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“Awesome!!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kilauea Caverns of Fire

Kilauea Caverns of Fire
Attraction details
Ridgefield Park, New Jersey
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2014

Kilauea Caverns of Fire is a lava tube reached by climbing down an aluminum ladder that's probably 20 feet high. It is in its natural state, meaning no paved or cemented floor and no lighting. We opted for the three hour tour, but a one hour tour is also available. We each carried a flashlight and wore a hard hat that came in handy a few times. Steve was an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, excellent guide. He was very patient as we took our time climbing over the large rock falls that hid the tube floor in a few areas. He didn't seem to mind a bit as we took our time marveling at the patterns the lava left as it swirled and dripped while forming the tube so long ago. He pointed out where rocks had fallen from the tube's ceiling as the lava had cooled, leaving circular patterns on the floor. It was hard work, but well worth it, to see this lava tube that was so unlike any other we've been in. It was reportedly only about 63 degrees, but it was very humid and strenuous, which made it feel much hotter. If you are in fairly good shape and you love volcanoes, nature or geology, this is an absolute must do while you're on the Big Island! If you want something less strenuous, then the one hour tour is probably much easier.

Visited May 2014
4 Thank 2Sightseekers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Level Contributor
197 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
“Walk in the Path of a Lava Flow”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2014

If you want to see what a real lava tube looks like (not like the Thurston Lava Tube in Volcano National Park), call the Kilauea Caverns of Fire and book a tour. It is a small time operation with reservations set up through the guide and by appointment only. Make sure you get directions from Steve (the guide) as it is a little difficult to find the tour office (you travel over some poorly marked and maintained roads but nothing that requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle). Our group of 4 was all Steve needed to set up the tour but another couple called and Steve coordinated our tour schedule to start around 1-ish. When we got to the tour office, Steve met us with his dog, Cinnamon. He was feeding the Tilapia in the Koi Pond outside the office and his dog was swimming in the pond. There is a 1 hour walking tour and a a 3 hour adventure tour, which involves crawling and squeezing through tight spots. We opted for the 1 hour tour which cost $29.00. They take all major credit cards and you have to sign a waiver, typical of all such tours. There are bathroom facilities available with running water but no food or water available for purchase. After showing us a map of the entire lava tube, he pointed out the part that we would be exploring (the Kazumura Cave). This lava tube is the world's largest known lava tube. Steve then outfitted us with gloves (to protect the cave/environment, not us!), hard hats (to protect us) and flashlights. He also carried extra flashlights as back-ups in case one of ours went out. Although you can wear tennis shoes/sneakers I would recommend Keen's or hiking shoes/boots and definitely not open toed shoes, sandals or flip flops. You also might want a light jacket, not necessarily for the cold but for the dripping water from the ceiling.

Steve normally takes his dog with him when he takes tours down into the lava tubes but one of our group was not fond of dogs so he left him leashed up back at the office (Cinnamon barked and whimpered until we were out of sight). There is a rock stairway leading down into the lava tube with no railings so Steve had us take it slow entering the cave. He moved loose rocks and debris out of the way as he lead us down. Although it was about 80 degrees outside, it was a cool 68 degrees in the lava tube. Water was dripping from the ceiling as it flowed through the porous lava but the floor was not slippery or too wet as the water continued to flow out of the tube through the porous lava floor. Steve pointed out the many formations of stalactites and stalagmites as well as describing how the lava tubes formed and how to tell where multiple flows had come through the same tube over numerous eruptions. He also pointed out various lava/rock formations that looked like various objects, although they were just cooling lava formations. There was an area of the tube that required us to walk bent over but it was not too long and we had no problems navigating the tube even though we were all in our 60's.

We got to a part of the lava tube that had a tube within the tube and we were actually able to see both tubes due to the cracking in the floor of one of the tubes. Steve had us turn off our flashlights and we got to experience what TOTAL darkness looked like (or didn't look like). The lava tube was so wide we were able to walk back on the other side of the cave and see other formations as well as another chamber that lava had formed when it was flowing to the ocean. I explored another lava tube on Maui but it was a self guided tour and had signs to point out various sights. It was so much better having an actual guide as he was able to expand on his narrative and answer questions. You could tell that Steve truly enjoyed leading these tours and had an extensive knowledge of the lava tubes and their formation and history. Although this was a 1 hour tour, Steve was more than happy to spend whatever time we needed in the lava tube. If you have the time to travel to Kurtistown and want to truly see a lava tube up close and personal, this is the tour to take.

Visited April 2014
8 Thank Ronald Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mebane, North Carolina
Level Contributor
24 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The place to visit to see lava tube caves”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 March 2014 via mobile

We went to see these caves today and it was great. The one at the volcano national park is pretty tame and boring by comparison. This one is a little more of a challenge but well worth it. There are tons of different formations that are unique to these lava formations and Steve takes the time to explain them.
I took my 12 year old daughter and my wife and we were able to navigate without difficulty, but I will emphasize that you must be able to maneuver in the cave and be able to squat. It is not extreme but a little dexterity is required.
The only negative that I have is getting there. The GPS does not get you there exactly, and you do have to drive a short distance on an unpaved. My suggestion to them is a map on the web site and perhaps a little better sign in front. Other than that this was an excellent adventure and reasonably priced.

1 Thank alfadrvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Unforgettable tour!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2014

Me and my boyfriend (both age 27 and fit) took this tour with Steve and had an amazing time. We drove over to the tour HQ (if you call for directions, that makes it very easy) which had us going around some dirt-ish roads on the east side of the island. When we walked over to the tour house, we were the only ones there for the 1 hour tour which meant we got to take our time and really wander the lava tubes at our leisure. Getting around the tubes was very easy and very safe, as we had our helmets on and gloves to protect the rocks. I think you should only be concerned (as per that negative review) if you have some unsteadiness on your feet due to advanced age, inner ear problems, etc.

The formations inside the lava tube are amazing! Nothing at all like the Thurston lava tube, which ends up looking like a regular tunnel. There are upwellings of lava, lava stalactites ("soda straws"), places where you can see lava splashes from falling rocks - and this is all thanks to our guide, Steve, who really knows his way around this very extensive lava tube. He has a lot of geological knowledge of the formations, as well - so if you're curious, he can answer all of your questions thoughtfully. It was a bit cool in the tube when we visited, but only to the tune of around 70 degrees, so it wasn't too cold.

All in all, this was a unique, unforgettable, and educational adventure! We would highly highly recommend!!

Visited January 2014
Thank Alexandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Out of the way but worth it.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2014

Took this lava tube tour w/my two granddaughters (ages 12 & 16) & my brother. Our guide obviously loves going into the tube & was so informative. We all enjoyed the 1 hour tour (they also have a 3 hour tour) & learned a lot. I had back surgery less than a year ago but was able to navigate it slower than the others but just fine.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Susan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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