Trip Details & Prices


Overview

The trip begins mid-afternoon with a pick-up at one of our central locations in Kailua Kona or at the Queen's Marketplace (Waikoloa) or at the Jct. of Hwy 190 and 200. As we drive up the mountain, we learn about island geography, geology and natural history.

Mauna Kea Summit Adventures - Gemini

While acclimatizing and dining at the Mauna Kea visitors center , you'll find out why the world's largest telescopes are located on this spot. And you'll learn a bit about the lives of astronomers who work there. Before leaving the visitors center we issue parkas and gloves (the warmest available) and engage our four wheel drive for the steep 1/2 hour drive to the summit area.

On the summit, your guide will point out the observatories as they begin to open and rotate into position. You'll learn about famous observatories such as Keck, Subaru and Gemini. There is plenty of time for photos while the sunset transforms the area into a beautiful and quite unearthly spectacle. When the best of the color has past, we descend to mid-mountain, where the sky is equally clear but the climate and air density is much more comfortable for stargazing.

Startrails from our viewing site at 2800 meters Almost every night we explore the night sky using our large portable telescopes*. Using high power green lasers our guides are famous for their ability to locate the treasures of the night sky and interpret them in a way that everyone can understand. Midway in the evening we serve hot drinks and cookies to help take the chill off . The tour is 7-8 1/2 hours in duration depending on where you join it. The actual schedule of the trip varies throughout the year according to sunset times.

*The Stargazing component of our adventure depends on natural conditions and is not guaranteed. More than 90% of our trips have fine stargazing conditions.

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What the Trip Includes:

  • Extremely informative narration from our highly trained guides
  • Convenient central pick-up points in Kailua Kona, Waikoloa or at the highway 190/200 junction
  • Van Terra 4x4 micro-coaches - more comfort, more space and panoramic views
  • Superb scenery and photo opportunities with Sunset on the summit
  • Arctic style hooded parkas and gloves
  • Hearty 3 cheese lasagna supper served on the Visitors Center's lanai about 1.5 hours before sunset
  • 11" Celestron CPC 1100 fully computerized telescopes with premium oculars
  • Stargazing program with our powerful telescopes (weather permitting)
  • Gourmet hot cocoa, coffees and teas accompanied with biscotti while stargazing
  • See our Reservations page for suggestions on what you should bring.
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Menu

In addition to being flavorful and healthy, this delicious menu also travels well on the tour and will warm you up.

  •  A hearty portion of 3 Cheese vegetable lasagna served with a big homemade chocolate brownie.
  • Gourmet hot cocoa, coffees and teas accompanied with biscotti while stargazing


Bring your own beverages (no alcohol).For environmental reasons we do not provide bottled water. The water at the Visitors Center is excellent and there are other beverages available for purchase there as well.

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Price (January 6, 2014)

$203.52  plus tax ($212)

 

 Includes O.M.K.M .user fee

 An optional TIP of $5-10 per person for good service is customary in Hawaii and is very much appreciated by your guide.

 

  Make your reservation online at least two weeks in advance and save 15%*

*Black Out Dates for the web discount:

                           (6/9/2014 - 9/2/2014)         (12/22/2014 - 1/4/2015)

During these very busy periods we recommend you make your reservations at least 30 days in advance if possible.

Please ensure you read the policies stated in the Reservations page before booking your Mauna Kea adventure.

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Brochure

See and print our 4 x 9 Inch Color brochure in PDF format.

Download here

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The Weather & Climate
Comet Hale-Bopp with CSO

Mauna Kea enjoys an average of 325 clear nights per year. Most of the inclement nights are easily predictable. We study the weather on daily basis and when we expect poor scenic conditions are likely; we cancel the trip and refund the payment. We average 25-35 weather cancellations per year. Like any high mountain there can be unpredictable and fast changing weather. We can also be wrong in our predictions. If the weather should be poor for sunset and stargazing we may have to change the plan a bit to make the most of the trip. Above all, this is a trip to one of the world’s greatest mountains and we take it as the mountain and nature allow.

We DO NOT guarantee the weather in any way but we do guarantee a professionally guided high mountain experience.

The Climate: The average temperature is 30oF and wind is common.  Please wear pants and closed shoes and bring any layering garments you may have. We will supply warm hooded parkas and gloves.

For stargazing under 100% clear skies every day we recommend Imiloa Center in Hilo.

cancellation policy

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All photos and text are copyright 2009 MP Wright. All rights reserved