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“Unforgettable and incredible!!”

Kalapana Cultural Tours
Ranked #1 of 14 Tours in Pahoa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: LAVA Tours: Boat | Bike | Hike Big Island, Hawaii Native Kalapana Hawaiian Owned & Operated See lava with someone whose house is buried in it! Lava Tour Schedule 2016 Boat: 5:00am, 8:00am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 8:00pm Bike / Hike: 5:00am, 8:00am, 3:30pm, 5:00pm Private Tour/Boat Charter: anytime upon request
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Reviewed August 7, 2013

This tour was absolutely amazing! I never review anything and I have to rave about this experience! It's a lot of hiking, but totally worth it! It's the only place in the world you will see lava flowing into the ocean. The surface lava was also incredible! The tour guides are so friendly and personable. They provide you with bottles of water, flashlights, and kind hospitality. They will even carry you on their back if you get hurt! Highly recommend this tour as it is a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience! You will not regret it! It was the highlight of our honeymoon!

Thank SMN728
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2013

Mahalo for joining us and for your enthusiasm regarding your lava experience. We are so happy we provided you with a safe and fun adventure! Aloha!

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259 - 263 of 395 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2013

We realised before doing a helicopter trip that we were able to actually hike to the lava. What a relief that we chose the hike, this was one of, if not the most amazing experience I have ever had! We chose a private tour as I am only 5' and was worried about keeping up with a larger group, I needn't have worried!

We had Kukui as our guide, a really nice young lad, very friendly and a good laugh. He constantly checked that we were going at a good pace for us and was prepared to stop whenever we wanted for photos. As it was, we made pretty good time across the most amazing landscape of lava shapes and colours. We were never bored and the distance didn't register as there was so much to look at. It wasn't as hard going as we expected although you have to watch carefully where you are walking.

We did a bit of a detour trying to find a surface flow but when we found it, wow!! Both of us were blown away by the chance to see lava flowing across the ground just feet away from us. We were able to watch it for about an hour before making our way down to the ocean for another awe inspiring sight of lava hitting the wild Pacific Ocean. We had as much time as we needed to take it all in and never felt pressured or hurried in any way.

The return journey in the dark wasn't bad either apart from having to seriously concentrate on where your feet were going. It was still magical, walking across shining, silvery lava.
We did about nine miles return but it didn't really feel like it.

I have wanted to see lava since I learned about volcanoes at school and it didn't disappoint. We have been travelling to some amazing places for the last four months and this was the absolute pinnacle of the trip! I shall go home very happy, and will do it again when we return to Hawaii, which we certainly will. There is so much to see and do.

A word of caution, check carefully how many people you get to a guide as we saw another guided tour who probably had 25 people and who were really strung out across the lava, dangerous if the person at the back had an accident and couldn't be seen. They also seemed to be walking across underground flows which could have collapsed at any time under them.

We felt safe and well looked after and can highly recommend this outfit!

Thank Debbie642013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2013

We thank you for letting us make your childhood dream come true. And imagine--your guide and my cousin, Kukui, grew up on this volcano running around on the lava with no shoes! Glad to hear he took you as close as you can safely get to active lava and brought you home safely. One amazing thing about lava is that it changes every MOMENT so every tour is completely unique! Mahalo for joining us here at KCT and aloha!

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Reviewed August 6, 2013

Our night lava hike with Kalapana Tours was the highlight of our 10 day Oahu and Big Island vacation. It was an incredibly memorable, unusual experience. I am not very interested in science, but I found this experience to be fascinating. Walking on day old lava, being within 3 feet of the current lava flow, and watching the lava enter the ocean at dusk all were once in a lifetime experiences. I am so glad we chose to do this.

We had about 15 people in our group with two guides. Kai and Prince were very accommodating and knowledgeable. They definitely were concerned about the group's safety and comfort. We were initially concerned about the large group size, but it was really not a big deal.

