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Rooms in the Rainforest

Apapane Guesthouse Cottage

$140 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only

(more below)

Alala Hiker`s Retreat

$105 / night,   3 + nights ,   or

$125 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only

"ʻApapane" - Guesthouse Cottage

$140 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only

( special: 6th night FREE ! )

Surrounded by rainforest this cottage a queen bed, and full kitchen (stove but no oven).   A first morning's breakfast is provided at this unit only.   Features private parking, a large 2 person shower with window view into the forest, dvd player, and books.   Village stores and restaurants are close by. 1 - 2 adults only.

ʻApapane   ( ah-pah-PAH-nay )

Endemic (Native) honeycreeper often seen in the area.

"Alala" - Hiker`s Retreat

$105 / night,   3 + nights ,   or

$125 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only

The Hiker's Retreat is our smallest, studio rental, a clean, cute place to relax after exploring in the National Park.   A Queen size bed, flame fireplace / thermostat heater, dvd player and books, plus a microwave and small fridge give the basic amenities, with Village stores and restaurants are close by. 1 - 2 adults only.

ʻAlalā   (AH-lah-lah)

Hawaiian Crow, extinct in the wild, but captive colony is growing.

"ʻIo" - Bird House

Renovating, try back later!

$210 / night,   3 night minimum,   adults only

2 Queen size beds, separate rooms

Close to Village stores and restaurants, the Io Bird House is our largest rental, with a full kitchen, large lanai, dining table and living area. Private parking space. Lanai overlooks Koi ponds, and lighted paths wind around gardens and grounds. Sleeps 1 to 4, adults only.

ʻIo   (EE - oh)

Hawaiian Hawk, only found on Big Island.

  • If you are staying in our rentals and have binoculars, we would be happy to take you on a free morning birding walk through Kipuka Puaupu, "Bird Park", if schedules and weather allow.

  • Near-by commonly seen land + shore bird species:

  • 10 in the general area of the rentals.
    18 more within a 15 minute drive.
    7 more within a 30 minute drive.
    5 more within a 1 hour drive.
    10 more within a 2 1/2 hour drive.
    3 rare natives 3 hours away
    some areas require permits/guides

  • Near-by commonly seen land + shore bird species:
    10 in the general area of the rentals.           + 18 more within a 15 minute drive.
    + 7 more within a 30 minute drive.           + 5 more within a 1 hour drive.
    + 3 rare natives 3 hours away           (   some areas require permits/guides   )

    (below are some images I've taken from around the island ...

    not all species are represented)

  • View this page on a larger screen for more information, links to birding sites and local guides.

Big Island,   Endemic Species
amakihi female
amakihi male
coot red morph
elepaio male
hawaii creeper
Big Island,   Indigenous Species
black crowned night heron
black noddy
pacific golden plover
ruddy turnstone
wandering tattler
white tailed tropic bird
Big Island,   Introduced Species
california quail
chestnut munia
chestnut munia male
common sparrow
common waxbill
erckel's frankolin
grey francolin
helmeted guineafow
house finch
japanese bush warbler
japanese white eye
java finch
northern cardinal
northern mockingbird
red avadavat
red billed leothrix
saffron finch
scaly breasted munia
spotted dove
yellow billed cardinal
yellow fronted canary
zebra dove

Birding Hot Spots:

  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park :    The park is huge, and runs from the ocean to the top of Mauna Loa, so it contains quite a few interesting ecosystems ranging from shoreline cliffs to deserts, grasslands and rainforest, from sea level to barren mountain top at over 13,600 feet. Because of it's size, there are quite a number of bird species, though you'll have to drive and hike to see many of them. One of the easiest to access with the highest number of species is Kipuka Puaulu (see below). You can see many of the local introduced species around the visitor center, and most of the trails around the Kilauea Caldera have Endemic (native) Apapane, Amakihi, and Omao.
    The Crater Rim portion of the Kilauea Iki trail (park at the Kilauea Iki overlook) is good for those natives plus Japanese White Eye, Japanese Bush Warbler, and in the mornings it's common to see our state bird, the Nene (nay-nay) goose flying over.
    The Halamaumau trail is good for the same birds.   Jaggar Museum is a good place to see white-tailed tropic birds flying in and around the smoking lava lake.   And the bottom of Chain of Craters road at the ocean is good for Black Noddies.

  • Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) :    If you stay on highway 11 and a few miles past the park entrance (going south), you'll be able to tun inland on Mauna Loa Road. About a mile and a half down that road you will find a round-about parking area and the Kipuka Puaulu or "Bird Park" loop trail, an easy and beautiful old growth forest trail. A kipuka is an area that was left protected after lava flowed down and around the area, leaving it intact while burning the surrounding forest. This 600 year old kipuka has one of the highest number of mature and densely packed native plants, towering Ohia and Koa trees, and because of this, quite a collection of both native and introduced bird species, all on an easy walk.   And because it's a popular trail for school outings and has easy access for locals and tourists alike, the birds are acclimated to human activity, meaning they are not as skittish, more easy to see. Native species include 'Elepaio, 'Oma'o, 'Apapane, and occasionally Amakihi and our native hawk, the Io.

  • Pu'u O'o Trail off Saddle Road :    West of Hilo on Saddle Road, pull off of the south side between mile marker 22 and 23.   There is a brown trail sign and small parking area. A lava gravel trail takes you up and down a couple of small hills and down into a small valley. The trail is mostly open, and marked with cairns of piled stone, all fairly obvious.   This is the only non-permit area where we've seen the hard-to-see endangered 'Akiapola'au and Hawai'i Creeper.   Iiwi, Amakihi, 'Elepaio, 'Oma'o, and Apapane are common. Contact us for our favorite birding spot on the trail. A word about weather at elevation: Be prepared for sudden changes, even if it looks clear and warm when you start out. This trail is at ~6500 feet, so it'll be cooler than average, but with a stronger dose of UV. It can go from sunny to fog or rain unexpectedly, so dress in layers and always have rain gear. A day pack is a great way. Take water, your PHONE, and a flashlight. The trail is fairly easy, but you have to keep your eyes on the ground as it's very uneven across the floes. (Do Not Leave Valuables In Your Car. This and Green Sand Beach are the only areas we see broken glass from smash and grabs, though it's fairly uncommon anywhere on the island.) Hunters also use this access area to get deeper into the forest, so it's common to see local trucks there besides tourists and locals parking for trail use. Wear brighter colors and don't go off trail if it's a posted hunting season (see the trail sign).

  • Kipuka 21 :    West of Hilo on Saddle Road, pull off of the north side between mile markers 21 and 22.   There is a road marker.   Park near the gate across the road and walk that road. There is an unused parking area at canopy level, good for spotting Iiwi..   Walk across the lava flow to the trees, an island of native rainforest between lava flows.   NOTE: this trail has been closed for quite some time - viewing is still good from outside the fence, since the kipuka dips lower than the surrounding lava - in some areas you have tree tops at eye level!   You can see the more common native forest birds such as apapane, 'Elepaio, 'Oma'o, 'I'iwi, and Apapane.  

  • Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge :    Access by permit or better yet, pay for a guided tour with an expert.   Contact us for more info. All of the native forest birds including Hawaiian short-eared owl (pueo) and endangered Hawaiian hawk ('io), most especially the hard-to-see endangered 'Akiapola'au, 'Akepa and Hawai'i Creeper.   Large number of 'I'iwi and Amakihi.
    There is a public access area further up the hill, but the roads are fairly bad and depending on weather and other conditions, the area may be closed.   Contact Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, 60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100, Hilo, HI 96720, phone 808-443-2304

  • Lokowaka Ponds, Hilo :    Lots of Cattle Egret, Hawaiian Coot, various Ducks, a single resident Kingfisher, and just across the road along the shore it's usual to see Kolea (pacific golden plover), Ruddy Turnstone, and occasionally other shorebirds.

  • Kona water treatment plant :    More info soon!

Volcanoes National Park

If you like  variety   in your hiking trails , the Volcanoes area has it all:    Drippy fern covered rainforest, lava covered desert, tall Koa and Ohia forests, mountains, barren moon-like surreal landscapes, and more.   And don't forget your sunscreen, rain gear, and boots, because even though the park and trails are easy to get to doesn't mean you won't be surprised by strange and abrupt weather changes, paths that suddenly go from shady coolness of the trees to unrelenting sun and heat over the wide lava beds, or a sudden rain shower miles from your car.   It's all part of the adventure!

