Mauna Kea & Kaumana Caves Hilo, Hawaii

Three days in Hilo Hawaii (otherwise known as The Big Island) was not long enough. My Boyfriend and I explored as much as we could in the short time that we had although we definitely covered a lot of Activities but we were still yearning for more time.

I would definitely recommend you to rent a vehicle (pref. with 4-Wheel Drive) and be sure to pack a lot of sweaters. Hilo can get chilly at night in the mountains. Coming from Oahu I was expecting some resort near the beach with Mai Tai’s in hand- at least that’s the life I live on Oahu. But The Big Island was pleasant surprises of cool air, hot tubs and a lit fire place *SWOON*. A  nice change of pace from one of the hottest summers we have had on Oahu in 20 years.

The first day we got up early around 6 am and checked out the Thomas Jaggar Museum at the Hawaii National Volcano Park to see the Caldera before the crowds came rushing in around 8 am.

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We then took the long drive to the top of Mauna Kea . We drove to the Welcome Building so that we could take our time and adjust to the elevation. Once we got to the center spent about 20 min or checking out the views and completed the journey all the  way to the top. Be sure to drink a lot of water to help with the elevation as well. In the Winter you can find snow at the top but year round you can see the milky way very clearly.

I felt like we were driving on Mars. In fact there may have been a movie filmed here about Mars.

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No matter how tempting it is, do not take any Lava Rock with you. The Hawaiian people are very superstitious and they say that if you take Lava rock with you off of the land you will be cursed by Pele (below). This may or may not be real, but I would not chance it. Hundreds of people a year return Lava rocks each year with stories on how their lives have been ruined.

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On the way back to our cottage in the mountains (I LOVE saying that) we explored the Kaumana Caves for about an hour but we could have stayed for much longer since these lava tubes are tall enough to stand up straight in (I’m 5’8″) and runs 25 miles all the way to the ocean.


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We were staying at KMC, Kilauea Military Camp and went back to the Jaggar Museum at night to see the lava glow and visit Pele, the Goddess of Lava. I have heard stories of her love of Gin, rumors have it that if you sacrifice bottles to her she will reward you. I also love Gin, so I have to send her some 🙂

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