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Reviewed 4 January 2013

Our family (two adults and boys, 17 and 13) had a great time being guided to lava flows by by David. We felt safe on the whole trip. We loved the hike out, enjoying all of the textures and unusual formations of the lava beds. We got a lot of information about what it's like living out there on the beds and a fair amount about how flows behave. There were some great discussions with David and his assistant about the field and the lava beneath. It was a wonderful experience. The only things that would improve it for me would have been taking more time on the walk out to discuss the formations and how they happen and a little more talk about general geology. Still, this is an experience well burned into our memories.

Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
Thank noob_for_life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2013

We did the Lava Hike a few days ago. What an experience! There were a couple of nice flows, directly into the ocean. Very impressive and the pictures we took were amazing!
For us, the hike was about 2.5 miles to the lava. We started at 4pm. David will provide sticks for you to play in the lava with. We spent almost an hour at the lava site, before we hiked back. That's enough to take all the pictures you want. David provided flashlights for the way back.
All-and-all we the trip will take between 4 - 5 hours. Wear sturdy shoes, but other than that the hike is very do-able, even with smaller children. Beware at the lava site though, because the cliffs are very steep!
This is a must-do trip, when you're visiting the Big Island. There are very few volcano's in the world where you can get this close to the real thing.
David and Charlene's house is very beautiful. For a complete experience, consider staying there the night after the hike. You're right on the lava, totally off the grid. We were sorry we hadn't thought about that before. Sure beats driving back to Hilo for an hour, in the middle of the night!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Berend M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2012

dave and charlene are such wonderful hosts it is hard to list all of the considerate things they did for us. here are a few: dave waited for us to arrive (which was late in the evening) before he left for the wednesday night farmers market so he could personally show us the way there, and AFTER our return from the farmers market, charlene stayed up to offer us some of her lovely tea selection before we went to bed... and the next morning they were very kind about having a vegan breakfast ready for us. and i should mention that the tea really hit this spot. it was the perfect drink to have while star gazing (and lava flow gazing) on their porch. :)
the accommodations are lovely. charlene is a gifted artist and the B&B is dotted with her beautiful work. also, dave is an artist in his own right and has utilized unusual pieces of wood in the most interesting ways... door frames, the bed frame, the kitchen table (although it's more of a "bar" than a table).
So... all of this leads up to one of the most interesting and special moments of my life so far... THE LAVA HIKE. :) dave is the tour guide for the hike and he really loves what he does. he shares interesting stories along the way as you hike through cake batter lava to get to the active lava flow. once at the lava flow, he shows you neat things you can do w/ the molten lava. it is hard to put into words how mesmerizing the active lava is. there were four of us (plus dave) and we all delighted in this activity.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cdc2f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2012

My wife and I were fortunate to go on a lava tour with David last night. As other reviewers on Hawaii may note, there numerous tour guides to pick from...we thought David was an excellent guide, knowledgeable, chatty, friendly and safety conscious. The trail out to the lava flow is a 2 hour hike at the moment, but can vary depending on fitness levels. Word of advice - take +2 litres per person of water, you will need it...and good shoes, the lava is blocky and undulating all the way and can be tough of your feet....David seems to be superhuman and able to go all the way out in flip flops!

David is a Great guide, and I would have no problems recommending him to others. He's also very aware of the attendees fitness levels and is happy to stop and rest a few times on the way out. The afternoon tour is great as you get to see the real colour and glow of the magma, but it comes at the cost of you have to walk back in the dark (with torches). Day tours would still be great as the lava is still bright...obviously not as glamorous as the evening though.

Seeing the lava is amazing, I'm a geologist and seeing something like this is a real 1 off experience and definitely something to consider when coming to Hawaii....theres not many tourist friendly larva flows in the world - which makes this great...if you can manage the trip, definitely give it a go as it's worth every cent.

My suggestion - buy a whisk or potato masher at wal mart and tape it to your walking stick and poke it in the lava - it covers it over in lava and once it cools it makes a great paperweight when you return home with a whisk covered in magma!

The other plus with doing the tour with LAva beds Hawaii is being able to leave your car at the B&B, which keeps your car safe instead of parking it in the public car park down the road....made us feel a lot more secure.

Thanks again David, we had a great time.

Room Tip: Take a kitchen implement to stick into the lava - i suggest a whisk as it picks up more lava!
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BoardingPass802682
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2012

I originally chose the location due to it being "a bit different" and close to Volcano National Park. The house is a beautiful wooden structure built right on top of the 1990 lava flow and looks like nothing I have ever seen before.

I arrived late evening after dark and Charlene was busy flicking the lights on and off to help guide me to their place. As mentioned before, the house is located on the old lava flow so is a little "off the beaten path" - but don't worry, completely accessible with any car along the dirt road.

I was met by David and Charlene and was immediately brought into their home and made to feel completely welcome. They are some of the friendliest and most laid-back people you could ever hope to meet on your travels, and both full of knowledge about the surrounding area - and will give you first hand accounts of the lava flows and the local history of the area. Both Charlene and David make wonderful breakfast waffles and scrambled eggs, and their coffee is to die for!

The house itself is bright and airy and is completely "off the grid", meaning their electricity is generated via sunlight and wind, and their water is collected from rainfall. They are set up as a 1 private room B&B, and as the room was already occupied, I was in a shared living space on an air mattress. At first I was a little apprehensive, but as David and Charlene are so respectful of their guests' needs and the house is so calm and relaxed, I really didn't feel like I was intruding and vise versa. You may need to check with them in case this arrangement wouldn't work for you though.

Depending on current lava flows, David will arrange to take you right up to where the flowing lava action is, which in my case was 3 miles away, but absolutely worth every footstep. David is knowledgable and super-safety conscious, so there is nothing to worry about. The group I joined had an 8 year old boy along for the ride and he enjoyed it immensely :)

My fondest memories will be sitting with them on their beautiful veranda after dark, talking story, listening to the wind turning their turbine and whispering through the hibiscus bushes, while seeing the flickering orange lights of the lava flows in the distance and the occasional moonbow (nighttime rainbow - stunning).

Their big bear of a gentle giant dog Kobi will also steal your heart (and possibly your waffles).

If you are planning a trip to the Big Island and want a home from home with wonderful people near to the lava, you should give them a call - you won't regret it.

Room Tip: If it matters to you, before booking, check if you would be in a private room or within a shared space
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank belpernews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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