Hilo Mauna Kea Excursion Reviews

The massive and ancient Mauna Kea in Hilo marks the tallest point in Hawaii.
Lava flows tell the story of how this island has grown.
Lava flows tell the story of how this island has grown.
Lava flows tell the story of how this island has grown. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Talk about going to the top of the world!
Talk about going to the top of the world! This was my favorite excursion of all the ones we did. This was a small group and the two tours guides took such good care of us. Explained the history of the huge volcanic mountain we were ... Read More
Talk about going to the top of the world! This was my favorite excursion of all the ones we did. This was a small group and the two tours guides took such good care of us. Explained the history of the huge volcanic mountain we were about to go to the top of. We first stopped at rainbow fails, beautiful, and yes, there were rainbows! Next we drove up to the 9000 foot mark to the visitors city of Mauna Kea and got a great introduction of the history of this highest point in the state of Hawaii. Now for the best part, they locked in the four wheel drive, and we went up the mountain to nearly 14000ft! Amazing how cold it was up there when it was near 90 down near sea level. At the top of Hawaii, the view was amazing.....we were also lucky enough to get inside of the many telescopes near the summit and got a tour inside. This was a amazing excursion and well worth the price! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Shore Excursion Provider: Carnival Cruise Line
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
This was a very very good tour.
This was a very very good tour. Could have been better had we been able to hike to the summit but was prohibited from doing so due to recent agreement with locals. Going inside observatory was an OK substitute. Despite cloudy ... Read More
This was a very very good tour. Could have been better had we been able to hike to the summit but was prohibited from doing so due to recent agreement with locals. Going inside observatory was an OK substitute. Despite cloudy conditions, was able to see Maui in the distance. It was still a very very good tour! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
This was the highlight of my trip.
This was the highlight of my trip. Mauna Kea was breathtaking. Standing 14,000 feet above sea level and looking out at patches of snow on the mountain and the clouds below was amazing. I captured some awesome shots! The tour guide, Ikaika, ... Read More
This was the highlight of my trip. Mauna Kea was breathtaking. Standing 14,000 feet above sea level and looking out at patches of snow on the mountain and the clouds below was amazing. I captured some awesome shots! The tour guide, Ikaika, was insightful; gave a lot of information about Hilo, Hawaiian culture and Mauna Kea. The reason I didn't rate this excursion "excellent" is due to the unexpected shopping stop. On the way back to the cruise ship we stopped at a Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company store and coffee shop. I would have preferred to skip this and spend more time on the mountain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Awesome views from the top of the mountain.
Awesome views from the top of the mountain. Being 2.5 miles above sea level and not in an airplane is pretty cool.
Awesome views from the top of the mountain. Being 2.5 miles above sea level and not in an airplane is pretty cool. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
I had booked to go on a tour to the summit if Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet.
I had booked to go on a tour to the summit if Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet. My ticket was waiting for me in my cabin when I boarded. There were two groups of eight booked for this tour and we went in two minibuses operated by Arnott's ... Read More
I had booked to go on a tour to the summit if Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet. My ticket was waiting for me in my cabin when I boarded. There were two groups of eight booked for this tour and we went in two minibuses operated by Arnott's Tours. My guide was Al and there is nothing he doesn't know about Hilo. After driving through the main business area of the town (which has surprisingly many buildings from the 1940s and 1950s considering that Hilo has had two big tsunamis since 1945) we had a stop to see a waterfall, which looked just like a waterfall, not particularly high or wide or fast flowing. There was a fellow making hats and bowls from palm fronds; I would have bought a hat but didn't, knowing that it was unlikely to get past quarantine inspection back in Sydney. We all clambered back onto the bus and headed to the interior of the island. After about 25 miles we stopped at an altitude of 5000 feet near a very large lava flow dating from an eruption in 1984 from Mauna Loa, the volcano adjacent to Mauna Kea. Al the guide said that this type of lava is known as Ah-Ah lava; as that is what you say if you step on it before it has cooled. We then drove in about 20 minutes up to 9000 feet to a visitor centre/shop where we waited an hour so that we could acclimatize to the altitude and watch some videos on astronomical telescopes (of which there are many on the summit of Mauna Kea). The remaining 8 miles to the summit is half dirt road and half asphalt. The dirt road is very heavily rutted and the worst road I can ever remember driving on. When we got on the bus in Hilo and started our drive I noticed that the bus had many rattles; after being on the dirt portion of the road I know why. The road is left as dirt because in the winter black ice will form on asphalt but not on dirt and because the road is so steep it would be even more dangerous than it is currently is if it were covered with black ice. The road is supposed to be graded on a regular basis; we saw the grader but no driver. We drove above the clouds and all vegetation disappeared; the landscape looked like the photos sent back from the latest mission to Mars. Al the guide told us that he had oxygen to assist people who were having breathing difficulties, hallucinations, heart palpitations and so on. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go to a lower altitude quickly and really serious altitude sickness can be fatal. When we got out at the top I felt a bit light headed but a quick self-diagnosis confirmed all vital signs within acceptable limits. The view from the top was breath taking, literally. We were above most of the clouds and could see all the way to the island of Maui, which is about 80km away. We went into the Keck Observatory; or more correctly one of the two building housing matching telescopes. Each telescope has many large hexagonal mirrors and the mirrors are kept in alignment by tiny electric motors that flex the mirror surfaces so that all the hexagons function as if they were one very large mirror. After spending about 30 minutes at the summit, where it is warm in the sun but the wind was freezing, we drove back down to the visitor centre and had sandwiches for lunch. We then drove back to Hilo and the ship. If we hadn't stopped for lunch then from nearly 14,000 feet above sea level to sea level could have been driven in about an hour. It was still raining in Hilo when we got back. I can very highly recommend this tour. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
This is a must do trip when you visit Hawaii.
This is a must do trip when you visit Hawaii. Great tour company and a great tour guide. We would do this trip again.
This is a must do trip when you visit Hawaii. Great tour company and a great tour guide. We would do this trip again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Shore Excursion Provider: Carnival Cruise Line