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“Save your money”
Review of Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea
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US$203.13*
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Hawaii Birdwatching Small Group Adventure Tour
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US$217.71*
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Kilauea Hike and Glow from Kona
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US$756.00*
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Volcano by Air and Land: Helicopter, Coach, and Walking Tour of Volcanoes...
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Reviewed 26 January 2014

We wasted time and money. Drive to the visitor center in your own car and save the $168 per person. The tour groups are a rip off. They will tell you that a light dinner is served. Our light dinner included vegetable lasagna in a tin container, and a brownie!!! No drinks were provided. You will be eating in the van or standing up!!
Rest room are dirty, and the lines at the visitor center are extremely long.
We went with the Mauna Kea tour company!! Trust me, spend your money on a nice dinner and watch the sunset somewhere else.

8  Thank dsg55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (239)
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87 - 91 of 239 reviews

Reviewed 9 January 2014

On the Mauna Kea You feel on top of the world or maybe... on another world! You need just a 4x4 car and a heavy jacket (even in summertime) is a very windy place. Sunset is so romantic (i add some pics), but you have to come down from the mountain quickly as the sun fell, there are no streetlights on the way! I suggest a few breaks during the climb to avoid headaches and don't forget to bring a bottle of water. In the middle of the climb there is a center that provides information (the Visitor Information Station - V.I.S.). Going down in the evening, in the same center, some astronomers organize a free observatory for tourists. I saw for the first time Saturn with its rings .. was very exciting! A last tip: If You don't have a 4x4 car don't try to climb.. Ask for a hitchhiking to some other visitor at the Visitor Information Station.. It's safer and You can find new friends!

5  Thank Matteo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2013 via mobile

We went for a night of stargazing and arrived quicker than we thought. We did have long pants and multiple layers but it was still cold, the kids couldn't take it outside for very long. We meant to bring our beach towels to use as blankets, but forgot them. The visitors center does offer hot water, and sells packages of hot chocolate and cup of noodles. They also sell other treats.

The staff had telescopes set up for the public to view and was very good overall. They were great with kids and also had stepstools set up next to the telescopes . They also pointed out constellations. There was a movie inside where some of us took refuge from the cold. It wasn't warm but it wasn't as cold. There are restrooms but they are very cold too. Frequent car headlights did affect the viewing, try not to look at the lights.

2  Thank Hansonfam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2013

We did not go to the summit due to the fact that we had a rental car AND we had a 4 year old child. They do not cover rentals to go past the visitor's center and the visitor's center doesn't recommend anyone under the age of 16 to go past the visitor's center. Having said that, people can get altitude sickness at the visitor's center as well so keep a close eye on all the people you travel with.
It is worth the drive just to go to the visitor's center. We went at night to look through the telescopes and it was amazing. Everyone in my group loved it - ages 4, 28, 58, 70. You do have to have a little patience and wait in line though to look through the telescopes. They do little presentations to explain the solar system as well. We could clearly see Venus without a telescope which I wasn't even aware was possible!
The visitor's center offers cups and hot water, so you can walk inside and buy a cheap packet of hot chocolate which is nice since it is slightly chilly up there. The visitor's center has very good prices and has food and packaged snacks. I lived in Hawaii 4 months and I think this was my favorite thing I did the whole time.

4  Thank ArenJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

Just simply amazing. If you have any time at all on the big island, you need to go. If possible, plan for a moonless night. Cloud cover seemed not to matter, as at the very top, you're above the clouds!

3  Thank Ryan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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