Some of the sights here are out of this world weird, while others are simply awe inspiring and beautiful, so bring your camera or a good memory.   In the time we've lived near the park, we're still being surprised and amazed at the variety and unexpected we find on our explorations - sometimes just off a side path from where we've hiked many times before, other times from simply trying out an area we'd passed by as "un-interesting" from the roadway or parking lot.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is the highlight of any visit to the area.   Start your park adventure at Kilauea Visitor Canter.   The rangers have all the latest information on current lava flows, air quality precautions, maps for driving and hiking throughout the park.   Be prepared for cold and rainy, and/or sunny and hot conditions at 4,000 feet.   We have ALL kinds of weather, often in the same day!   Several layers of clothing and closed-toe shoes for walking on lava are best.   The road past the Visitor Center currently ends at the Jaggar Museum where you can look down into the steaming Halema'uma'u Crater.   On the way you will see a parking area where you can walk up to some active steam vents.

Below you'll find some of our favorite hikes, areas you might find interesting.   Some of them will be expanded on in detail in our Blog or Favorites links, so try there too.

  • Halema'uma'u Trail. Across the street from the Visitor Center is the Volcano House Hotel.   To the right of the driveway is a trailhead. Follow this down a stepped path, turn left at the sign pointing to Halema'uma'u Trail.   This section goes through dense rainforest with many apapane flying and singing in the tree canopy.   The trail ends on the crater floor, the remainder heading right is closed due to dangerous conditions of volcanic activity.   Walk a short distance straight across the caldera floor, the mountainside close to your left. The path is marked with cairns, piles of lava rock.   They lead you to the trail up, part of the Byron Ledge Trail.   Another left leads to the Crater Rim Trail, back to the Volcano House.   About 4 miles roundtrip.

  • Kilauea Iki Trail. Another up and down 4 mile loop.   This is spectacular because you begin in ancient rainforest, walk the entire length of a crater, then return through rainforest.   Just inside the entrance to the park is Crater Rim Drive leading to Chain of Craters Road.    Park at either the Kilauea Iki Trailhead parking lot or Thurston Lava Tube, both are trailheads.   Head counterclockwise.   You walk through lush ancient rainforest before bearing left and descending into the crater.   This couldn't be a more striking change from the greenery above.   Again the cairns of lava rock guide you across the crater, still steaming from the 1959 eruption.   The trail ascends through rainforest up the hillside, back to the beginning.

  • Thurston Lava Tube. The next parking area past the Kilauea Iki Trailhead.   The beginning of this walk is good for bird viewing as you are looking from above down into a canopy of native ohia trees and hapu'u tree ferns.   There are restrooms to the left, or go right, down a paved walkway down to the lava tube.   The first half is well-lit and easy to walk, and exits back up a stairway to a path back to the parking area.   The second half after the stairway and through a gate has no lighting. Carry a small strong flashlight (one per person is best) and walk the next 1,000 feet.   There are fewer visitors and it is well worth it.   This area gets fairly busy with bus loads of toursist, so if you want a less hectic visit to the lava tube, get there early.

  • Mauna Ulu. Along Chain of Craters Road there are turnouts where you can park and walk on the lava flows.   One of these, on the left as you're heading away from Kilauea caldera is Mauna Ulu.  Take the short road to a looped parking area, then walk the older road that lava has crossed to find the trailheads.  If you go to the right, there'll be a hike across quite a few different types of lava, including lumps and mounds where the lava flowed around trees, leaving "molds", or hollows where the tree burned away as the lava cooled.   Further along you can follow a crack in the earth punctuated by "pukas" or holes where lava was spitting from below. The fissures and stark formations, colors and textures are impressive.

    If instead you take the trail to the left, "Pu'u Huluhulu", you'll be treated to a more forested lava crossing.   The tree molds here are taller, looking like brooding creatures hiding amoung the trees. The path takes you to a kipuka (area the hot lava missed, protecting the older forest) and up to an overlook.   The trail continues for miles, past craters and to a camp site, but you have to get permission from the visitor's center to continue from here.

  • Mauna Loa Scenic Road. A few miles past the park entrance off of Highway 11 turn right on Mauna Loa Scenic Road.   A mile and a half up is Bird Park   (Kipuka Puaulu),   an easy one-mile loop walk.   This area is an island of older growth native trees that was bypassed by lava that flowed around it.   There are native birds such as apapane and 'elepaio in the trees plus many introduced Kalij pheasants on the ground below.   Continue 11 miles up the road driving by ancient Ohia and Koa forests.   The road ends at an elevation of 6,650 feet, the beginning of the trail to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet.   Take a walk along the trail, the plants are quite different at this elevation, lower and more tolerant of a windy, cold and drier environment.   Many native forest birds such as 'Amakihi and even 'I'iwi.   Be aware that at this elevation the weather can change quickly, so your sunny warm hike can quickly become densely foggy and wet - come prepared for changes.

