Kaumana Caves are a unique attraction a few minutes drive from Hilo town. It’s great for a stop when you’re heading from Kona to Hilo or Hilo to Kona. It’s along the way to access saddle road making it a convenient stop off point. The great thing about Kaumana caves is that it’s easy to get to and the caves themselves are quite impressive going back quite far. If you do decide to go back farther be sure to bring the right equipment. There are other great things to do in Hilo but this is by far one of the more adventurous free things to do in Hilo.
Check out the video to see this and more things to do in HIlo.
What to bring for this adventure:
1. Flashlight (and backup if you go back far)
2. Close-toed shoes
3. Thick pants
5. Food if you go back really far
This is definitely a must do for people looking for things to do in Hilo. It’s very easy to get to being so close to town and is so unique especially for those who have never been in a lava tube. They call them Kaumana caves but it’s actually a really long lava tube going much farther back than most people are comfortable exploring. Make sure to bring the right gear so you don’t get stuck or injured in here. While not life threatening it will definitely make you a bit uncomfortable adventuring in here.
If you’ve ever been allowed to before you would know that they can be quite different depending on the lava tube that you happen to go into. There’s Thurston lava tube which is located in volcanoes national Park. Thiston lava tube is okay. It’s not much to look at it basically looks like a tunnel with smooth lava rock and it is well lit. As far as the adventure scale goes it’s closer to a one then at ten. Most people visiting volcanoes national Park will go to Thurston lava tube. They may think that this is what most lava tubes look like but it definitely is not!
Description of Kaumana Caves
Kaumana caves is completely different. While it is nearly as easy to access as Thurston lava tube it is completely different inside. The ground has very challenging footing. The ceiling has so for and interesting shiny metallic looking surfaces. And it’s dripping with vines and roots from plants above. There is a large variety of different kinds of lava formations inside of this lava tube and it is a true lava tube that will really impress. Probably one of the biggest benefits it’s it’s completely free! Some heavy duty pants good lighting also really easy stop off if you’re driving from Kona to Hilo or from Hilo to Kona. Looks can be deceiving because it is so easy to access this lava tube many at other lava tubes that are as easy to access are not as impressive. There are two entrances to this lava tube. You can either go right or left. Either way you will eventually have to get down on your hands and knees and crawl. This is why we recommend that you bring some sort of protection for your head like a beanie, some pants, some close toed shoes, and some strong lighting. If you go exploring back far enough you’re probably also going to want to bring some water and an additional flashlight. It would be a bummer to be stuck in a dark cave in the middle of the island without any light. Ideally you have a headlamp so that you can crawl on your hands and knees and not have to hold your flashlight. Also as a bonus tip you could wear elbow and knee pads and then crawling would be really easy!
Some of the cool features inside lava tubes are the ground which can be either smooth or rough lava depending on how the lava was flowing when it cooled. You’ll notice some smooth channels along the sides of the walls that you can walk and climb on and underneath the channels are lava sickles or lava formations that look like teeth. This first things to do in HIlo this is definitely one of the better ones. It is also one of the more it ventures things to do on Big Island.
At the entrance to the cave is a very steep staircase there’s also bathrooms and a covered picnic table area where you can have lunch before after you do your hike. This is a serious hike if you want to go back into the lava tube because it requires physical activities such as jumping climbing kneeling crawling and other sorts of maneuvers. The lava can be many different colors inside of the lava tube you will see reds blues yellow silvers and the blackest of Blacks. Because it’s so black and side of the lava tube you will need a strong light to help you see well. The love absorbs most of the light and there’s very little light reflected around the tube other than from shiny crystals embedded in lava.
To access this lava tube you’re going to drive up come on a road and you’ll see a sign for the lava tubes is quite obvious. There is parking across the street and be careful when you’re crossing the street is there’s quite a bit of speedy traffic there. When we were there there was a mother chicken with all of her little baby chicks running around and there are lots of chickens. Please don’t feed the chickens because they are wild animals. Don’t forget to bring water with you as this is a hike and you probably will sweat a little bit during the process.
As far as adventures go on the Big Island this is a nice one that is easy to access and can be featured as a side trip along the way to another destination. Because of the length of the tuba can be either of very short pop in or you can really explore back into the cave a long ways until it emerges back into the jungle. The entire length of the cave is 25 miles long. But you will probably not see the entire length because there are so many offshoots and it is difficult to access some parts of the cave.
Things to do on Big Island
If you looking for things to do in HIlo or things to do on Big Island, this is definitely one of the better free at and more adventurous activities available. It’s also great because it’s such a unique experience that you won’t be able to find in many parts of the world.