Is It Safe to Travel to Hawaii Right Now?

Hawaii beach

I recently took a poll about vacation destinations.  The author asked everyone where they would spend their dream vacation.  Although there were a lot of different answers, a lot of people (myself included) chose Hawaii!

But, if you’ve watched the news at all, then you’ve seen videos and pictures of smoke filled skies and lava destroying property and homes.  So, you may wonder, is it safe to travel to Hawaii? We’re here to answer a few questions and to ease your mind!

History of Kilauea

Volcanoes are part of life in Hawaii. Kilauea is considered an active volcano, and has been erupting for many, many years, long before European visitors came and wrote about them in their journals.

There are many native Hawaiian traditional stories about the volcanoes, including the legend of Pele, the Goddess of Fire. The legend states that Pele will become enraged at anyone disrespecting her “turf”, or stealing rocks from the National Park or other areas near Kilauea.

KilaueaThe geological study of volcanoes in Hawaii began in 1909 and was taken over by the United States Geological Survey in 1924.

The current eruption actually began in 1983 and is the longest lasting eruption on one of Kilauea’s two rift zones since the 15th century!!  

In the past 66 years, Kilauea has erupted 34 times, but most of the time, the eruptions are non-explosive. The lava usually escapes through cracks in the ground, and stays contained within the Volcanoes National Park.

What made it different this time?  There was a series of earthquakes that caused the floor of the volcano to collapse and trigger more earthquakes, which resulted in magma being forced into new underground chambers.  One of the earthquakes registered as a 6.9 which is one of the biggest earthquakes in Hawaii for more than 40 years!

Why All the Media Coverage?

If volcanoes have been erupting this long, why all the media coverage?  Well, this time around, Kilauea’s eruption has destroyed over 600 residential homes and so this tragedy is something the news media is reporting on.  

Our hearts go out to all those residents affected!

This isn’t the first time that Kilauea has destroyed homes in the area.

  • In 1983, 16 homes were destroyed in the Royal Gardens Subdivision.  
  • In 1990, over 100 homes, a church, and a store were destroyed by being buried beneath 50-80 feet of lava! 

Due to it’s eruptions, the volcano has destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses and utilities. At the same time, it has added 418 acres of land to the Big Island.  This is due to cooled lava settling into the ocean and rising above the surface .

So, although lava is very destructive, it is also part of the creation of new lands.  In fact, if it weren’t for volcanic activity, there would be no Hawaiian Islands! 

What Areas Are Being Affected?

There are 8 main islands of Hawaii.  Kilauea is on the Big Island. The Big Island is 4,000 square miles and of that, only 20 miles on the Southern side are currently being affected by the volcano. There are no other warnings on other islands.

As you can see from the photo, there is a very large portion of the Big Island that is unaffected by the volcano.

Map of Hawaii

What About the Air Quality?

The Governor of Hawaii has stated that the vast majority of the air on the Hawaiian Islands is clean and healthy.  Currently, most of the air quality scores on the Big Island are less than 50. Any score under 50 is is considered as being in the good range.

According to the Assistant Vice President of the American Lung Association, Janice Nolen, you just need to check the air quality before you embark on a vacation to Hawaii.  There are plenty of online tools to reference. We’ve included one here for your convenience! Check air quality now.   

If you have a lung condition, such as asthma or any other breathing concerns, check with your doctor before embarking on any kind of trip.  Have an idea about the air quality in the place to which you are travelling, and bring any medications or inhalers necessary to keep you healthy while you are away!

Can I Visit Volcanoes National Park?

Being the most popular attraction in Hawaii, many people love to visit this National Park.  Unfortunately, most of the Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island is closed (for good reason!), but part of it is still open.

Volcano National Park Kahaku Unit
Visitors Enjoying Volcano National Park Kahaku Unit

The Kahuku Unit is open Wednesday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Just check the air quality beforehand to be sure that it is safe to travel there.

Should I Cancel My Plans To Travel To Hawaii?

Absolutely not!  If you already have plans to travel to Hawaii, keep those plans! Hawaii is a beautiful and diverse place to visit.  From the beaches to the waterfalls, parks and attractions, you will not be disappointed  with your visit to any of the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

The only place you need to avoid right now is lower Puna, where the volcanic activity is taking place, which is on the Southern Part of the Big Island of Hawaii.  The volcano is having absolutely no effect on the other islands at all.  

There is still so much to see and do on the rest of the Big Island, as well as the other islands.  If you have plans to visit Honolulu, for instance, it is on the Island of Oahu.  That is almost 200 miles away from the Big Island of Hawaii.  The Governor assures everyone that travel is not only safe, but welcomed.  

Go and experience the hospitality, aloha, and beautiful settings to be found on the Islands of Hawaii.  Whether you choose to visit the Big Island, or one of the smaller Islands, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai or Maui, you will be welcomed by the Aloha spirit of the beautiful people there.

Spirit of Aloha

We at Wander The World want to help you create and plan an amazing experience, anywhere you want to travel in the World!! If Hawaii is on your bucket list, don’t let the news reports stop you from enjoying this amazing place.

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Please contact us at (833) 292-6337 or click the button below to be taken to our main website. Click the Request Quote Button and one of our agents will help you plan the trip of a lifetime!

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Happy Travels!

The Team at Wander The World

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