APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIMES
Drive from Kona: 2 Hrs
Drive from Waimea: 1.5 Hrs
Drive from Volcano: 1 Hr
Drive from Pahoa: 1 Hr
Leaving yourself extra travel time for unforseen circumstances is always best. We operate an on-time schedule so please meet for check-in on time. Mahalo!
Frequently Asked Lava Ocean Tour Questions
Q: Where does my party need to drive to meet my tour coordinator for check-in?
A: Please click on our Location/Map Page, for a Map and Driving Directions.
Q: Who can go on a Lava Ocean Tour? Are there restrictions or precautions for passengers to consider?
A: We accept travelers ages 6 years old and up, no exceptions. You will experience our vessel navigating over a variety of calm to rough seas. This is an adventurous type tour with potential for rough open ocean conditions that may not be for everyone! We will be navigating over surf, swell and chop at different extremes. Each passenger must be hands free and able to support his/her self. Guests should also have enough supporting muscle strength and tone...agile enough to "ride" with the vessel over a variety of ocean conditions while seated. We do not allow passengers that are pregnant, or have experienced any type of recent or chronic neck, back or hip injuries, osteoporosis, heart conditons or other serious health concerns. Our boarding process is off our dock in Hilo, where simple step on-off boarding in a protected harbor is convenient. Please notify our reservation specialist of any particular inability or questions in handling this tour. We currently operate with a max individual passenger weight of 250 lbs, minimum age 6 and upper age limit 75. We are compassionate about any disabilities, weight or special accomodations and trust you will inform us correctly when creating your reservation. We reserve the right to determine any particular passengers in-ability to handle this tour at check-in, with your safety as the deciding factor.
Q: How long will my Lava Ocean Tour take?
A: All Lava Boat tours are averaging 3 1/4 hours long. Be sure to allow for travel time to our SUISAN FISH MARKET assigned meet location, and meeting time instructions. Please review the directions on our Location/Map Page and allow yourself extra travel time. It is very important that you arrive ON TIME, as there are no refunds for late arrivals. You may review our Lava Tour Page for our different Lava Ocean Boat Tour departures. You can also click on these links, "Sunrise Tour"or "Morning/Day/Twilight Tour" or "Sunset Tour".
Q: What should I wear? What do I need to bring with me on my Kalapana Lava Boat Tour?
A: The top of our vessel is covered, however "RAINGEAR" or a "PONCHO" is recommended. At minimum, wear/bring along something that will deflect water, as weather conditions will vary and there may be rain or ocean spray entering the sides of the vessel. If you will be viewing Lava aboard the Sunrise Tour or evening Sunset Tour, it can be cool. Also you should bring a water-resistant bag of some kind to protect any electronic belongings that can be stowed and protected while enroute TO and FROM the lava flow. There are restrooms and beach showers available at the Reeds Bay Beach Park just around the corner on Banyan Drive should you have to change before or after your Lava Ocean Tour. Be sure to bring an extra set of clothes and towel for EACH PASSENGER. (kept in your car)
Q: Will I get seasick? Is there anything you recommend for sea sickness?
A: We recommend chewing on a small raw piece of ginger, or ginger candy to curb motion sickness. Also, Bonnie or Dramamine, which are over-the counter sea-sickness aids may help. It's also better to have something light in your stomach, as well as hydrating with your morning drink about 1 hour before your tour. Our captain will debrief on what to do incase you feel sick during tour, and you should bring a bottle of water with you.
Q: Will we see other sights along the way, to and from the Lava entry point?
A: Yes, we will be sightseeing along approximately 20+ miles of coastline beginning with Hilo Bay and Harbor. Once we make way around the breakwall that protects Hilo Bay, we start a journey that is for the explorer and not faint of heart! Passing beautiful scenic coastline locations along Keaukaha, Leleiwi, Kings Landing, Shipman, Kaloli Point, on down to Hawaiian Beaches and Cape Kumukahi. The cape is where colliding currents meet, making for a rough trip at times. Once we pass the cape, we approach Kapoho, where the current eruption has consumed over 300 homes. Lava now has made it's beautiful, yet destructive way into the Pacific Ocean once again here in Kapoho.
Q: Is there really a volcano in Hawaii with lava flowing into the ocean?
A: One word answer: YES.
Q: How close will we be to the lava flowing into the ocean?
A: We keep within guidelines for a safe distance from the lava flow and plume. Viewing is now regulated by the Coast Guard at a safe distance of 300m from the ocean entry.
Q: Is the boat and company we are touring with comfortable and safe?
