As many of you have heard, the Kilauea Volcano has recently erupted on the far east side of the Big Island of Hawaii. First and foremost, our heart goes out to all those affected by this volcanic event. The news has astonished many travelers, but rest assured, eruptions are a regular phenomena on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although the magma has forced hundreds out of their homes, it is not a threat to travelers. As stated by Hawai‘i Governor David Ige, “...we want to reassure everyone that this is limited to a remote region on the slopes of Kīlauea volcano...”
What does this mean for vacationers?
This eastward eruption has caused devastation to a few communities, but the eruption has only affected a very small corner (about 10 square miles) of the Big Island (4023 square miles), nearly 100 miles away from Kona and most other resorts and tourist attractions. In fact, the magma is actually flowing away from these resorts and attractions, in the opposite direction.
As stated in the Island of Hawaii’s Volcano update, “It is important that travelers headed to the island of Hawaii understand that there is absolutely no reason at this time to change or alter your leisure or business plans.”
Furthermore, The Hawaii Travel Authority released a statement on current travel conditions. George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, says that:
“The safety of residents and visitors is always the tourism industry’s top priority, while adding that travelers with a trip already booked to the Hawaiian Islands or in the planning stages can be put at ease knowing their vacation experience will be unaffected.”
So, what happened exactly?
In fact, many people come visit the Big Island to witness the eruptions, which usually occur within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The difference with this eruption is that the volcano has had “a major readjustment within the volcano's plumbing system”, as stated by U.S. Geological Survey volcano hazards coordinator, Charles Mandeville.
In other words, the usual underground pathways in which the hot magma flows has been blocked, causing the magma to find another route. Thus, on May 3rd, the magma began heading eastward toward the remote residential neighborhood of Leilani Estates.
The Image below shows the area of the Island that has been affected by the eruption.
Source: New York TImes, Original Source: U.S. Geological Survey (fissure locations)
The eruption has caused devastating loss to the surrounding community of Leilani Estates. However, the resorts, attractions, and all other residential areas on the Big Island remain completely unharmed and safe to visit. There is no need to cancel your current travel plans.
As stated by Hawai‘i Governor David Ige, “We are allocating all necessary state resources to keep our residents safe in this rural area on the island of Hawai‘i where the volcanic activity is occurring. We have heard from people around the world concerned about Hawai‘i’s welfare and want to reassure everyone that this is limited to a remote region on the slopes of Kīlauea volcano. Everywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands is not affected.”
As you are looking toward your future Big Island travels, remember that the volcanoes of Hawaii are a cultural cornerstone and the eruptions have occured for thousands of years!
However, if you have any questions or concerns, our staff at Boundless Hawaii is always here for you. Please feel free to call us anytime at 1-877-782-5662, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.