  • Jaggar Museum Overlook. A few miles into the park entrance, past the visitor center, past KMC militrary camp, to the blocked off end of the road is the Jaggar Museum and the open 24-hour Kilauea Caldera overlook.   As the park is open all night, this is a great way to start your adventures after you arrive.   Easy to get to: simply drive in through the main entrance off Highway 11, and keep going straight until you hit the end of the road about 5 miles later.   It's the Museum, and the overlook is amazing just after sunset and into the evening if Kilauea isstill erupting.   Even bad weather makes it more beautiful, as fog and mist give the glowing lava something to reflect off of, making the sky above the lava lake into a magical theatre.

Volcano Village

 The Village sits on the side of Kilauea Crater, which itself sits on the side of the great Mauna Loa Volcano.   At roughly 4000 feet above sea level the climate is more cool and wet than the lowlands of Hawaii, resulting in a lush rainforest environment full of towering ferns, ohia and koa trees, and some of the largest collections of native birdlife on the islands.

There are two food stores with gas (petrol) pumps, a post office, an art gallery, art supply store, laundromat, hardware store, art center, and some nice restaurants.   But its most distinguishing characteristic are the friendly local folk and its closeness to Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, the entrance just another mile south on the tree lined highway.

Besides the park, there are other activities in the area: hiking, birding, golfing, running, biking, art classes, local events, and simply kicking back and enjoying the rainforest.

North 30 minutes to Hilo and beyond, you can find coffee and macadamia nut plantations, small colorful towns, towering waterfalls, coastal views and botanical gardens.   Or going further south of the Village, you can get to the Green and Black sand beaches, more colorful towns, and even drive out to South Point, the southern-most point in the United States.


  • Currently at HST :

  • Volcano Village and the park's rainforest are around 4000+ feet in elevation with micro-climates.   

  • Our weather here is very changeable.   On any day, summer or winter, you can have sun, rain, fog, vog, clouds, clear skies, and any amount of wind.   Some days you get it all.   It can get cold in the winter, and according to some of the old-timers, there have been dustings of snow.   Nights can get chilly, in the upper 40's (8+ degrees C), and most cabins have wood or gas stoves.   Winter days can be anywhere from 55 to 70 degrees (13 to 21 degrees C).   Summer is a wonderful collection of cool nights and warm days, generally about 10 degrees F  warmer than winter.   Be aware, you can get rain -any time-, so it's suggested you dress in layers.   If hiking, always have rain gear.   And remember, lava can be sharp, so sturdy shoes are recommended on trails.

  • Dec - May :
       65 F / 18C,  nights 55 F / 12 C
    June - Nov:
       75 F / 23C,  nights 60 F / 15 C

    Volcano Village is usually 10 to 15 F cooler than sea level towns.


  • Our cottages and grounds are smoke and pet free, to keep alergins down and the environment fresh for our next guests.

  • Check In:   3pm or later.    (early arrival possible, please call the day before to check)
    Check Out:  10am or earlier.

  • If rooms are available, we send you reservation information and a link to our business site on paypal.     Once you've made the reservation, we send you a confirmation email, with maps, after dark and driving information, and other goodies.

    All Payment is Full, in advance and handled through Paypal, meaning we don't see or store your credit card information.

    You don't need a paypal account to make a reservation, as they have a guest method.

  • Reservations made through other online services may have slightly different rates or policies.

  • We would like your stay to be as convenient as possible, so if you have special needs, please let us know in advance, and we'll try to help.

  • Cancelations 30+ days before arrival: full refund minus 3% banking/handling fees.     15+ days: 50% refund minus the fees, with no refund for cancelations less than two weeks before scheduled arrival, or for early departures.

Enchanted Rainforest Cottages

Contact Us

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'Apapane' - Guesthouse Cottage

$140 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only.

( special: 6 th night FREE ! )

'Alala' - Hiker's Retreat

$105 / night,   3 + nights ,   or

$125 / night,   2 night minimum,   adults only