We hiked from 4:00 until about 9:00 PM. They stopped for breaks, to allow for pictures, and to let us soak in the moment near the active lava and ocean entry. As far as the hike itself, the greatest difficulty was not really exertion, but footing issues. The only thing that really hurt us after the hike were our feet and ankles. If you have foot or ankle trouble, I would not recommend the hike. Lava is not flat so your feet and ankles are constantly angled. You really have to watch your footing. It becomes even more dicey in the dark. We walked the last 1.5 hours in the dark with flashlights. I was worried about that but you are able to adjust fairly quickly. They have you walk in a single file line so you have someone to follow.

You definitely need to bring plenty of water and a snack. Wear jeans and either very strong sneakers or hiking boots. We brought both with us and decided to wear sneakers. They were good because they were lighter than boots but the lack of ankle support wasn't good. If I did it again, I would try to find some lightweight hiking boots. We brought heavy gloves and wore them in the dark only. I thought my chances of falling were increased then and the lava is sharp!

This was a wonderful tour! Be sure to do this if you go to the Big Island!

Thank iu92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 23, 2013

I'm so glad you found your experience in our volcanic home fascinating! Glad to hear your guide had a good pace and stopped often to rest and share stories of the land. Many sincere mahalos for joining us!

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Reviewed August 4, 2013

Thanks again to our young tour guide Skyler, it was one of the best tours ever!
If you want to see it all happen, see lava very close, do some lava poking and see the elements fire and water meet, do this tour.
For my as a Swiss guy it was an awesome Swiss national day, August 1st, live volcano.
It was just stunning and exciting to see the lava and feel the heat.
You need to earn the picturesques site, the hike started at 4pm and finally back at around 11pm, but it is totally worth it, we spent a lot of time at the scene.

A few tips:
- take your camera with you, at least two big bottles of water, good footwear, evtl. a snack, a can of beer ;-)
--> be careful with your smartphone, my iphone turned off while taking a video of the lava!!!

Thank Marcel K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 23, 2013

Mahalo for joining us here at Kalapana Cultural Tours and aloha!

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Reviewed August 1, 2013

We hired this outfitter on a recommendation from our hotel. They appear to be a solid, no-frills outfit, run by some very enterprising youngsters (20-somethings). This is not your polished, high quality tour experience; this is very low key. It is, however, very new tech - communications by email is quaility; card scanning is on an iPhone and an e-receipt is emailed to you immediately (upon request). They also have their insurance bond posted at their kiosk/desk, and get the waiver signed saying you're on your own if you get hurt.

Departures are from the end of 137, off of 130, about an hour plus drive from Volcano National Park. Their map addresses do NOT work (I tried on both my Magellen GPS as well as my iPhone; both the address, and the waypoint - a cafe next door - Both tools got both sites wrong; the iPhone by a little and the GPS by a lot). Make SURE they send you the detailed driving directions (and ideally have a passenger read them to you).

DO: Plan on a very busy activity - over two hours hike (hike, not walk or stroll) each way; over very uneven and broken ground. Recommend good stiff hiking shoes, but we did it in sneakers/running shoes. It's OK but my feet are now tired. And sore. Be sure you can do a good long hike and you can stand on your feet for up to five hours. There will be breaks, but very little sitting (it's not like there are park benches out there).

DO: Bring a backpack if you can. We had enough water and snacks with 2 energy bars and a liter of water per person, but more would have been better. I also brought a camera (long lens recommended) and tripod.

Jeans are not required but not a bad idea both for shelter from the sun and in case you fall. Lava rock is sharp!

I would recommend that you do research on various outfitters. We had also been recommended to contact a local single man outfit; cash only. He apparently has a home near the end of 130 and hikes from his place are about 30 minutes shorter than the others.
We also noticed (early in our hike) that other outfitters provided simple safety gear like orange vests (runners vests) for all to wear during the hike. Simple things like that would be smart. I think more people doing more research and asking more questions will raise the bar on these (relatively young) businesses - and that can only benefit the traveler!

1  Thank Mark E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 23, 2013

Mahalo for showing that your tour was great even beyond the luster of lava. We work really hard to provide a safe, insightful and off-the-beaten-path experience unlike any other main-stream tour company. The other outfitter you mention, and all others, operate tours through us since they hikes over our family's land that is now buried in lava. Mahalo for joining us and ALOHA!

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