Situated on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hilo greets guests in its historic downtown area, packed with restaurants and shops. As beaches are high on any visitor’s list, be sure to head to beautiful Hilo Bay Beachfront Park, a black-sand mecca for surfers and canoeing enthusiasts. Other local attractions include Pana'ewa Zoo, the only rainforest zoo in the United States; Nani Mau Gardens, where a tram ride takes you past such highlights as the iron bell tower and lovely orchid pavilion. Spectacular day trips are available, from volcano tours to kayaking adventures to trips to hiking tours in Akaka Falls State Park.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
This brief tour is designed to give participants a nice overview of Hilo from the comfort of an air-conditioned coach and is a good choice for those who are less active.
Joining your coach and experienced guide at the pier, you will first set off for Liliuokalani Gardens. En route, your guide will tell you all about the Big Island of Hawaii and the Hilo area, pointing out points of interest along the way. A short drive through the Park showcases some of its magnificent plant life and your guide will share some information about the gardens and the tropical plant life that grows here.
Continuing on, you will head to Rainbow Falls where you can witness the resounding and sometimes deafening noise created by this beautiful 80-foot waterfall as it rushes into a large pool below that is almost 100 ft. in width. The surrounding gorge with its blanket of lush, dense foliage is equally picturesque and you will want to be sure to bring along your camera to capture some great photos.
Leaving the Falls, you'll head back into Hilo to visit the beautiful Shinmachi Memorial that was erected in honor of the many residents of Hilo who lost their lives to the Tsunami of 1946. And of course, no trip to Hilo would be complete without a stop at the beautiful gold statue of King Kamehameha.
Having seen some of the best of Hilo, you will head back to the pier where your tour comes to its conclusion.
Please note: This tour includes a very limited amount of walking and the sites can be viewed from the coach. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, can make their own way on and off the coach and have a companion to assist them. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.
Discover Hawaii’s thriving agricultural pursuits by visiting a nearby farm that grows crops as varied as coffee, macadamia nuts, cacao and poha berries.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a short drive north to OK Farms, which overlooks Hilo. Upon arriving, you will be welcomed with a cup of coffee, freshly brewed with Arabica beans grown on the farm. The beans are prized for producing distinctively flavored coffee with a rich, velvety taste. A tour of the farm’s coffee orchard reveals how the beans are hand picked, dried in the sun and sorted for roasting.
Similarly, you will learn how macadamia nuts are harvested at OK Farms, whose orchard contains approximately 20,000 macadamia trees. Although the tree is native to Australia, it was introduced to Hawaii in 1880 and thrives in the tropical climate. In fact, Hawaii grows 95% of the world’s macadamia nuts, most of them for export throughout the United States.
You will also be treated to a tour of an orchard devoted to cacao, which flourishes due to the island’s ideal temperature, abundant rainfall and fertile volcanic soil. Other crops grown at the farm include heart of palm, lychee nuts, and tropical fruits such as longans and rambutans, many of which you will sample.
Following your tour of the farm’s agricultural interests, you will head to nearby Rainbow Falls Orchard Lookout to take in the spectacular views. Later, you will even have an opportunity to come face-to-face with a Hawaiian boar at the farm’s feral pig exhibit. After having had a chance to view Hawaiian farm life and being given a brief glimpse at what the ancient Hawaiian ancestors had experienced, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some uneven and natural surfaces as well as an inclined grassy area. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The minimum age to participate is 8 years old and all children less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. While the tour operates rain or shine, it may be cancelled in the event of severe weather.
Nature lovers will truly appreciate this tour that visits the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, often acclaimed by visitors as "the most beautiful area in Hawaii."
Boarding your air-conditioned van, you will set-of with your qualified local guide for a scenic and narrated drive to the Garden. En route, you will pass through Liliuokalani Park and travel along Banyan Drive, viewing the Hilo Bay front and lush Hamakua Coast.
Arriving at the Garden, you will receive a map and then be afforded approximately 90-mintues of free time to explore this delightful attraction at your leisure. Created and designed by one man, Dan Lutkenhouse, the Garden's natural layout perfectly complements the flora and fauna. This tropical rainforest, with its waterfalls, meandering streams and rugged ocean coastline, is home to colorful "Sexy Pink" and "Lobster Claw" Heliconia, mysterious "Bat plants", Giant Anthuriums, exotic Gingers, and more than 2,500 species of tropical flowers, fruits and plants collected from many parts of the world.
