Hawaii Volcano Tours

September 9, 2013 by


Hawaii volcano tours are a popular draw to tourists. If you’re thinking of taking a tour, it helps to understand the types of volcanoes for a better understanding of what you want to see, before your visit. In all, Hawaii’s big island is made up of five volcanoes, and tours are an ideal way to experience the volcanic history of the islands.

The Five Volcanoes of the Island of Hawaii

Understanding the five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii can help direct your choice of a Hawaii volcano tour. The five include: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea.

Each of them fall into different classifications when it comes to activity…or inactivity as is the case for, Kohala, the oldest of the five volcanoes. It last erupted 60,000 years ago which makes it an extinct volcano. Its sleepy sister is the Mauna Kea volcano, which last erupted 3,600 years ago and is classified as dormant.

Four of the volcanoes are active. The first three are Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. Hualalai has erupted 7 times in the last 2,100 years. Mauna Loa’s last eruption was in 1984, and Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. That’s right it is still flowing.

And the fourth volcano, Loihi, is different because it us underwater 15 miles southeast of the island. It’s classified as a submarine volcano, and probably won’t reach sea level for hundreds of thousands of years.


Hawaii Volcano Tours

Kohala Tours: Because Kohala is extinct, it offers a variety of exciting tours to choose from including waterfall tours, kayaking tours, zip line canopy tours, helicopter tours, and more.

Mauna Kea Tours: Since Mauna Kea is dormant, a variety of commercial tour companies offer opportunities to see the volcano. Try a hike to the summit, but if you do it on your own from the bottom it takes 8-10 hours round trip. Commercial tour companies will pick you up at your hotel and will provide transportation to Mauna Kea along with a guided tour. Star gazing tours are also available.

Hualalai Tours: The rich, fertile slopes of Hualalai are home to the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt. The Kona Coffee & Craters volcano tour takes 6-7 hours round trip and includes a deli-style lunch with beverages like soft drinks and bottled water included. Plus participants get to enjoy a 100% Kona coffee tasting served at the coffee farm.

Mauna Loa Tours: Schedule a tour to the Mauna Loa Observatory mountain facility (available on selected weekdays). Tours should be scheduled a few weeks in advance. Call (808-933-6965 x222) to arrange.

Hawaii is a big island and with so many volcano tour options available, it’s best to decide exactly what you’d like to see and do before making your arrangements. You could always choose to take more that one tour, but it can get costly.

Photo credits: Eric Tessmer, Yinghai

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