If average tourist activities fail to make you tick, it’s time to put on your hat of badassery and pursue the adventure that will make you palpitate in a mixture of excitement and fear. Ditch that boring routine, pack up and head to Hawaii for some volcanic action. Nothing can make your blood heat up, both figuratively and literally, like getting up close and personal (sort of) with volcanos – the world’s massive masterpieces. Not everyone has the guts to face an active volcano. But you do, of course. Blow off some steam during Hawaii volcano tours while you can, because nothing makes you feel more alive than experiencing life at its fullest!
Before you start jetting off to see these erratic geological spectacles, you need to understand why a volcano tour is the best remedy for your boredom. It is not only their sheer magnitude or the possibility of an eruption that makes volcanoes a mass to be reckoned with. The following reasons will convince you to push your plan into action before you get cold feet:
Geologists are pretty convinced that volcanoes were a significant factor in the creation of life. The nutrients expelled through eruptions were likely consumed by the first living organisms on Earth and fueled evolution along with water, sunlight and food. When you have visited a volcano, you can openly brag that you have been to the cradle of humanity itself.
Large volcanic eruptions are known to wipe out structures, emit poisonous gases and kill countless number of species. However, nobody can deny that the sensational rush of lava and smoke catapulted into great heights looks more or less like fireworks in a grander scale. The flowing lava leaves an incandescent trail that solidifies into molten rocks, adding raw beauty to the landscape. Take a lot of pictures because you never know when that particular volcano will erupt and eradicate the area you have visited.
Aside from contributing to evolution, volcanoes also have a hand in changing the topography, oceans and atmosphere. Impress people by spewing bits of scientific data on how ancient volcanoes freed the elements from earth-bound enclosures to shape the Earth we know today. In reality, if volcanoes were nonexistent or just too lazy to blow up, Earth would be nothing but craters and sand.
Whether you are planning to trek along super-volcano hotspots or planning to sightsee subglacial eruptions, you are guaranteed to witness an extraordinary display of one of nature’s most spectacular displays.
The island of Hawaii is a certified hotspot for adventurers around the world with some of the best Hawaiian adventures known to man. Apart from its iconic beaches, thriving flora and fauna, stunning landscapes and distinctive traditions, the Aloha State is the proud offspring of seven (7) volcanoes. In theory, the creation of Hawaii took place due to extreme volcanic activity pushing off the land mass above sea level and forming the tropical islands that we know and love.
Volcanoes are also ingrained in the island culture, despite the destruction it brings to its inhabitants. As a matter of fact, Hawaiians consider Pele (Peh–leh), the Volcano Goddess (also known as the Earth-eating Woman), a sacred figure and bring gifts to Kilauea, where she is rumored to have resided for centuries.
Not-so-fun fact: One of the world’s most active volcanoes is located in Hawaii. Supposedly the Kilauea volcano has been steaming for almost 300,000 to 600,000 years, but it only started showing its fury in 1983 and nobody has been able to stop it ever since. Kilauea has created the world’s longest observed lava lake, and you can witness it on rough waters by booking a Big Island lava boat tour.
Out of seven (7) volcanoes, only three are recorded by the United States Geological Survey – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS – HVO) as “active” and another three (3) as “dormant”. Kohala, being the oldest of Hawaii’s volcanic parents, is now classified as extinct.
Kilauea, which can be translated to “spreading” or “spewing”, is aptly named for its frequent outbursts of lava which gush towards the surrounding terrain, and disrupt the mountainside ecology. On its summit, the Halemaʻumaʻu pit crater is a popular destination for the brave. If that doesn’t compel you to go on Hawaii volcano tours, then what will?
Another big name in the volcano category is Mauna Loa, which means “long mountain” in Hawaiian. In fact, you are about to get introduced to the world’s largest active volcano, covering more than half of the Hawaiian Islands. This giant is not a gentle one –studies show that it is capable of spewing a lot more lava than Kilauea. In fact, the USGS utilizes various monitoring stations to determine an impending eruption. Microearthquakes or microquakes are a sign of volcanic unrest.
If height is might, then Mauna Kea is, without question, the worldwide winner. Considered as the highest point of the Hawaiian Islands, this dormant volcano boasts a total of 13,802 ft. above sea level. It can be argued that this mountain even dwarfs Mt. Everest in terms of altitude when you actually measure from the base to its pinnacle. The two have a height difference of 3,773 ft., with Mauna Kea as the obvious victor.
