My last day in Hawaii was spent doing a packaged all-day Volcano Tour. Many suggested, base on research, that the Volcano Tour was one of the Big Island’s top attraction for tourists. The tour, in a nutshell, was about getting a general idea on The Big Island that eventually leads you to a live volcanic site at night. I was at the visitor center at the time flipping through several activity brochures and I learned about the tour in one of the brochures I was looking at. The more I read about it the more my curiosity grew and next thing I knew, boom, a ticket was in my hands and I was on my way to do the tour. At 11:15am, a tour van picked me up at my hotel as planned. All 12 excited passengers, including myself, were ready to start our journey. Everyone I spoke to seemed to have an interesting story to tell and I knew right away that it would be quite a fun first-time tour as a solo traveler for me.
We started at the Mauka Meadows Kona Coffee. We were given a brief history of coffee in Hawaii by our guide and then, we proceeded to have our lunch in the meadows. This place was beautiful.
We were completely alone with the exception of the occasional tiny creatures that would appear and then disappear as soon as it saw us.We had our lunch here.
The coffee tastings were located a few streets down from where we had lunch. It overlooked an infinity pool that made the view stretched towards the sea. It was a sight for sore eyes as you can see. We couldn’t help but, take turns taking photos of each other and prepared ourselves for the long drive that would come after.
After the coffee tastings, we finally headed south as we planned. The journey took about 3-4 hours drive which, I thought was quite long. Although, along the way our guide hinted and pointed at a few shops, stores and restaurants that he thought were worth checking out in our spare time. I was definitely taking notes for next time I decided to return to The Big Island.
If you’re not familiar with The Big Island, there’s a difference between Kona and Hilo. Kona side is usually sunnier and more touristy while Hilo is the opposite. I never thought the difference would be that drastic until we drove further south towards Hilo. The weather was a complete night and day starting from sunny to rainy in nanoseconds.
Eventually, we arrived at the Black Sand Beach. It was a bit windy that day. I walked around, I took a couple of photos, touched the sand and looked at giant turtles. The actual beach itself is not that big than I expected but, the coolest part was seeing the endangered turtles. I saw two of them, one laying down sleeping and the other swimming in the water. They were quite fascinating to watch as I’ve never seen turtles that big in comparison to my roommate’s pet turtle back home.After the Black Sand Beach, we drove another hour or two towards our last but, not the least, see the active volcano.
Here we are on the other side of the crater where the active volcano sits. If you see from the distance in the photo above, you can see smoke. It kind of blends in with the clouds but, it’s there. We stopped to look at the size of this vicinity, learned about the history and asked questions. At this point, the weather had dropped to 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was quite cold with the wind chill and the slight rain, my ass was freezing! Luckily, as part of the package tour deal, windproof jackets were provided and that helped me quite a bit.
We entered the park and went through the volcano tunnel as you can see here.
No, there are no snakes here as I was told by our guide. Yes, there used to be bats in this cave but, no longer around due to the tourist traffic they get on a daily basis.
The active volcano is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen and the photo does not capture how it truly is in real life. The photo below is a zoomed version of a much larger crater that I can’t even quite explain on here. It is absolutely beautiful to see the lava flow and the overall experience of seeing it at night. It’s captivating and extraordinary all in one go leaving me with more appreciation for mother nature in general. I highly suggest to go and see it for yourselves.
With this, I will end my Hawaiian trip stories here. Mahalo!
Price: $200+ ($50 discount booked via hotel + not including tip)
Duration: 11 hours