The Garden's incomparable open-air Orchid Garden displays orchids growing in their natural environment and is one of the largest orchid displays to be found in any Botanical Garden. The brilliant variety of colorful orchids found here are a treat for everyone to see. Perhaps you will want to walk the spiritual Palm Jungle, enchanted by a Cathedral of Alexandra Palm trees towering over you, which opens up to a hidden three-tier waterfall. The unmatched natural beauty of Onomea Falls is a must-see while you are here.
A recent addition is the state-of-the-art Bird House which is home to the Garden's eight colorful Macaws, and the serene Lily Lake teems with koi and aquatic plants. To further enhance the Garden's spectacular setting, beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean beckon every visitor to simply relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and stunning views. The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden also has the distinction of being the only botanical garden in the world that is situated on the Ocean.
At the appointed time and place, you will re-join your guide and coach for the 30-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests' discretion during free time at the Garden; however, there is a steep boardwalk to negotiate at the entrance to the Garden and a few stairs to negotiate. Some of the surfaces within the Garden can be damp and slippery. Golf Cart assistance is available for the boardwalk portion upon the signing of a liability waiver. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those guests with mobility concerns. Casual clothing; an umbrella and light waterproof jacket; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Drive to the picturesque summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s highest peak, and tour its cutting-edge observatory and intriguing information center to learn about the discoveries made here.
Depart from the pier and travel by van into the fertile countryside that lies in the shadow of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea. Sheep were raised on this expansive land until the early 1960s, when cattle became more profitable, as you will discover while touring the historical Humu’ula Sheep Station. This well-preserved ranch reflects the heyday of the industry, giving you great insight into one of Hawaii’s earliest commercial endeavors.
Continuing on, you will drive to the summit of Mauna Kea, which at 13,796 feet is the world’s loftiest island mountain. In Hawaiian, Mauna Kea means “White Mountain,” a reference to the snow that often blankets the peak. As you might expect, the panorama is absolutely stunning, as are the views of the sky from Keck Observatory, which clings to the volcano’s summit.
Keck holds two telescopes, each standing eight stories high and weighing 300 tons. Because of their size and advanced technology that eliminates the blurring effect of the atmosphere; these telescopes produce astoundingly clear images. While here, you will learn about the discoveries that astronomers have made while studying the cosmos at the observatory.
Next, descend to the Ellison Onizuka Information Station, which is named for a Hawaiian-born astronaut. Following a deli-style picnic lunch, you will have a short hike to visit the rare and endangered Mauna Kea Silverswords, an endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island. Afterwards, there will be time to visit the exhibits at the visitors’ center and shop for souvenirs before driving back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. The tour visits the mountain summit with an altitude of 13,796 feet and includes a short four-wheel drive; therefore, it is not suitable for those who are pregnant, have heart or respiratory conditions, or those in poor health. Children under 16 years of age are not allowed above the 9,000 foot elevation. Participants are provided with hooded parkas and should wear long pants and bring a sweater or jacket. Sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
This excursion is a wonderful opportunity to experience the most well-known attraction on the Big Island of Hawaii, Volcanoes National Park.
Boarding your coach at the pier, you will embark on a scenic 1-hour journey to Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival at the Park, you will enjoy a drive along the 11-mile Crater Rim that circles Kilauea's summit caldera and craters. Frequent stops allow you to appreciate first-hand the wonder and unique beauty of Hawaii's volcanoes. Marvel at the smooth (pahoehoe) and jagged lava (a'a), lava tubes, sulphur banks and bleak desert areas that comprise this dramatic landscape and be sure to bring along your camera as you'll certainly want to capture some of these incredible sights as a reminder of your visit. Later, a short walk along a rain forest path leads you to the famed Thurston Lava Tube, a natural wonder unique to Hawaii. Lorrin Thurston, a local newspaper publisher, discovered the tube in 1913 and it has fascinated all who visit it for decades.
Continuing on, you will make your way to the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, located next to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (not open to the general public). Museum visitors can see ongoing videos of volcanic eruptions, geologic displays, and working seismic equipment relating to the adjacent Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. From this location there are spectacular overlooks into Kilauea Caldera and Halema'uma'u Crater. Oval-shaped Kilauea Caldera is 2 to 2.5 miles across, depending on where you stand, and is approximately 400 ft. deep in some places. Within this caldera is Halema'uma'u Crater. This close to the crater, you can smell the brimstone (an old-fashioned name for sulphur) and hear steam hissing out of fissures in the rock.
