I feel compelled to submit my review in response to the negative review posted on January 25th. My friend and I had a GREAT experience with the tour guide, Koa, and the crew at Kalapana Cultural Tours.
One look at the landscape of Hawaii's youngest island will have you in awe of Mother Earth's amazing power. No one in their right mind would underestimate the challenges of navigating the natural terrain in and around Volcano National Park, day or night. Nor would those people compare this terrain to a rain-forest, a canoe trip, or a lava tube. Lava is inherently dangerous and cooled lava is not much more than silica (glass). The hike with Kalapana Cultural Tours is a marvelously unique experience!
In December 2012, a friend and I booked a tour with Kalapana Cultural Tours who, we were told by Big Island residents, is the only company permitted to hike through private property in order to reach the lava flow and view the sea entry. Though they were nearly booked up, the nice woman on the phone kindly offered us a few different tour departure times. We chose the last tour which left before sunset. Before setting out on the hike, Koa explained that the terrain would be challenging and the pace would be rather brisk. It will be dark on the return hike and there is no marked trail. All guests had ample opportunity to reassess the situation and opt out before departing. The hike distance fluctuates with the traveling river of lava. Koa explained that we would have to hike for an hour and a half before reaching the lava. If it rains, he has ponchos for everyone. After dark, he has flashlights and plenty of extra batteries for everyone. I feel as though all facts were disclosed before departing.
The hike was amazing! Walking on black glass...almost like obsidian...that had cooled in so many fascinating forms and shapes. And when we reached the lava flow, emotions i've never experienced filled me up. Seeing earth in this raw form was more than my mind could handle. Almost two months later, I'm still on a emotional high from this trip! Thank you Koa and Kalapana Cultural Tour.
Born and raised on Oahu, I've looked forward to meeting Pele face to fire since her reappearance in 1983. Yes, there are other companies that can take you to view the lava flow. You can buy tickets on airplanes, helicopters and boats...all of which come with risk of serious injury or death. Please read the rest of the reviews and then book your tour with Kalapana Cultural Tours!
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