Lava Update & Viewing
As you have certainly heard, Kilauea Volcano here on the Big Island has been experiencing renewed activity, both at the summit crater in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and in the southeastern corner of the island in the Leilani-Kapoho area.
Some news sources have sensationalized these events and have made it sound like the whole island is blowing up. That is not true! Other than a portion of the national park and a relatively small area in the southeast part of the island, the vast majority of the island is just as you remember it. Volcano Men's Retreat, roadways, airports, businesses, restaurants, and most sightseeing attractions remain unaffected and open.
It's actually a very exciting time on the Big Island, with our volcano putting on quite a show, which is the main reason that people travel here. So we've included some suggestions for viewing the lava flows and other volcanic activity by land, by sea, and by air.
Viewing Kilauea Caldera
We are very excited to hear that the National Park Service plans to reopen Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on September 22, 2018.
Read this article from the Hawaii Tribune Herald about progress the National Park Service is making toward the planned reopening:
A new Hawaii Volcanoes National Park “Recovery” webpage is now available to share updates and photos with the public:
Puna Coast Beach Parks to Reopen Soon
Hawaii County has announced they are prioritizing getting Puna Coast beach parks reopened and accessible. Mackenzie Park is now open, and Isaac Hale (Pohoiki) Park will be reopened as soon as possible. Pohoiki is accessible from Mackenzie via a 2.5 mile hike (including 2 miles over rough new a'a lava flows), where a brand new large black sand beach has formed.
HVNP Exhibit in Pahoa
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is in talks to open exhibits in Pahoa! Today Mainstreet Pahoa Association announced that the Park will be moving exhibits into the newly renovated building near Kaleo's Bar & Grill in Pahoa Village. A project is also in the works to provide parking solutions for this new tourist attraction, as well as for a more permanent HVNP location in Pahoa. Talks are in progress to arrange a more permanent establishment at the Pu'uhonua o Puna Hub site located on the corner of Hwy 130 and Hwy 132, with assurances that the Hub will be allowed to continue operations as long as necessary.
Lava Viewing by Sea
A great way to see the lava flows where they entered the ocean along the coast line, as well as some of the brand new black sand beaches, is by boat. There are several tour boat operators sailing out of Hilo Bay who can take you up close, including:
Big Island Lava Tours / Lava Ocean Tours
We recommend making reservations in advance as seats fill up quickly. The early morning and the late afternoon excursions are best so as to see the lava ocean entry in both daylight and after dark.
Lava Viewing by Air
Probably the most spectacular way to see where the recent lava fissures and flows have occurred is by helicopter. There are several helicopter tour operators flying out of the Hilo Airport, including:
We recommend making reservations well in advance as seats generally fill up as much as 2 weeks in advance. Paradise Helicopters offers both doors-on and doors-off flights, and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters offers the new EcoStar helicopter with larger windows.