Mauka Makai Adventures {Big Island-Hawaii}

Mauka Makai Adventures {Big Island-Hawaii}

Post Last Modified – January 23, 2022

Tour The Big Island of Hawaii With Mauka Makai Adventures

On our very first visit to the Big Island of Hawaii a few seasons ago, my wife and I had the distinct pleasure of taking a small group tour with Mauka Makai Adventures, and what a great day it was!

Of the many tours this company offers, we decided on the Full Day 🌋 Volcano Adventure Tour taking us to – 🏞 Volcanoes National Park.

This was a perfect tour for us while spending a few days on the Hilo side of this enormously huge 🏝 Island of Hawaii.

Full Day Volcano Tour Highlights

Mauka Makai Adventures Mini Van

This is a full 7 to 8 hour day tour, which includes a healthy picnic lunch and is perfect for those who have the entire day to spend on this side of the island.

If you’re arriving by 🛳 Cruise Ship, you will be picked up and dropped off right at the Pier for this tour. Others like ourselves, will meet at a specified location in Hilo Town.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Poster

This fully guided tour takes you to and includes admission to Hawaii 🌋 Volcanoes National Park.

When in the Park, you’ll get a chance to view active volcano fields, craters and lava tubes.

After being picked up by Josh (your host and owner) in a comfortable air conditioned 🚌 van, we then made our way from Hilo Town out to the National Park.

The drive takes about an hours time, with a brief ☕ coffee and 🚻 potty stop along the way.

Volcanoes National Park

After arriving in the Park, our first stop was at a spectacular view point!

From this vantage point, we we could view the huge 🌋 Kilauea Caldera Volcanic Crater and active steam vents. The molten lava is still flowing, with volcanic activity taking place in the distance.

An incredible site to see!

Mauka Makai Adventures Tour Guide

From there, it was on to a part of the crater rim, where we were able to 🚶 walk a short distance on a marked pathway.

We first started 🚶 walking in between a very lush and 🌴 tropical rain forest, making our way along the crater rim to one of the ancient lava tubes.

It was absolutely incredible to see and actually walk inside one of the massive lava tubes, created by mother nature.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Lava Tube

We then pressed on to a section in the Park, where we could take a walk on and view solidified lava fields created from past volcanic activity.

What a site to witness first hand the immense destruction that is caused by volcanic activity, and which still continues to this day on the island.

It was like witnessing Armageddon!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Molten Lava Field

Even though it was a cold and 🌧 wet day during our time spent in the National Park up at an elevation of 4000 feet, Josh had ☂ umbrellas at the ready!

We continued on as if it was sunny and 80 degrees, never missing a beat

His knowledge about the history of this area and what is still occurring today was exceptional!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Solidified Lava Fields

Although misty, cold and rainy during our time in this area of the Park, it certainly didn’t take away from the incredible experience visiting this site.

As you made your way walking among these molten lava fields and actually experiencing the force of mother nature, was amazing!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Lava Craters

Even among all this destruction around you, new growth appears everywhere, with new life forming out of the soft sandy lava fields.


The Akatsuka Orchid Gardens

Akatsua Orchid Gardens Hawaii

Because of the wet weather 4000 feet above sea level, instead of a picnic lunch outdoors, we made our way to the beautiful 🌼 Akatsuka Orchid Gardens Nursery on the Island.

Here, enjoyed our box lunch, with plenty of time to walk among the many beautiful varieties of 🌼 Orchids in the nursery.

Big Island Candies

Big Island Candies

After lunch and with the ☀ sun shining back down below, we drove back to Hilo Town for a brief stop at a local favorite and long standing business called – 🍫 Big Island Candies.

Here, we were given a chance to sample and view mouth watering chocolates, signature shortbread cookies and more!

All their goods are local, and you can actually observe them all being made in front of you through the large viewing windows.

This is a great opportunity to purchase locally made 🍫 chocolates, 🍪 cookies and ☕ coffee, before heading back to your ship or elsewhere.

