The Big Island-Kilauea Volcano

Seeing an active volcano is worthy of any bucket list; however, actually having the chance to see an erupting volcano is pretty close to slim-to-none, unless you’re incredibly lucky–and in some kind of danger–or, you travel to the Big Island to visit the world’s longest erupting volcano known as, Kilauea. Guys, it’s been erupting since 1983!

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We figured that the best way to see the volcano was on a helicopter tour, and once again, Safari Helicopters didn’t let us down. For $167 we were treated to a 50-minute helicopter tour over the Volcano, the active lava flows, and the cascading waterfalls around Hilo. Not only did we thoroughly enjoy the friendly service of Safari Helicopters but the competitive pricing seals the deal, Every.Single.Time. (PS…If you book online you get the biggest discount).

As we pulled up outside the Hilo International Airport, the sky was cloudy and the intermittent rain came down in sheets. I kept my hopes high that the rain would stop because I knew this was our only day over in Hilo–thus our only chance to see the lava. We were told at check-in that if the rain didn’t let up the tour would have to be cancelled because the airport would not allow any aircraft to depart when visibility was so low. We kept our fingers crossed while we were getting weighed and while we went over the safety briefing, and then we waited, and waited, and waited. Oh boy, did we wait. However, as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait…” because after about 30 minutes we were finally given the go-ahead that it was time to board the helicopter. The tour was on!!

Kona Helicopter Tour-1

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We flew over the Hershey owned macadamia nut farms, the cute town of Hilo, and were off towards Volcanoes National Park. Soon, lush green fields gave way to dark, smooth lava rock, and the steam rising up from the Earth below created an eerie atmosphere. Things were about to get very interesting.

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The first glimpse of lava took my breath away. The contrast of the bright orange-red glowing lava slowing oozing over the hard black rock was intense and incredibly exciting. As we flew over the Pu’u O’o vent we were able to see the bubbling hot tub of liquid rock constantly sputtering and spewing below.

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It’s Lava!!

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It’s a Lava Hot Tub…

That glow is AMAZING!

That glow is AMAZING!

While the narrative wasn’t quite as interesting as the narrative on the Kauai helicopter tour, the dramatic nature of Mother Earth recreating herself was beyond impressive and definitely worthy of its spot on my bucket list. The whole experience was incredible.

Have you been to Kilauea?

12 Comments

  1. June 29, 2014 / 9:43 PM

    I’ve been to the big island many times and haven’t gotten as close as you! There’s a great trail around the top of the mountain. I got lost but thankfully didn’t see anything ‘fresh’ lava!

    • June 30, 2014 / 11:06 AM

      Quan, a helicopter tour is the way to go to see the lava up close. 🙂 At least for now…

      Next time we go to the Big Island I want to stay over in Hilo for a few days so we can really explore the National Park. There were soooo many hikes that we wanted to do, we just didn’t have the time. And it was raining like crazy so it wouldn’t have been much fun. 😉

      How scary that you got lost! I’m glad you’re okay. 🙂 There was a show called “I Shouldn’t be Alive” and one of the stories they showed was about a man who got lost in Volcanoes National Park and almost died…. CRAZY!

      • June 30, 2014 / 12:04 PM

        yeah… I was looking at my 1/2 drunk bottle of Gatorade then at a 360 view of old lava fields thinking I had run through my 9 lives… but old fashion navigation finally got me back to the forest! 🙂

  2. June 30, 2014 / 12:16 AM

    Great pic – we flew over the crater on a helicopter flight several years ago.. awesome to be able to look down into the volcano!

    • June 30, 2014 / 11:07 AM

      Hi Tony!
      Isn’t it SO neat?! Such an amazing experience. I really wish we could have seen the lava up close on the ground, but I wasn’t willing to do the eight hour hike round trip to see it… 😉

      • June 30, 2014 / 11:16 AM

        Very cool, especially the house that the lava bypassed and left intact.. Awesome 🙂

  3. July 3, 2014 / 12:09 PM

    These pictures are stunning! Now I really wish we had done a helicopter ride. But we were told it could be a hit or a miss… so we skipped it. Good to experience vicariously though!

  4. July 3, 2014 / 12:35 PM

    this looks impressive, how cool is that! We didn’t take the helicopter tour as it was fairly cloudy. so glad you had the chance to do it 🙂

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