From dramatic black lava flows to lush native rainforests and magnificent waterfalls, you’ll experience the best Hilo has to offer. Take in the beauty of Hawaiian nature as you pass wild orchids, ferns and Kahili ginger plants. Once in Volcanoes National Park, visit a lava tube, discover remarkable volcanic formations and hike down into a volcanic crater. The four mile round-trip hike crosses pahoehoe lava and A’a lava, meanders through forests of lava tree and passes gaping, steaming fissures where lava once fountained over a thousand feet skyward. This part of the tour is for experienced hikers as a good pace must be maintained. It does cross some rugged sections requiring visual and balance acuity. Switchbacks, stairs and uneven surfaces will be encountered, as well as highly variable weather patterns. Your next stop is Jagger Museum, overlooking the current heavy venting of Kilauea Crater. After the park, you’ll head north passing charming, historic Hilo and drive along the scenic Hamakua Coast to one of Hawaii's most impressive waterfalls. You’ll stop at Akaka Falls State Park, where the 442 foot Akaka Falls drops over lushly green coated cliffs into a deep pool below. The jungle creates a magical backdrop on a journey full of beauty and adventure. From the beauty of the rainforests flora and fauna to the beast of the devastation at Volcanoes National Park, this is a part of Hawaii you’ll always remember. Note: Participants must be at least 10 years of age, experienced hikers and in good health. Infants are not permitted, even if carried by adults. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Due to natural sulfur gases, this tour is not recommended for those with respiratory or heart problems. Light lunch, water and ponchos are included. An alternative waterfall may be visited due to weather conditions.
(18 Reviews) 18
Rating Snapshot(18 reviews)
18 of 18(100%)customers would recommend this to a friend.
My husband and I did this excursion and it was probably one of our favorites of the trip. It can be a little cool at the beginning of the trip so may not be a bad idea to pack a windbreaker or long sleeve shirt to wear. It warms up once you start hiking down into the crater. Lunch was provided and was a turkey wrap, chips and cookies. If you have any dietary restrictions (gluten free, vegetarian, etc) make sure to let the excursion desk know prior to your excursion so they can make accommodations. We made an additional stop on the way to the falls at the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. The Kona coffee ice cream was delicious as are the chocolate covered toffee macadamia nuts.
The crater has to be the most remarkable landscape that I’ve ever walked on. It’s completely desolate. Then you look off in the distance and there is all this greenery. I wish I could have spent the day there. Simply put, it was on the short list for one of my most interesting and enjoyable hikes. You also get time to spend in the visitor’s center, where you can learn more about the park and the crater. Of course, our guide was very well-informed and we had learned much of this in the van on the trip up, or during the hike. Akaka Falls has nothing to do with the Crater. In fact, we drove past the ship on the way to the Falls from the Crater. But the Falls likely is on a lot of bucket-lists for those visiting Hilo, so the tour company quite rightly figures that you’re already in the van, so why not go a bit out of your way and see the Falls.
The day started off with a ride from the port up to the national park with the volcano. There is a bathroom break before heading up to the hike start. The guide gave us a hiking stick and a poncho (if we wanted them), as well as a bottle of water and a granola bar. The hike was great and the guide stopped at various sections to take pictures. Be sure to dress appropriately and wear sneakers or other study shoes. The hike ended with a quick stop through the lava tube and then a quick stop for lunch at a picnic table. We then made a quick stop at the museum on the way to the Falls. The Falls are beautiful. Be sure to bring your bug spray and use it before entering the Falls area. Overall, it was a very good day out with a great guide.
This was such a fun day and excursion. You have a tour guide that takes you down into the Crater Kilauea Iki trail. Once down there, you basically walk a mile and a half across the "frozen lava" and up the other side. The rocks are a bit difficult if you're not great with balance, but they have walking sticks available for you (just let them know before you start the hike down). I saw some kids doing it so it's not insanely streneous. You do get quite the workout though. You get to see steam vents that are so hot when you put your hand near. Then you get taken to the Volcanoes National Park where you can see the Volcano museum and see Kilauea steaming from afar (the most active volcano on earth). Pretty cool. We had a chance to walk through a lava tube. That was a bit boring. If we did the Volcanoes National Park excursion only, I really would have hated Hilo and been so bored. So happy we went with this one. I was nervous about the hike because of the footing (I'm not awesome with balance) but it was not bad at all. (we're in our early 30s and active). We went to the falls afterwards and that was a nice short hike around. Kind of boring after the crater hike but a nice plus to this excursion. We had time since we did the hike quickly to make an additional not scheduled tour stop. We went to the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut factory and got to sample some nuts and they have an outside seating area where you can get Kona coffee and ice cream with macadamia nuts in it. Totally recommend getting the ice cream. It was so so delicious.
Our tour guide was so nice. I think her name was Katia and she was super fun, young. Very smart. She's studying for marine biology and spoke a lot about history and nature of the island. Very cool. She was always willing to take pictures for you and helped you on difficult rocks on the path. Nice to chat with. Lots of energy. She def made the hike more fun. Thank you to her!
