Big Island of Hawaii

Hilo Shore Excursion: Safari Lava Caves, Falls and Highlights

Big Island of Hawaii, USA
Hilo Shore Excursion Lava Forest and Falls
Likely to Sell Out

From $133.34

Select Date and Travelers

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

  • 6 hours
  • Pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


When your ship docks in Hilo, use your time in port to get acquainted with Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth. Embark on a tour through the Nanawale Rainforest, a lush, tropical landscape in the Eastern Rift Zone. Explore lava caves; stroll along the most recently formed black-sand beaches; feel the warmth from volcanic hot pools, and discover Rainbow Falls. Travel trough Hawaiian back roads and discover the destructive path of the volcano's most recent eruption. Round-trip transport from the port or hotel is included.
  • Explore Nanawale Forest Reserve, Rainbow Falls and the Pohoiki geothermal pools
  • See towns evacuated due to Kilauea's lava flows
  • Round-trip transportation from the Hilo port or your hotel
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What's Included

  • Port pickup and drop-off / Hilo Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Professional guide
  • Bottled water
  • Souvenirs
  • Gratuities
  • Lunch- Stop made by local vendor for customers to purchase

Meeting and Pickup

You can head directly to your preferred meeting point, or request pickup.

Meeting points

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Pickup points

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End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Following pickup at the Hilo cruise port or your hotel, board a tour vehicle and set out over the back roads of the Big Island to explore its spectacular natural features. 

Arrive first at Rainbow Falls, known in Hawaiian as wainuenue, the falls crash over a natural lava cave, throwing up rainbows almost every sunny day in the rising mist. Then, visit Kaumana Caves Park, lava tubes created by the Mauna Loa volcano.

Drive through old-growth mango groves and through the verdant foliage of the Nanawale Forest, stopping to see the recent lava flow that caused the town of Pahoa to evacuate. See the few houses and commercial buildings that were burnt by the oozing fire. View dramatic scenery in spots where the burning lava met the cool, salty sea. Stop in Kaimu to see the site of the former Queen bath and town, both destroyed by a lava flow in 1990, now being reclaimed by the wild rainforest. View an exhibit showing what the area used to look like and snap photos of the active volcanic vent in the distance. Stroll down the black sand beach, reached via a 15-minute walk over old lava flows.

Continue to Lava Tree State Park, where lava burst from fissures in the ground and coated the Ohia trees, leaving amazing tree molds. See the warm springs at Pohoiki, geothermally heated by water traveling through lava tubes, and walk on the newest black-sand beach created by Kilauea’s lava flow.

Stop at a dramatic overlook, surrounded by salt cedar pine trees and home to the old Kings Trails. Admire views of the waves crashing below towering sea cliffs.

Your half-day tour ends with drop-off back at your original departure point.

Worry-free Shore Excursion:

We will ensure your timely return to the Hilo port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Liliuokalani Gardens (Pass By)

Hilo (Pass By)

Rainbow Falls

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Kaumana Caves Park

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Pahoa (Pass By)

Lava Tree State Park

25 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Pohoiki Bay

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Free


10 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Leilani Estates

10 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • 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
  • Moderate tour - Involves walking over relatively unlevel terrain, possible gravel, lava, uneven ground and steep steps. Comfortable walking shoes recommended.
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately; light rain jacket or poncho
  • A stop is made to purchase food
  • Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
  • Exact departure time may vary depending on the cruise ship's disembarkation time
  • We will ensure your timely return back to the ship in Hilo Pier for this activity. If your ship does not come into port , your money will be refunded. If is is delayed we will adjust our departure time to the ships itenerary. See our terms and conditions for full details
  • Not recommended for those who cannot walk over uneven ground or with poor health
  • Lava Tube: The steps to get into the lava tube are steep and the ground is uneven. You do not have to go into the lava tube if you feel it is too much for you.

