The earth split open. The ground shook. Fiery jets of lava spewed from the side of Mount Kilauea and slithered down its black slopes. From the foothills, the combustion of fire and smoke blocked out the sun.
With five active volcanoes spread across Hawaii, hiking along the bubbling lava vents or watching it spill into the ocean can be a thrilling sight to behold. Local guided tours can get you up close to the lava flow from either sea, air, or land, with each providing a distinct viewing experience.
Lava Boat Tours
See the cascading lava waterfall spill into the ocean from the deck of a catamaran. Boat tours can sail close to the side of Kilauea Volcano from the Hilo coast of the Big Island.
Onboard, you can feel the heat of the volcano tingling in the air. Listen to the sound of lava sizzling and evaporating on the ocean surface, watch as clouds of smoke rise above the volcanic slopes and smell the charred soil rubbing against your nostrils
The roundtrip cruise can be done throughout the day, but sunrise and sunset viewings let you see the glow of lava in the dimmed light.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Popular tour operators:
- Lava Ocean Tours
- Hawaiian Lava Boat Tours
- Moku Nui Lava Tours
- C Big Island Tours
- Wasabi Tours Hawaii
Helicopter Lava Tours
Get a panoramic view of the dynamic lava flow from the air. Fly doors-off in a helicopter tour high above the Hilo and Kona coast of the Big Island.
The flights can circle around the burning path of lava devouring the forests below, buzz around the thick plumes of volcanic smoke, and hover above the smouldering lava lakes and craters.
Tours can also sweep by the northeastern jungles of the Big Island, gliding past waterfalls along the Hamakua coast.
Duration: 40 – 50 minutes.
Popular tour operators:
- Paradise Helicopters
- Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours
- Safari Helicopters
- Sunshine Helicopters
- Hawaii Volcanoes Helicopter Tours
Walk across the rippling terrain of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, conquer the backyards of Mount Kilauea with a pair of good hiking boots, and see the steam vents closer than helicopters and boats could ever take you.
Spend an afternoon walking alongside glowing rivers of lava and feel the heat crawling against your skin. Hiking tours allow you to trek across the ever-changing volcanic landscape from dawn to dusk.
From walking up steep hills to wild, unkempt jungles, experience the enchanted glow of lava in the dead of night or by the first light of day.
Duration: 6 – 8 hours.
Popular tour operators
- Aloha Lava Tours
- Lavaland Hawaii Lava Tours
- EpicLava Tours
- Kalapana Cultural Tours
- Hawaii Forest & Trail
- Volcano Discovery