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“The walking lava tour was the highlight of our vacation to the Big Island!”

Kalapana Cultural Tours
Ranked #1 of 15 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 young children, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed August 28, 2013

5 mile round trip over hardened lava fields. We saw stunning views of surface lava flows within a distance of only a few feet. We would recommend this tour to anyone! Be sure to check their website to check current lava flow conditions before booking. We took the 5 pm tour which made seeing the lava at night even better!

Thank Wicked2039
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

The evening tours are my favorite also to see the sunset over the glowing lava field! Right you are that our blog (on www.kalapanaculturaltours.com) has the most current lava conditions - we work with USGS and visit the lava site wherever the lava flows daily as research to update this daily blog. It is fun to look back and see how much the lava has changed since you last took the tour also! Mahalo for joining us and aloha!

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"surface flow"
in 36 reviews
"lava hike"
in 37 reviews
"boat tour"
in 44 reviews
"ocean entry"
in 33 reviews
"the big island"
in 56 reviews
"first aid kit"
in 18 reviews
"bike rentals"
in 10 reviews
"hardened lava"
in 15 reviews
"bring lots of water"
in 6 reviews
"knew exactly where"
in 6 reviews
"long hike"
in 16 reviews
"hiking boots"
in 13 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 36 reviews
"gravel road"
in 12 reviews
"uneven terrain"
in 11 reviews
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in 12 reviews
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Reviewed August 25, 2013 via mobile

We visited the big island for 2 weeks and drove over from Kona to Pahoa to see active lave flows from Kiluea. The guides were very informative and made sure everyone on our team were comfortable during the entire hike. We had the most amazing lava viewing. Do make sure you take the last trip, later at night the views are better. We saw the ocean entry as well as surface lava flows. There was enough moon light to add to the awe inspring once in a lifetime experience. Highly recommend, must do activity when you are on the big island. You see nature at its most powerful and get to talk to the local guides and understand their culture.

Thank bc73
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Kalapana_CT, Owner at Kalapana Cultural Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2013

It feels so great when folks tell us that this is the best experience they had in Hawaii - or even their lifetime- because we strive to provide just that. The guides work hard to provide a safe, comfortable and hospitable experience so that you can just ENJOY our home! Our goal is to provide you with the absolute best experience by featuring the unbelievable wonder of lava while sharing our personal Hawaiian culture. Mahalo for joining us in our hale and welcoming our culture and natural surroundings with open arms! Aloha and a hui hou.

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Reviewed August 25, 2013

A few days prior to the hike I went and hiked the short 4 mile crater route at Volcanoes National Park and then went to the viewing area at night. That experience whetted my appetite to get a bit closer It was nowhere near as spectacular as this hike. If you go all the way to the Big Island you have to get up close and personal!

First off - I would absolutely not recommend coming down to the Pu'o'o uu crater and trying to 'do it yourself'. Number one it's private land, and number two if you want to see the lava in the dark, you'll be hiking in the dark. The guides we had were excellent and answered any questions about the island. There's a viewing area for the public about a gazillion miles from the lava - you will see very little.

The walk out to the lava flowing into the ocean was easy, in the daylight at a relaxed pace with a break half way. We went on the 5pm hike. They have others earlier but it's more spectacular after dark. You're given ample time here to take photos and soak it in. After this we hiked up to see some new flow - now in the dark, with flashlights. Broke my foot a few years back rolling my ankle, and rolled it a few times here but thankfully no injury - to be honest I am a bit prone to doing it. Another girl in the group who wasn't enthusiastic about all the walking hurt herself and chose not to continue but the guides sorted things out quick, passing us on to another group and slowly making his way back with the injured party. A few people stumbled but I wouldn't say it's inherently dangerous - you're walking at night on uneven ground. If that doesn't sound good, take a helicopter/boat tour.

As long as you're reasonably fit you'll be fine. There were a few ten year old kids on our tour who did it with a smile. You will be walking for four hours, but as it was night the temperature was pleasant in shorts and t-shirt. We stopped off for food but honestly we needed half of what we took. A few bottles of water is all you need and perhaps some energy bars. You won't starve out there! The hike back was a little faster paced but each time someone's torch ran out you'd stop for a bit of a breather anyway. I got chatting to a few of the other hikers and the time whizzed by.