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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149 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 149 reviews
Smaller is better
Domingo_M, Apr 2024
Junior, was a knowledgeable and accommodating tour guide with interesting anecdotes of Hawaiian history and archeology. Appreciated our small group of 6 which afforded us quicker and more access to all the spots we visited. Thanks for the bottled water and snacks, Junior. You’re the man!!!
Response from Host, Apr 2024
Thank you very much for sharing your review. We love hearing from our customers. We do our best everyday to give our customers a memorable experience.
Very informative on the volcanoes and island life
John_K, Apr 2024
Great tour and guide, was expecting black sand beach to have sand and not just rocks based off photo in description, very informative and saw some cool places and learned alot
Response from Host, Apr 2024
We really appreciate you sharing your review of our service. Thank you!
Hilo Shore Excursion
Sara_G, Apr 2024
Best Hilo Shore Excursion Our tour guide, she was absolutely amazing, fun, knowledgeable. We visited everything and more the we expected
Response from Host, Apr 2024
Hello Sara, We’re so grateful that you took the time to share your feedback with us. It’s our pleasure to serve customers like you. Have a wonderful day Aloha!
Teia_L, Apr 2024
Great tour. Lots of history of volcanoes and flow of lava along with how communities and beaches were effected. Lava tube and cave was an experience. Enjoyed the entire tour very much!!
Response from Host, Apr 2024
Thank you for your kind words, Teia. We’re grateful for your 5 star rating. It’s our pleasure to provide the best possible tour to our customers, and we’re glad that this commitment was reflected in your visit. We look forward to the next time we’re able to serve you again. Have a wonderful day!
Great excursion and worth the money
Willard_J, Apr 2024
The experience was great. Right on time for pick up and return to meet cruise line schedule. Tour guide was excellent. The sights were worth the excursion. Loved the volcano and waterfall. Would like to have had 5 to 10 minutes more at each stop to make this excursion even better
Response from Host, Apr 2024
Hello Willard, We’re so grateful that you took the time to share your feedback with us. It’s our pleasure to serve customers like you. Have a wonderful day!Aloha.
Friendly, Patient, and he...
Janel_J, Mar 2024
Friendly, Patient, and he answered all of are questions. Nice small group tour. We never felt in a hurry through the sites. I would recommend.
Response from Host, Mar 2024
thanks so much Janel for your 5-star review we appreciate your comments!
Well worth the time
Lisa_M, Mar 2024
Ellen was an excellent, well-informed guide who shared extensively about Hilo and the Big Island. I learned so much about volcanoes by going through a lava tube, walking on lava fields, feeling the heat of steam vents, viewing the caldera from above, and spending time in the Volcanoes National Park Visitors Center. The beautiful bird song on the rainforest walk to the lava tube was memorable. Rainbow Falls was impressionable. The walk up the ridge near the falls and into the banyan tree grove was worth the effort. I appreciated that all of this, and more, was covered in a small group, making it easier to ask questions.
Response from Host, Mar 2024
Thanks Lisa for your great review of our tour. We’ve passed your kind words on to our team. The C Big Island team is passionate about providing all of our customers with outstanding experiences and they’ll be delighted to know they hit the mark with you. Thank you so much for your 5 star review and your time. ALOHA
Great tour
Lloyd_h, Mar 2024
Ellen was very informative. A pleasure to be in the company with. Tour was fantastic would highly recommed great day out many thanks
Response from Host, Mar 2024
Thank you for sharing your experience we love to hear that it was fantastic it has been our absolute pleasure to serve you, and we hope that you return soon. ALOHA
Fun day in Hilo
Theresa_M, Feb 2024
Great tour guide, explained things thoroughly and educated us on many Hawaiian things! Took us to several places to see Black Lava.
Response from Host, Mar 2024
Dear Theresa thank you for sharing your experience with us. We love to hear that hope to see you back soon. ALOHA!
Views of the lava flows...
Terri_O, Feb 2024
Views of the lava flows from the 2018 eruptions were overwhelming. The lava tubes and lava trees were amazing. This was a very volcano oriented tour if you hadn't guessed, and everything was up close and personal.
Response from Host, Feb 2024
Thanks for the 5 stars Terri, your review is a great way to let us know we’re on track for making our customers smile! We appreciate you for taking the time to give your feedback and look forward to serving you again in the future.
A Great Day in Hilo!
Rick_B, Feb 2024
Ellen the tour guide was amazing! The Lava tube was great. The Volcano National Park was spectacular. Go all the way to the. Crater for the view. Truly enjoyed it. A Great Day in Hilo. Rick B
Response from Host, Feb 2024
We have passed on your awesome review to the team. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
Lava fields and waterfalls
Margret_B, Feb 2024
