Mauna Kea Stargazing Tour & Summit Sunset Adventure [Open Now] reviews, Big Island tours & activities, fun things to do in Big Island (With pictures only) | HawaiiActivities.com

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Mauna Kea Stargazing Tour & Summit Sunset Adventure [Open Now]

Overall Rating

4.77 4.77 / 5

Reviews

66 reviews
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Honeymoon Highlight!

Reviewed by: MsTravelGal, 2020/02/11

I wouldn't give this tour five stars...I give it as many stars as there are in the Mauna Kea sky! This tour was easily the highlight of our trip on the Big Island! We enjoyed every minute of it. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous, and to see it from such a high elevation was quite remarkable. I was glad that we had plenty of time before and after the sunset to walk around, take in the view, and get some good pictures.

The dinner was very good but if you don't like lasagna there's a microwave at VIS if you want to bring your own food.

The road to the summit is a bit bumpy, but that's to be expected since it's a volcano. So take motion sickness meds if you're prone to carsickness. And if you get cold easily, definitely bring layers! They provide parkas and gloves but you might also want to bring a hat or scarf and thick socks.

Throughout the tour, the guide provided a very entertaining and educational narrative. It's obvious that he's passionate about Mauna Kea and Hawaii. He's basically a walking encyclopedia of Hawaii and provided all kinds of interesting information about Mauna Kea's geology and history, and also talked about Hawaiian culture and why Mauna Kea is a sacred place. He also did an excellent job of guiding the stargazing and pointing out constellations, star clusters, and planets, most of which we got to see through a telescope. I think my favorite part of the stargazing was getting to see the Andromeda galaxy through the telescope.

If you're going to the Big Island, this tour is a must!

  • View from the Visitor Information Station, 9k feet elevation.

  • The snow capped summit

  • Some of the Mauna Kea telescopes

  • Watching the sunset from above the clouds was surreal

  • This picture is nothing compared to the real thing!

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Attended as:Couples
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Highlight of my Big Island trip. Must do!

Reviewed by: Michael, 2020/02/11

This Mauana Kea summit and stargazing tour was phenomenal. The first stop is at the visitor center around 9k feet elevation. Here you can look through a couple telescopes, walk through the museum, and you will be served your hot dinner (we had veggie lasagna and it was good). While you are here it is good to eat and drink alot of water so your body can acclimate to the higher altitudes ahead. Next stop is the summit up to almost 14k feet! The Vans they take up are heavy duty and they need to be because of the rocky road leading up the mountain. I would not reccomend taking a rental/personal vehicle up this mountain. The road is rocky, thin, and windy. The guides for this tour have been doing it for years and know the road well. On the way up the guides will give you some commentary about the mountain which is a cool little history lesson. At the top it is cold and the oxygen is thin, so be ready! They provide you with a winter coat and gloves but I recommend bringing your own hat. The views from the summit are outstanding. Watching the sun set from up there is really remarkable, and you can walk around to the 12 massive telescopes up there to take pictures. After the summit you will descend a couple thousand feet to the star gazing location. With no light pollution and at the high altitude it provides for the star gazing experience of a lifetime. I have never seen the sky lit up so brightly with constellations. The guides will break out a couple of heavy duty telescopes from the vans so you can get an even closer look. They will educate you about the constellations and give alot of really good information. Overall this is an impeccable tour and a must do if you are going to the Big Island!

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Attended as:Couples
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Gratitude and respect! Blessed to have been able to experience sunset on Mauna Kea and the beauty of our night sky!

Reviewed by: Hoomaikaiana, 2020/01/01

This was truly a ‘bucket list’ experience.
Our guide Travis shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the mountain and the importance to the Hawai’ian people. The history of the observatories and their research potential was enlightening. Our other guide, Jim knew more about constellations and the night sky than many astronomers. His ability to discuss the constellations from both a euro-centric and Polynesian perspective was novel!

A truly magnificent (although really really cold) adventure.

