Big Island of Hawaii

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

Badge of ExcellenceBig Island of Hawaii, USA
Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO
  • 7 hours
  • Pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana lava caves, then explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
  • Spectacular solar and astronomical sightings through high-powered telescopes
  • Delicious picnic dinner with a view of Kaumana Caves
  • Learn more about astronomy from expert guides
  • Hassle-free hotel pickup and round-trip transport

What's Included

  • Beverages
  • Bottled water
  • Driver/guide
  • Professional guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Coffee and/or Tea
  • Dinner
  • Gratuities

Meeting and Pickup

You can head directly to the meeting point, or request pickup

Meeting point

  • 93 Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Pickup points

Select a pickup point

Start time

03:30 PM

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

Pickup details

We pick up at all major hotels, please contact us at 808-964-1000 for more information.

What To Expect

Rainbow Falls

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Boiling Pots

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kaumana Caves Park

1 hour Admission Ticket Included

Mauna Kea

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Saddle Road

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 26 travelers
Operated by Kapohokine Adventures

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

Filter by:

Q:I am a vegetarian / I have allergies / I am gluten or lacto free.

A:Just let us know any dietary requirements in the 'Special Requirements' box in the Traveler Details section during checkout. Or you can let us know after booking by visiting 'Manage my Booking' and emailing us there.

Jul 2019

Q:What is the pick up location?

A:We offer pick ups from most hotels. Let us know where you are staying in the 'Special Requirements' box in the Traveler Details section during checkout. Or you can let us know after booking by visiting 'Manage my Booking' and emailing us there.

Jul 2019

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Everything about this tour was done in a professional manner---communications, tour bus, picnic meal selections, parkas, telescope equipment. But the experience was made even better by Nate, the tour guide. He is so knowledgeable about the Hawaiian culture and history and the sites we visited. His passion was contagious!


