Tom's Tips - Big Island Hiking Tours


It is obviously easy to make a distinction between sightseeing tours and hiking tours but when you get into it a bit the differences are actually quite profound. The sightseeing tours we over on the Big Island but also on the rest of the islands will take clients to scenic spots and places of interest. This is also what hiking tours do but they take it so much further. The one thing I believe many people overlook is that they automatically believe that it would be inappropriate for them to do a hike type of tour because they feel it may be too strenuous for them. Indeed they may be correct but the whole notion of it should not simply be dismissed without delving a bit into the details.

Case in point: One of the great hiking companies we deal with (and have for years) on the Big Island is a company call Hawaii Forest and Trail. They offer a tour they call 'Discover Volcano Country'. The expressed purpose of this tour is to show you around the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and introduce you to all the important points to be seen there. Other sightseeing companies will take you in a van along the streets to show you the same areas from the road. The difference being in these tours is that with Hawaii Forest and Trail they will actually take you into the forests or wherever, on short hikes at many of the locations for no more than a mile of hiking. Can you imagine the difference in your overall experience when you actually get out in nature and view these areas, breath in the fresh air, smell the flowers and leaves and put a tiny bit of movement into your travel. 

Another similar tour would be one that will actually take you to four different national park sites all in the same day but they will take you into places that the larger sightseeing buses won't be able to get in. You'll visit an ancient Heiau (temple), a massive lava tube, search a black sand beach and visit a beautiful waterfall. Once again your time out of the vehicle and on the ground hiking will be no longer than a mile of walking. Think of the more 'in depth' experiences you could have with such a format instead of simply remaining with the van.

So my purpose in bringing this all up, particularly here in Hawaii is to ask you not to simply dismiss the whole hiking section of a site like ours with the thought that you had no intention of taking a 6 mile hike or something similar. Many of the small hikes you will be taking are nothing more than a glorified walk into the forest or similar and your experience of the tour you are taking is likely to be seriously enhanced.




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Hiking in Hawaii is an activity that many people find pleasurable and rewarding. Not only do Hawaii hikes provide exercise, fresh air and a connection to the beautiful outdoor environment but the Hawaii hiking tours offered on the islands provide one of the most educational activities available to the island visitor.

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