On this deluxe tour to the Kilauea volcano, you’ll see how its eruptions have changed the life and landscape of the Big Island, devouring villages and forests, and extending the island’s shoreline. Learn how the residents cope, and how dedicated they are to saving what is precious from the onslaught of molten rock.
The lush greenery of Hilo gives way to stark black rock in Kalapana, a village completely destroyed by advancing lava in 1990. Your first stop is the lovely Painted Church. Now decommissioned, it was moved by determined villagers not once but twice, to evade the oncoming flow. You’ll see how the volcano engulfed everything in its path, completely filling in Kaimu Bay, and covering what was the best swimming beach on the island. Fortunately nature has provided a replacement – walk across now hardened stone to the new black sand beach.
Continue along the scenic Puna coastline to the jagged lava cliffs of MacKenzie State Park. Your guide knows the location of a volcanically heated cove where you can take a dip or snorkel among tropical fish and the occasional giant green sea turtle. You’ll also visit Lava Tree State Park, once a rainforest that happened to be in the path of a lava flow. The trees burned from the inside out, leaving hollow stone skeletons. Now covered with moss, they make for an eerie panorama.
A Hawaiian-style barbecue lunch, which includes complimentary beer and Champagne, is included. There are opportunities to purchase local products and souvenirs along the way.