Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

30 Reviews |
Badge of Excellence This experience is highly rated by travelers and has met our top quality standards.
Badge of Excellence |
Big Island of Hawaii, USA

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7 hours (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
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For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures. This thrilling adventure is the only Big Island star tour to feature nighttime astronomical observing AND safe daytime solar viewing with all ages welcome! Our in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Others on staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories.



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30 reviews

Average 4.50 out of 5 stars based on 30 verified reviews from Cool Destinations and TripAdvisor

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Jack_B, Oct 2022 Verified
Nate was a great tour guide, he had a ton of local knowledge and he had many stories about the Hawaiian culture. Stargazing was a bucket list item and it did not disappoint.
Jackie_D, Oct 2022 Verified
Rich was an excellent tour guide. He was chatty, friendly, and had a lot of good information about the island as well as the stars. We ran into a lot of low fog, which made it hard to see stars, but we were able to wait it out and see plenty eventually.
Lydia_D, Aug 2022 Verified
We weren't sure when booking this excursion how it would go, but are really happy we did. Remember that Mauna Kea has some of the world's top observatories; this tour does NOT go to the top of Mauna Kea, but it's right at the foot of it that you get to look at the stars through a telescope.First off, some tips: KNOW WHAT THE LUNAR PHASE WILL BE! If you want to see the moon, make sure you're booking when the moon will be visible at night. If you want to see the stars, make sure the moon is NOT FULL when you'll be going. I think people who were disappointed didn't think about natural phenomenon like moon cycles and weather.That said, this is a TOUR. The guide will pick you up at a hotel and drive you to several popular tourist spots. If you aren't interested in a guided tour of some Hilo highlights, this may not be the right tour from you. After seeing Rainbow Falls (no, you CANNOT swim here, and no, there will NOT be a rainbow in the afternoon), you will go to the lava tube (really cool, but some steep stairs and wear shoes with good grip!). This is absolutely worth going to, and I liked that the guide had flashlights for everyone.After a few stops, you'll drive up Saddle Road to the valley between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa for a sandwich dinner. As the sky gets dark, you cross the road (in the van) to an open area to set up the telescope and see what is visible.Here are some additional tips: if you don't get a chance to see something, ask the guide to let you see it! They may not be counting how many eyes get to the telescope promptly. If you want to see something specific, ask for it! If you have a question, ask it! Don't be frustrated that the guide didn't show or tell you something you didn't ask about.That said, this is not a leisurly amble - it's a tour. You'll be on and off the tour van several times and see and hear lots of interesting things. I recommend this for anyone spending a little time Hilo side, especially early in your trip. You're likely to find out interesting tidbits about the island that you won't hear on other excursions, like snorkel or sunset tours. If you're not used to guided tours, this may feel unusual to you, but understanding that the guide is doing their best to show and tell you interesting things will help you get into the groove.Side note: we got to the hotel early and had drinks at Hula Hula and really enjoyed it. If you're looking for a place to eat or grab a drink before the tour, there and Hilo Bay Cafe are both good - though you will need reservations for HBC.
garyrQ5555OR, Jul 2022 Verified
Great guide, stargazing was the highlight. Wear long pants, it gets quite cool once the sun goes down.
LeviJoo, Jun 2022 Verified
It was my first time to join a tour in English as a non-native people. companions are warm and fun, gave me other tour information. Guide Rich, knowledgeable and talkative, filled informational and fun talking. I worried about unable to gaze stars, but the day was told the best day to see them. It was beautiful and inspiring.
JEFF_C, May 2022 Verified
Your guide was so highly knowledgeable; and a delight! Thank you. A great investment of our time and money.
BlueStateCafe, Apr 2022 Verified
Our guide, Krystal, made all the difference on this tour. None of us are really group tour enthusiasts so we didn't know what to expect. Krystal has an academic background/degree in science and astronomy and her knowledge made this tour fascinating for all of us. Her narrative was excellent, her interpersonal skills superior, and she was just plain fun and friendly. We mainly signed up for the star portion, but ended up enjoying the other sights just as much, especially the lava tube/cave for all the younger people in our group. Bravo!
Annika-Copenhagen, Jan 2022 Verified
Gave a nice overview of some points of interest in the area, and then there was of course the stargazing.Rich was an amazing guide who is really knowledgeable in astronomy and knew a lot of stories about the area in general.Walking into a lava tube was another highlight.The food was good, overall we had a great experience!
Vickie_M, Jan 2022 Verified
Our Guide Rich was so nice and extremely knowledgeable about the places we visited and especially the star gazing. He is the best!!!
Elizabeth_M, Nov 2021 Verified
Our tour guide, Crystal was a wealth of knowledge and did an amazing job. We learned a lot about the history of astronomy, constellations, island history and culture, lava caves, native plants, animals, even native folk stories. Beautiful views over in Hilo.

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