5 Best Hilo Volcano Tours in 2023 (Big Island of Hawaii)
Looking for the best Hilo volcano tours on your trip to the Big Island of Hawaii?
Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit experience in Hawaii and a top attraction in any Big Island travel itinerary.
The Volcanoes park is renowned for its extraordinary geological features, such as lava tubes, steam vents, and volcanic craters, and is home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
Many cruise ship visitors arrive at the Hilo port and taking a tour of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the best way to experience the most unique and popular excursion in Hawaii.
Taking a volcano tour from Hilo with an expert guide ensures that you do not miss out on any must-see sights! You will also learn a lot more about the volcanoes by taking a tour than you would if driving on your own.
In a hurry, and want to know the best Volcano tours from Hilo? Below are my top three picks for Hilo volcano tours!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
✔ Half-day, small group tour covering Volcanoes Park and Hilo highlights
✔ Best for cruise ship passengers and visitors from other Hawaiian islands
Best Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour from Hilo
✔ 1-hour flight with aerial views of Volcanoes Park and Kilauea crater
✔ Enjoy stunning views of rainforests, valleys, and waterfalls
Best Private Volcanoes Tour from Hilo
✔ Half-day private tour for just your group, customizable itinerary
✔ Choose to spend more time in Volcanoes park or add stops like Black sand beach and Hilo waterfalls
Looking for a volcano tour from Kona instead? Check out the best volcano tours from Kona and Waikoloa regions on Big Island of Hawaii. Taking a volcano tour is one of the top things to do in Kona!
5 Best Volcano tours from Hilo, Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closer to Hilo than Kona, and one of the top excursions from Hilo. Hilo is around 29 miles and a 45-minute drive from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Most volcano tours from Hilo are half-day tours and perfect for Hilo shore excursions for cruise ship passengers. You do not have to worry about rental cars and routes and worry about making it back to the Hilo Port in time.
These volcano tours explore all the main sights in Volcanoes park and other nearby must-see attractions like black sand beach, Hilo waterfalls, and rainforests. Some tours even include a stop at a Kona coffee farm.
If constrained on time, I highly recommend taking a helicopter tour of Voclanoes park from Hilo instead of a road tour.
Below are the best Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tours from Hilo:
1. Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour from Hilo
⭐ Ratings: 5 / 5 | ⏳ Duration: 1 hour | Book Now
One of the most exceptional ways to witness the magnificent aerial scenery of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the Big Island’s waterfalls and valleys, is by taking this helicopter tour from Hilo to the volcanoes.
This 1-hour helicopter tour from Hilo airport covers amazing aerial views of the active Kilauea crater and other features of the Volcanoes Park. If there is volcanic activity happening at the time of your visit, you might even get to see lava flow.
Fly over the lush rainforests and valleys of Hilo. See amazing waterfalls and learn about the Island’s history from your pilot.
Highlights of this Volcanoes helicopter tour Hilo:
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➡ Check rates and availability for the Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour from Hilo
2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
⭐ Ratings: 5 / 5 | ⏳ Duration: 5 and half hours | Book Now
This half-day tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo is perfect for anyone wanting to experience the Volcanoes Park’s top attractions and get in-depth knowledge about the geology and history of the volcanoes.
This half-day Volcanoes tour is perfect for cruise ship passengers coming to the Hilo port as well as visitors coming for a day trip to Hilo from other Hawaiian islands like Oahu and Maui. A half-day tour ensures that you will not miss your departure flight or cruise departure time.
In Volcanoes park, you will see the active Kilauea volcano from the Halema’uma’u Crater overlook, and visit the Thurston lava tube which is really cool and a must-see! You will also visit other sights like the steam vents and drive on the Chain of Craters Road.
Along with the Volcanoes park, also visit top sights in Hilo like Rainbow falls and Liliuokalani Gardens. Rainbow falls have an impressive 80 feet drop surrounded by lush greenery and you can sometimes witness a rainbow near the waterfalls! Liliuokalani Gardens is a beautiful Japanese-style garden with fishponds and native plants.
