Hana Lava Tube

Visit Hana Lava Tube for a Uniquely Hawaiian Experience
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

For a unique self-guided tour through a lava tube at a reasonable price, the Hana Lava Tube is a must-visit attraction. You can see the inside of a cave created by lava and learn about the geological processes that formed it. Plus, don’t miss the trip through the world’s only Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze, included in the price of admission to the lava tube.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Volcanoes are one of the most well-known attractions on the Hawaiian Islands, but not everyone gets to see the resulting lava tubes from these geological wonders. At Hana Lava Tube, the owner makes their one-third of a lava tube cave available to explore for a unique experience for all ages.

The Hana Lava Tube is a privately owned tourist site, but the owner has put extensive work into making the cave and surrounding area welcoming for all. Visitors receive flashlights to help navigate the dark cave. Plus, there are numerous plaques inside the cave that educate visitors about the natural and human history of the lava tube.

Even the entrance of the cave has an interesting formation. You walk down a stairway through an opening near the top of the cave. This opening formed when heated gases inside the lava flow grew in pressure to blow a hole in a thinner area of the crust, forming a skylight. Over time, the lava inside the flow stopped, but the exterior solidified, forming the tube.

Cooling lava within the tube can also form into different shapes such as balls, stalactites, stalagmites, and falls, depending on how quickly it cooled and where. You can spot these unique features and others while touring the cave.

Two Main Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss at Hana Lava Tube:

Hana Lava Tube
Of course, the cave is the reason for your visit, but don’t skimp on your time in the area. The cave space itself is short, only one-third of a mile, but part of the largest lava tube on the island and 18th in the world.

Some visitors speed through this space without stopping to read the plaques or admire the scenery. Give yourself time to look at everything. Use your provided flashlight to illuminate parts of the cave on all sides as you walk through the tube. Your flashlight will provide the only illumination inside the cave, but try turning off the lights once to get a feel for the natural darkness inside the cave.

Kids love getting to go into a lava-formed cave, and reading the interpretive signs can also have a learning experience. Adults, too, enjoy exploring the unusual cave. There are features within this cave that you will rarely encounter elsewhere, such as a rare lava stalagmite.

You can use flash photography in the cave. However, since the cave does not have artificial light, you may need to augment your camera or phone’s flash with your flashlight to get good pictures.

The average time for the self-guided tour in the cave is 40 minutes. You may spend as much time as you like, though, because there is no time limit on your admission.

When visiting, wear comfortable shoes and use the handrails on the stairways. The walking surfaces can be uneven and wet, which could make it easy to slip. The cave itself is not accessible to scooters or wheelchairs because it requires walking down a stairway to reach.

The Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze
The Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze is an accessible feature on the lava tube site that everyone will enjoy. This is not your typical hedge maze.

Unlike other types of hedge mazes created from greenery, this botanical maze uses Red Ti plants to produce a vibrant maze from dark red plants. No other hedge maze in the world uses this plant, making this one a truly unique labyrinth.

If you need help getting through the maze, you can download a top-down view of the maze from the cave’s website or view an aerial photo on the same site.

Insider Tips:
-Take the offered flashlight before you enter the cave. The dark passages and uneven footing can be dangerous without light.
-A visit here requires good physical fitness and vision to navigate the uneven footing, staircases, and natural terrain of the cave. If you have people in your group who cannot go through the cave, they can still enjoy a walk through the more accessible maze.
-Have cash on hand for the $15 per person admission price.