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Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

star-4.534 Reviews
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Hilo, United States

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana lava caves, then explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
  • Spectacular solar and astronomical sightings through high-powered telescopes
  • Delicious picnic dinner with a view of Kaumana Caves
  • Learn more about astronomy from expert guides
  • Hassle-free hotel pickup and round-trip transport
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Bottled water
Professional guide
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Coffee and/or Tea

Departure Point

93 Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Departure Time

3:30 PM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 26 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Kapohokine Adventures

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
I am a vegetarian / I have allergies / I am gluten or lacto free.
A:Just let us know any dietary requirements in the 'Special Requirements' box in the Traveler Details section during checkout. Or you can let us know after booking by visiting 'Manage my Booking' and emailing us there.
Jul 2019
What is the pick up location?
A:We offer pick ups from most hotels. Let us know where you are staying in the 'Special Requirements' box in the Traveler Details section during checkout. Or you can let us know after booking by visiting 'Manage my Booking' and emailing us there.
Jul 2019
What is the maximum group size during Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO?
A:This activity will have a maximum of 26 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO.

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34 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews
Maunakea Stellar
, Mar 2020
Rained the entire time, so the stargazing was not possible. Other stops, waterfalls, boiling pots and lava tubes we great, even in the rain. Guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Food was lackluster, seemed to be sandwiches from a supply company, bag of chips and granola bar. Overall seemed a little pricey for the experience. Guide was prepared with umbrellas and flashlights. Again it was raining so we never were able to do the stargazing.
Highly Recommended!
, Mar 2020
Due to unexpected circumstances we were unable to participate in the tour. However the service, communication and understanding was outstanding. In addition we did the helicopter tour which was also amazing. I highly recommend booking a tour with Viator! Great service and great tours!
Super Amazing!
, Feb 2020
Rich was amazing! So informative and knowledgeable! Since it was a sunny we were able to use the solar telescope and even saw a solar filament! And the sky that night was so starry! We watching the Elon amuse satellites go by in the telescope which was awesome!
, Feb 2020
This tour is not worth the money. To start with the first three stops (rainbow falls, boiling pots and the lava tube) are spots that are easy to get to with a car. Parking is free and plentiful at all the locations and at that time of day they were all empty. Admission is also free for all three. It was nice to have the guide for the lava tube but if you research the history of it you will know basically everything they are telling you. Now the stargazing is the misleading part in my opinion. They put Mauna Kea in the title which to me meant we would at minimum be going to the VIS. In reality they don't even have a permit to go up the road (the access road had reopened when we were there) you will NOT be going up the volcano with this tour. They drive closer to the Kona side and set up the telescope on the side of the road and you stargaze from there. Anyone with a rental car can drive to the VIS and look through the telescopes that they set up there and basically have a similar experience. In conclusion save your money, you most likely have a rental car already just drive to the sites and the VIS yourself. The guide Krystal was very knowledgeable about the sites and the stargazing. I contacted viator about receiving a partial refund which they said I would hear back withing seven business days but it has been weeks with no reply.
HelpfulHelpful3 travelers found this review helpful
Great stargazing tour!
, Feb 2020
Our guide was making our trip so great! His enthusiasm was really great and he knows so much about the stars. He did not mind answering all our questions. I had a great tour!
Not so stellar
, Jan 2020
I feel a little conflicted writing this because we did have the weather against us and the staff tried their best to make it enjoyable. I want to provide some feedback so they can make it better. The tour starts at 2pm with a trip to rainbow falls, boiling pots, and a lava tube. Of these I'd say the only one that was worthwhile was the lava tube where they provide torches and some commentary on types of lava flows and geology. All up, these felt like filler - to make the tour long enough to make it worthwhile for the guides and company. The access roads to the mountains were blocked by protests, and clouds meant that the guides made the call to not try their first viewing point. I have no idea where that would have been but we ended up setting up on a short piece of road right next to the highway - not the experience I thought I was signing up for. The guides could have done a better job of coordinating equitable access to the telescope - we had a group that was a bit all over the place, clustering around the scope, not aware of others around them. The tour finished up just as it was getting interesting, I think because some of the other guests were losing interest. Good points - knowledgable guide, snacks and drinks, nice viewing lens on the telescope. Bad points - not enough time stargazing on a stargazing tour. Didn't go anywhere you couldn't get to on your own with a car, lots of light pollution where we were. I didn't enjoy the guide's fake feeling schtick (might have just been me). To make it better - cut the filler and spend more time stargazing at a better location. Bigger telescopes. More actively coordinate the guests.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Amazing tour
, Oct 2019
Our guide Krystal was amazing. She is knowledgeable, friendly and full of energy. Make the tour so interesting. Must go.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Fun tour
, Jun 2019
Super tour, our guide was knowledgeable, pleasant. Small group made for nice stargazing. It's quite cold after sunset, so it was a treat to have hot cocoa
Stellar Experience !!
, Jan 2019
We were staying in Hilo and most of the tour operators offered star-gazing tours from Kailua/Kona.It was by chance that we came across Kapohokine Adventures which have this Stellar Explorer tour from Hilo.Pros:- Our tour guide was Krystal who is an astrophysicist. She was also very knowledgeable about Hawaiian customs, Hawaiian vegetation and native/non-native species and provided much local information as well. She was very pleasant and made the ride enjoyable with her witty, humorous comments.- The tour vehicle was brilliant red in color (easy to spot) and very clean from the inside and outside (I don't like dirty windows as they spoil all pictures).- They provide choice of sandwiches or salads for dinner and soft drinks/water.- They provide warm jackets during the star-gazing which were much needed for the night time weather. It gets very cold, very fast, when we are outside the van for the star-gazing. It was very windy and temperature was somewhere in the 55 F range when we were outside.- The tour also included guided visit to Rainbow falls, Boiling pots and Kamana Caves lava tube. All 3 attractions were worth watching, especially Kamana Caves. As the Thurston lava tube in Volcano National Park was closed, Kamana Caves were particularly interesting for us.- Great guide, superb facilities and clear, cloudless night made this a perfect star-gazing experience for us.Some tour operators do not actually have a telescope. But they just use a laser pointer and point our the stars/planets/galaxies in the night sky. Krystal had a 10-inch Dobsonian Telescope for this tour, so it was a much better experience.From a pricing perspective, I believe they charge quite similar to the other tour operators.The reason we went with Kapohokine was because they were taking tours out of Hilo.There are many tours which take you to Mauna Kea summit and then have star-gazing once they are back to the visitor center. We didn't want to go to Mauna Kea summit and so this tour was perfect for us.We went as a couple. We are in our early 30's and requested for vegetarian sandwiches.Many thanks to Kapohokine and Krystal for making this such a wonderful experience !!
Getting there is half the fun
, Dec 2018
I’ll be honest, I’m not a real stargazer. The tour guide, Rich, made this tour unbelievable. There were many stops on the way to the stargazing location, with a great deal of culture and sights. Even for a novice stargazer like myself, the stargazing was amazing.

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