Plan Your Visit
If you are staying for one night or several, there are many ways to experience this part of the island. Whether you enjoy hiking, shopping for unique gifts and artwork, or taking it easy, staying in Volcano Village has something for everyone.
Suggested length of stay: 2 to 3 days
Best time to visit: Any time of year. Volcano receives more than 100 inches of rain a year, but that provides us with our wonderful rain forest environment. The rainiest months are from November to March. At an elevation of 4,000 feet, Volcano enjoys cooler daytime temperatures than Hilo.
Weather: Temperatures and conditions can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to pack for cold and warm weather. Be sure to check the weather forecast and don’t forget sturdy walking shoes or an umbrella. You might experience several seasons in one day.
Day One – Arrival at Hale ‘Ohu
Arrive between 3 and 6 p.m., so that you can relax and take a stroll around the property. Explore Hale ‘Ohu’s well-maintained garden and Rainforest Walk.
Then, head over to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The vehicle pass is $25 and is valid for seven days. Visit the Kīlauea Visitor Center to get some maps and ask questions. Ask about any special events or guided hikes that may be offered. Plus, get advice on viewing lava activity. The center closes at 5 p.m. Next, drive over to Jaggar Museum, which is open until 8 p.m. for a glimpse of Halema’uma’u (Kīlauea’s crater). You can get information and talk to Park Rangers here too. On the way to Jaggar, stop by the Sulphur Banks and Steam Vents.
Dinner: Volcano House – Have a drink in the lounge with appetizers or dinner in their restaurant. Both venues overlook the crater.
Return to the park in the morning to continue your Crater Rim Tour by exploring the Thurston Lava Tube and taking a short walk along Devastation Trail. There are also longer hikes to Kīlauea Iki Crater or to the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. Then proceed to the Chain of Craters Road, which is a 38-mile roundtrip drive that will take you to the ocean. Along the way you can stop at lookouts and trail-heads where you can see first-hand the effects of past lava flows. You can spend from two hours to all day depending on the hikes and activities you choose.
Lunch: Eagles Lighthouse Café or Kīlauea General Store – Pick-up lunch items for a picnic at either of these two shops. There are a number of picnic spots in the park.
Alternative – Get up super early for a lava boat tour and see first-hand lava entering the ocean from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the East Rift Zone. Boat tours leave from Isaac Hale Beach Park/Pohoiki Boat Ramp in Pāhoa, which is about a one-hour drive from here. There are morning and afternoon tours, but the early morning tours are the most popular to see the spectacular lava glow. After your tour, return to Hale ‘Ohu to enjoy your breakfast before heading out on another adventure. Please note that the ocean entry lava is currently not flowing.
These four operators are licensed to offer ocean entry lava tours (should be booked in advance):
Dinner: Ōhelo Café – Grab a wood-fired pizza and delicious salad. You can take it to go or eat there. They have wonderful beers and cocktails too.
Hike to the lava. This can be done from two different directions. First, from the end of the Chain of Craters Road in the park or from the Kalapana side (near Pāhoa). Either way, it’s a long haul and can take 6-8 hours or 10-15 miles roundtrip depending on where the lava has moved. At the Kalapana side, there are bike rentals available or consider a group hike with an experienced guide, but book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Lunch: Crater Rim Café – Get a sandwich, burger or salad at this no-frills and affordable eatery located at the Kīlauea Military Camp in the park.
Alternative – Volcano is home to many artists. First, visit Volcano Art Center’s gallery in the park featuring artwork inspired by Hawai’i. Then, head to 2400 Fahrenheit down the road to see a working glass-making studio and gallery. Finally, just down the block from Hale ‘Ohu is an enchanting gallery and shop called Volcano Garden Arts. They have a wide selection including jewelry and glassworks from Hawaiian artists. End your day tasting locally produced wines at Volcano Winery.
Lunch: Café Ono – Enjoy a wonderful vegetarian meal in the garden during your visit to Volcano Garden Arts.
Dinner: Kīlauea Lodge & Restaurant – Sitting by the roaring fire on a rainy night is a cozy way to spend the evening. The owners, Lorna and Albert, spent their honeymoon in the main house when Hale ‘Ohu was run as My Island Inn. Reservations are recommended.
Head to town, Hilo Town that is. Start off at the Hilo Farmer’s Market at the corner of Mamo and Kamehameha, which operates every day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there are more than 200 vendors. Afterwards, learn all about tsunamis, the destructive waves, at the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Hear first-hand stories and view exhibits detailing the history of tsunamis that have devastated Hilo as well as other parts of the world. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After visiting the museum, stroll around the quaint shops nearby. If you feel like some coffee and pastry, drop into Moonstruck Patisserie at 16 Furneaux Lane. Open Wednesdays to Saturday for incredible pastries, quiches and cakes. Then head back towards Volcano, stopping at Akatsuka Orchid Gardens for the 2 p.m. farm tour that takes you through an orchid maze.
Lunch: Ken’s House of Pancakes – A Hilo institution for local favorites like loco moco or saimin. They also have all your favorite American diner fare too.
Alternative – Take a soak in a natural hot tub at one of the warm ponds in the area. Try going to Kapoho Tide Pools, which is past Pāhoa and wander the tide pools. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear.
Lunch: Strato’s New York Pizzeria – After you have worked up an appetite at the warm ponds, head back to Pāhoa, a quirky small-town, for the best New York style pizza on the island. They have great salads too!
Dinner: Lava Rock Café – Casual dining with options like burgers, pastas and local specialties.
Add these weekly happenings to any of the suggestions listed above:
On Sundays, get an early start and head over to the Volcano Farmer’s Market at the Cooper Center, just around the corner on Wright Road. The market is open from 6 to 10 a.m. and has fresh local produce, breads, coffee, jams, candy plus some craft/gift items.
On Mondays, the Volcano Art Center offers afree guided tour of the rain forestfrom 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. rain or shine on an easy, level gravel trail. Learn about the Niaulani rain forest and the ecological importance as one of the last old-growth koa and ōhia rain forests. Departs from the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani campus at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road. Donations are appreciated. Visit www.volcanoartcenter.org/rain-forest for more information.
On Wednesdays, stop by Mccall’s Flower Farm in Volcano from 2 to 5 p.m. This farm stand currently has strawberries, blueberries and blackberries as well as local honey and jam preserves. A quaint country road takes you to their stand at 19-4277 Haunani Drive.
On Fridays, the Crater Rim Café has a Lu’au dinner buffet from 5 to 8 p.m. Then, enjoy the free hula show (most Fridays) in the Lava Lounge next door, which is from 7 to 8 p.m. Call +1.808.967.8356 to confirm lu’au and hula dates.