They give you these wraps and chips/cookies and water for lunch. You eat at picnic tables by the beginning of the hike to the crater. Food wasn't great but it was perfect enough to give you energy for the rest of the excursion.
All in all, really fun day. I loved it. Totally worth the money.
Our tour guide Dino was fantastic! Despite the rain, we had a very memorable day touring the crater, falls and a. Couple of other sites. We even made an un scheduled stop at the macadamia nut factory. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and accommodating. He even stopped at a roadside market to buy apple bananas and other local fruit for us to sample.
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Review 7 for Crater Hike & Akaka Falls
Location: Michigan, USA
Party size: 2
I traveled with: Family
Cruise Date Month: December
Cruise Date Year: 2013
Favorite activities: Family oriented
Favorite port: Nawiliwili, Kauai
I want to go here next: Alaska
Date:December 19, 2013
This excursion is really worth doing. The hike down to the crater floor was very scenic and our guide was very knowledgeable. The box lunch at the museum was good and the time spent as each location on the tour was just about right. This is a small group tour so there are only about 12 people in a big van. Everyone was entertained by our guide Lauren. You won't be disappointed in this tour.
This is a great way to experience a lava tube, a past (hardened) volcanic lava flow first hand, and a beautiful waterfall in one of our nation's state parks. The tour bus held 25 guests and our guide shared a lot about Hawaii along the 40 min trip to the Volcano State Park. The hike begins with a walk through a lava tube (cave) and a lush forest, then you hike downhill into a crater through a lush forest, walk over lava rocks, stand over the top of active steam vents, experience breathtaking views of how the lave flows changed the terrain, learn a lot of history from your guides, climb back out of the crater (a physical climb, but on paths the whole way. Then, travel to Akaka Falls (stopping at the Moana Loa macadamia nut factory...opportunity to purchase gifts...just okay). The Akaka Falls area was stunning! Lush, green, moist, and easy to walk (concrete path). Great picture opportunity. This is a good occurs ion, but you could rent a car and do it for less $$ on your own, without the historic narration.
Great 4 mile hike through the rain forest and into a crater. Very informational guides. Small tour 14 seat bus. Other stops include lava tube (small easy walk) the visitor center to see the top of caldron. Macadamia nut farm. Yum try the ice cream.
It is a bit of a hike so not for everyone but so worth it.
Waterfall is an easy short walk to view
Long day about 8 - 9 hours. This was our favorite excursion
This was our favorite excursion of the whole cruise. The crater was other worldly. Our guide was knowledgeable, interesting, and very obviously proud of Hawaii. The day required energy but was not too taxing. Do this one!
Flat out, one of the best days of my life, and definately the best shore excursion I have ever taken! My husband says the same. We had our guide Deano who made the trip perfect. His love of the island and the culture was infectious. You start out at Thurston Lava Tube, then do the Kiluea Iki Crater Trail.
WOW! WOW! You start by looking down into the crater, then you realize that will be you shortly. It is amazing landscape on the way into the crater, and the crater itself is unreal. I can't find the words to describe just how much it looks like you are on the moon or in a science-fiction movie. Then we did a quick side trip to the Mauna Loa Factory, and ended the day at the Falls. Akaka Falls are the stuff of postcards! WOWOW!
Please know that the warnings about how physically strenous this tour is are NO JOKE. You are going to hike over horribly uneven terrain in the crater... and then the hike up out of the crater is at a steep grade and comprised of 8 different switchbacks. My husband and I completed a 1/2 marathon the week before we went, and we found ourselves challenged. Deano was fantastic during all parts of the crater hike, and very attuned to those members of our group that were just at the start of struggling. He helped/encouraged them before they got into trouble.
We will do this excursion again, and we will ask for Dean-o. Flat out, this excursion made our vacation, and it is something we will cherish for our entire lives.
We did lots of extras on this hike. After the 5 mi hike across the crater and thru the Thurston Lava tube we visited the Volcano museum and an orchid farm. We were served lunch at the museum and then briefly stopped at the local military base. This hike is not intended for people that are not capable of walking on uneven terrain and keeping up with the group. We had to waste time and wait on people that were not in average physical condition. Great day long adventure and well worth it!
Our guide Jupiter was awsome. Very knowlegeable aboout the island, flowers and all. Was a great hiking experience for 2 sixty year olds, about 4.5 miles of nature and volcanic rock and the falls and lava tube were great too. DO IT!
I'm glad I went on this adventure and if you enjoy a good hike and learning a lot about volcanos, you'll get both in one trip. The guide, David, was excellent! It was a terrific experience.
My only caution is that the current description really doesn't provide an accurate picture that this is a challenging, strenuous experience. You just don't hike out to see a crater. You hike down into it with a descent, and then an ascent, of 400 feet. I wouldn't have missed it, but I wish I'd had a clearer picture beforehand.