Majestic Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Lookout Hilo

It was then on to view spectacular 🌈 Rainbow Falls located right in Hilo.

Because of the recent heavy rains, the 🌊 Falls were rushing at full force, making for amazing viewing!

These 80 foot Falls magically create 🌈 Rainbows against the sun at times, thus the name Rainbow!

We actually saw one appear with the sun shining through the mist of the Falls during our visit!

Rainbow Falls Hilo

A very easy stroll up from the Falls and definitely worth checking out, you will find one of the largest Banyan Trees you will ever see on the Island!

It’s amazing how they just branch out and keep growing and growing.

Rainbow Falls Lookout Hilo Hawaii

Black Sand Beach and Turtles

Black Sand Beach Hilo Hawaii

For our last stop of the day, we made our way to the shoreline in downtown Hilo, stopping at a beautiful black sand beach park.

A very picturesque spot to view the Hawaiian coastline, take some 📸 pictures and watch the 🐢 green sea turtles sunning on the rocks.

What a great way to finish this outstanding full day tour on this part of the Big Island of Hawaii!

Green Sea Turtles Hilo Hawaii

Ive said it time and time again in our travels, that taking a small group personalized tour far outweighs that of your typical crowded and restricted large 🚍 bus tour.

In many cases, the extra cost is minimal and worth every penny!

Our day spent with owner and guide Josh along with the others in this small group mini-bus tour, was one of the best tours that we have ever experienced in all our travels around the globe.

Josh loves to talk, and is passionate about his birthplace and home of Hawaii.

Along with his business partner and wife Jill, they are deeply concerned about the environment, and very knowledgeable about the history of the Hawaiian Islands and its people.

His attention to detail along with his bubbly personality, makes him the ideal professional tour guide!

Mauka Makai Adventures Owner

What I really enjoyed, was that Josh wore a microphone headset while driving, to ensure those sitting in the back of the mini van, could easily hear what he had to say throughout the duration of the tour.

Something we had never experienced before on a smaller mini-bus tour, and was excellent!

We had a wonderful day despite some of the periods of cold and rain. This is a tour I would highly recommend to those planning a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii.


Be prepared for increment weather on this tour. It may be sunny and warm down below, but the weather changes fast when heading up to the National Park – 4000 feet up!

Mauka Makai Adventures – Personalized Tours Offered

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There are a number of personalized tours available to choose on either side of the island with Mauka Makai Adventures. They offer;

Volcano – Lava – Historic Kona – Hawaii Island – Volcano Zipline – Hamakua Coast – Puna – Kohala Tours

Many of their tours are specifically designed and catered to those arriving for the day by Cruise Ship. 🚢

This Volcano Tour is perfect for those who are arriving by ship to the Hilo side of Hawaii, and have the day to spend touring the volcano fields and attractions in and around the city of Hilo.


We radiate the aloha spirit and are eager to share with you much about the history, culture and environment of Hawaii Island.


All tour rates include transportation, applicable entry fees to National and State parks, snacks and bottled water. Lunch is also provided for this Volcano Adventure Tour.

For more detailed information on their tours, pricing and much more, I have listed their official website below for your convenience.
Mauka Makai Adventures Banner

🚌   Mauka Makai Adventures

Final Thoughts Banner

One final note for those curious what – Mauka Makai in Hawaiian refers to.

Mauka (mow-kah) means on the mountain side of the road in the context of directions.

Makai (mah-kigh) means on the ocean side of the road in the context of directions.


I’ve also listed the Official Hawaii Tourism Authority link below to their website page on 🏝 The Big Island of Hawaii for your convenience.

It’s filled with excellent information on everything this beautiful 🌴 Hawaiian Island has to offer.

Go Hawaii Logo

✈    Hawaii Tourism Authority – The Big Island


Safe and Healthy Travels!

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at

Although our Tour was in collaboration with Mauka Makai Adventures, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal experience only.
✨   Did You Know

“Hawaii Volcanoes National Park On The Big Island, Is One Of The World’s Most Active Volcanoes.”


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