Guidebook & Area Information
This section will provide you with all the essential information for an unforgettable visit to Volcano. We've provided links and coordinates of our favorite spots and crafted a few itineraries for excursions and daytrips within an hours' drive from all our homes. Please get in touch with any questions and let us know if you think we are missing anything. We always love hearing from you!
Volcano and its surrounding areas are a nature-lover’s paradise and you will find an almost endless number of hikes and other outdoor activities to keep you occupied during your stay here. Please be advised however, that all our vacations homes are situated in a natural rainforest reserve, very close to or just over the 4,000ft. elevation mark. Light rains and mists are common.
There is limited bus service between Volcano Village - Hilo (bus schedule) and currently no ride sharing services on the Big Island. Therefore we very strongly recommend renting a car during your stay.
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
We suggest you bring light layer-able clothing, a windproof jacket, good walking shoes and socks. When venturing out for a day, bring along your rain gear, a hat, sunglasses, plenty of water, sunscreen, and a flashlight or headlamp.
ELEVATION AND TEMPERATURE
Elevation is about 4000 ft (1232 m). Daily average temperature high 72 degrees F. - low 52 degrees F. Seasonal change 4-8 degrees F. The Volcano summit area is usually 15 degrees F. cooler than sea level.
Village rainfall varies between 100” and 125” yearly. Park Headquarters and the Volcano Golf & Country Club area have less rainfall. Rain stored in catchment tanks is the primary source of domestic water. All of our homes are equipped with a UV water purification system making the water safe and delicious to drink.
GROCERIES AND OTHER SUPPLIES
All our properties are equipped full kitchens and are completely self-catered. If you plan to eat in, you'll probably want to stock up on groceries in Hilo or Kona, as the selection at the local stores is fairly limited. We recommend KTA, a locally-owned chain with locations on both sides of the island, which offers great prices and a wide selection of local favorites. You can also visit the local farmers market at the Cooper Center early on Sunday mornings (6-9am). Here you will find estate grown Big Island coffees, and a delicious array of organic produce, baked goods and prepared dishes. This is a great way to spend a Sunday morning and mingle with the local villagers
Volcano Village is a unique and a slightly quirky little community of artists and scientists. Within the Village you will find a post office, two gas stations, two small convenience stores and a variety of restaurants and cafes. The historic Kilauea Lodge is perfect for a full breakfast or a romantic dinner, while Ohelo Café offers fresh, local and original cuisine. For some light and vegetarian-friendly fare, try Café Ono. Or if you feel like grabbing some takeout and enjoying it in the comfort of your vacation home, stop by the Tuk-Tuk Thai Foodtruck. You can also call in your order ahead of time.
OTHER USEFUL STOPS IN and Around THE Village
- Volcano Art Center: Workshops, events and exhibits.
- Volcano Winery: Local wines infused with tropical flavors. Daily tastings.
- Volcano Golf Course and Country Club: Hawaii's highest golf course, stunning views of Mauna Loa.
- The Volcano Store: locally owned and operated convenience shop and gas station located on the main road of Volcano Village.
- True Value: Small hardware store and laundromat.
- Eagle's Lighthouse Cafe: For quick and delicious sandwiches, salads, soups and daily specials- takeout or eat-in.
- Kilauea Military Camp: A perfect stop in the national park for an evening of burgers and milkshakes at the bowling alley. Call ahead to reserve as they can get quite busy.
- The Volcano House: Overpriced for dinner but wonderful for lunch or a cocktail overlooking the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
- Volcano Post Office
For more information about Volcano Village and the surrounding area, visit Love Big Island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has some of the best sight seeing on Hawaii's Big Island. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. At its heart is the majestic Kīlauea, the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi.
The Crater Rim Drive passes steam vents and the Jaggar Museum, which features volcanology exhibits and a viewpoint overlooking Halema'uma'u Crater. Thick native ferns mark the entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku), and the Chain of Craters Road weaves over ancient and modern lava flows, with several trails and nature walks criss-crossing the park.
Visiting The park by Car
Visiting the park by car is easy and most attractions are within a few minutes walking from the available parking areas. The two main roads visitors will travel are Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road. All roads in the park are two-wheel drive roadways and do not require four-wheel drive vehicles. The National Park service has put together a great itinerary for visiting the park by car, with a total of 9 stops at various attractions throughout the park.
Mauna Loa Road
This gateway to the southern flank of Mauna Loa lies about 2 ½ miles west of the main entrance to the park, between mile markers 30 and 31 on Highway 11. The road traverses lava desert, o'hia scrub savanna, fern forest and ends where the hiking trail starts to the icy heights of Mauna Loa's summit. A small fork off the main road heading east just after the start of Mauna Loa Road leads to a series of tree molds that formed when lava poured through the deep tropical forest. The trees were too wet to burn and the lava simply cooled around the trunks. Later, as the trees rotted, these unusual, deep pit molds were left behind.
About 1 ½ miles further along Mauna Loa Road is Bird Park (Kipukapuaulu). A forested island in a giant lava flow, this micro-ecosystem preserves forest plants and animals and is a haven to many bird members of Hawai'i's endangered species. Cool, quiet, restful and inviting, there is a one-mile nature trail around this tropical forest oasis. Mauna Loa Road is closed at various elevations at various times due to fire hazard. If one has the time and an adventurous heart, it is well worth the trip to drive to the end of the road and perhaps even hike a ways up it.
There are several hiking opportunities throughout the park. Trails range in difficulty level from easy to moderate, and will lead you through an array of terrains and micro-climate zones. Most are accessible year round. Click here for a list of the most popular trails in the park, featuring beautiful rainforest views, indigenous birds and insects, steam vents, cinder and spatter cones.
