As the first company to specialize in tours to the mountain, Mauna Kea Summit Adventures focuses on stars. Cushy vans with panoramic windows journey first to the visitor center, where participants eat dinner and acclimate for an hour before donning hooded arctic-style parkas and ski gloves for the sunset trip to the 14,000-foot summit. Stargazing through a powerful Celestron telescope happens mid-mountain with the help of knowledgeable guides. Tour, dinner, and west-side pickup cost $212 and runs 364 days a year, weather permitting. You can save 15% by booking online.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, United States
May 25, 2010
Mauna Kea itself was beautiful and the sky was incredible, I've never seen anything like it. I highly recommend making it up there, but please either rent a 4WD vehicle and take the FREE escorted trip with the Visitor Center volunteers, or find another tour company. I do not recommend Mauna Kea Summit Adventures b/c: -inexperienced or unknowledgable guides (we got zero information on mauna kea, the history, culture of Hawaii, etc. - what it says
on the website) -the guide Gordon spent the entire time talking about why their tour is better than other tours, b/c of their vans -the van in my opinion is the least important thing, there haven't been any safety issues with other companies or driving yourself, he admitted people rarely had issues - too expensive for what you get (you don't even get a bottle of water, what they tell you to drink to curb altitude sickness) -stargazing occurs at 9,000 feet (same as the Visitor Center) so you might as well do that there for free -getting to the actual summit is not included and actually frowned upon by them, even though it's only a 20 minute walk from the drop point