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““Marylou is a great tour guide/host for this amazing trip””

Marylou's Big Island Guided Tours - Private Tours
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Keaau
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Nokomis, Florida
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
““Marylou is a great tour guide/host for this amazing trip””
Reviewed 10 May 2014

Having 3 in our party, along with 1 other couple was the way to see the island....we all kind of decided amongst ourselves on what we wanted to see on our 7 hr tour......then it's Marylou's "job" to show you your requests; and she did not disappoint We saw a very nice waterfall.....then we went to the volcano....then Turtles sunning on the rocks..... then on to a macadamia nut factory .......and more )
Marylou is so personable, along with her vast knowledge of the Hawaiian Islands makes for a memorable trip. If you want to see the island without a busload of people, and more than likely pay less than what the cruise ship would charge you.......Marylou and her husband Ken are the route to go. Between the prompt replies to emails, to the nice little gift at the end, I cannot say enough good things about these people.......if you want to see the island properly......this is the ticket !

Visited March 2014
Thank Dick G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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166 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Tonopah, Nevada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Big Island fun...small town hospitality!”
Reviewed 24 April 2014

I booked this tour online for 6 of us, liking the idea of a small van being used for our personalized tour. The booking process was very easy, and I loved not having to pay a deposit. Ken was waiting for us at the cruise ship dock, as promised. I was initially disappointed when we met Ken, as he explained the plans had changed and there would be another 5 joining us in a bigger van. I did appreciate the reason he provided, that there was a family emergency that required his wife to be gone, and he didn't want to leave the other family without a tour available. It just could have easily been us with no tour as planned! Anyways, my fears were misplaced. The family that joined us was awesome, and the van that Ken had rented was very comfortable and easy for all of us to get in and out of. The tour itself was very extensive, ranging from the Volcano National Park, to an orchid farm, several waterfalls, and a stop at the end of the tour in downtown Hilo at the Farmer's Market and for Hawaii shave ice. Ken was full of information about all the areas we visited, and was able to answer all our questions regarding life on the islands. He purchased some different fruits for us to try - one I don't remember the name of but was pretty interesting, and the other was called rambutan, which was very good. And at the end of the tour he presented each of us with a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I liked how Ken took care to be sure we all had a great tour, and I would book another tour with him or his wife again.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank julie3fan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
56 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2014

You have to book time with Ken. He's great! No, he's awesome! He took us where ever we wanted to go. A book of knowlege. Very friendly.

Visited March 2014
Thank 2ayearOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great Tour”
Reviewed 20 March 2014

Marylou picked us up at Hilo Airport and took us for a private tour of Hilo and the Volcano Park. She is very knowledgable and a fun tour guide. Absolutely recommend this tour. Internet booking was easy, thanks to Ken's assistance and all went very smoothly. Sorry we did not have more time to spend, but there will definitely be a next time for us. Kath and Richard from Australia

Visited March 2014
Thank Kathy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia, Usa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Marylou's Big Island Guided Tour - EXCEPTIONAL MUST-DO!”
Reviewed 23 February 2014

My husband and I were staying on the Kona side of the Big Island for our honeymoon. Instead of taking our rental car and spending 2-3 days exploring the volcanoes and the Hilo side of the island, we preferred having a guide show us around all of the "hot-spots". Based on reviews, we went with Marylou's Big Island Guided Tours and it was by far the best day we had on the Big Island and the best tour we have ever been on.

Ken Smet was our tour guide for the day and he toured us around the whole island for 14 hours! We started the day at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and saw the Kilauea crater, Jaggar Museum, steam vents, Iki crater, and Thurston Lava Tube. Ken took the time to explain the chemistry of the volcanoes, such as the poisonous SO2 gas emitting from the Kilauea crater and Madame Pele, the goddess of the volcanoes. Then we went to Volcano's Lava Rock Cafe for lunch where Ken recommended the Loco Moco, a popular local Hawaiian dish with rice topped with gravy, a beef patty, and over-easy eggs. Next we visited the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens where we tried some local Poha ice cream and Ken explained that one type of orchid costs $20K! Our next stop was the Hilo Coffee Mill where we learned about the Hawaii state Kakui trees, had a coffee and macadamia nut tasting, and did some shopping. We went on to visit the Mauna Loa Macadamia Farm where we did some more nut tasting and gift shipping. Mauna Loa also had a nice sandwich and ice cream shop, as well as a fine-jewelry oyster section. Next, we went to Richardson's Black sand beaches at a local park and spotted some awesome sea turtles. Our next stop was Akaka Falls, which was the most breath-taking and best part of our whole day. It was slightly misty and Ken offered us ponchos which was very nice of him. Then, on our way to Waipio Valley, we stopped by a small local fruit stand and sampled many fruits. We loved the taro chips and tried the Rambutan, a local fruit similar to lychee. Ken pointed out other foods, such as Monstera, which is a local food similar to corn. We ended the tour at Waipio Valley which was a breath-taking view of the valley and ocean. Afterwards, we tasted malsadas, a local favorite similar to a beignet and doughnut filled with bavarian cream or different jellies.

Ken was so wonderful! He explained all of the local culture, interest points, and foods to us and took us to eat at local stops. He also pick us up at 7AM and did a full 14 hours touring us around the whole perimeter of the island for a "circle tour". He offered us food, clothing, or anything to make our trip more comfortable. He even offered to take us to the grocery store before dropping us off at our hotel in case we needed some food or toiletries! He also gave us tips about where to go and what to see on the Kona side of the island where we were staying.

This was the best customized tour I have ever been on, and Ken did not charge us for the tour until the very end to ensure that we were satisfied. Although customized tours can be pricier than "set" tours with set stops and more people, we thought it was worth every penny and much more affordable and stress-free than renting a car and trying to do it by ourselves for 2 or more days. If you are coming to the Big Island, this is a must-do, especially if you only have a few days to explore. You won't be disappointed--HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

Visited February 2014
Thank Vickie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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