The hooded jackets and gloves are great - but bring two layers for your both your lower body and upper body as well as warm socks/shoes.

Rating:
Attended as:Families
Activity Date:2019/12/29
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Amazing!!

Reviewed by: Irina, 2019/01/13

Mauna Kea star-gazing tour was a must on our recent trip to Hawai’i. Our tour guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable and made sure that everyone in our group had the best experience possible. Absolutely incredible views, unforgettable sunset above the clouds, gorgeous Milky Way!!

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/01/10
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Awesome tour

Reviewed by: Jason, 2018/09/14

Our guide, Gordon, made sure the shuttle ride was comfortable and enjoyable. the stargazing and sunset views were amazing! It is well recommended to take this tour.

Lasagna was a bit salty for asian taste in my opinion. Browny, cookies and drinks were nice. Jumpers and gloves were provided but it was still cold, so it would be better if you brought more warm clothings.

One thing, i came on this tour with my wife (newly weds) but the seats were limited, so we had to sit separately :( it would be nice if there were seating plans or notice beforehand.

Nonetheless, i would take this tour again if I do ever come back to the big island!

  • I think this was venus.

  • <3

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2018/09/10
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Excellent tour

Reviewed by: Steven, 2018/05/20

Tour actually worked out better than expected. The tour vans are nice and new, the guides are nice and knowledgeable. You go right to the telescope summit and watch the sunrise followed by a great star gazing experience.

The lasagna ain't great but bring snacks and you'll have a great time

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2018/05/17
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Great change-up experience in Hawaii!

Reviewed by: Greg, 2018/01/15

This trip was a really fun experience as a contrast to the normal beach and ocean explorations that a visit to Hawaii normally includes.
The guide was very informative and the trip was planned well. The van was very comfortable (big Mercedes).
Climbing above the clouds made it feel like we were going to another world. The sunset from the top amongst all the observatory domes was incredibly colorful and the photography was cool with the domes.
The second part when we went down the mountain and set up the telescopes was fun too. The guide had an excellent presentation and mastery of the topics.
I highly recommend-it was out of the ordinary and visually spectacular.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2018/01/12
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This Was The Highlight of Our Hawaii Trip

Reviewed by: Sop, 2018/01/09

Our guides were Arthur and Justin. Both are funny and knowledgeable. This tour surprised us in so many ways. It is crazy that you can go from beach weather to freezing winds in a matter of hours. The parkas definitely help. I would recommend some layers of clothes, jeans, and good shoes. Bring a scarf or beanie. For those who live in the country, you do not realize how fortunate you are to not have light pollution. The stars that we saw were amazing. Your eyes adjust and focus so well on all the bright twinkles because there's no surrounding light. It's hard to explain but you feel like a child who's just seen something new and cool. Light pollution is real. On a good night in the city, I can probably see maybe 10 stars. Here, the volume is overwhelming. The location of Hawaii lets you see a lot more. Not only do you see the stars, but you can see distant galaxies as well our own milky way. Primitive, primal, natural are some other ways to describe experience.

The sunset on Mauna Kea was also a fantastic experience. Arthur and Justin are safe and excellent drivers. You see rental cars driving up the volcano on unpaved roads when they shouldn't. It's better to have the experts take you to the summit.

We attended this tour January 3, 2018. This gave us the rare opportunity to see the wolf moon and all the stars. I never knew how much light the moon provided at night.

I would do this again and recommend it to anybody who visits the Big Island.

  • moon through the telescope

  • sunset

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2018/01/03
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Unbelievable Adventure

Reviewed by: Andrew, 2016/08/06

Gordon, our Driver / Guide was very knowledgable of the Island and was a great guide of the cosmos. I will definitely be returning and have already shared some of the pictures i took, and people still dont believe how great the stars you can see with the naked eye. I couldn't believe how great it looked almost fake it was that Great of an experience. Thanks for the Dinner and Hot Drink selection at the end of our star gazing tour.

