Hawaii is one of the most spectacular places on earth, filled with incredible vistas, plenty of outdoor activities and a warm, inviting culture. Best of all, its part of the United States, so you don’t have to dig up your passport to get away from it all. And reaching this slice of paradise via cruise ship? It’s simply the best way to make the journey just as enjoyable as the destination.
If this is your first time taking a cruise to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, you’re in for a real treat. There are plenty of adventures waiting for you here, so be sure to sign up for a shore excursion or two to get the most out of your time in port. Try these thrilling activities in Hilo for a guaranteed amazing time.
Air and Sea Adventures
1. Hilo Bay Kayak & Waterfall Adventure
Placid Hilo Bay is the perfect place for a paddling adventure as you kayak along Hawaii’s gorgeous shoreline. The tour begins on a black sand beach near the cruise ship pier in Hilo. You’ll paddle under the Singing Bridge along the Wailuku River as your guide tells you about the local scenery. The finale of the tour is a beautiful waterfall, where you can take a cool dip or just enjoy the incredible surroundings. If you’ve never kayaked before, this is a bucket list item!
2. Circle of Fire Helicopter
Want to catch a glimpse of a rainbow in the clouds or of glowing red lava seeping out of one of the world’s most active geological sites? The best — and safest — way to get up close and personal with a volcano is by air. This helicopter tour gives you once-in-a-lifetime views of the Hawaiian Islands as you soar like a bird above it all. You’ll see spectacular land formations, lush rainforest and the crystal blue sea as your pilot tells you all about the landscape of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s definitely an excursion you’ll never forget!
Hawaiian Cultural Adventures
3. Hilo Historical Tour
With all the natural beauty of Hawaii, it’s easy to forget that Hilo is a wonderful city in its own right. Tour one of Hawaii’s most iconic towns, and you’ll learn about Hawaii’s rich history as you wander through Liliuokalani Park, the Lyman Museum, and the Pana’Ewa Rainforest Zoo. This guided tour of Hilo is a wonderful way to experience the natural and manmade beauty while hearing about Hawaii’s unique cultural heritage. Perfect for all ages and physical abilities!
4. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
This is a must-see destination for avid gardeners, but you don’t need to have a green thumb to enjoy the beauty of the world’s only seaside botanical garden. You’ll take in mesmerizing ocean views while learning about a few of the most unique plants you’ll ever see, including an extensive orchid garden and bird house. There’s also a scenic waterfall and plenty of winding paths to explore as you choose your own adventure in this delightful location.
5. Volcano Wine Tasting Tour
Wine connoisseurs know that each wine gets its unique flavor from the different features of the land where it’s made, and Hawaiian wines are no different. This winery is nestled in volcano country, where its elevation and unique soil combine to make incredible wines. After you tour the vineyard and winery, you’ll be able to taste a range of unique vintages, including ones infused with local tropical fruits for a totally Hawaiian tasting experience.
Deciding what to do in Hilo can feel tricky with so many great choices, but you really can’t go wrong as you explore this incredible location. Hilo is a must-see destination this year, as the Kilauea volcano is constantly changing the map by creating new land. A cruise to Hilo lets you be one of the first people ever to check out the island’s new footprint. How cool is that?
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.