Big Island of Hawaii

Mauna Kea Summit Tour with Free Night Star Photo

Badge of ExcellenceBig Island of Hawaii, USA
Hawaiis Best and Cheapest Maunakea and Kilauea Volcano Tour

From $260.00

Select Date and Travelers

up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

  • 8 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

The 13,803-foot (4,207.3-meter) peak of Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point, and a popular spot for star-gazing. With this tour, travel up to the summit with your guide, stop for dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, then arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunset. As dark sets in, enjoy a guided stargazing experience and marvel at the stars and planets using a refractor telescope and razor pointer.
  • Stay warm with included winter clothes, hot drinks and a light dinner
  • Pose for group sunset and star-gazing photos included with the tour
  • Choose from three different pickup and drop-off locations
  • Intimate small-group experience with a maximum of twelve people

What's Included

  • Dinner
  • Snow parker, Ski pants, and Gloves
  • Admission Fee for Mauna Kea
  • 4x4 Passenger Van to the summit
  • Free DSLR camera photo of stars with you in it! (weather and moon phase permitting))
  • An astronomical telescope
  • An optional TIP per person for good service is customary in Hawaii.
  • Guest under 16 years old or older than 70 cannot participate
  • NO ENTRY INSIDE THE OBSERVATORIES

Meeting and Pickup

Meeting points

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End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Your tour starts with an easy meet up at either Target or Queens’ Marketplace, depending on where your hotel is located. Then you’ll get acquainted with your guide and group.

Together you’ll make your way to Onizuka Astronomy Complex. When you arrive, you can change into warm weather gear- snow parkas, ski pants, and gloves- that are all provided for you. You’ll also be served a light meal to eat while you acclimatize.

You’ll head to the summit in a 4x4 van, arriving in time for the sunset. Be ready to do some posing since your guides will take DSLR photos of you, which will be sent to you for free.

After sunset, you’ll head back down to the astronomy complex where you can do some more stargazing. Purchase some souvenirs at the gift shop if you like, before being returned to your departure point.

Kailua-Kona

2 hours Admission Ticket Free

Onizuka Astronomy Complex

1 hour Admission Ticket Included

Mauna Kea Summit

1 hour Admission Ticket Included

Onizuka Astronomy Complex

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kailua-Kona (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Please check the message on Viator. We will send a message about pick up time and location after the confirmation of your booking.
  • Please note that pick up location has a free parking lot but we do not take any responsibility or liability for any damage or loss caused through the parking
  • Please note that in times of bad weather sunset or stargazing are not 100% guaranteed and moonphase will affect the visibility of the stars.
  • Not recommended for person weight more than 300lb
  • Not recommended for person having respiratory problem such as asthma
  • Guest under 16 years old or older than 70 cannot participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Huilin_S
Todd is our guide and he is very professional and responsible. I was able to gain rich geographical, cultural and stargazing knowledge from Todd. The sunset was incredibly beautiful. I'll definitely recommend this tour to my friends.