The surface flow we hiked to was super cool. You don't have to worry about getting too close - the heat will stop you doing anything silly. It's very intense. It's just awesome to watch, an unforgettable experience.

As with anything natural, there are no guarantees so if you're on the island for a while, I would wait until you get here to book a trip, checking with your concierge about current conditions.

So, as long as you can handle a bit of a walk, I would absolutely recommend this tour. It's once in a lifetime stuff. They were very professional throughout and I always felt safe.

1  Thank metalliam
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

Yes, we do take you as CLOSE as safely possible to flowing lava -- a completely different experience than anything in Volcanoes National Park. I see that you agree that this part of the island is simply worth touring since it is so naturally unique and packed with history and Hawaiian culture. I'm happy to hear that the hike was manageable and that you felt very safe: Our guides are very well qualified and prepared for any situation such as the rarity when someone cannot handle the hike. Since the hiking conditions change quite often (sometimes daily) we are ready for emergencies and try our best to screen guests and describe the hiking conditions before guests depart. Mahalo for joining us and aloha!!

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Reviewed August 21, 2013 via mobile

No words to describe how awesome.. We saw the flowing lava and we cooked s'mores and grilled cheese on steam vent.

The hiking was very hard. Need to wear knee/support pads, pants, gloves, hiking shoes, ankle support, all kind of support.

The bad part of the trip when we got lost going back. The tour guide who was supposed to be knowledgeable cant find the way home.

Thank Dalycityca
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 are happy to have provided you with a nice lava viewing experience plus the opportunity to roast grinds (food) over the natural heat! There are actually numerous trails back to home-base and the flattest & least strenuous trails tend to be longer distances, and therefore, take a longer time. The guides access the individual group's needs and decide which trail is the safest for that particular group. Your guide chose the longer trail for safety reasons and walked slower and that is why you arrived later than planned. Also, we HIGHLY stress that anyone with ankle and knee problems (among other health concerns) should not attempt the hike at all. We offer gloves to protect hands if one does happen to fall on the shark lava rock. Mahalo for joining us and much aloha!

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Reviewed August 20, 2013

Wow! is not enough to describe this experience. A truly once in a lifetime experience--- watching hot lava stream so close, watching it glow, both on the surface, and then with some additional hiking, streaming into the ocean, creating clouds and mist from the sea water was more than awing... This 6+ hour hiking tour,with a fantastic guide, who was patient, considerate of all the different hiker's (or limited)athleticism and very knowledgeable about the area, the culture, the importance, and the nature and volcanic activity around, was beyond our dreams!

Walking on the hardened lava requires care, because falling or grabbing onto the sharp lava rock is not a reasonable option. It was and is worth the time, energy and cost. Even our 15 year old son came away believing what he had done and seen was amazing, awing and the most phenomenal thing he had ever experienced.

It is the stuff of your greatest imagination....except it's real, physical, and stunning.

If you are on the Big Island, and have the opportunity to take this tour, don't miss it. Do heed the limitations, as it is a workout. Lots of up and down stepping--- as in 18" and better step ups and down and across crevices on the lava as it flowed and hardened, no man made anything.... This is one experience none of us will ever forget, regret or otherwise rue.

Also, while there is another tour group providing a similar tour (same place/area and sight), Kalapana is operated and guided by Hawaiian people, not just any tour guide. Our guide's ties to the land and people of Kalapana and his discussion and explanations of culture and history/lore/myth, pointing things out as we trekked made this tour all the more meaningful for all of us.

Check out Kalapana Cultural Tours Lava Tour blog for daily commentary and photos of the lava activity seen by tour hikers--- and then imagine being there---- life is so much greater than photos or fiction! Not to be passed up!

Thank diane h
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 are thrilled to hear that your guide helped make this experience a 'top three' on your life list and "beyond your dreams." Our guides truly work so hard to make each tour completely individual just like the people taking it. Yes-- the blog on our website is a great way to track lava status as you now know it changes by the minute! If you enjoyed the culture and lore, we've started a Hawaiian cultural newsletter so please contact us if you are interested in getting your cultural and lava dose every month! Mahalo for hiking with KCT and aloha to you!

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