Customized Tours to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park ~ Hawai‘i Island
By Kelly Lafrance, CMP, DMCP, Program Design & Development
Lava is the common denominator on each of the Hawaiian Islands and during a volcanic eruption, we are reminded that our planet is an ever-changing environment. Here on the Island of Hawai‘i, five volcanoes erupting over the past 1.5 million years have played a major role in the formation of black sand beaches, underground caverns, lava-scarred deserts, and massive steaming calderas.
Located in the southeastern part of the island of Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encompasses a vast area – from the 13,677 foot snowy summit of Mauna Loa all the way down to the Pacific Ocean – and includes both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes. The park is open 24 hours a day year-round, including all holidays, so Island Partners Hawai‘i can create a custom visit for your group that will be unique and special, just like your participants.
Within the boundaries of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park you can choose things like:
- Experience the 25 minute film “Born of Fire…Born of the Sea” at the Kīlauea Visitor Center, open from 9:00am – 5:00pm
- Enjoy the interactive and educational displays at the Jagger Museum with a Park Ranger guide before stopping off at the gift shop and book store, open from 10:00am to 8:00pm
- Take a guided walk through the Fern Tree Forest to the underground Thurston Lava Tube, left by a river of rushing lava
- Feel the heat of the Steam Vents made by ground water seeping down to hot volcanic rocks, then returning to the surface a steam
- Hike the 4 mile loop around Kīlauea Iki with a Naturalist to identify local plants and birds
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at The Rim Restaurant, perched on the rim of the Kīlauea caldera. Through the huge glass windows overlooking the caldera and main crater, Halema‘uma‘u, you can see steam from the active lava lake during the day and the bright orange glow after dark while you dine (weather permitting).
How do we make it even MORE special? Island Partners Hawai‘i can add private one-of-a-kind after dark Hawaiian Cultural Presentation. During the transfers from the group hotel to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a Hawaiian storyteller will share the Mo‘olelo (Hawaiian History) of island and area. According to Hawaiian legend, Halema‘uma‘u, the summit crater of Kīlauea volcano is the steamy, sulfur-accented home of the legendary Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Volcanic Fire. The storyteller will explain the journey of Pele & her sister Hi‘iaka and what brought Pele to Kīlauea. Upon arrival at Volcano, guests will be welcomed and witness an actual Hawaiian Oli (chant) to ask for permission to enter the area as well as see an offering of Ho‘okupu (flowers, Gin and Hilo Maile Lei) at the crater, both very important in Hawaiian Culture. The meaning and significance of the Oli and the Ho‘okupu will be shared with the participants so they can better understand and appreciate the Hawaiian’s respect of the volcano.
Regardless of which stops or inclusions you choose for your group’s trip to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience and a highlight of the trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Let Island Partners Hawai‘i help you create the perfect Volcano Tour group activity.
**Photo Credit: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Knowledge Bank On-Line Library.