Reviews

4.5
758 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Showing 1-10 of 758 reviews
Great experience!
Steven_O, Apr 2024
This tour is so surreal, with so many beautiful moments to enjoy -- a unique experience that you wouldn't expect to get on an island. We were picked up from the Queen's Marketplace in Waikoloa, having spent the morning at sea level in the water, and were given a water bottle to aid in keeping us hydrated during this tour. The drive up to the visitor's center is about an hour, so our tour guide, Wes, used the time to share important information with us. On the way to the visitor's center we learned some history of the island and were instructed about the possibility of altitude sickness. Wes explained the symptoms to watch out for and what we could do to make sure we felt our best (namely drinking water, not eating a lot, breathing deeply, and taking it easy on the summit). I really appreciated the detail he gave during this time because our entire tour of 12 people felt fine the whole trip. Once at the visitor's center, we were all given a BLT sandwich (vegan options available) and a chance to acclimate (30 minutes required) and use the restroom before hopping back in the van. The trip to the top was so cool as we drove above cloud-level to get to the summit. Once on the summit, we were offered ski pants and a parka and were able to enjoy the views around the summit. Just before sunset, Wes took pictures of each of us with the sunset behind us. Watching the sun disappear below the clouds was beautiful and an experience I'm so glad I had! After sunset, we drove down the mountain about 10 minutes and parked in an open lot where we were offered hot cocoa as we looked at the stars. Without any clouds in the way the view is breathtaking. Wes guided us through finding a number of constellations and took one final picture of our group with the stars behind us. What a cool tour, unlike anything else you can do on the Big Island!
The best tour ever
NAOKI_O, Apr 2024
The tour was well coordinated, by giving our body time to adjust high mountain. The tour guide-cum-driver-cum-photographer was far above our expectations. He also give guidance in both English and Japanese, which satisfied all participants from both countries. Needles to say, the highlight of the tour was sunset seen from the summit and sky full of beautiful stars. I definitely recommend this tour, if you are considering the summit visit. After the experience, my wife and I concluded the tour price was reasonable.
Worst tour of my life
Amber_K, Apr 2024
I had a terrible tour experience. Our guide Joseph seemed very uninterested in providing us with an enjoyable tour and sounded like he was reading off a script. Even at a glance I could tell the other tour guides were more enthusiastic, and people seemed more happier than our group. There was no group photo. There were 8 of us in the tour, and unfortunately one person experienced altitude sickness at the summit. Understandably we agreed to go down earlier than expected. However, I never would have thought that this meant the entire tour group had to abandon part of the program. We never got to see the stars and the entire group had to simply go home. If altitude sickness is a predictable part of the program, I would expect that the tour would have better preparations such as medicine, beverages, sweets, an extra van to take patients back early or even light suggestions on how to prepare for such situations. Instead the rest of the tour group is expected to test their luck and money on the health of others. I raised privately raised my concerns at the end of the tour and asked if a partial refund was available, but Joseph’s response was to shut me down by saying it’s “policy” and implying that I had no “empathy” and “compassion”. I showed my empathy and compassion when I agreed to leave the summit early. We were never informed beforehand that such a situation would occur when someone got sick. I paid a lot of money for this tour and I would expect to be at least informed of such things. I was very disappointed in the guide’s handling of the situation and the rudeness he displayed to me. I would never recommend this tour to anyone, and urge people to visit Mauna Kea on their own vehicles.
Learned something new about stars
Jennifer_P, Apr 2024
The star gazing portion of the tour was great. The drive up can be strenuous and be ready for a very bumpy road up the summit.
Beautiful - must do
Valerie_R, Apr 2024
Finally got to experience Mauna Kea, we have tied sever times during past visits to the Island but weather did cooperate. It was worth the wait! Wes was our host and van driver and he was great! The views are spectacular both sunset and stars. They provide warm gear to keep you comfy. We didn’t get the BLTs for dinner due to Easter closings for some local businesses so had store deli sandwiches. Definitely recommend this tour.
A Once in a Lifetime Experience
Brooke_B, Mar 2024
This was a once in a lifetime experience with a fantastic guide, Wes. He was informative about all things Hawaii, brought great energy to the experience, made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times, and added some humour! They bring you up to the visitor station at 9000ft to acclimatize (everyone has to do this) for 30mins, we ate our provided sandwiches, then drove up another 30mins to the top. We were up at the top for about an hour, Wes took great pictures of each of the individual groups on our tour (10 people), watched the sunset then went down to a slightly lower mini parking lot to stargaze. Wes gave us hot chocolate and we got to see Jupiter through a telescope (not great definition but you could see a white circle and its 4 moons), and he used a lazer pointer to show us different constellations. We finished with photos in front of the stars, then he drove us back to our initial pickup locations. Overall fantastic experience with awesome guide - HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
