The Puna area of the Big Island is an area that most visitors never see. Many drive through parts of it as the make their way from Hilo to Volcanoes National Park, but it's an area that deserves more attention.
A company that specializes in showing visitors this less-traveled area is KapohoKine Adventures. KapohoKine is one of the few tour companies headquartered on the Hilo side of the Big Island and whose tours focus on the less well known areas of the island. You do not, however, have to be staying on the Hilo side to enjoy their tours as pickups are also available in Kona and at locations on the Kohala Coast.
In an effort to limit the environmental impact, tours with KapohoKine Adventures consist of much smaller groups than you'll see elsewhere in the islands. Tours are limited to seven guests in one of their luxury SUVs or ten guests in their VIP van. Smaller size groups allows for much more interaction and personal attention between guests and the guide.
KapohoKine is an eco-tour company, dedicated to maintaining a carbon-neutral footprint.
Secrets of Puna is KapohoKine's signature tour and its most popular. The tour takes guests literally to the end of the Kapaho-Kalapana road where the 1990 lava flow of Kilauea overran and destroyed the town of Kalapana. Guests walk across the 1990 lava flows to see the new black sand beach at Kaimu. The tour then heads down the road and makes additional stops at MacKenzie State Park along the coast at the Malama-Ki Forest Reserve where giant ironwood trees sit along a rocky windswept coastline.
After passing by the more developed Isaac Hale Park, the tour heads inland for lunch at Puna Girl Farms, an active Macadamia nut farm where you'll get to meet and talk to the owner.
Following lunch the tour heads back to the coast for a stop at Ahalanui Park a.k.a. Pu'ala'a County Park, famous for its volcanically heated pool and then to the Cape Kumakahi Lighthouse, the most easterly point in Hawaii.
The final stop in the Puna District is Lava Tree State Monument in the Nanawale Forest Reserve where lava flowed into a forest of 'O'hia trees, engulfed and incinerating the trees, but leaving cylindrical hollows, or tree molds, where lava solidified against them and the remaining lava flowed away. Often the original surface texture of the bark is preserved in the lava. What is left now appears to be trees made of lava.
Related Feature About the Big Island's Puna District and KapohoKine Adventures
PO Box 638
28-1177 Old Railroad Way
Pepeekeo, HI 96783
Toll-Free: (866) 965-9552
Local: (808) 964-1000
KapohoKine Adventures website