#Returning2017

Andrew.

Rating:
Attended as:Solo Travelers
Activity Date:2016/08/03
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Awesome and informative

Reviewed by: Lisette, 2016/01/25

Visiting Mauna Kea was the main reason for my trip to Hawai'i and it was worth it! Our guide was informative (I wish I could of recorded everything he said) and I learnt alot, not just about the mountain and the island but about astronomy and rock formations etc.
A long day but worth having a tour as it takes the stress out of driving at high-altitude and you learn more by having a guide who visits the area daily.

Rating:
Attended as:Solo Travelers
Activity Date:2016/01/05
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Mauna Kea and stargazing adventure

Reviewed by: Holly B., 2016/01/05

This was a fabulous excursion! Definitely a bucket-list must! Chris was so knowledgable and a wonderful guide. The entire experience was incredible. I was traveling solo and felt completely included the entire time. I recommend this excursion above all others. At the end we had our own private astronomy lesson and were able to use the tour's private telescopes. It just could not have been better!

Rating:
Attended as:Solo Travelers
Activity Date:2015/12/27
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Great Tour

Reviewed by: Keith, 2015/10/17

Enjoyable tour hosted by knowledgable guides. Great chance to see above the clouds and beyond. Only downside was the meal -a vegetable lasagne with a dried out top from being heated to long.

  • Spectacular Sunset

  • Other Uses for the Summit

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2015/09/21
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Best. Stargazing. Ever.

Reviewed by: Tomáš Vachuda, 2015/08/15

Both me and my friend are big fans of stargazing. Being from Europe, we're used to completely different night sky and it war really refreshing to see the other-side-of-the-world's sky as well. Also, because Mauna Kea Summit has one of the clearest sky in the world, it took the stargazing to whole another level. It was really amazing experience and worth every penny. Also the guides knew like.. everything about the stars, so it was pretty educational too. Oh and by the way - the sunset seen from above the clouds at the summit? Magnificent!

Rating:
Attended as:Friends
Activity Date:2015/07/21
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Stunning scenery, don't miss this

Reviewed by: Jesper, 2015/02/09

Definitely do this during your holiday! The sunset and scenery at Mauna Kea is out-of-this-world and impressive. The stargazing afterwards is fun, as well as amazing to see so many stars so brightly.
The tour was excellent too, with well-informed guides and an un-rushed feel. Dinner was decent too.

Rating:
Attended as:Solo Travelers
Activity Date:2015/01/24
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Manua Kea Summit and Stargazing

Reviewed by: Neil Wright, 2014/04/16

As a family with teenagers this trip catered to our needs. Our trip up the mountain was very good and our stop at the visitors centre for our meal gave us a chance to acclimatize before moving onto the summit. We made it to the summit and saw a wonderful sunset before moving onto some stargazing. Our artic jackets were more than handy and we arrived back in Kona by 11pm.

Rating:
Attended as:Families
Activity Date:2014/04/13
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Spectacular viewing!!

Reviewed by: George and Barbara, 2014/01/23

We had a great guide Jim. His knowledge of Hawaiian history, plants and wildlife was great. When we were at the Summit with the large world telescope buildings and when we did the viewing of the stars he was excellent there as well.

Highly Recommend this tour.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2014/01/15
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Mauna Kea lived up to my expectatio

Reviewed by: Mr. Anonymous, 2013/01/31

I expected this trip would be a magical chance to get to stand "on top of the world" and watch the sunset and see the stars. It was indeed spectacular. The stargazing portion was really geared towards people who are absolute astronomy beginners, so if youre an amateur astronomer you'll be a little disappointed that you don't get to see more. But the guides were great the whole time giving a great history of the Big Island ranging from botany to politics to Volcano development. Don't expect a very lively time, if you're there as an individual it's a quiet, lonely world up there. but would be great as an adventurous couple to see something totally out of the ordinary.

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Attended as:Friends
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Do this!