Leaving the Park behind, you will next travel to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory for a visit. Macadamia nuts are considered by many to be the world's finest nuts and before you leave, you will have some time to browse the popular gift shop and perhaps pick up some to take home with you.
Following your visit to the Macadamia Nut Factory, you will transfer back to the pier where your tour concludes.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of easy to moderate walking/standing. There are some steps to negotiate in order to view the Thurston Lava Tube. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, can make their own way on and off the coach and have a companion to assist them. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. It is important to note that natural sulfur gases found around the craters may affect those with respiratory problems. The volcano area is known for being cool and wet, so guests should bring a light jacket and an umbrella as well as wear flat, comfortable walking shoes. Participants should not expect to see molten lava. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.
Enjoy a thrilling helicopter flight to see one of the most geologically active environments in the world, the Kilauea Volcano. Throughout the ages, Kilauea has fascinated the people of Hawaii and here's your chance to see this legendary home of the goddess Pele as only modern man can - from high above in a helicopter.
A short transfer from the pier brings you to the helicopter terminal where upon arrival you will receive a safety briefing before setting off on your adventure. Your expert Blue Hawaiian pilot is also a State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guide, and with Blue’s two-way communication between pilot and guests, your exploration of Madame Pele’s spectacular, fiery wonders will also be a powerful learning experience.
Your flight-seeing tour emphasis is on the most current areas of volcanic activity and your pilot will search out lava flows as well as fly over black-sand beaches, lush tropical rain forests and small cascading waterfalls. During your flight, your experience will be enriched with fascinating facts about the history and culture of Hawaii. Although Nature's incredible power can destroy many things in the path of a lava flow, it also contributes to the island by creating miles of fresh shoreline.
Returning to the helicopter terminal after approximately 45-minutes of flight time, you will be transferred back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes limited walking; however, guests must be able to negotiate the steps into the helicopter. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability. Light-weight, casual clothing; sunglasses and flat comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Due to FAA regulations, all guests and carry-on baggage will be weighed upon check in at the helicopter terminal and you must provide your weight to the Destination Services team at least 48-hours before your tour departs. In the interest of safety and comfort, guests weighing 250 lbs or more must purchase an additional seat. Videos of flights are available for purchase at the helicopter terminal.
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Puna district, where you will explore areas created by volcanic eruptions, snorkel in a thermal pond and dine at a macadamia nut farm.
Depart from the pier and drive through historic Hilo following Banyan Drive, a scenic thoroughfare lined with dozens of banyan trees. Celebrities such as Babe Ruth, Cecil B. DeMille and then-Senator Richard Nixon planted many of the trees, which have since grown into massive specimens.
Driving farther south into the Puna district, you will notice that much of the terrain is covered in stark volcanic rock, the result of numerous eruptions. The most recent one was in 1990, when the volcano Kilauea destroyed the former fishing village of Kalapana. Fortunately, the historical Star of the Sea Painted Church was relocated in time to avoid the slow-moving lava.
After visiting the church (which has now been moved twice) and walking across the hardened lava flow that nearly engulfed it, you will view even more areas where the volcano engulfed everything in its path, even completely filling in Kaimu Bay with molten lava and covering what was once the island’s best swimming beach. Back aboard your van, you’ll pass through MacKenzie State Park, which is notable for its volcanically formed cliffs before traveling to a private macadamia nut farm where a BBQ lunch awaits you.
Stunning scenery isn’t the only attraction left in the wake of Hawaii’s volcanic eruptions, as there are several coves nearby that are heated by the inferno underground. Stopping at one of them, you’ll have the opportunity to take a quick swim or snorkel before heading into Lava Tree State Park, an area known for its unusual lava molds of tree trunks from a centuries-old volcanic eruption.
After a short walk among the bizarre, chimney-like structures, you will return to Hilo, stopping en route in historic downtown Hilo where you will have some free time for shopping before continuing on to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some uneven and natural surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guests who wish to swim should wear a swimsuit under their clothes and bring a towel from the ship. Those participating in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.
Experience what it’s like to live in the paradise of Hawaii in the intimate setting of three private island residences, where a progressive Hawaiian brunch will be served in three delightful courses.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a picturesque drive through historical Hilo to the first of three authentic kama’aina homes. In the Hawaiian language, “kama’aina” means “child of the land” and refers to residents whose ancestors have lived in the islands for generations. Each of these homes have been carefully selected to offer the optimal experience in giving you an insider look at various island living and local dishes.
