The beautiful archipelago of Hawaii exists today thanks to a myriad of volcanic eruptions that happened over time. Volcanoes are no stranger in this paradise. In fact, one that you have to look out for is the Kilauea Volcano in Kauai situated in the southeastern part of the Hawaii island.
Kilauea is recognized as the youngest and most active volcano not only among the Hawaiian chain of islands, but also throughout the whole world. It has been spewing out crimson-colored lava for decades up until now. Steam vents also spring out from the ground around its area every so often.
But what if this fire-spitting wonder of nature not only lights up the sky and the land surrounding it, but also your awaited holiday trip? You heard it right! Kilauea is on the top spot in terms of accessible active volcanoes.
Despite being listed as an active one, the Kilauea Volcano situated in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park receives about three million visitors from around the globe each year. There are pleasant sights to see and unique activities for you to experience all around the park. Here are things you and your friends will surely be thrilled to see on a trip to this famed volcano.
Volcano House Lodging
You may as well congratulate yourself if you happen to land a booking in Kilauea’s Volcano House for it’s the only hotel located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Moreover, this lodging area is perched on the rim of Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater which is another unique feat on its own.
There are a couple of things that make this place interesting. Having breakfast with a marvelous view of the park is one. You can also fancy yourself with several gift shops inside or enjoy a glass of champagne in their overlooking snack bar. At times, you also get to witness cultural performances and events.
Have a look around the place even if you don’t plan on staying and notice how the structure was destroyed and remade over the past century. If you’re feeling one with nature, you can also stay in the campsites and camper cabins that the Volcano House manages.
Volcano Center Art Gallery
For those who want to experience a more laid-back and art-oriented kind of activity during their planned trip in Kilauea, visiting the Volcano Center Art Gallery should definitely be on the list. Just located within the former Volcano House is this Hawaiian art sanctuary. The center provides an avenue for artists to grow and develop their literary, visual, and performing arts and continues to celebrate Hawaiian culture and heritage.
As you take a stroll inside, you will find both traditional and contemporary artworks being exhibited. Precious metals and stones are laid out for visitors to observe. Magnificent works of hand-blown glass are also a wonder to see in the gallery.
More of the artworks that visitors encounter come in the form of clay models, pictures, paintings, glass stains and even food preparation. What’s amazing is that you can sign up for a workshop to personally experience the art in your chosen medium.
One highlight that you can also see while in the center is the live performance of Hula Kahiko, a traditional chant and hula born in Hawaii. Also, you’re in for a bonus treat if you happen to book your tour on a Monday. A special movie night that features local films usually happens on that day as another form of entertainment for the center’s guests. It’s definitely a must see spot when in Kilauea.
Crater Rim Trail
One of the physical activities that all people can enjoy when in Kilauea is the day-hike on the crater’s rim. This trail is available all year round whatever the weather is. A fantastic view awaits along this nature trip no matter if you do the hike alone or with a group.
Before, the track was ringed around the Kilauea Caldera but some were recently closed due to its risky conditions. The parts of the trail opened to visitors and tourists are marked and are checked for safety. As long as you follow them, you won’t have to worry about encountering slippery edges, cliffs, and stepping-on-earth cracks.
The choice is yours from where you want to start your hike as it can be accessed in many points across the Caldera such as the Volcano House, Kūpinaʻi Pali (Waldron Ledge) or the Kilauea overlook. Pack up food and water while sporting the proper hiking gear suited for the climate’s conditions and you are ready for the day’s trek! Your eyes will surely feast on breathtaking summits, magical steam vents, and lush rainforest exclusive around Kilauea volcano.
Crater Rim Drive
Surely, doing the crater rim trail was fun and adventurous. But if you want to take it to the next level and get more intimate with the most active volcano in the world, then the Crater Rim Drive is the best thing to do! However, this is only possible if the conditions are safe and there may be points that are not accessible at short notice depending on the volcano’s activity.
This adventure allows a drive around tour around the volcano’s edge on about ten different stops. The Sulphur Banks for example is where you see volcanic gases crystalized colorfully to sulfur. There’s also the Thurston Lava Tube where one can enjoy a 20-minute stroll inside a lava tube formed centuries ago while offering a close-up look at a Hawaiian rainforest.
You can rent a car to drive or use your own to access the drive’s different viewpoints. Things to secure when using your own car would be hats, jackets, and shoes. There are times when rain suddenly moves across the caldera so throw in a raingear too just to be safe. Lastly, the drive takes hours to complete. So making sure that your trunk is loaded with snacks and bottled drinks would be excellent!
Experience Them All
On a trip to Kilauea Volcano, you’re sure to experience more than just the sight of this cone-shaped beauty. Remember to pack water and wear suitable clothes – a whole adventure is waiting for you in this area. It’s definitely one of those experiences where you get to live life on the edge.