A: YES. Safety of our passengers and crew is our #1 concern. Our 45 foot double-hull catamaran lava tour vessel is licensed to operate this type tour, and rated by the US Coast Guard to seat 49 persons on board. It's length and "double-hull" makes for a much more controlled ride, eliminating much of the uncomfortable movements you'd experience on a typical "V" hull vessel. For your viewing, ALL SEATS ON OUR VESSEL ARE UN-OBSTRUCTED! No one is allowed to stand, get up or move around for a better view....so there is absolutely no josseling around by passengers trying for a better view! Essentially, all seats give you a front row view of the lava, as your captain will take turns passing on both starboard and portside of our vessel. When the lava is on your side, you're looking out over the lava flow from ROW 1! And when it is not, you still get a CLEAR and UNOBSTRUCTED view out of the front and side, because everyone remains seated. As soon as you board, you'll appreciate our vessel which is powered by four (4) quad 250 hp Honda four-stroke outboard engines. All vessels are clean, well maintained and equipped with forward-facing rollercoaster style seating & surround sound stereo for a safe and comfortable viewing experience. Remote controlled spotlights, life preservers, life rafts and safety equipment all on board. A full and complete safety briefing is done before you embark on your journey.
Q: How many persons are allowed in our party to view the lava? What's the "X" factor?
A: We are able to provide your group with seating for up to 6, 24 and 40 passenger+ increments. State tour operator guidelines are followed precisely, assuring your safety as a passenger on our licensed USCG tour operating vessels in the State of Hawaii. We are able to accomodate large families comfortably, wedding party's and many other occasions! The best part of our tour is we treat you as if you were our own family. Why should we go out of our way to bring you out to our special tour, and treat you like krud! We're here to extend help to you with any individual needs whenever possible and do business with the "X" factor. This means trying our best to treat you with professionalism, respect and ALOHA!
Q: What methods of payment do you accept for my tour?
A: Just so all information regarding our tour is clear and we can pass on all the details you need to know, our tour reservations are created over the phone with our specialist. Your Volcano Lava Boat Tour seats are confirmed off our live inventory where upon completing a formal reservation, we can guarantee your seats barring any unforseen safety cancellations. We accept Visa or Mastercard and also encourage you to ask about our CASH, KAMA'AINA & MILITARY PAYMENT DISCOUNTS at check-in on the day of your tour. We apologize but we are currently not accepting American Express. At the time of your reservation, we will go over all details regarding your tour, our cancellation policy and can answer any questions you may have.
Q: What is your CANCELLATION POLICY? Does a trip ever cancel due to weather or unsafe ocean conditions?
A: Yes, safety is always first and it is possible that your Lava Ocean Tour can cancel due to weather and ocean conditions. Our Captain will determine the safety of all tour departures in concordance with the United States Coast Guard and any small craft advisory's from the Hawaii County Civil Defense, for ANY unfavorable ocean conditions. **A call to cancel any tour ON OUR PART due to unsafe ocean conditions or lava re-direction will result in rescheduling your tour or a 100% refund. **Any personal cancellations by our guests outside 48 hours till departure will result in a 90% refund. Any personal cancellations inside 48 hours to check-in, or missed tours due to late arrivals are non-refundable.
Q: So does the lava ever stop flowing? What if we get there and there is no lava?
A: Of course, this is also an act of nature, and the Lava Flow may stop flowing from it's entry point into the ocean. (see daily updates on our home page) Should we unknowingly encounter a stoppage and your tour does not see lava, your captain will brief you with details for a partial refund. The Pu'u O'o eruption has been active since January of 1983 and has not stopped since! Flows however, constantly re-direct inland and will occasionally stop flowing into the ocean. Inflation and deflation at the summit causes lava levels to rise and fall affecting lava tube or surface flow activity onto the coastal plain and ocean entry. This amazing act of nature allows us the opportunity to show you how our islands were born and continue to grow. We continue to share the beauty, education and amazing sequences of time....as we have our guests for years.
Q: How can we experience both upper and lower geography and landscapes of Kilauea Volcano and recently affected areas?
A: At the upper level located off HI-11 Volcano, visit Halema'uma'u Crater located inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visibly active, Jagger Museum inside the park gives you an excellent view directly over the crater rim allowing you to have an excellent experience from the top of Kilauea Volcano. There are many other amazing experiences to see and learn about for the entire family at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Visitors Center, Thurston Lava Tube, Steam Vents and Hiking Trails are all located within the main park area. Shoes and jacket recommended. *****UPDATE: HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK WAS CLOSED DUE TO THE MOST RECENT ERUPTION ACTIVITY. IT HAS NOW SINCE RE-OPENED, AND THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO RESTORE AREAS OF THE PARK WITH SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE DUE TO ERUPTION ACTIVITY. WITH ANNUAL VISITOR NUMBERS SECOND ONLY TO PEARL HARBOR IN HONOLULU, VISIT HVNP ON THE BIG ISLAND! IT IS TRULY ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE AND BEST NATIONAL PARKS IN THE COUNTRY!
Our coastline lava ocean journey will show you 20+ miles of hidden beauty...and allow you to experience the volcanoes activity from the warm Pacific Ocean looking onto the shoreline. There is no better way to be up close and personal with the birth, growth and evolution of life and inhabitance of an island. Sadly, you will also see what was lost...and learn about the new extensions of land that have been created over recent times.
Call us locally today. Early seat registration is recommended to hold your available date. ALOHA!
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