Here is a review of a tour for Volcanos Park, sorry its kind of long...
Tours By Local Hilo Hawaii
Tour Date: October 15 2012
Tour Guide: Scott W.
Let me start off by saying we like to be independent type tourist when we travel
by ship so we are always looking for local tours or tour guides.
We booked this tour for our sailing from the Golden Princess cruise ship on a two
week cruise to Hawaii. When researching independent tours for Hilo Hawaii we
did a standard google search for independent tours on the island and Tours by
Locals came up in our search (www.toursbylocals.com
). We went to the website
and started to research what was available for our trip. The site was very user
friendly and informative not only to what tours were available for our trip but also
in providing overviews of the tour types and the tour guides (in Hilo there were to
guides available with several tour locations and lengths) and pricing of the tours.
The site also give the maximum number of people who they could take on the
tour (our tour was 3 which was perfect as we are a 3 person party).
Once we booked our tour, the 5 hour Volcano National Park tour with Scott W. we
waited for conformation and to be contacted by Scott for our tour times. Just so
you know your credit card will not be charged until the tour is accepted by the
Once we were accepted by Scott we were contacted by Tours by Locals to let us
know he had accepted by us for the tour and give us Scott's last name. Shortly
after we were contacted by Tours by Locals Scott contacted us by email
introducing himself telling us we we confirmed and giving us his contact
information as well as instructions on where to meet him for the tour. The nice
thing about the contact with Scott was that although we booked the tour for 10
am he informed us he would be waiting for us at around 9:30 am for our pick up
(I think this is great as we did not have to lose any time on our 5 hour tour waiting
for the pick up).
So after the ship was cleared for disembarkation (around 9am) we got off the
ship around 9:15 and got to the meeting location for pick up. We called Scott who
was actually just entering the port area so our wait was minimal. Scott drives a
Jeep Wrangler 4 door type (just a word of warning it is 4 wheel drive and it does
sit up off the ground a little so entering and exiting can be a issue if you have
mobility issues) very clean and well maintained with door signs letting us know it
was him. Again I can't stress enough how well the communications between us
and Scott were pre tour and up until the pick up.
So after being picked up by Scott we talked about what sites we wanted to see
besides the Volcano National Park. Now having been to Hilo the year before we
had seen Rainbow Falls and the botanical gardens we opted not to re visit those
sites (basically we wanted to see the park, lava tubes chain of craters road and
black sand beach).
As we started out for our tour it started raining a little so Scott suggested we visit
the orchid farm first to allow the heavy rain to pass so we did.
Now if you are not a flower or orchid lover it is still worth the visit to the orchid
farm just to see the varieties of orchids they grow and see some of the history of
After the rain slowed we headed to the park to see the volcanos. Since we had
been to the park before we skipped the initial park information center (this is a
great place to stop if you have not been before it has an overview of the park)
because we had and idea of what we wanted to see. On the drive through the
park towards our first stop Scott pointed out many interesting location and asked
if we wanted to stop at them (note here there are a lot of places in the park that
you can walk through and around so if you want to walk bring comfortable
walking shoes, I would also recommend a light rain jacket and or wind breaker as
it can be windy or rainy or both at times) we chose to skip those site and
continued to the Kilauea crater overlook. After stopping at the crater
We toured the upper crater part and the Jaggar Museum before Scott drove us to
another lookout location were we could see the crater from a different angle and
see some of the active steam vents. We concluded our tour of the upper crater
area with a stop at one of the steam vent locations that did not require a lot of
After we left the steam vents area we went to another lookout point to see the
crater and then to the Thurston Lava Tube.
The lava tube was amazing just the fact that you can walk on a tunnel that was
made by moving lava.
After the Thurston tube we went to Devastation trail another worthwhile walk,
Scott again was great he offered to walk with us but we opted to be dropped off
and have him meet us at the other end of the trail.
Our final visit in the park was the Chain of Craters Road and the Holei Sea Arch
another great feature.
We closed our tour by going to a couple of the black sand beaches in the area
where our ship was docked.
In general I would say this was one of out most enjoyable tours since we have
been cruising. Scott was very knowledgable and prepared for what ever we
happened to encounter and I would wholly recommend his services to anyone
who wants to do an independent tour on Hilo. We will be using him again in the