Reviewed by: Kim&Geoff, 2011/09/04

We were on our honeymoon, looking for something to do, this was so unique! Who would of thought we would be in a parka in Hawaii! Pick this company! There were many up there, but these guys did it best, so thankful we paid a bit more and got an awesome experience. Staff was wonderful, thank you!

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Attended as:Couples
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mauna kea summit adventure

Reviewed by: Mr. Anonymous, 2011/08/23

Wonderful experience! Felt a bit rushed with having our dinner. Not enough bath room breaks, especially after having a cup of coffee after star gazing and then having a two hour drive back to our hotels, made for a very uncomfortable ride home.

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Attended as:Couples
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Mauna Kea Summit

Reviewed by: William, 2010/04/04

I would not recommend this activity unless you've already done most everything else on this island. Everyone we talked to after getting back was dis-appointed. It sure isn't what I thought. First the transportation isn't very convenient. Getting to and from the pick up points should be improved. Next on the way up the mountain we stopped at a gift/visitor shop. Thats where we had a cardboard box dinner in the van. Someone else said bring a sandwich. I also recomend that. Going on up the hill. The observatories we only got to see from the outside, and was just told about them. We did watch a nice sunset at 13,780 feet of elevation. It was a nice view although I like the sunsets over the beach better. After the sun went down we left and went down to about 7000 feet elevation and they set up 11inch Celestron telescopes. Nice telescopes, i have a friend who has one. We saw several stars and clusters ect. Beautiful clear sky. Chitchen-Itza ruins in Mexico was just a clear a

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Attended as:Couples
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Excellent Experience

Reviewed by: Sylvia, 2009/12/06

The tour was excellent and the guide had a lot of passion for what he does, so it was kind of contagious. He told us a lot of interesting stories making the trip very entertain. Dinner was very good and they provide us with coats and globes which we really needed. Then we had a second stop to explain to us about the telescopes and what is being measured. Finally we arrived at the top. I must admit I got very sick, but the guide had warned us that it could happen and recommended to sit on the floor. That is exactly what I did. I didn’t like the feeling at all, but I saw the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen so it was worth the bad 5 minutes feeling LOL but I wouldn’t recommend it to people with heart problems. After the breath taking view we went down and watch the starts through a telescope. The guide explained a lot of things I didn’t know. I am not very knowledgeable about astronomy but I really learned a lot and enjoy the time. I will definitely recommend it as a must see

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Attended as:Families with Young Children
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Untitled

Reviewed by: Gina, 2009/01/27

Awesome experience, you really feel like you are at the top of the world. Beautiful view and spectacular sunset.

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Attended as:Couples
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Absolutely Must Do

Reviewed by: SnowMan, 2008/06/14

This is the most amazing / moving / breathtaking / spectacular tour I've ever taken in my life... Growing up in a city, I've never seen a night sky like that before... i thought i was seeing a cloud, but turned out to be the Milky Way... there were literally millions of stars in the sky... made me feel that we are a part of this vast galaxy...

the drive to Mauna Kea was fun... Pat, the guide, even stopped our vehicle to see the owl by the road... I even got to see the state bird, Nene, at the Onizuka Space Center...

Mauna Kea is such a spritual place, and I will never forget the sunset.. Oh, you have to take a tour to go up to the summit since you need a permit... it's not like Haleakala on Maui where everyone can go..

Do this tour if you are going to be in the Big Island... I recommend everyone to do this tour... Just amazing!!!

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Attended as:Friends
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Mauna Kea Summit Adventure

Reviewed by: Angela and Dan, 2008/04/07

We booked this trip because Dan is very interested in astronomy. As we drove up to the summit we began to understand the magnificence of the view. The sunset was unbelievable and the experience unforgettable. When we came down the mountain to do our stargazing I saw the moon through the telescope as I have never seen it before. The detail of the craters was amazing. It was a beautiful evening and night. Thank you.

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Attended as:Couples
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