This tour also stops at a local chocolates and nuts store where you can purchase island-grown chocolates and macadamia nuts, and sample delicious Kona coffee! Yes, Big Island has farms that grow cacao and coffee beans, and macadamia nuts!
A small group tour with a maximum of 12 passengers allows for more attention from the guide to answer your questions and a more personalized experience.
Highlights of this Small-group Volcano tour from Hilo:
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➡ Check rates and availability for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
3. Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
⭐ Ratings: 4.5 / 5 | ⏳ Duration: 6 hours | Book Now
This half-day Hilo shore excursion tour with pickup and dropoff from Hilo port is best suited for cruise ship passengers coming into the Hilo port for a day. But the tour also picks up from most Hilo hotels and is great for anyone wanting a tour of the Volcanoes park and Hilo highlights including inter-island visitors.
This 6-hour tour from Hilo packs a lot including Volcanes park, waterfalls, a black sand beach, Hilo downtown, and a local store to purchase home-grown goodies like chocolates, nuts, and coffee.
On this tour explore the main sights of the Volcanoes park including the active Kilauea volcano, Thurston lava tube, steam vents, sulfur banks, and scenic viewpoints.
Explore the main highlights of Hilo like the famous Rainbow Falls, and Liliuokalani Gardens, an ornamental Japanese garden. Pass by Banyan Drive and see some massive banyan trees planted by celebrities, also called the ‘Hilo Walk of Fame’. Drive by Hilo downtown and see King Kamehameha Statue.
Visit a black sand beach and maybe spot some Hawaiian green sea turtles! The black sand is made of tiny lava rock particles and is the coolest thing I have ever seen! Visiting a black sand beach is a must-do thing in Hawaii!!
This tour will also take you to a local goodies store where you can purchase home-grown items like chocolates, macadamia nuts, and local coffee. Makes great gifts and souvenirs!
Highlights of this Hilo Shore excursion volcanoes tour:
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➡ Check rates and availability for Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
4. Evening Volcano Explorer Tour from Hilo
⭐ Ratings: 4.5 / 5 | ⏳ Duration: 6-7 hours | Book Now
This Evening volcano explorer tour from Hilo starts around 12:30 PM and is 6 to 7 hours long. This evening tour is ideal for those planning to spend the night in Hilo as they can visit the Volcanoes park in the evening and catch a glimpse of sunset in the Volcanoes Park and lava glow depending on volcanic activity in the park.
The tour starts with a drive around downtown Hilo and then travels along the scenic coast to the village of Kalapana which was destroyed by the advancing lava in the 1990s.
Visit the Star of the Sea Painted Church which is a national historic place. This church was moved twice to protect it from the lava. Visit the black sand beach in Kalapana.
Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with your certified guide and see the active Kilauea volcano, Kilauea Iki crater overlook, steaming bluffs, and other viewpoints.
Learn about the geology and history of the volcanoes from your National Park Service-certified guide as well as about the flora and fauna in the area. Enjoy a deli picnic-style dinner as part of the tour.
Highlights of this Evening Volcano Explorer Tour:
What this tour includes:
Who is this tour for?
➡ Check rates and availability for Evening Volcano Explorer Tour from Hilo
5. Private Tour from Hilo to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
⭐ Ratings: 5 / 5 | ⏳ Duration: 6 hours | Book Now
This private half-day tour of the Volcanoes National Park and other sights in Hilo is ideal for those that want to be with just their group and have a more customized experience visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
With a private tour, you have the freedom to tailor your itinerary to your preferences, including stopping at cafes and restaurants whenever you choose. Although the tour provides a recommended itinerary, you can adjust it to suit the requirements of your group and allocate more time to the attractions that interest you!
If you’re traveling with a party of 5-6 people or more, the expense of a private tour would be comparable or lower than that of a group tour! Additionally, your group will receive the guide’s undivided focus and care.