81 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 81 reviews
Don't book with this company but ask for a referral to Rich.
Heather_K, Mar 2024
Our guide Rich recovered the tour. Less than 24 hours before the tour the company called to cancel, because only my daughter and I had booked. I had to book a third booking myself to even get the tour. When we arrived we realized the tour doesn't actually go to the observatory. It stops at a rest stop along the "Saddle" road and you observe thru a telescope. Our guide was extremely well educated and knew the situation the company put us in with misleading ads and forcing us to overpay at the last minute. He went out of his way to help us appreciate Hilo anyway. I can't recommend this company, but if you can find Rich he's is one of the best guides I've ever used.
Our tour guide was so...
Kim_D, Feb 2024
Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and really made the experience wonderful. We really enjoyed making some stops before we went star gazing.
A tour that offers more than you expect!
Terri_G, Jan 2024
Everything about this tour was done in a professional manner---communications, tour bus, picnic meal selections, parkas, telescope equipment. But the experience was made even better by Nate, the tour guide. He is so knowledgeable about the Hawaiian culture and history and the sites we visited. His passion was contagious!
Best tour we've ever taken!!
Janet_F, Jan 2024
Henry was the best!!!! And very knowledgeable. Loved the history lessons of Hawaii and the plant life. A little disappointed about kaumauna cave, but the nature walk was good sub. Thank you doesn't really say it all.
Amazing!!!! Totally worth every penny.
Trudy_H, Jan 2024
This was an amazing experience. Rich, our tour guide, was so knowledgeable and fun he really brought everything to life. We have 19 year old twins who loved it, and Rich was able to engage with the adults and younger kids too.
Good experience
Karen_Z, Dec 2023
Pretty good and well organized route and tour. The night sky is less impressive than what I saw on social media, but still pretty good. Our dinner order got mixed up - I spent some time collecting our group’s order and communicating with admin, but we ended up with all ham sandwiches.
Amazing tour
HW_H, Dec 2023
This tour is amazing ! The guide was very professional, and the hotel's pick up service was convenient. Not only have a stellar explorer, but also visited Rainbow Falls and other attractions. They provided a simple dinner and hot cocoa.
Nataliya_A, Dec 2023
We expected to go to the Observatory. Unfortunately, we were not notified that we are not going. The guide was mostly spoke about his own family and we did not learn much about anything. The BO from the guide was so bad that we were considering to turn around and get back to the hotel on our own. It was hard even to be in the same car with him. It was just a transportation service to the mountain where he set the telescope. It was cool to see a Jupiter ans Saturn. But for that you can get $500 telescope and see it at home. At least this is our impression.
Interesting, overrated, not recommended
Linda_M, Oct 2023
Nate was the best guide and shared his love, respect and vast knowledge well. He was energetic and articulate. The star gazing with him was fun. Disappointed not to get to Visitors center or truly dark night sky. The rest stop and standing on side of road with telescope was not the same as I imagined. I could have driven to each place myself. Nate made the trip valuable and adequate . I would not recommend the trip.
Sky lights up at night
Stephen_R, Aug 2023
Our tour was fantastic! The weather cooperated and we saw and learned so much. Nate kept us engaged and it was a great experience. The lava tube was unexpected and we enjoyed that almost as much as seeing the night sky come alive. Thank you to everyone who worked with us at the tour company. Recommended highly!
Not recommended
Andrea_M, Aug 2023
Bad experience, the tour was cancelled the evening before, because there weren't enough people in the group. We had to find another tour operator.
Fun night under the stars
Scott_F, Jul 2023
Sam was awesome. Very knowledgeable and fun guy to listen to. Watch your head when your going into the cave. Would highly recommend.
This was an awesome experience!
Bryan_R, Jan 2023
This was an awesome experience! I think astronomy is fascinating. The chance to look through a powerful telescope on Maunakea with a tour guide who could tell us about what we were seeing, answer questions, put things into context, etc. It was a highlight of my trip to the big island.
Love the tour!
Xinling_O, Dec 2022
This is a great tour! Our guide Rich is very passionate. We had learned so much about the space and stars. Rich had prepared everything you need, dinner, snacks, water and warm jackets, etc. only thing you need to do is wearing your close toe shoes then have fun!
Honeymooners Stargazing Paradise
ramsey_r, Dec 2022
We went into this tour from Hilo for the stargazing and were excited to find that we had a few other beautiful stops along the way! Our guide showed us Rainbow Falls, boiling pots, and Kaumana Caves which was my favorite! Our tour guide, Hunter, was very knowledgeable and accommodating. We had a beautiful night stars following the sunset. Hunter showed us planets and other celestial bodies using an 8" dome telescope. Things to note before going, this trip does not go up the Mauna kea summit since park rangers do not allow people to stay up there after. Additionally, make sure you eat a good meal before, though dinner is served it is a smaller portion. I would recommend this trip to anyone who visits Big Island. We covered a lot of highlights in a short amount of time.
Great Time!
Jack_B, Oct 2022
Nate was a great tour guide, he had a ton of local knowledge and he had many stories about the Hawaiian culture. Stargazing was a bucket list item and it did not disappoint.
Enjoyable tour
Jackie_D, Oct 2022
Rich was an excellent tour guide. He was chatty, friendly, and had a lot of good information about the island as well as the stars. We ran into a lot of low fog, which made it hard to see stars, but we were able to wait it out and see plenty eventually.
Good Time, Chatty and Knowledgeable Guide
Lydia_D, Aug 2022
We weren't sure when booking this excursion how it would go, but are really happy we did. Remember that Mauna Kea has some of the world's top observatories; this tour does NOT go to the top of Mauna Kea, but it's right at the foot of it that you get to look at the stars through a telescope. First off, some tips: KNOW WHAT THE LUNAR PHASE WILL BE! If you want to see the moon, make sure you're booking when the moon will be visible at night. If you want to see the stars, make sure the moon is NOT FULL when you'll be going. I think people who were disappointed didn't think about natural phenomenon like moon cycles and weather. That said, this is a TOUR. The guide will pick you up at a hotel and drive you to several popular tourist spots. If you aren't interested in a guided tour of some Hilo highlights, this may not be the right tour from you. After seeing Rainbow Falls (no, you CANNOT swim here, and no, there will NOT be a rainbow in the afternoon), you will go to the lava tube (really cool, but some steep stairs and wear shoes with good grip!). This is absolutely worth going to, and I liked that the guide had flashlights for everyone. After a few stops, you'll drive up Saddle Road to the valley between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa for a sandwich dinner. As the sky gets dark, you cross the road (in the van) to an open area to set up the telescope and see what is visible. Here are some additional tips: if you don't get a chance to see something, ask the guide to let you see it! They may not be counting how many eyes get to the telescope promptly. If you want to see something specific, ask for it! If you have a question, ask it! Don't be frustrated that the guide didn't show or tell you something you didn't ask about. That said, this is not a leisurly amble - it's a tour. You'll be on and off the tour van several times and see and hear lots of interesting things. I recommend this for anyone spending a little time Hilo side, especially early in your trip. You're likely to find out interesting tidbits about the island that you won't hear on other excursions, like snorkel or sunset tours. If you're not used to guided tours, this may feel unusual to you, but understanding that the guide is doing their best to show and tell you interesting things will help you get into the groove. Side note: we got to the hotel early and had drinks at Hula Hula and really enjoyed it. If you're looking for a place to eat or grab a drink before the tour, there and Hilo Bay Cafe are both good - though you will need reservations for HBC.
Good enough I guess
Sagar_D, Aug 2022
Our guide Bill was really great and knowledgeable. But it was super hot and they send a van without working AC. And then the guide wanted out time giving all the excuses for why it’s not fixed and hard to get auto repair shop to fix etc etc. This was close a $1000 excision for 4 and expected much better. Lunch was not great…seemed lunch was not prepared and they had to hurriedly slap some sandwiches together. And then we get to start gazing and hd to contend with both smoke from a forest fire that was burning since day before and that they should have known about. They do this tours for a living. Luckily, in the end it did not affect us but the guide was worried and let us know he wasn’t sure it was gong to work out. It didn’t give us a good feeling while eating to not know if the main reason we came in this trip was even going to happen. Guide needed to be more professional and just handle it with his office and not stress out the guests. Telex scope was also broken from a previous excursion thsy may have affected our ability to view stars but guide found a way to Jimmy a fix. Again, for paying almost $1000, that is not what I expect on this tour.
Your guide was so highly...
JEFF_C, May 2022
Your guide was so highly knowledgeable; and a delight! Thank you. A great investment of our time and money.

From $240.73

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

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