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“See lava!”

Lava Ocean Tours Inc
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Hot Lava Hike to See Lava Volcano Tour
Ranked #2 of 14 Tours in Pahoa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Lava Ocean Tours is your exclusive way Explore the Hilo side of Big Island. View volcanic activity on our boat & hikes to see the LAVA. Our state of the art vessels are modern aluminum catamarans including the "Lavaone" 49 passenger 40x14 catamaran powered by 4 Honda 250hp motors. Whether lava is flowing on the land or sea we will get you to the closet viewing point safely possible. We also offer the Ultimate Boat Waterfall Tours departing Hilo to see over 30+ boat only waterfalls and dolphins in uncrowded waters. During Hawaii Whale Season (Dec-Apr) enjoy whale watching in Hilo Bay and surrounding waters on an intimate ocean cruise. Our tours include Lava Boat Tours, Guided Lava Hikes, Volcano Boat Tours, Waterfall & Dolphin Tours, Charter Fishing, Hilo Whale Watching and Private Tours.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Baby buggy parking, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 3 March 2013

We booked this trip several weeks before arriving on the Big Island. I was a little apprehensive because of some of the reviews but my fears were unfounded. We did the sunset tour and it was pretty spectacular. The ride out to the lava is fairly leisurely. (If you want nice pictures of the coastline on your way out, sit on the right side of the boat.) Both sides get good lava viewing as, once you get to the lava, the captain takes you back and forth several times. While the lava flow wasn’t as huge as it was in some of the youtube videos from December, it was still pretty awesome and seeing the steam billowing out of the water was very cool. The captain and the guide were both pleasant. There were a couple of no-shows so the guide was able to accommodate someone who showed up, hoping to get on board. Be prepared to get wet - not necessarily on the ride out but on the ride back. I had a waterproof case for my iPhone and that worked perfectly - definitely needed it! They speed back to port, ending in the dark, so you can spend good daylight/sunset time at the lava.

Thank Marnie99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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973 - 977 of 1,149 reviews

Reviewed 26 February 2013

This is probably the most surreal experience I ever have so far! Seeing lava flowing into the Pacific ocean was just in my bucket list being inspired by Nat Geo channel until I went on this tour. Originally, I planned for the chopper ride but when I saw a video of this tour getting up close to the lava that is spilling into the ocean creating huge mushroom clouds, I didn't hesitate on booking. The boat will really go close, several rounds and back and forth to the lava flows. I probably took close to 300 pictures of this experience and will forever cherish this sight forever. Word of advice- the seas maybe rough so Bonine half an hour before the trip will help you not get seasick. Also, a poncho or waterproof jacket helps you stay dry. Have your camera in a ziplock or a rainsleeve as it will really get wet especially on the way back coz you're going against the current. Everything will be worthwhile! Make sure you check lava flow on their website before you book, just to be sure. Kudos to Sky for being very informative and fun!

1  Thank Maestro2471
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2013

We booked the sunset lava boat tour for our family of four and we were all excited to go. Unfortunately, we were on the big island for a family wedding and something served at the reception gave 12 out of 35 people severe food poisoning including 3 people in our family. After being up all night with very sick kids, I called the company in the morning to see if I could reschedule or if there were any other options available so we didn't lose out on the $700 we paid. I was basically called a liar and was asked "do I know how many times we hear food poisoning?". Then I was told that "people throw up on the boat all the time, it was no big deal" and I had just better get my whole family up and on that boat because there were no refunds. I was extremely offended and disgusted with their poor customer service. Of course I was aware of their cancellation policy but not for one second did they express any type of sympathy for a situation that was clearly beyond our control. Neadless to say we were out our $700 and hopefully a little bit smarter to avoid companies like this one.

15  Thank KJB544
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2013

My hubby and I were on the Big Island this month celebrating our wedding anniversary. Coming back from an incredible snorkel tour this morning on the Fair Winds, another tourist mentioned the lava tours. So, we called the Lava Ocean Tours (also known as Lava Ocean Adventures, seelava.com) ... and this is where our problems began.

We talked to a young man who gave us availability for a tour. I started giving him our contact information, and then he asked for our weight. The man told us that since we weighed over 250 lbs., we were going to have to pay an additional $50 each. We asked the young man why, and he snarkily said that it was what his boss told him to say. When I mentioned that it could be considered discrimination, the employee said that "larger people are more of a liability" for them and that "larger people break bones more easily." We didn’t want to miss this opportunity, even though we felt extremely insulted. Because this employee already had all of our contact and payment information, we proceeded to book the more-expensive seats. BUT… then the employee said that there were now no seats left. I asked the employee to have his manager call us back, and the kid gave me all sorts of excuses.

Surprisingly, the Captain did call us back a few minutes later and explained that his staff was very overworked and that they had people flying in from all over the world to see the lava... and we explained that we were two of those people, as well. I attempted to tell him about what I was told earlier so he could better train his staff, but he had no interest in learning what was told to us. He said "that was in the past, but I can try to help you now."

So, we again asked for availability, and found out that there were actually still seats available. Then we were told that there wouldn't be an extra $50, that we would now have to pay for a total of FOUR FULL-PRICED seats for the two of us. He then rambled on about how that they are cost-guard rated and have to log every passenger and that is was the Coast Guard's regulations that they were following. (Which is NOT true… the Coast Guard doesn’t set his prices or his policies). He also mentioned something about having to get a different ladder for us, but then offered to sell us a kids package on top of the adult package... which was now the FOURTH price quoted for these seats. At this point, we were completely disgusted and felt like we were dealing with a less-than-honest company, and we simply said that we would pass. I also called my credit card company, since they had all my information, to make sure that they didn’t try to process any charges (they haven’t as of yet).
Luckily, this story has a happy ending… we called the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours, booked a wonderful flight and saw amazing lava! Our pilot, Jeremy, was fantastic. This company also had a weight limitation, but Blue Hawaiian handled it so professionally and with such dignity. I would recommend Blue Hawaiian to everyone, and I would warn everyone to stay away from Lava Ocean Tours / Lava Ocean Adventures.

17  Thank breoni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 February 2013

We did the sunset tour on the 13th of Feb. It was amazing to see the lava flowing into the water. The lava flows vary each day so best to call lava ocean to enquire about current flows or check on trip advisor for recent reviews.Keep in mind our trip was booked out they took 2 boats for our tour time

The ocean was calm the afternoon we went. They go slower going over to the lava flows and you have a speedy and very bumpy ride back. Please heed there warnings on website and before you hop on boat this is a very rough ride and we had good weather.

Only improvment that i would suggest is the guide use a microphone as we were at the front of boat and couldn't hear commentary at all over the engine noise going over.

Overall an amazing experience and would highly recommend

Thank BV3280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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