It may not have all the bright lights and packed beaches of Honolulu, but Hawaii’s Big Island is a very cool place in its own right.
It’s also a very hot place … as in liquid hot magma hot!
Literally millions of tourists flock to the famous Kilauea Volcano every year, making it the most-visited tourist attraction in Hawaii, eclipsing even the Pearl Harbour memorial on Oahu.
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After leaving the city of Hilo, and climbing 4,000 feet straight up, my first reaction after arriving at Kilauea was just how black and barren it is.
Hundreds of miles of black rivers of lava flow frozen in time, flooding the landscape.
Always one to bring back a memento or two, I decided to break myself off a few tiny pieces of black lava to bring home as a souvenir.
I soon found out this is a very big no-no! A park guide soon rushed right over and insisted I empty my pockets of the new-found rubble.
It seems ancient tradition dictates that taking any lava rocks away from the sacred volcano site will bring horrible luck and great misfortune to any poor soul that does so. In fact, there is a huge pile of returned lava rocks at the entrance of Volcano National Park put there by people who made the mistake of not heeding the warning!
Despite the fact there is enough erupted material here to pave a road around the world three times over, those rocks stay put… forever.
The Kilauea Volcano has been constantly erupting since 1983, and it really is a thrill to be right there in the thick of it!
It’s also considered the most dangerous volcano in the U.S., so admittedly I was treading a bit gingerly as I approached the actual fire show.
What followed was one of the most amazing sites these jaded eyes have ever seen.
Huge rivers of red-hot liquid lava flowing slowly down cliffs, and then suddenly exploding in huge plumes after making contact with the ocean.
It was truly a sight to behold.
This is a place everyone should make a pilgrimage to.
Just don’t steal the rocks.
Other cool things to do on the Big Island
- Visit Funky Hilo: A great little city overlooking a gorgeous bay, with stunning waterfalls, great restaurants, and cool bars. Every April tourists flock here for the annual Hula Festival.
- Big Island Eco Adventures: Take an exciting zipline tour through the mountains of north Kohala. Enjoy a lunch of local delicacies overlooking a 32-foot waterfall.