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big island grand circle island tour

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Pickup & Drop Off

You will visit Punaluu Beach, the amazing black sand beach where sea turtles often nest. Next you will be on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, beginning at the Jaggar Museum and Hawaii Volcano Observatory. This is where you’ll find Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, and Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. There is also the Thurston Lava Tube and, located in a small crater, the Fern Tree Jungle. If conditions are safe, you can even circle the crater along Crater Rim Drive.

Of all the Hawaiian Islands, the Island of Hawaii is a world apart. Incredibly, 80 percent of the world’s ecosystems are found here, including rain forests, grasslands, wetlands, and even a rare alpine desert dating to the Pleistocene Epoch. On this daylong adventure, departing from Kona, you will pass through lava fields where various shades of solidified lava reveal the entire island’s past volcanic activity. You will actually see a distinct dividing line where the lava fields end and the lush farmland begins.

Tour Overview (*denotes stops made):

  • Kailua-Kona – This was where the first capital was established after the consolidation of the Hawaiian Islands. It later functioned as the retreat of the royal family.
  • Jaggar Museum* – In this museum on volcanology you can see displays of types of lava, equipment used from past to present to study the volcanic action and even learn about Pelehonuamea, the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes.
  • Kilauea Iki Crater – One of the most spectacular views in the entire park is from this 400 foot high crater.
  • Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory* – A delicious visit to a local macadamia nut factory!
  • Parker Ranch – One of the oldest and largest working cattle ranches in the US. It was founded by John Palmer Parker who had helped Kamehameha I control the island’s population of feral bulls.
  • Hamakua Coast – Home to lush tropical rainforests, beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking coastline views. It is known for the volcanic mountain Mauna Kea and its lack of sandy beaches.
  • Rainbow Falls State Park* – This breathtaking waterfall cascades from 80 feet over a natural lava cave, the mythological home to Hina and ancient Hawaiian goddess. The waterfall gets it name from the spectacular rainbows frequently seen here.
  • Big Island Candies* – A true taste of the island’s delights that include the renowned chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookie.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park* – Home to Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive subaerial volcano. Witness dramatic volcanic landscapes, rare flora and fauna and visit lava tubes, volcanic craters, and much more!
  • Crater Rim Drive – Experience the extreme as you drive around Kilauea’s caldera and pass from the rainforest into desert-like surroundings.
  • Fern Tree Jungle – Take in the beauty of the various fern plants and trees in the unspoiled environment as it must have looked to the ancient Hawaiians.
  • Steam Vents – Witness the steam coming out of the cracks in the ground in a grass field.
  • Thurston Lava Tube* – Experience walking through a 500-year-old lava tube where molten lava once flowed. You will exit into a beautiful lush tropical rainforest, an excellent place to stop and listen to the birds of the island.
  • Punaluu Black Sand Beach* – This famous black sand beach is an unforgettable sight, where coconut palms frame the ocean and Hawaiian Green Sea turtles bask in the warm Hawaiian sun.
  • Royal Kona Coffee Mill & Museum* – Learn how delicious coffee is produced here at the coffee mill and museum!
  • Kealakekua Bay Overlook – Take in the panoramic view of the bay where the first westerner, Capt. James Cook, landed in the Hawaiian Islands. The bay was of great importance in ancient Hawaiian history and retains its significance as marine life conservation district today.
 Important Information:
  • Your safety and comfort are our #1 priority. Tour highlights are subject to change without notice and may vary at tour driver discretion in order to take into account National Park Service advisories, weather advisories, traffic advisories, road closures and detours, venue hours of operations, etc. Tour features can change daily as we cannot predict weather and lava viewing conditions.
  • We do not guarantee sighting of lava flows. Surface lava flows may be present but may not be visible due to environmental conditions or time constraints. If conditions permit, walking/hiking on rough, uneven lava surfaces is involved.
  • Moderate walking, please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately. You are advised to bring a light jacket as it may get cold.
  • Lunch will be available for purchase.
  • Tour highlights are subject to change without notice and may vary at tour driver discretion in order to take into account National Park Service advisories, weather advisories, traffic advisories, road closures and detours and venue hours of operations.
  • Volcanic fumes can be hazardous. This tour is not recommended for visitors with heart or breathing problems and infants, young children, and pregnant women.
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Pick up
Pick up Location
Daily7:30 AM - 9:00 AMVarious Big Island HotelsClick the "book it" button to see exact pickup times, locations & live availability
Payment & Cancellation
Cancellation Policy: Custom policy
  • Cancellations made 2 days before Date & Time will be fully refunded.
  • Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.
4 reviews, 0 comments
Was the tour accurately described on the webiste? In other words did it meet your expectations?
(4.8 of 5)
We took the Hawaii Grand Circle Island Tour today. And we are so glad we did. We saw so many wonderful sites and learned so much, it was awesome! It was truly great, but what made it so extra special was our guide, Luke Wong. He is a native to this part of the island, so his insight to what we saw really made what we saw truly special. ... more
He also weaved all his information about what we saw n a very entertaining way. You can just feel how connected he is to this island paradise. Also, his use of music to get through some very windy roads is genius. He is also a pretty gifted entertaining read in his own right.
I couldn't recommend this tour more highly. And if you are lucky enough to get Luke as your guide, you are in for something special.
My family and I chose this tour to see the whole big island. the driver/guide, Dean, was phenomenal. He was very nice, funny and knowledgeable about what he was talking about. How he was able to drive and give excellent tour guide service I'll never understand. Seems like a really hard job but he made it look easy. Was a very pleasant experience and will definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting ... morethis island.

Thank you Dean!
A very enjoyable experience. I chose to do the grand circle island tour, and I was pleased with the driver, the activities, and overall experience.  Our driver was super nice and funny too. I was never bored listening to his commentary as he drove. Speaking of driving, he was a very safe driver. I never felt like he was endangering us, which from what I heard from other vacationers often happens with ... moretour drivers. 

I had a really fun time at all of our stops. I was picked up at my hotel and off we went starting our drive across the island. The driver was so kind as to stop at a Starbucks for a bathroom and coffee break. My favorite stop was at a candy factory in Hilo I believe. We got to taste so many yummy treats! While in the Hilo area we stopped at the beautiful Rainbow Falls. Our next stop was Volcanoes National Park. The drive there was a little long, but we had a movie about the volcano playing which passed some time. First we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube and then at the Jaggar Museum. I felt like we didn't have much time there. It was pretty busy so I had to rush taking some photos and buying some gifts at the gift shop. Our last stop was the Black Sand Beach. Like most Hawaiian beaches, it too was beautiful. 

I was the last person to be dropped off and got back to the hotel around 8pm. We left around 9am so it was a very long day.
Our family took the Hawaii Grand Circle Island Tour in March 2015. The tour was the most enjoyable part of our Hawaii vacation. It was nice to just sit back and relax and enjoy the sights without having to worry about directions, getting lost and so on. The tour buses are spacious and air conditioned. Our guide/driver was Harvey and he went above and beyond to provide us with great hospitality and ... morewe learned a lot about Hawaiian history and culture from him. He was funny, friendly and provided us with more information like what foods you must try, sights to see, etc.

If you take the Grand Circle Island Tour, you must go through the Thurston Lava Tube. It's a bit of a walk to get down there but it's worth it and it's a one of a kind experience! The black sand beach is unique and beautiful too. I highly recommend this particular tour and agency. Thank you so much again Harvey!! You're the best.