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Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory
Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory Tours and Tickets

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2,087 Reviews

Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii's tallest and the highlight of many visitors' trips to the Big Island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) feature some of the world's largest telescopes, including equipment from Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii, due to its designation as an unparalleled destination for stargazing.

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Saddle Road, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

star-5
778
Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Join no more than 28 guests for a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$267.02
From
$267.02

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

star-5
311
The 13,803-foot (4,207.3-meter) peak of Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point, and a popular spot for star-gazing. With this tour, travel up to the volcano summit with your guide, stop for dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, then arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunset. As dark sets in, enjoy a guided stargazing experience and marvel at the stars and planets using a refractor telescope and razor pointer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$230.00
From
$230.00

Mauna Kea Summit Sunset and Stars Free Astro Photos Hilo Kona Waikoloa Pick Up

Mauna Kea Summit Sunset and Stars Free Astro Photos Hilo Kona Waikoloa Pick Up

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253
Enjoy a sunset and stargazing experience like no other on this small-group trip to Mauna Kea—the highest point in the Hawaiian islands. Following afternoon pickup, travel in a 4x4 van to the summit—you can change into a warm jacket and pair of gloves, and sip a hot beverage, as the sun starts to set. Then, learn why so many research telescopes are located here during a brilliant celestial show.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.00
From
$239.00

Big Island Adventure Bundle: 5 Epic Audio Driving Tours

Big Island Adventure Bundle: 5 Epic Audio Driving Tours

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44
Explore the natural wonders, historic sites, and popular attractions of Hawaii's Big Island with this downable self-drive app. Enjoy the flexibility of a self-guided tour, without the hassle of navigating or planning your route, with a live GPS map route and audio commentary. This adventure bundle includes five epic tour routes, covering all corners of the island and including the Volcanoes National Park, the Kohala Coast, the Kona Coast, and the Waipio Valley.
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  • 5 days
From
$29.99
per group
From
$29.99
per group

Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
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Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner

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286
See two of the largest volcanoes in the world and stop at one of the most active on this full-day, small-group excursion. First, drive between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, stopping for lunch at Mauna Kea State Park. Then watch for current activity at Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii. Head to Kilauea National Park to see the beautiful landscapes and enjoy dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$260.73
From
$260.73

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii

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1881
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Mauna Kea Stargazing Experience + Photos
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Mauna Kea Stargazing Experience + Photos

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106
Mauna Kea is home to the world's premier stargazing location. On this tour with an Analog-Astronaut and professional photographer guide, see the night sky like never before. Leave with stunning photos of your group with galaxies, stars, and constellations in the background. After your trip, your guide will send you a link to the photos.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$299.00
From
$299.00

Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay

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746
There are few places in all of Hawaii more historic than Kealakekua Bay, as it's the spot where Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians, and the Hawaiian monarch, King Kamehameha III was born just a few miles away. The history aside, it's also one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and you'll have the chance to experience the beauty on this snorkeling tour from Kona. Search for dolphins on the way to the bay while admiring the volcanic coast, and after scouring the red for coral and fish, climb aboard for a lunch that's served by the friendly crew.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$105.00
From
$105.00

Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
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Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

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343
Sail up the scenic Kona coastline, getting views of ancient lava flows and verdant cliffs, and stopping at the Captain Cook Monument, on this afternoon sail in Kealakekua Bay. Slip into the water using the provided snorkeling gear to see vibrant schools of fish, living coral, and even pods of spinner dolphins. Learn about the area's underwater flora, fauna, and ecosystem through guided commentary.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$82.73
From
$82.73

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

star-4
61
Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit different destinations and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.79
From
$239.79

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

star-4.5
436
Journey back in time — when ancient, powerful Kings ruled the rugged, fertile land of the Hawaiian Islands — on this 3-hour dinner cruise to Kealakekua Bay. Travel 12 miles down the Kona Coast to the Captain Cook monument. Learn the many secrets of the Big Island as a local historian points out more than 50 points of interest along the way.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$170.81
From
$170.81

Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona
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Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

star-4.5
130
Look down on the varied landscape of the Big Island from the air on a helicopter tour from Kona. This flight is longer than typical heli tours and provides the opportunity to be wowed by Hawaii’s amazing natural features, from waterfalls to volcanoes to rainforests. Fly along the coast and over Waimanu and Waipio valleys, and spot island industry like macadamia nut orchards. Upgrade to guarantee a window seat.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$761.87
From
$761.87