Hot or cold: Despite having a fiery history, Mauna Kea is famous among adventure-seeking locals for its snowy summit. Its name was actually inspired by its white peak. Snowboarding and skiing are popular activities during the winter, which is pretty unexpected for a tropical island –and on a volcano, nonetheless!
Hualālai is another shield volcano that brought demise to Hawaiian Villages. Although not as enormous as its neighbors Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, its ominous presence still keeps locals uneasy. At present, only magma activity can be detected from this volcano, but no expansion of land mass has been recorded.
Aptly named as the “House of the Sun”, the Haleakala is a dormant volcano which serves as the main attraction of the Haleakala National Park in the island of Maui. Mesmerizing panoramic views are guaranteed at its peak, especially during sunrise and sunset.
Don’t Mess With Maui: According to Polynesian Mythology, the sun was captured at the top of Haleakala mountain by no less than Maui himself, the infamous demigod and cultural hero of Hawaii. Wanting to stretch the length of daytime so that his mother, Hina, could complete her work, Maui lassoed the sun and made it slow down its ascent and descent.
Chilling below sea level is the Lō‘ihi volcano, an underwater vent that has grown alongside Kilauea on the base of their bigger sibling, Mauna Loa. However, the youngest addition to the Hawaiian hotspot is a uniquely formed seamount and can only be monitored through hydrophones and earthquakes that emphasize its presence. Due to its circumstance, it would take thousands of years for Lō‘ihi to emerge above sea level or die trying.
When it comes to Volcano Geotourism, Hawaii does it best. Thanks to technology, scientists and tourists alike can now observe volcanic activity without burning themselves. Volcanologists are also doing a great job in monitoring the status of Hawaiian volcanoes, and sending out warnings to locals and tour operators when an eruption is likely to happen in the near future.
With this, tourists can put their anxieties to rest and enjoy the lava-ridden scenery in one (or all) of these tour options:
Sightseeing hundreds of feet above the ground will keep your head spinning, but with phenomenal sceneries clamoring for your attention, motion sickness and fear of heights will be the last things on your mind. If you have the bucks and only want the best, a helicopter volcano tour should be on top of your bucket list. Volcano-hopping on a helicopter provides an extraordinary aerial perspective that allows tourists to appreciate the entirety of the massive phenomena and magma activity. The unobstructed view of the devastation and ecological imbalance would also bring to mind how dangerous and wrathful nature could be.
With the heat emanating from the ground and the debris caused by eruptions visible, joining a walking tour towards the crater of an active volcano would likely resemble a stroll in the depths of the inferno. Even so, volcano hiking tours prove to be a popular activity for adventure-loving tourists. If you believe that the best way of exploration is on foot, sign up at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a guided tour and experience Mauna Loa’s coarse lava-ridden landscapes and Kilauea’s dynamic showcase of its lush greenery, steamy shoreline and desert slopes. If however, you’d rather see these volcanic beauties from the air, then a Hawaiian helicopter tour or Oahu helicopter tour is your best bet.
If you suffer from severe motion sickness and wouldn’t be thrilled flying on top of volcanoes on a door-less helicopter, you can take the thrill a notch lower by settling for lava boat tours. Sail through the steaming shore to witness lava flow into open seas, and feel the heat as it merges with the cool blue of the Pacific Ocean. Incandescent water explosions are a common sight, which adds to the excitement of a very bumpy ride a few meters away from the lava activity.
Pedal through paradise and witness postcard-worthy perfection. Biking is one of the fastest options to view Hawaii’s iconic landscapes and offers a combination of thrill and safety for both experienced and amateur daredevils. Big Island bike tours are more popular than ever, thanks to Hawaii’s winding, cycle-friendly paths and dramatic locations that make circumnavigating the island a breathtaking experience.
Are you confident of being the lone wolf and exploring Hawaii by yourself? Then, by all means, pursue what your heart desires and you will be rewarded with an incredible adventure at your own pace. It doesn’t matter if you start too early or end up too late –what’s important is how you tour Hawaii, seeing only what you want to see and keeping company at the minimum. Small groups also choose self-guided tours because they don’t want to waste time waiting for people who don’t have a sense of urgency.
Volcano Geotourism is just one of the highlights of an epic Hawaiian adventure. Hawaii volcano tours offer a combination of culture, thrill and scientific wonders, making it an instant hit among families, solo backpackers and group adventurers. Trust us, you have never been to the real Hawaii if you missed out on its active volcano tours!