If you can choose your guide Matt or Matthew was an exceptional tour guide. His humor made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Maybe I just got all his jokes... he's highly informative on the islands ins and outs. He keeps your attention at all times during history lessons and makes the folklore stories come to life as he brings you to their locations. He makes you feel welcomed and makes us all tourist treat eachother like family. My boyfriend and I loved every minute of the day long tour. He made Hawaii Happen for us with unforgettable sight and teaching us so much we never learned on our own. We were lucky to be in an active group and we able to make more stops to see more than other groups can see in a day. Such as the devils throat. Massive hole in the ground I could not even see the bottom! Tour was an all day event. Driving thru Hilo, stopping at rainbow falls, meals were delicious, lava tubes and walking thru forrest at night time was beautiful. I loved the fact that I did not have to worry about poisionous snakes or plants because well, there are not any! I felt very safe and comfortable with Matt as our guide, he's a great guy.
One thing though, we all left our wallets in the shuttle and could not buy anything at the gift shop. So, take your wallet when hiking up to observatory during the day. When you return at night the gift shop will be closed. Gift shop has beautiful murals of the story of pele you learn from Matt during the tour. Outside the gift shop there is a fountain you can refill your bottle water with real rain water which tasted great!
I learned so much from Matt that when coming home I was eager to learn more about Hawaii and its culture.
You do not really need jeans or long sleeve shirts. It gets Windy too no loose sun hats or dresses. Good pair of sneakers/hiking shoes because the lava rocks made my feet/ankles sore by end of the night. Then again I was always up front keeping up almost passing up Matt. Bring camera with good zoom for volcano close ups.
Once again, best time ever!
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