Big Island - North Island Jungle Driving Tour

Big Island - North Island Jungle Driving Tour

star-5
4
Shaka Guide's driving tour app works like a tour guide in your car! On this tour drive along beautiful green coastlines, through tropical jungle roads, and go star gazing on the tallest mountain in the world. We've done our research so you will not miss a thing! Just sit back and listen to fun stories along the way. Skip the tour bus & explore Big Island at your own pace for a fraction of the cost with the best self-guided audio GPS tours for Hawaii! Rated the #1 best GPS tour app for Hawaii with over 6,000+ raving reviews and 200,000+ downloads. Why you need it: ✅ You don't need service because you can download the tours & use them offline ✅ Much cheaper than a tour bus at only $9.99 for lifetime access ✅ Save time planning your trip because we have the best stops lined up ✅ Freedom to stop and go as you please, unlike a tour bus where you are confined to the pre-determined route (no fun!) ✅ Hear cool and fun stories along the way (and some corny joke's that might make you laugh)
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  • 2 days
From
$19.99
per group
From
$19.99
per group

Big Island Spectacular Helicopter Tour

Big Island Spectacular Helicopter Tour

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275
Fly above Hawaii's spectacular peaks, coasts, and valleys on this helicopter tour of the Big Island. Watch lava bubble up out of volcanoes, fly over the lush rain forests of the Hamakua Coast, and complete your trip with views of the waterfalls lining the Kohala Mountains. Only a helicopter tour lets you see so many of Hawaii's charms on a single ride and from an unforgettable perspective.
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  • 2 hours
From
$761.49
From
$761.49

Big Island - South Island Coastal Loop Driving Tour

Big Island - South Island Coastal Loop Driving Tour

star-4.5
12
Come with us as we explore the fascinating volcanic landscape looping around the southern coast of the Big Island! Shaka Guide is your perfect companion with turn-by-turn directions, information on what to do & see, and a truckload of interesting stories and Hawaiian legends of this amazing island! Skip the tour bus & explore Big Island at your own pace for a fraction of the cost with the best self-guided audio GPS tours for Hawaii! Rated the #1 best GPS tour app for Hawaii with over 6,000+ raving reviews and 200,000+ downloads. Why you need it: ✅ You don't need service because you can download the tours & use them offline ✅ Much cheaper than a tour bus at only $9.99 for lifetime access ✅ Save time planning your trip because we have the best stops lined up ✅ Freedom to stop and go as you please, unlike a tour bus where you are confined to the pre-determined route (no fun!) ✅ Hear cool and fun stories along the way (and some corny joke's that might make you laugh)
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  • 2 days
From
$19.99
per group
From
$19.99
per group

Doors-Off Oʻahu Circle Island Experience from Kapolei

Doors-Off Oʻahu Circle Island Experience from Kapolei

Two of the best ways to explore the Big Island of Hawaii are by air and your own two feet—both of which are possible with this Big Island helicopter tour and hiking adventure. Begin by exploring the island by air on a scenic flight, where you’ll experience the fury of Kilauea Volcano in Volcanoes National Park, and pass over pasture lands, black-sand beaches, and waterfalls that spill toward the coast. You’ll next touch down in North Kohala, the home of King Kamehameha, to hike through valleys and lush rainforests that were once inhabited by kings.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$567.28
From
$567.28

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What people are saying about Mauna-Kea-Summit-and-Observatory tours and tickets

