Frequently Asked Questions
Where to park?
Weekday group tours should have drivers drop off their participants at Lilipuna Pier and park at the Windward Mall and call for the shuttle van to drive you to Lilipuna Pier (van fits max of 6 people).
Please call 15 minutes prior to desired pick-up time.
What to bring?
On the day of your tour, please bring your program fee and waiver. General tours everyone needs in addition to rain-gear should be good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle. Bathing suits are not needed, tours do not include swimming or snorkeling off the island, to avoid disturbing the research projects underway on the island's fringing reef. Cameras are allowed. In addition, we have HIMB hats, shirts and other items available for sale if you wish.
What does a tour cost?
To assist with program scheduling, reservations, and program tour materials and upkeep, there are fees which help maintain the Center for Community Education at the following rates:
Small Walking Tours (12 or fewer participants): $75 for the first three participants and either $25 per additional participant, or $15 per additional kama'aina, military, or senior (65+) with ID.
Large Walking Tours (12 or more participants): $10 per participant, and $175 for the Ka Noelo Kai boat fee.
Expedition to Moku o Lo'e: $175 for the first ten participants and $17 per additional participant, plus $175 for the Ka Noelo Kai boat fee.
Family Sunday Tours: $25 per adult and $15 per child (12 years and under),
or $15 per adult kama'aina, military, or senior (65+) with ID, and $10 per child kama'aina.
Hawaii school groups rates can be found on our SCHOOL GROUPS page.
There is a fee reduction waiver process available for school and community groups that request assistance. Boat fees cannot be waived.
How to Pay?
Program fee and boat fee should be paid in cash or check made out to RCUH.
What is the optimum group size?
12 or less is an excellent size for a single group. The maximum number of people we can accommodate on a single tour is 40. If the personnel are available we split them into small groups with their own tour guides.
Are children allowed on tours?
With the research focus of the tours and the uneven surfaces of the paths make tours unsuitable for very young children. Children must be at least 5-years-old to visit. Walking tours are for participants ages 5 and above and expeditions (labs) to 4th grade and above.
How long do tours last?
Tours last about 2 hours, a little less if the students are young and find lengthy scientific explanations difficult.
What are the lunch options on the island?
There is a facility available called the Beach House, which has a beautiful view and bathrooms. Food is not available for purchase on the island, if you wish to have lunch on island please pack it with you. The Beach House can be reserved for your group if it is available, otherwise, groups can have lunch on one of our lovely lawns.
What is the best time to start our tour?
A 9:00 am start is suggested as we tend to have our best weather in the morning. Weekday starting times can be flexible, but weekend shuttles run only on the hour and so Family Sunday tours are limited in start and finish times.
How do we get from the shore to the island?
With a group of 15 or less we can use the small water shuttle for the rides from the Lilipuna Pier to the Island Lighthouse. For groups of 15 or more (max of 40) we require use of the educational vessel, Ka Noelo Kai, which leaves from He'eia Pier (easier parking and access). Advance scheduling is required for Ka Noelo Kai, and there is a $175 service charge to cover our expenses.
Can I drive my own boat to the island?
Only Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology and University of Hawai'i owned or affiliated vessels are able to dock at our piers. This includes our own University of Hawai'i owned vessels, DLNR State of Hawai'i or Government vessels, and Contractors and Research/Education partners working on a current HIMB project who have cleared and insured their vessel with us.