Business

App Provides Volcanoes Park Guided Tour

September 14, 2016, 7:48 AM HST
* Updated September 15, 4:40 PM
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Shaka Guide App image.

Shaka Guide Apps image.

Shaka Guide Apps has recently released a GPS driving tour app designed to help visitors make the most of their stay on the Big Island.

Pioneered by a local husband and wife team, Shaka Guide Apps has set out to help visitors explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with a guided tour experience right from their phone, while still enjoying the freedom to do so at their own pace.

“For decades, visitors had two choices to tour the park: join a guided bus tour or just ‘wing it’ on their own,” explained Andrew Fowers, cofounder of the company. “Now, visitors have a third choice—take a GPS driving tour that plays narrated audio tours filled with interesting stories, Hawaiian culture, driving directions and what to see and do. So what visitors get is an experience that is like having a tour guide ‘talkin story’ to them as they drive around the park.”

These GPS driving tour apps mirror a shift in visitor behavior. According to HTA’s visitor stats, more visitors are using smartphones or tablets at some point during their vacation planning, jumping from 20% to 47% in just two years. Shaka Guide Apps follows this trend by providing visitors a way to explore Hawai‘i on their own using a type of “virtual” tour guide.

Shaka Guide Apps image.

Shaka Guide Apps image.

The apps work by playing audio narration that guides visitors as they drive, pointing out things to do and see, all based on their GPS location. Since the tour works offline, there is no need for mobile data or Wi-Fi connection. This offline feature comes in handy, especially in Big Island’s more remote sites with poor cellphone signal like Chain of Craters Road.

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Shaka Guide’s driving tours are also available for O‘ahu, Maui, and Kaua‘i; with more tours for Hilo, Kona and Kohala coming in early 2017.

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Shaka Guide is unique in that it is made by locals who understand Hawai‘i. Because of this the tours are fun to listen to while still being informative and respectful to the history and culture of the Big Island. To top it off, the tours have local music that plays throughout, adding a nice touch to the drive.

The Shaka Guide apps are free to download on both iOS and Android devices. After sampling the tours, customer can purchase tours with prices ranging from $2.99 to $4.99.

“Our hope is to use technology to provide a convenient and innovative way for visitors to take tours and sightsee while visiting Hawai‘i Island,” Fowers explained.

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Download the app from iTunes here.

Download the app from Google Play here.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Shaka Guide Apps photo.

Shaka Guide Apps photo.

“So much fun! We just spent the day at Volcanoes National Park. This app completely made our day! My nieces (9 and 11) and the entire family enjoyed the stories and all narratives. We also loved the Devil’s Throat tip. Well done!”
—iOS by TVCast Aug. 4, 2016

“Awesome! This app greatly enhanced our trip to Volcano National Park. We did the entire park following its direction. I strongly recommend it to anyone new to the park.”
—iOS, by mdwillems Jul 30, 2016

“Loved the tour. Made for such a more enjoyable trip, the right mix of facts and legend, good points of interest made for a great trip—thank you. Without the app I’d venture to say the tour of the park would have only taken half the time and none of the legend or fact data except what the park provided. I’ll use this provider for other areas of the islands now, too.”
—iOS by Battmodin, Aug. 14, 2016

“Awesome guide. I first downloaded the road to Hāna guide and had it playing with my family. We loved that guide so much that we bought this one for Hilo. Worth every penny. Great stories, very informative, even some music when there’s not much to see. Highly recommend if you are doing the drive yourself.”

—Google Play by Alex Lechuga, July 27, 2016

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