I have no regrets choosing this tour. I think it is the best option while in Hilo. We started with the drive to the top of the crater. We enjoyed an easy walk down into the crater with a few stops along the way for pictures and information on local plants. When you first enter the crater, the terrain is a little rough and you have to be careful with your feet. After a few minutes it flattens out. It's fascinating to walk through this crater that was a pool of lava only a few decades ago. Hiking back out of the crater is the most difficult part of the tour, but it only takes about 15 minutes if you're in shape. At the top is a short walk to the Thurston lava tube, which is interesting to walk through. Our next stop was the Jaggar Museum. From here you can view smoke from an active volcano. The museum has a lot of information on volcanoes in Hawaii. Because we had extra time, we stopped at the Mauna Loa factory. They have windows where you can see how they prepare and package their macadamia nut products. This isn't on the itinerary, so I wouldn't count on going here. The final stop is Akaka falls, which is very impressive. I would like to point out that you will not see flowing lava on this tour. The only way to see flowing lava is on a helicopter tour. With that said, unless you absolutely must see flowing lava, I think this is the best tour while in Hilo.
This excursion was our favorite of the entire trip … a definite don’t miss, if you are up to the hiking portions. Our guide Maka took us to a number of great places within Volcanoes National Park, including the Thurston Lava tube, an amazing 4-mile hike down into the Kilauea Iki Crater, and views of the active Halemau’ma’u Crater from the Jagger Museum. It also included stops at the Mauna Loa Visitor’s Center, where we got to watch chocolate covered macadamia nuts in production and purchase some nuts to take home, and a short hike through Akaka State Park to see the 422’ Akaka Falls.
Throughly enjoyed this tour. Our guide Maka was fantastic - he was very knowledgable & very interesting to talk/listen to. The lava tube was interesting - and we were the only group there at the time as we got there early - before the crowds which was fantastic. The hike down into the crater was amazing. I personally would not say that it was an overly tough hike (& I am only of average fitness) but yes, you do need to have some walking ability, but more importantly need to be stable on your feet & comfortable walking down slightly uneven surfaces. It does get hot in the crater - take lots of water! We were fortunate to have an extra stop at a Macadamia nut farm (on the way to Akaka Falls) which was a nice surprise. Akaka Falls was impressive. A great value tour!
You're only in Hilo one day, and many people opted for the helicopter tour in Hilo. I say take the helicopter tour in Kauai and do this hike -- you will not regret it and it will be one of the most memorable things you do on this trip. It's like hiking on the moon, if I could imagine such! However, just like the other reviewer mentioned, you have to be honest with yourself and only sign up if you have the stamina and energy to complete a 4-mile hike, which includes going down into the crater and also climbing back up. The terrain is uneven, and we were offered walking sticks to use, which I highly recommend using. My husband and I are 48 and semi-active. Not extreme adventurists but even I was concerned about his ability to hike the crater since he had knee surgery several years ago. It is manageable, even by young sedentary folks, but it will still require effort unless you are extremely fit (or young!). If you are elderly and relatively active, you will probably be able to do it as well. However, there was an elderly couple in our group, and it was clear early on that this was too much for them. We had decended down into the crater on about a 2-mile trail, with steep uneven steps, when they started faltering. Someone in the group had to hold the wife's hand most of the way. From up top, the crater looks like a flat surface, like smooth black sand. That is very misleading, and there are crevices you have to step over, uneven rocks and terrain, and some climbing involved. But you will see amazing things like steam coming out of some of the cracks. I usually find climbing easier than descending, but in this case it was the other way around. Perhaps because you are now starting to get tired from the hike across the crater. The elderly woman in the group that was having trouble decided she was too exhausted to make it up, so the guides tried calling the ranger station to come assist. After about 45 minutes, the rangers still had not been able to leave their stations to get there, so members of the group decided to help this woman up the trail. In the meantime, the guides were concerned about all the other passengers who paid for the excursion, and they needed to move the tour along to get everyone back to the ship on time and see everything else as well. Again, this excursion is totally worth it but please evaluate your capabilities before signing up.
They serve you a light sandwich lunch with chips and then you visit the Moana Loa macadamia farm and factory, now owned by Hershey. A nice break after the hike where you can get ice cream, chili dogs, at the snack bar, and also see how the chocoloate & flavored nuts are manufactured and boxed.
You are then taken to Akaka Falls. Other folks on the ship told us they went to Rainbow Falls and were disappointed. Not Akaka Falls --- it is higher than Niagara Falls, but not as wide, but the water is flowing. Great photos, and a lovely trail around the property, like a jungle botanical garden. Takes about 30 minutes to take it all in and a great way to end the day.
I totally forget to mention that it rained a majority of the day. They give you rain ponchos that are sufficient. I forget to mention the rain because overall, it was insignificant. During the hike it felt like light mist (probably because we were sweating already!), and refreshing.