Tour guide was very knowledgeable, especially re: after-effects of 2018 volcano. Lava fields were fascinating. Lunch stop was well-planned. That being said, the tour could have been MUCH shorter. There was a lot of "driving around" without too many points of interest.
Response from Host, Feb 2024
ummmm.... you realize the Big island is called the Big Island because it's big. We understand most customers are here for only one day so we try to include all highlights in a manageable time. It really impossible to do this tour in less time. ALoha for the review
Fun exploration of Hilo
Karen_Z, Feb 2024
Awesome look at Hilo with lots of information on the recent lava flow. Enjoyed Karen’s narration…. selecting lunch from the market store was helpful… wish we had a nice place to sit and enjoy it….loved exploring the caves and lava tubes!
Response from Host, Feb 2024
Thanks for the 5 stars Karen, your review is a great way to let us know we’re on track for making our customers smile! We appreciate you taking the time to give your feedback and look forward to serving you again in the future.
Excellent tour
sharonecker, Feb 2024
Excellent tour. Highly recommend. Very knowledgeable and personable tour guide. One of the best ever.
Response from Host, Feb 2024
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave us a 5-star rating – it's much appreciated
Not for seniors!
Elizabeth_S, Jan 2024
We took this tour with a group of 10, all of these folks were between the ages of 61-83. This is not a good tour for people with ANY type of challenges in getting around. The lava tube part of the excursion was very steep and treacherous. Only one of our group actually toured the lava tube. About 5 stayed at the top, 4 went down, 1 fell and came right back up. The guide was obviously very passionate about the volcanoes and what the lava had done to the community. It was over kill to drive through neighborhoods (plural) where the damage occurred. She was very nice - and knowledgeable about the area - just, again, too passionate about the damage to host a tour. When I booked this tour, I didn't see any guidance about the "adventuresome" aspect of the tour. If I had seen anything like that - I would have purchased a different tour. Others on our cruise ship went to a lava tube where they could walk in and through - rather than having to go down many steep steps!
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Aloha Elizabeth, yes this tour is advertised as a moderate tour ( not easy ) It also states the steep steps getting into the lava tube and uneven terrain.
Ellen was amazing
Dixie_C, Jan 2024
She is the best guide I have had. She deserves a raise. Huge knowledge base and positive attitude. You are lucky to have her.
Response from Host, Feb 2024
Thank you for your nice words! We’re delighted to hear you enjoyed Ellens service. Providing exceptional experiences is our top priority, and your feedback motivates us to keep exceeding expectations. Thank you!
Perfect Tour for Hilo
Keeley, Jan 2024
Ellen was an AMAZING guide. She was incredibly knowledgeable and spoke from many personal experiences. She kept us on schedule, while showing us as much as possible. Would do it again!!
Response from Host, Feb 2024
Keeley your review means a lot to us. We always strive to give our best to help our clients and I’m glad that we exceeded your expectations. We hope to see you again soon!
Not What I Thought
Michael_R, Jan 2024
I thought from the description we would be going to see the volcano. That was not the case. However, the sites we did see were nice. Also, when we got to the sites were sent to wonder on our own for the allotted time.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Aloha Michael, you did go to the Volcano. You went to Kilauea volcano.....sorry just a little confused about your review.
Great guide
KenBeck_L, Jan 2024
Our driver/guide is a Filipino decent. His grandfather came to Hawaii from the Philippines. He has excellent knowledge of the local area. If you stay longer than a day, one thing I recommend is ask him to take you out for a shore line fishing. He is a great fisher.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us and so happy you enjoyed your guide/driver sounds like you had a lot of fun!! hope to see you again.
Far exceeded expectation
Cyrus_T, Jan 2024
We arrived on a beautiful sunny day in a holiday weekend in Hilo on a cruise ship and Ellen from Discover Paradise Adventures was at the terminal to meet us and to check us in. The process was quick and smooth. Given the nice weather and holiday, Ellen offered us, without additional charge and with extra fuel cost to her, an alternative choice of itinerary that all of us on the tour were happy to accept. Throughout the tour, Ellen shared with us her considerable local knowledge from her decades of experience living and working there and pointed out interesting things to see. The shuttle van was clean and comfortable. There are more positive things I can say but I don't want to raise people's expectations to unrealistic levels. If she only performed 80% of what she did for us on this tour, I would still come back for more.
Response from Host, Jan 2024
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a 5 star rating - it's much appreciated!

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