Backcountry Hiking/ Camping
For our more adventurous guests, there are a total of eight stunning backcountry hiking sites within the park. For backcountry camping, there is a non-refundable $10.00 fee per trip, in addition to the park entrance fee. Permits are required for overnight stays. A full list of sites and information about obtaining a permit can be found here.
Please hike smart, stay alert and use the guidelines provided by the Park to make sure you enjoy your time and get back safely!
No visit to the Big Island is complete without a trip to view the lava. A visit to the Halemaʻumaʻu crater overlook by night is one way to observe this stunning phenomenon from afar. We suggest arriving at dusk and watching the glow intensify as the sun sets. If you're lucky with the weather, you'll also be treated to a birds eye view of the Milky Way overhead, which contrasts beautifully with the light radiating from the lava lake at the bottom of the crater.
If you'd like to get a closer look there are several options available. You can find the most current lava updates here and absolutely everything you need to know about hikes, boat tours and helicopter tours here.
Daytrips from Volcano Village
The village of Volcano is situated perfectly between the districts of Kaʻū to the south and the greater part of Puna to the northeast. Both regions are vastly different and offer a broad selection of sights and activities, easily reachable from your rental home in Volcano. The east side of Hawaii is an often overlooked gem of the island, offering a slower pace, wild nature and more authentic Hawaiian experience. Far from the chaos and tourist traps of Kona, East Hawaii will dazzle and inspire you!
Hilo and Hamakua Coast
A short 40 minute drive north on Highway 11 will bring you to the sleepy town of Hilo at the base of Mauna Kea. Here you can visit the many shops, cafes and galleries along Bayfront drive, poke around the Hilo Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, visit the majestic Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots along the Wailuku River, or have a swim at one of the beaches in Keaukaha. Our favorites are Richardson and Carlsmith (locally known as 4 Mile) which is a series of small turquoise lagoons fed by underwater cold springs. There is a very old, very large sea turtle that lives in the bay here that the locals call 'Hoku'. She's quite curious and will swim right up to you but please do not touch her as there are heavy fines for doing so.
If you'd like to venture a bit farther, a short drive along the beautiful Hamakua Coast is a lovely way to spend a few hours. Take the four mile long scenic drive at Onomea Bay and stop to see the amazing botanical gardens there. You can also visit the iconic Akaka Falls, 11 miles north of Hilo. Make sure to stop often to take in the ocean on one side and the waterfalls and lush rainforest on the other. This is also the best spot on the island for zipline tours. Make sure you book ahead of time.
Kaʻu and South Point
Dramatic coastal views, sprawling coffee farms and turtle nesting sites await you on the southeast coast of the island. Driving south on Highway 11 from Volcano, you will pass through the greater part of the national park before slowly descending back down to sea level just after the small town of Pahala. From there it's just a few minutes drive to Punalu'u a protected black sand beach and a popular nesting site of the native green sea turtle. Stop in any time of day and see these amazing creatures napping and sunning themselves on the shoreline. From there, continue to Whittington Beach Park and the scenic point on the drive up to Na'alehu. This is the southernmost town of the United States and if you decide to stop for lunch there, head to Hana Hou for great old Hawaiian ambiance and tasty daily specials. The desserts will be tempting but you should really head across the street to Punalu'u Bake Shop for a lilikoi (passion fruit) malasada before continuing onward.
Once back on the road, you can continue 9½ miles to South Point Road and enjoy the picturesque drive to the South Point Cliff Dive area where local and visiting thrill seekers dive off into the aquamarine waters below, then scurry back up the rope ladders to do it again. A short stroll down to the end of the road will bring you to the southernmost point of the United States. Tick that off the bucket list!
If you have a bit of extra time on your way back, stop in to the Ka'u Coffee Mill to pick up some of the best fresh roasted coffee in the world.
Kalapana and Kapoho
If you are looking to get off the beaten path and experience real Hawaii on the black sand beaches and in the wild jungles of Puna, you'll want to head toward Kalapana and Kapoho for a day of exploring. A visit to this part of the island is also easily combinable with a hike or bike ride out the eastern access point of the lava flow. From Volcano, take Highway 11, 20 miles to Kea'au, then continue another 11 miles to Pahoa. From there you will start the descent to Kalapana, where you can visit Kaimu Beach Park and see a brand new black sand beach being created from the lava flow that passed through the area in 1990.
From there, head northeast on the stunning Kalapana-Kapoho Road, making stops at Mackenzie Beach Park and Isaac Hale (locally known as Pohoiki) where you can enjoy lunch one of the picnic benches while watching the local surfers hit the waves. For some relaxed swimming and snorkeling, wander up a bit further to the thermal hot pond at Ahalanui Beach Park or the Kapoho Tidepools.
Finish your day by back to Pahoa for a delightful meal at Kaleo's Bar & Grill, stopping at Lava Tree State Park on your way. You can either take Highway 132 from Kapoho or head back to Isaac Hale Beach Park and take Pohoiki Road. This second option is definitely the more beautiful of the two, but the road is very narrow and windy so please drive slowly and with extra caution.
We hope you enjoy your stay in our beautiful island home and ask only that you be respectful of our local customs and culture while visiting. Please help keep our beaches, roadways and water clean and heed all signs or instructions given by park rangers or well-meaning locals. Use common sense, avoid leaving valuables inside your rental car and please do not pick fruits or flowers or take rocks, sand or other souvenirs with you. As the old saying goes: take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints.
E mālama pono (take care) and have a wonderful time!