Active Volcano Lava Tour

Overview & Activity Comparison


Kilauea Volcano is what the Big Island is most famous for. The most active volcano in Hawaii and likely the world, it is also the most accessible. It is a fascinating display of the forces that have shaped our world. In fact, the volcano continues to create new land, sometimes dramatically threatening or destroying communities in the process.

In famous Volcanoes National Park, natural wonders abound, including lava tubes, vast craters, steaming vents, lush rainforest with exotic flora, and more. The climax for many is seeing lava with their own eyes, either outside the Park getting within feet of lava flowing from Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone or in the Park viewing the bubbling lava within Halema’uma’u Crater.

Guidebook Reviews

Hawaii Big Island Revealed Guidebook:

If you had to name the one thing the Big Island is most famous for, it would undoubtedly be Kilauea Volcano. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is the most fascinating place you may ever visit.

It is a humbling experience to stand there and observe Earthly creation. There are not many places on this planet where you can walk on ground younger than you are. We've been there when people from all over the world stand in awe, tears streaming down their cheeks as they tell their children, "You may never see anything like this again in your lifetime.

Lonely Planet Guidebook:

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: Hawaii’s Top 20

Fodor's Guidebook:

If you do nothing else on the Big Island, do the volcano

Moon Guidebook:

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park truly does offer something for everyone. Even non-nature lovers are impressed by the environmental oddities offered there, such as the vastly different landscapes situated next to each other. Within moments one can pass through a tropical rainforest to what appears like a moon landscape. Even if this doesn’t impress, it will be hard to tear yourself away from the lava flow or glow. It’s surreal.

Activity Comparison

The below table outlines the key differences between tours. In general, you'll want to decide whether a 8-10 mile hike (Activity 1) to get closest to lava is for you or you prefer something less strenuous, whether you'd like to see the National Park highlights (Activities 2-5) with the benefit of a guided tour and whether in a fun unique way with easy biking (Activity 2), whether you'd like to visit the Kalapana area in the Puna region (about 1 hour drive from National Park) where the most recent flows have been (Activities 1-3), whether a black sand beach is a priority for you (activities 2, 3, 5), and whether you'd like to have the fullest volcano experience with no overlap (both lava viewing sites, plus a full National Park Tour, by doing Activity 1 and Activities 2, 3, or 4 on separate days).

All are small group tours (12 people or less). Please visit the individual pages for all the details, to check availability, and to book. Private tours for groups can be arranged by contacting us.

JULY 2018 LAVA UPDATE: Since May 2018, the volcano region has experienced heightened volatility and changes. Currently all tours are currently suspended until the situation stabilizes and the National Park reopens when it is deemed safe. This could change tomorrow or a month or longer from now. If you proceed with booking, you will be notified if any significant changes to the tour are expected due to the evolving eruption situation (including the option for a full refund) or if the tour is cancelled (and receive a full refund).

Activity 1
Lava Hike
Activity 2
Bike Park, Lava, & Beach
Activity 3
Park, Lava, & Beach
Activity 4
Park & Lava
Activity 5
Park & Beach (Day Only)
Lava Experience
In the evening for Activities 1-4
Hike to get up-close to lava flowing on land Glow of lava bubbling in crater from overlook in Park Glow of lava bubbling in crater from overlook in Park Glow of lava bubbling in crater from overlook in Park Steaming active crater from overlook in Park (possible view of lava)
Volcanoes National Park Highlights No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Walk through Underground Lava Tube No Yes, Thurston in Park Yes, Thurston in Park Yes, Thurston in Park plus private one outside Park* Yes, Thurston in Park
Black Sand Beach No Yes, Kaimu Yes, Kaimu No Yes, Punalu'u
Kalapana/Puna Area Yes Yes Yes No No
Other Non-Park Highlights N/A N/A N/A Rainbow Falls (Hilo)* Coffee Farm (Pahala)
Physical Exertion 8-10 mile round-trip hike, half on uneven lava rock 8 miles easy biking (optional) on paved surfaces, flat or downhill 1-2 miles of walking (optional), some on uneven terrain 1-2 miles of walking (optional), some on uneven terrain 1-2 miles of walking (optional), mostly on paved surfaces
Minimum Age
See FAQs for details/exceptions
13 12 ** 5 ** 8 *** None
Time of Day Afternoon & Evening Morning, Afternoon, & Evening Morning, Afternoon, & Evening Afternoon & Evening Morning & Afternoon
Not including Hilo/Waikoloa/Kona pick-ups
6 hours 8 hours **** 8 hours 8 hours 5 hours
Kona & Waikoloa Pick-ups
~4 hours round-trip
Yes Yes Yes Yes No (meet in Hilo or Volcano)
Fits Day Cruise Ships (Hilo)
Example: NCL Pride of America
Not likely Not likely Not likely Not likely Yes
Can Fly in/out of Hilo Same-Day Not likely Yes (Park only)**** Not likely Not likely Yes
Optional Kona/Waikoloa transport extra
$179/person $209/person**** $179/age 13+
$159/age 12 & under
$192/age 13+
$168/age 12 & under
$173/age 13+
$149/age 12 & under
Activity Provider Hawaii Forest & Trail Nui Pohaku Nui Pohaku Hawaii Forest & Trail Hawaii Forest & Trail
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