Nearly everyone dreams of going to Hawaii one day. They picture a paradise in the middle of jewel-toned seas, where volcanoes smoke like a pipe in the background with verdant tropical foliage in the foreground. They think of luaus and pig roasts, hula dances and Pacific Rim seafood. Specifically for the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona coffee, black sand beaches, and lava fields ribboned with scarlet rivulets from the heart of our planet.
However, what they don’t really think of is what to do when they get there. These amorphous ideas are great starting points and valid, but it’s important to know how to make those experiences happen. What a shame it would be for a vacationer to go to Hawaii only to realize that what they were looking to do was not possible on that island, that they don’t have a trusted guide or vendor to take them to the more remote sights on their bucket list, or find that the tour they want is fully booked up.
That’s why travel advisors work with tour operators like Amstar DMC (formerly known as Worldstar DMC in Hawaii) to package transfers, excursions, and customized outings for their customers. By bundling and pre-booking, they don’t need to worry about on-the-spot payments, not being able to budget for the experience they have their hearts set on, or finding out last minute that every seat is full. They also have the reassurance of knowing they’re going with a reputable company that will deliver or protect their financial investment … as will their travel advisor, a primary reason ALG Vacations® urges all vacationers to Plan with a Pro.
For the Big Island, the largest and youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, these are the tours that we recommend putting high up on your wish list.
You can’t visit the island with the most active volcanic activity and not chase after it! And waterfalls, too, to boot. A helicopter tour is perhaps one of the most special ways to do it; upgrading from the excursion’s standard A-Star to the larger Eco-Star might be the only way to top this offering.
This 50-minute flight starts from Hilo too the famous Circle of Fire, bringing the heat by bringing you to the still-active Kilauea volcano for a birds-eye view of its red depths along the path of its lava streams. The ride then cools off with aerial perspectives of hard-to-access, dramatic waterfalls that cut through the stunning rainforests of the island. Through it all, you’ll have aviation-grade noise-cancelling headphones for narration and two-way conversation with your guide and companion(s). But if you’re worried that chatting caused you to miss a moment, don’t be. DVD recordings of the flight will be available for purchase shortly after landing.
- Suitable for those 3 years of age or older, including seniors and people who are pregnant, provided they weigh no more than 250 pounds (for safety reasons)
- Hotel pickup is not available, so be sure to Plan with a Pro to find your best options for getting to the helipad
- The Eco-Star helicopter model is one of the most popular and safe tourist designs out there, offering more than 65 square feet of glass and individual seating that’s raised in the rear for optimal visibility
Same as you can’t go to the Big Island and miss a chance to see a volcano and floor that really is lava, you’d be remiss going to Hawaii and not taking a dip offshore in its incredible waters. This tour lets you do just that … but preferably, half an hour after enjoying a included tropical continental breakfast, which inclused bagels, muffins, croissants, frittatas, fruit, and of course, local Kona coffee.
That’s not the only meal that comes with the award-winning 4.5-hour catamaran cruise, though. A full lunch with meat and plant burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fresh Hawaiian pineapples, chips, and cookies is also served on board, which is a perfect restorative after a 2.5-hour stop to snorkel historic Kealakekua Bay … or just zip down the two 15-foot water slides repeatedly. Alcoholic drinks will also be available to purchase on the way back if you’d like to toast your experience and new friends.
- Talk to your travel advisor about the best way to get to Keauhou Bay, the cruise’s departure point
- While this adventure is open to children, those with child, and active seniors, those participating in the snorkeling portion should be in good physical condition
- Breakfast, lunch, non-alcoholic refreshments, equipment, instruction, and the Kealakekua State Park fee are all included, making this outing a bargain
To round off a list that started in the air then moved down to Earth’s surface, we’re closing subterranean. Or technically, submarine.
Live your own National Geographic special by taking a seat in a safe, comfortable, air-conditioned 48-passenger submarine that has been featured in exactly that capacity. You’ll go deep enough – 100 feet – to see some truly amazing sights and you slowly propel through a 25-acre natural coral reef and its inhabitants and neighboring visitors, but stay safely close enough to the water’s surface for a sunlight perspective and a quick exit from the world below. You’ll only be under the sea for 35 minutes; before and after, you’ll be basking in the sun and sea breeze on a ten-minute shuttle boat ride, which is included in your ticket price.
- Work with your travel advisor to plan a ride to the embarkation site; you have to check in half an hour prior to scheduled tour time at the ticket office at the Kailua-Kona Pier for briefing and prep
- There is no age restriction, but a height requirement of 36 inches (3 feet) does apply
- Passengers must be physically capable of ascending and descending a near-vertical ladder unassisted, so make sure that your mobility allows this range of movement
We know all of these options sound nothing short of amazing, and you can’t possibly do it all. (Or can you?) To help you make the most of your time and money, Ask a Travel Advisor which tours are right for you, your budget, your time in destination, and your schedule. They can help you narrow our dream tours to turn these snapshots into reality.
Find the best deals to the Big Island starting this week with our You Had Me at Aloha sale, offering great rates and added values for bookings made 7/7/23 to 8/3/23!