Board your tour vehicle upon hotel pickup in Waikoloa or Kona (Hilo departures meet at a central location), and enjoy a fully narrated small-group adventure to the Kilauea Volcano and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Departing from Kona, start with a picnic-style lunch at a local coffee farm, home to the world-famous Kona Coffee. After lunch, hike through a Natural Area Reserve forest, home to rare native plants and birds. On the way to the national park, visit the famous Punalu`u black-sand beach and keep an eye out for giant sea turtles.
If you depart from Waikoloa or Hilo, you'll drive through Kalapana, a village completely destroyed by the advancing lava. Your first stop is a walk across recent lava flows to a black-sand beach that was once the best swimming beach on Hawaii. Next, head to the lava-viewing area in Kalapana, where your vehicle drives over the lava flows that overran the highway. On your way to the next stop, the Painted Church, look for any current volcanic activity.
Once at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, your guide leads your small group past active volcanic craters and steam vents, with the opportunity to explore the Thurston Lava Tube, formed by a river of lava and discovered in 1913. Enjoy a 20-minute walk through a tree fern forest and along an illuminated path through the cave.
Finish at the historic Jaggar Museum, where an outdoor overlook offers a panoramic view of the Kilauea Caldera. See interpretive displays about one of the world's most active volcanoes and perhaps view the ongoing gas eruption of the Halema'uma'u crater.
After experiencing the volcanoes, enjoy a delicious dinner at The Rim, the Volcano House restaurant that overlooks the rim of the Kilauea caldera. Watch for current volcanic activity and enjoy island cuisine sourced from local ranchers and farmers as the sun sets before returning to your hotel in Waikoloa or Kona, or the starting point in Hilo.
Please note: As volcanic activity changes constantly, molten lava cannot be guaranteed and may not be seen. Tour runs rain or shine.