Seeing an active volcano is worthy of any bucket list; however, actually having the chance to see an erupting volcano is pretty close to slim-to-none, unless you’re incredibly lucky–and in some kind of danger–or, you travel to the Big Island to visit the world’s longest erupting volcano known as, Kilauea. Guys, it’s been erupting since 1983!
We figured that the best way to see the volcano was on a helicopter tour, and once again, Safari Helicopters didn’t let us down. For $167 we were treated to a 50-minute helicopter tour over the Volcano, the active lava flows, and the cascading waterfalls around Hilo. Not only did we thoroughly enjoy the friendly service of Safari Helicopters but the competitive pricing seals the deal, Every.Single.Time. (PS…If you book online you get the biggest discount).
As we pulled up outside the Hilo International Airport, the sky was cloudy and the intermittent rain came down in sheets. I kept my hopes high that the rain would stop because I knew this was our only day over in Hilo–thus our only chance to see the lava. We were told at check-in that if the rain didn’t let up the tour would have to be cancelled because the airport would not allow any aircraft to depart when visibility was so low. We kept our fingers crossed while we were getting weighed and while we went over the safety briefing, and then we waited, and waited, and waited. Oh boy, did we wait. However, as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait…” because after about 30 minutes we were finally given the go-ahead that it was time to board the helicopter. The tour was on!!
We flew over the Hershey owned macadamia nut farms, the cute town of Hilo, and were off towards Volcanoes National Park. Soon, lush green fields gave way to dark, smooth lava rock, and the steam rising up from the Earth below created an eerie atmosphere. Things were about to get very interesting.
The first glimpse of lava took my breath away. The contrast of the bright orange-red glowing lava slowing oozing over the hard black rock was intense and incredibly exciting. As we flew over the Pu’u O’o vent we were able to see the bubbling hot tub of liquid rock constantly sputtering and spewing below.
While the narrative wasn’t quite as interesting as the narrative on the Kauai helicopter tour, the dramatic nature of Mother Earth recreating herself was beyond impressive and definitely worthy of its spot on my bucket list. The whole experience was incredible.
Have you been to Kilauea?