Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Travel

We just took a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It was amazing! We took a long weekend during Christmas and I think that’s going to be our new tradition. We totally loved it. We were really lucky as Kilauea volcano hasn’t erupted for more than two years and just began again 4 days before our visit-making it even more exciting.

This National Park is seriously amazing. I’m in love. Native Hawaiian forests have largely been transformed into housing, agricultural land, or invasive species dominated landscapes. To see a functioning, thriving, ecosystem of native forest species was just…incredible. There are rare Hawaiian plants and animals and the geology is incredible. No where else in the United States can you witness the literal creation of new land. At night you can see the glow of liquid rock from all over the park.

We wanted to be sure we could social distance on our trip so we were happy to see that the park was relatively crowd free- avoiding people was totally do-able. Much of the normal park services are available with the exception of the visitor’s center.

Our Budget

  1. Covid Test- Flying to Hawaii and even interisland requires a 10 day quarantine or a negative covid- 19 test. Covid testing can be done for $150 per person within 72 hours prior to travel.
  2. Flight- Flying inter-island on Southwest from Honolulu to Kona is $79 each way- That’s $316 round trip for the two of us.
  3. Rental Car- a budget rental car from Kona airport is only $18 per day- for a three day trip that’s $63.
  4. Food and gas- about $100. We stopped at Costco before and after to get groceries and gas.
  5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has an entrance fee- $30 for seven days. https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/fees.htm
  6. We wanted to keep the trip in budget, so we camped at Kulanaokuaiki campground within the park which is $10 per night.
  7. Since Mr. Nerd is a Veteran, we were able to stay at Kilauea Military Camp. We just spent one night there- we got a cottage with a jacuzzi tub and a fireplace for $145. It’s right across the road from Kilauea Lookout which affords the best view of the lava lake possible right now.

Total cost = $964

We recommend visiting the grocery store before leaving Kona or Hilo- as the stores in Volcano are expensive and have a limited selection. The drive from Kona to Volcano is over 2 hours long and really quite beautiful so be sure you have daylight when you make the drive. Hawaii Island is incredibly majestic. There are 100’s of miles of hiking trails available in the park but if you want to check out other parts of the Big Island on your trip spend a day in Kona checking out the beaches there. We really love Kua Bay. If you have a free day to visit the East side of Hawaii take a drive from Hilo, North along the Hamakua coast- it’s full of sea cliffs and waterfalls. Similar to the road to Hana on Maui but with less curves. You won’t regret it. Check out our Big Island Travel Gallery to see more.

Be sure to follow all state and county Covid rules for travel into Hawaii and within the state. Be sure to be responsible during your travel and throughout your visit. Always wear and mask and social distance. Although cases are relatively low in Hawaii, we are not Covid free, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe. As always, travel pono.

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