It was great
Lynn_H, Mar 2024
Very good guide in west who went out of his way to explain. Only issue is the limited pick up points to join the trip.
FIND ANOTHER COMPANY
Kayla_A, Mar 2024
What a disappointing tour. It has the potential to be such a good experience (witnessed this with other groups during our tour) but is so beyond lackluster. PLEASE book with another company. This experience fully put a damper on my trip to Hawaii (how is that even possible?!) For starters, the van is crammed. 4 bench rows of 3 and they pack every bit of person they can fit in there. Next (and definitely the biggest issue) was the guide. I have NEVER been on a tour where the guide simply treats the excursion as if he’s an Uber driver. There was ZERO knowledge shared about this beautiful, historic landmark. He did not speak to our group at all! It was honestly one of the weirdest things and it got to the point where I began to feel unsafe because of his apparent misery to be driving us on a mountain. The communication was lacking to the point where the entire group was not informed we were skipping stargazing which led to confusion. Rightfully so, considering the stargazing is a large part of the experience. Absolutely no hate to the experience/company for missing the stargazing. You can’t change the weather and we understand this entirely. The issue lies entirely in the way the “guide” went about it. He in fact, did not speak a word to our group on the summit ascent, summit descent, or way back into town. (3 hours) I just wanted to reiterate this as it was VERY strange and we were really excited to learn about Mauna Kea. Lastly, and at this point one of the things I care about least, was that he took 0 pictures of the group. It’s advertised in the title that there would be free photography but our grumpy guide could not be bothered with interacting with us so that didn’t happen. For the price, this is so beyond not worth it. I would not even go on this excursion again if someone paid me
To the Top of the World!
Lauren_H, Mar 2024
Stephan was a fabulous guide. Pickup was simple in the Target/McD parking lot. Stephan shared complete details on what was ahead. Stopped at local recreation center for bio break and lava field photos. Stopped at 9,200 feet visitor center for BLT dinner and acclimation. Ascended to Summit for sunset. Stephan took plenty of photos for us on his fancy camera then air dropped photos to all. Parkas/gloves/pants provided. Descended to lower level for stargazing with his fancy telescope. Great family excursion!
Waiting for refund per weather
sararh82, Mar 2024
It was cancelled because of the weather per the company and I’m still waiting for an update on my refund
Could have been epic
Jonathan_P, Mar 2024
Love the concept and certainly enjoyed the sunset and stars. Unfortunately, the guide was listless. He did not even attempt to make the tour engaging. For the high price, I expect a fun, energetic guide. Also, stargazing way too short. How about giving us chairs so we can sit and enjoy the stars for a while? Also, for the high price, we should be able to tour one of the telescopes. That would make it epic
Great guide, great adventure!
Randy_R, Feb 2024
We had an outstanding guide, Stefan...who made all parts of this smooth, fun, and interesting! He did a fantastic job! Loved being up at altitude, seeing the telescopes, sunset, and stars. This was a great experience!
Superb and fun tour
Amir_A, Feb 2024
Amazing guide, superb tour. Steph has lots of knowledge and funny stories. Was a little worried before, but turned out brilliant.
Strongly Recommended
Timothy_L, Feb 2024
Our guide Stefan was fantastic. Very professional and friendly guy. Passionately took DSLR photos, helpful explanation of everything.
A long drive to a fantastic view.
Patti_K, Feb 2024
The guide Stefan did was really good. He is bilingual in Japanese and we had 8 Japanese and 4 Americans. He said everything in both languages. Stefan was very informative and was an excellent conversationalist as well as a fantastic photographer. The sunset was pretty spectacular setting over the clouds. The draw back for me was the ride was cramped with 12 people in the van and no real telescope viewing.
Must do tour on the big island
Kimberly_R, Feb 2024
Great time must see. Wesley was a great guide. Incredible experience at the summit. Cold but well worth the price
Would recommend to absolutely everybody
Filip_V, Feb 2024
One of the best tours I had in a long time. The views were stunning, our guide Wes knowledgeable, ready to help and friendly, everything was wonderful. The star gazing was partly ruined by the pesky moon but that is hardly company's fault :) Would absolutely recommend.
very pricey but overall a...
Nay_H, Feb 2024
very pricey but overall a great experience if you want to streamline and organize your mauna kea experience
Todd is our guide and he...
Huilin_S, Feb 2024
Todd is our guide and he is very professional and responsible. I was able to gain rich geographical, cultural and stargazing knowledge from Todd. The sunset was incredibly beautiful. I'll definitely recommend this tour to my friends.
Once in a Lifetime Experience
Katie_S, Feb 2024
Beautiful sunset above the clouds! Also saw so many stars!! Would recommend going with little to no moonlight to see the most stars.
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