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“Want to go back!”
Review of VolcanoDiscovery Hawai'i - CLOSED

VolcanoDiscovery Hawai'i
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Owner description: VolcanoDiscovery Hawai'i is now proud to support educational excursions through the non-profit Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park! By supporting the Friends, clients are provided with a captive expert guide of the same high quality but at a significantly lower cost than a luxury tour, with proceeds directly funding forest restoration, the Hawksbill Turtle (Honu 'ea) Recovery Project, the Nene Recovery Project, the park's Junior Ranger program, and the Youth Internship Program for underserved, at-risk students to work in the park. To experience the best of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with an expert instructor or naturalist guide, contact the Hawai'i Volcanoes Institute-On-Demand. Guides with VolcanoDiscovery training are available by special request through the Friends based on availability. VolcanoDiscovery continues to provide volcano news and global volcano travel despite discontinuing its Hawai'i luxury tour service.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed December 10, 2012

We booked a private tour with a geologist to pick us up from our cruise ship and take us to the National Park. We didn't have time to hike in to see the flowing lava, (which is why I definitely want to go back), but it was still a very interesting and memorable day. Neil, our geologist, was friendly, well-informed, and a lot of fun. He showed us beautiful and strange landscapes off the beaten path. We learned a lot and a had fun doing it. Neil got us back to our cruise ship in plenty of time. I highly recommend this tour operator and will use them again when we return to Hawaii.

1  Thank Westonomy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (297)
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150 - 154 of 297 reviews

Reviewed December 6, 2012

We initially booked a 6 hour trip to the Volcano National Park, but when Neil arrived, he told us the lava had started flowing since Sunday. We had a choice and chose to see the lava. I won't say much. Many TA members have posted about this, I can only say, you have to be there to see it. We saw helicopters fly over, but nothing can beat this up close and personal view. It was like standing in front of a fire! And the lava hardens so fast. We also had a chance to see it dripping into the sea. Neil was knowledgeable and experienced, you see this world of volcanoes just open before your eyes, and Volcano Discovery is extremely professionally run and very well outfitted. We felt safe. And though we were tired at the end of the trip, we never felt we were pushed beyond our limits. But I'm sure if you wanted a hard trek, they could give you one!

On a personal note, I would say wear high tops if possible. I was wearing ankle socks and sneakers and volcanic gravel would find its way in. And because the bits were sharp and prickly, I had to stop to dig them out!

2  Thank SpringZephyr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2012

My wife and I (age 60+) wantd to see flowing lava and to learn about the power of Kilauea Volcano. We found VolcanoDiscovery Hawai'i - Private Tours through TripAdvisor and after a phone call to discuss options felt like we had found the right folks. They made it easy to customize the trip to our needs (we had a flight to catch the afternoon of the hike). We meet up with Phillip, who has a Masters degree in geology, at 8:00 in the morning near Pohua and after a excellent orientation we began our hike. We were fortunate to see both lava flowing into the ocean and a sizable flow working its way downhill towards the ocean. We were within a few feet of the lava flow and could really begin to understand the power. Phillip actually pulled a chunk of lava from the flow and after giving it time to cool my wife has a very special souvenier. Total hike was roughly 5.9 miles, total time was 6 hours. Phillips knowledge and experience were fantastic and this hike was a special experience. Highly recommended, If you do a private tour it is fairly expensive, but definitely worth the cost if you are looking for something special. Call these folks first before making any other plans and find out what they can do. They are flexible and work something that fits you needs and you budget.

2  Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

My friend and I really wanted to see flowing lava. We decided to return to the Big Island because we heard there was a lot of volcano activity. We did a bit of research and decided to go with Volcano Discovery (best reviews!!). We arranged the entire trip by email and they provided us with so much information to help us prepare for the 6 hour hike. We had a great guide in Neil. We also met two other members of the Volcano Discovery team, Erik and Maila, who joined the hike to take photos and provide additional information. Neil started with a brief history of the volcano. We then hiked to the lava, about 2.5 miles. Neil stopped along the way to show us different types of lava flow, landscape, plants, etc. We reached our destination and saw some AMAZING lava flows. It is really hard to explain what we experienced and photos don't do it justice - the heat, the movement, the colors, the sounds - just incredible. We spent some time taking photos and just experiencing the flows. We also rested and ate some of the snacks Volcano Discovery brought along the hike (the coconut macadamia nut cookies were very tasty). The hike back in the dark was a bit hard but we made it. As a plus, it was a clear night so we saw a beautiful sunset, millions of stars, the milky way, and a shooting star!

4  Thank Janet K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

We wanted a personalized tour to see flowing lava. We'd done the helicopter tour (I highly recommend Blue Hawaiian for that) but wanted to get up close. I arranged the whole trip with Volcano Discovery by email - they were great from day one at giving me all kinds of information about the different possibilities and worked with me to plan the perfect tour for us - 12 hours split between the park and the lava field. Arthur was a really great guide. We spent the morning visiting different sites in the national park, where Arthur taught us all about the history of the volcano. He obviously loves his job and his enthusiasm was contagious. After a break for sandwiches (they provided all kinds of great, healthy food and drink for us to enjoy throughout the tour) we headed to the lava field. The hike to the lava was pretty tough. I'm not in great shape but my sister, who is training for a marathon, found it to be challenging as well, mostly because the terrain is so uneven. Thanks to Arthur's sure-footed trailblazing we made the 2-3 mile trek and found ourselves in the middle of a lava field watching lava flow all around us as the sun set. It was a truly incredible, unforgettable experience that I cannot recommend highly enough.

4  Thank Amanda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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