but the trip was so good we took advantage of the offer. The second time there wasn't nearly as much lava flowing, so be aware that even a few days can make a big difference. Still, even the second trip was totally worth the time and money spent. The first trip was the sunrise tour so we arrived at the lava before dawn and the second was a morning trip. If you can stand to wake up early enough, I'd recommend the sunrise tour so you can see the lava both at night and in daylight. The sunset tour would accomplish the same thing but seeing how windy afternoons are there, I would imagine that it's quite a rough trip and even our morning tours were bumpy.

Speaking of which, I don't get seasick but usually I do have "stomach awareness" on boat trips. For some reason I had no "awareness" on these trips and as far as I could tell, no one else on the boat got sick. I think being close to shore and seeing land all the time, plus the focus on the lava flows once we got there, kept my stomach unaware. Having said that, however, if you are prone to seasickness you should avoid this trip or at least be prepared to toss your breakfast. Actually as bad as seasickness is, it's worth it to see the lava. Don't miss it!

1  Thank Bobodobo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2010

Guides were very friendly and informative! The views were unbelievable! Don't leave Hawaii without taking a trip on this lava boat!

Thank vacation2010hawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2010

Took a sunrise lava boat tour in early August with my boyfriend. It was the highlight of our trip and just an amazing experience. We saw a lot of lava just pouring into the ocean and got to experience the heat, steam and boiling water right up close!

We also did a helicopter ride to see the volcano but the boat tour was by FAR the way to go to see and experience the lava.

However, please note that this is NOT an easy ride. If you are staying on the Kona side you have to drive 2.5 hrs to get over to the launch site. In addition, the boat ride out is VERY rough. Totally worth it but be prepared. If you do not like bumpy rides then this will be torture and maybe you should go the air route instead.

1  Thank BostonTravelina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2010

After reading some negative reviews towards this company, I think I should write one to tell all what I experienced. This was the most unforgettable tour my husband and I have ever had. When we stayed in Big Island, we did have a helicopter ride to see the lava but the sunrise lava boat tour was the best way to see the lava up close and personal. We could see the lava flow in dark before the sunrise. The glow of lava was unforgettable and intense. We were so thrilled to see the lava just 20-30 feet away from the boat. When the sun rised, we were able to see the lava flow into the ocean clearly. It was incredible to see the lava two ways(in dark and sunlight) in this tour. The captain was so skillful and we felt safe to take tons of photos on the boat. We also saw dolphins swim when we were on our way back to the pier. The company advised us to take the seasickness pills before the tour. Eventually, we did not feel sick during the whole journey. Don't miss this tour when you traveled to Big Island. This is absolutely the best way to see the lava flow. One more thing, make sure you bring enough memory cards and battery for your digital camera. A couple who were on this tour with us went out of batteries for their digital camera. They felt helpless and upset when seeing how awesome the lava flow was.

Thank WendyNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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