What We are Learning About Hawaii

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted late Thursday afternoon, sending smoke and gas into the air and causing underground lava to burst through the surface in nearby residential areas. According to the New York Times, local communities Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens were ordered to evacuate to shelters at 5:30 p.m.—no injuries or deaths have been reported. As of right now, popular resorts such as the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Fairmont Orchid, and Hilton Waikoloa Village appear to be operating as normal. Flight-wise, Hawaiian Airlines tweeted that guests traveling “to/from/via Hilo (ITO) or Kona (KOA) airports on Hawaii will be permitted a one-time reservation change with waiver of change fee.” To see if your travel will be affected, contact CaribbeanDays.com or check your airline’s website directly.

Earthquakes have been rocking Hawaii’s Big Island near the Kilauea volcano, indicating that the world’s most active volcano is living up to its name. The United States Geological Survey says that an increase of lava bubbling up to the surface is the likely scenario here. Travelers heading to the Big Island, or any of the Hawaiian islands, should be warned of the impact of the volcano’s heightened activity, but it shouldn’t prevent you from taking your much needed vacation.

So far, the USGS expects the lava to impact the Big Island’s East Rift Zone, or southeastern tip below Hilo. According to the USGS, lava is already flowing under the ground of Highway 130, the mostly residential area’s main thoroughfare. There are a number of vacation homes in the area, so be sure to check on conditions with your travel agency or rental office if your stay is occurring in the next week. The area is preparing for evacuation; but there’s also no way to pinpoint exactly where the lava would erupt. So far, none of our luxury villas are reporting any disruptions, as they’re all located relatively distant from the volcano, on the northwestern edge of the Big Island.

The main impact to tourists will be access to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, about 15,600 acres of which is closed to visitors. “The recent eruption changes and increased seismicity around the East Rift Zone may threaten land and the community outside the park. Most of the park, which is 333,308 acres in size, remains open,” said park superintendent Cindy Orlando in a statement.

Kilauea’s status as the most active volcano in the world, has been continuously erupting since 1983. The continuous erruptions has been part of the tourism draw to the Island of Hawaii. Its eruptions are often slow and stunning. One such eruption even created a lava waterfall last year, pouring 1,600-degree glowing, melted rock into the Pacific. While the vent (where this eruption is stemming from) is in that closed acreage, the actual summit of Kilauea is still open to the public. Its main crater, just saw a surge in lava, to the point where some has been spilling out the top, and is best seen from the Jaggar Museum overlook, the National Park Service says.

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