Upon arriving at the first residence, you will be served the first course of a three-course meal. While the exact menu will vary according to the season and which ingredients are the freshest, you can expect to sample breakfast breads, assorted fruits and guava juice. There may also be taro malasada, a fried dough pastry made from taro root, the source of Hawaii’s staple poi.
Continuing on to the second residence, you will enjoy the hearty second course. It may include mango gazpacho, an organic salad topped with fried wontons, sesame ginger shrimp, and papaya stuffed with chicken macadamia nut salad. Iced tea flavored with the passion fruit lilikoi is typically the beverage.
An array of tropical desserts follows at the third residence. Ginger coconut macaroons and chocolate espresso mousse topped with a chocolate-covered Kona coffee bean are usually on the menu. Afterwards, you’ll return back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes just over 2 hours of moderate walking/standing and requires the negotiation of some stairs. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those who use a walker. Guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual clothing and flat, comfortable shoes that are easy to remove (it is customary for guests to remove their shoes before entering an island home) are recommended. Guest must be at least 18 years of age to participate in this tour.
Many of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls lie in the rainforest outside of Hilo, and you will see four of the most spectacular ones, each unique in its own way.
Depart from the pier and drive into the lush countryside that lies north of Hilo, passing Banyan trees, the Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens and Historic Hilo town before turning inland toward Akaka Falls State Park to behold its namesake waterfall. A short hike through an orchid-splashed rainforest brings you to the free-falling 442-foot cascade, which spills into a heavily vegetated gorge. One of the most popular attractions on the island, it is a stunning sight. A short walk brings you to nearby Kahuna Falls, which at 400 feet is nearly as high and equally impressive.
After visiting this second waterfall, your exploration continues with a drive through an Oceanside rainforest. In time, you’ll head off-road through cattle country as you make your way to one of Hawaii’s hidden jewels, a 30-foot waterfall that tumbles into an unspoiled mountain pool. The pool at the base of the waterfall offers a perfect place to take a swim as your guides prepare a delicious Hawaiian BBQ lunch just for you. If you prefer, you can just sit back and relax on the private pavilion, listening to the sounds of the water as it gently cascades over the rock ledge.
World famous Rainbow Falls is your next destination, so named because of the rainbows that often form in the surrounding mist. According to legend, the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui. The land ringing the waterfall is equally stunning, as you will discover on a short walk through a forest of wild mangoes and banyans.
Heading back to the ship, a stop will be made in historic downtown Hilo where you will have some free time for shopping before driving on to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some uneven and natural surfaces as well as some stairs to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and sunscreen are recommended. Flat, closed-toe walking shoes are mandatory. Guests who wish to swim should wear a swimsuit under their clothes and bring a towel from the ship. The minimum age to participate is 8 years old and all children less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Those participating in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.
Enjoy a hike through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, following a scenic trail that begins in the rainforest and crosses the still-steaming crater floor of a once-active volcano.
Depart from the pier and begin a scenic drive south into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The terrain and natural diversity here are so extraordinary that UNESCO deemed the park both a World Biosphere site and a World Heritage site. The primary volcano within the 330,000-acre park is Kilauea, which has been steadily erupting since 1983. Although there is no telling when the prolific Kilauea will go dormant, over the past three decades it has produced enough lava to resurface 20 miles of two-lane highway each day.
The resulting volcanic soil is extremely fertile, as you will discover during a 5-mile hike through the surrounding rainforest. Along the way, a naturalist guide will elaborate on the lush plant life and abundant native birds routinely seen in the park. You will also have the opportunity to walk across an old lava formation and through the Thurston Lava Tube, a lava cave created 500 years ago when molten lava inside drained out.
A picnic-style lunch will be served in the park and then you’ll have the chance to delve even deeper into volcanology at the nearby Jaggar Museum. The exhibits include working seismographs, historical scientific equipment, and charred clothing from volcanologists that got too close to their subject matter. While walking outside, you may spot endangered Hawaiian geese known as nene, which often congregate here. Afterwards, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3.5 hours of moderate to strenuous hiking that includes dirt paths and uneven, natural surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Natural sulfur gases may affect those with respiratory problems. Participants should be in good physical condition. Layered comfortable clothing to include a light jacket; sun cap; sunglasses; and sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended. The minimum age to participate is 12 years old and all children less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Tour itinerary may change due to weather or volcanic activity.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a an adult parent or guardian on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.