star-5
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
"Really appreciated their discount on cloudy weather. And communicated to us way in advance!! Tour guide/driver is very informative and careful on driving. Learned so much Hawaiian history from guide!!! Good food and nice comfy and warm amenities for the summit, including hot beverages and parka, etc. Excellent service. Highly recommended!!!"..."
star-5
Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)
"Hero, our guide, was phenomenal! He and the rest of the crew made the trip. Hero was extremely well informed and his astrological background brought the night sky to life."..."
star-5
Mauna Kea Summit Sunset and Stars Free Astro Photos Hilo Kona Waikoloa Pick Up
"Spectacular views and amazing sunset. Guide was well informed and super friendly. The star gazing was informative but going on a moonless night would be recommended."..."
star-5
Big Island Adventure Bundle: 5 Epic Audio Driving Tours
"Totally with the money - we used it for the long drives to some tours and amazingly informative and we event got to see some off the trail gems"..."
star-5
Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
"Derrick was extremely knowledgeable and made the trip enjoyable. Food was amazing. Highly recommend the tour!"..."
star-5
Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
"This was a really great experience. Simon and his crew were entertaining and experienced. A short boat ride out to the Manta grounds and then about 45 minutes in the water. The mantas come practically belly to belly with you as they swoop in for a free meal. The manta rays were plentiful and the water was warm enough to tolerate."..."
star-5
Mauna Kea Stargazing Experience + Photos
"Beautiful experience under the stars.. James was very informative. We had a very pleasant experience overall."..."
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
"This was the most incredible experience I have ever had in my life! I Highly recommend Simon and his crew, they were awesome and made this trip so memorable. A must see!"..."
star-5
Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
"Amazing trip! Staff was so nice and boat was super clean and nice. We really enjoyed the fresh fruit plates, drinks and snorkeling!"..."
star-5
Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA
"Your in the area of the greatest star gazing in the world. Great tour to learn what is above you. Coming from the mainland and city living the world above is not seen. Our galactic guide Marcus did a great job . Against the movie DO LOOK UP!"..."
star-5
Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay
"The Captain and the Crew made our trip a totally fun experience. Their knowledge of Hawaii’s history was a plus. Having a real singer entertain was great. Even though we could not make our first destination, due to the weather, they had a backup plan."..."
star-5
Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona
"Lava, waterfalls, valley and coast. This was an unbelievable experience. Our pilot, Ryan, was a wealth of information and a lot of fun. This was a great trip to take on our first full day on the island. It gives you the lay of the land and you can plan hikes and beaches and snorkeling based on what you see from above. All ages in our family loved this experience."..."
star-5
Big Island - North Island Jungle Driving Tour
"Me and my 3 girlfriends had purchased this package due to our interest in exploring the island. We had rented a wrangler and were prepared to do alot of driving in more remote areas. We were in for a pleasant surprise. We found the tour to be so informative and helpful. Food stops were mentioned, bathrooms, local favourite resturants and tons of good suggestions. This tour had about 157 stops so it was jam packed with all the essentials you needed to visit some of the sites on big island. The tour guides voice was very friendly and easy to listen to. There were many times in which we were the only tourist in the area because some of the sites were very very remote. We learned so much about the cultural aspects of the hawaiian culture. One thing that I thought would be more helpful for the app is when prompted to either make a left or a right for visiting a destination site. It would of been great if a yes or no button was availible for you to click on so that you would be automatically rerouted. At times when we had wanted to make a left or right in time, we went the other way. So we did do a few turn arounds. Besides that, this is a trip I would reccomend to everyone. Mahalo :)"..."
star-5
Big Island Spectacular Helicopter Tour
"We were unable to go to the volcano due to cloud coverage but they adjusted our trip to land at a waterfall and it was beautiful. Our pilot , Shane, did an excellent job!!"..."
star-5
Big Island - South Island Coastal Loop Driving Tour
"This was a great way to experience the island on your own! It was a long day but you have the option of making all the stops or just the ones that interest you most. The only suggestion I would make is that I would have liked the hours of stops included as we had a couple of places that had just closed. This was a bargain and very informative."..."

People Also Ask

Can you tour Mauna Kea Observatory?

No, the Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) are private research facilities and not open to the public. However, you can visit the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy and there are plenty of guided tours that will take you to the summit of Mauna Kea for some stargazing with the operators’ own telescopes.

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How cold is Mauna Kea summit?

At 13,796 feet (4,205 meters), conditions on the Mauna Kea summit are typically chilly. Summer daytime temperatures average between freezing and 50°F (8°C). Winter temperatures range from 25 to 40°F (-4 to 4°C), but wind chill can make it seem even colder.

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Can you see the Milky Way from Mauna Kea?

Yes, you can see the Milky Way from Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is one of the best places in the world to see the Milky Way. While it is typically visible with the naked eye, the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station has a few telescopes that visitors can use. Rangers also provide astronomical information in a nightly program.

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What time should I get to Mauna Kea?

Summit visiting hours are from half an hour before sunrise through half an hour after sunset. The best way to experience Mauna Kea is to reach the summit in time for the sunset then go down to Visitor Information Center at 9,200 feet (2,800 meters) for an evening of stargazing.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory?