If you’re looking for adventure with amazing photo ops and maybe add a dash of romance too, check out the Mauna Kea Stargazing and Sunset Tours on the Big Island.
Mauna Kea is the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, standing close to 14,000 feet above sea level. It’s considered the highest mountain in the world – that’s measuring from sea floor though so there is another 16,000 feet of mountain below the sea! What you’ll see though is really a dormant volcano, which accounts for the spectacular, almost surreal scenery.
Mauna Kea Stargazing tours includes transportation, a meal, warm clothes for the summit and a sight you won’t soon forget.
The mountain’s extremely high altitude affords views of an almost extraterrestrial landscape and fantastical skies that change color as the sun sets. When the sun has retired for the evening, you’ll go back down the mountain and your guide will set up a telescope, and serve you a hot drink. You’ll be treated to a dazzling light show courtesy of the twinkling stars overhead.
Your tour guide will point out interesting stars, constellations, planets and more, often with the use of a highly powered telescope. (Of course, stargazing is weather dependent, but Mauna Kea is legendary for clear vistas).
But, you and your fellow travelers won’t be the only stargazers around! Mauna Kea is home to one of the most famous astronomy observatories in the world – the W.M. Keck Observatory. Astronomers from all over the planet come here to work and study the wonders of our solar system. (The W.M. Keck Observatory is at the summit, so you will be surrounded by it, but unfortunately won’t be permitted inside.)
It’s virtually impossible to get to the top of the mountain in a rental car, so taking a Mauna Kea Stargazing tour is your best bet.
Also, altitude sickness is very possible at such extreme heights (the atmospheric pressure at the summit of Mauna Kea is a whopping 40% less than at sea level). Altitude sickness can lead to impaired judgement, drowsiness, disorientation, and more. This makes operating a vehicle on steep mountainous terrain in the dark an unsafe endeavor indeed!
Best to leave the driving to your experienced, friendly guide. Your guide will drive you to and from the summit in worry-free comfort and help you avoid altitude sickness.
The Mauna Kea observation trip is a 7 to 8.5 hour affair. Do bring warm clothes as it’s chilly up high, water, snacks, and of course, your camera!
Please note that due to the altitude, Mauna Kea Stargazing Tours have both age and health restrictions. Contact us for more details.