Highlights of this private volcano tour from Hilo:
What this private volcano tour includes:
Who is this private Volcanoes tour for?
➡ Check rates and availability for a Private Tour from Hilo to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
FAQs about Volcano tours from Hilo
Below are some frequently asked questions about visiting Volcanoes Park from Hilo and Volcano tours on the Big Island of Hawaii.
How can I see the volcano in Hilo?
To see the active Kilauea volcano, you would need to either drive yourself to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or take a tour from Hilo. Going around 30 miles south on Highway 11 from Hilo will bring you to the National Park entrance.
Once inside the park, you can drive to the Kilauea overlook on Crater Rim Drive to see the active Kilauea volcano within the caldera of the Halemaumau crater.
Can you tour a volcano on the Big Island?
To truly experience the wonders of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, a volcano tour by road or helicopter is highly recommended. By choosing a knowledgeable guide, you’ll be able to explore the top sights within the park while learning about the geology and history of the volcanoes. Big Island’s Kilauea and Mauna Loa are the most active volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
How much does a volcano tour cost in Hawaii?
A group road tour to the Volcanoes park from Hilo will cost somewhere between $150-$200, depending on the tour group size. A private volcano tour from Hilo costs between $1200 to $1700 per group of up to 10 guests. A volcano helicopter tour from Hilo costs between $300-$350 per person.
What is the best volcano to visit on the Big Island?
Big Island’s Kilauea volcano is the most active and readily accessible volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This active volcano erupts from the Halemaumau crater, and there are several viewpoints from which you can safely observe the Kilauea activity. One popular option is the overlook at Volcano House.
Is Hilo or Kona closer to the volcano?
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just a 45-minute car ride away from Hilo, while it takes around 2 to 2.5 hours by car to get there from Kona. If you’re looking to visit Volcanoes park, Hilo is a more convenient location than Kona since it’s closer to the park.
Is lava visible in Big Island?
The possibility of witnessing lava viewing in Big Island and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park largely depends on whether there is any ongoing volcanic activity during your visit. Kilauea, the island’s most active volcano, usually erupts within the Halemaumau crater. To check for recent eruptions, it is recommended to visit the NPS website.
There are several overlooks around the Halemaumau crater that offer a glimpse of the volcanic activity. One such spot is the Keanakāko’i Overlook, which can be accessed by taking a short hike from the Devastation trail parking lot. We were able to witness the glowing lava at night from this viewpoint.
Can you walk on a volcano in Hawaii?
Yes, you can walk on the floor of the former lava lake of the Kilauea crater by hiking the Kilauea Iki trail in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This trail is widely considered one of the top hikes in both the park and the entire Big Island.
Final takeaways: Best Volcano Tours in Hilo, Hawaii
Visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the most popular shore excursion on your visit to Hilo, Hawaii, and opting for a Volcanoes tour from Hilo is the most convenient way to discover the park’s volcanoes, geological wonders, and historical landmarks.
Taking a tour also ensures that you do not miss any must-see sights and are back in time for your cruise ship departure or inter-island flight.
Below is a quick summary of the best Hilo Volcano tours perfect for Hilo shore excursion:
- Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour from Hilo – Best helicopter tour from Hilo
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour – Half-day small group tour (12 passengers), ideal for cruise passengers and for visitors from other Hawaiian Islands like Oahu, Maui
- Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights – Half-day tour with a maximum of 24 passengers, covers Volcanoes, waterfall, black sand beach, and store stop to purchase island-grown goodies.
- Evening Volcano Explorer Tour from Hilo – An evening tour of the volcanoes park with a start time around 12:30 PM, includes visit to Kalapana village and black sand beach. Includes picnic dinner.
- Private Tour from Hilo to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Private tour just for your group, customizable itinerary. Spend more time in Volcanoes park or add other stops like black sand beach and Hilo waterfalls.
Planning a trip to Big Island, Hawaii? Check out my other posts from the Big Island series: