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Helicopter tours in Hawaii – prices, duration, what to expect


Hawaii comprises four main islands – Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai – and four smaller islands. 

These Hawaiian islands are full of lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, white-sand, and black-sand beaches, volcanic mountains, craters, and massive sea-cliffs, which are a treat to watch. 

However, most of these natural landmarks are inaccessible by land – either there are no roads, or it is impossible, or too treacherous, or the officials prohibit entry.

That is why helicopter tours are popular among tourists.

In this article, we share everything you must know before booking your helicopter tour of Hawaii.

Helicopter tours in Big Island

The Big Island is double the size of all the other major Hawaiian islands combined and has three airports – in Kona, Hilo, and Waimea.

Because more tourists are holidaying around Kailua-Kona, more helicopter tours take off from Kona airport.

The Big Island Experience from Kona

You get treated like a VIP on this 2-hour tour because it is a private 4-passenger helicopter tour of the Big Island from Kona.

If you want to take your Hawaii vacation to the sky, this is the perfect experience.

Your pilot explains the terrain below, including valleys, waterfalls, coastline, and—of course—an active volcano. 

Hover in the air along saddle road between Mauna Kea (tallest mountain in the world) and Mauna Loa (largest mass mountain in the world).

You will head toward Kilauea Iki, pass by Hilo town (the wettest town on earth), and fly over the heavenly Hamakua Coast filled with flora and fauna.

You will also witness Kohala Valleyʻs of Waipiʻo, Waimanu, and Pololu from an exclusive point of view.

Cost of the tour (7+ years): US$672 per person

Kona Coast Helicopter Tour

This 30-minute trip is arguably the best helicopter tour of the Kona Coast.

You will fly from Kona Airport (Southbound) past Honokohau Bay, Kona Town, Keauhou to the famous Captain Cook or (Northbound) to the famous Kua Bay, Kiholo Bay, Hapuna Beach, and Kawaihae. 

This private heli tour gets even more popular during the whale season because you get to spot whales from the top. 

Cost of the tour (7+ years): US$241 per person

Volcano and Kohala Landing Tour from Kona

On this fantastic 3-hour Big Island helicopter trip, soar over its rocky coastline, active volcanoes, and gushing waterfalls.

While soaking up stunning airborne views of the smoldering Kilauea Volcano and the magnificent mountains and sea cliffs of the Kohala Coast, listen to expert narration from your pilot.

Land on a remote rarely visited section of the island and explore the quiet tropical paradise.

After you have had your fill, climb back aboard the helicopter to continue your flying tour of Hawaii’s natural landmarks. 

This tour also comes with the doors-off option.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$962 per person

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Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

This 1-hour Big Island helicopter flight from Hilo is a must-do for adrenaline junkies.

On this aerial adventure, you fly over the island’s volcanic landscape and peer into craters, and spot lava. 

During the tour, you also enjoy stunning waterfalls, such as the Rainbow Falls forests, Wai’ale falls, and Pe’epe’e Falls, and other natural features like flora and fauna of the Big Island.

Upgrade seating is available for an additional fee.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$493 per person

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Volcano Helicopter Tour from Waimea

Helicopter tours in Maui
Image: viator.com

This 1-hour-45-minute experience is the ideal heli tour to explore Hawaii in a short time.

You will see the steam vents and fiery lava streams of Kilauea and marvel at the Hamakua Coast’s rain forest. 

View Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa while soaring over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and hover above waterfalls cascading from the cliffs of Kohala.

You can purchase souvenir photos and an HD video of your flight in a USB.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$639 per person

Doors-Off Valleys and Waterfalls Tour from Waimea

Helicopter tours in Maui
Image: viator.com

This open-door helicopter tour of the Big Island takes you deep into the heart of Kohala.

The 4-seater doors-off helicopter takes you over Kohala’s valleys and waterfalls and puts you up close to towering cliffs along the coast.

It is the best way to see the lush grandeur of the island’s valleys and waterfalls.

This 35-minute tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only witness but also feel the heat of volcanic lava.

Cost of the tour: US$399 per person

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Helicopter tours in Kauai

Highlights of most helicopter tours in Kauai include 27 Kms (17 miles) long Na Pali Coast in the North and Waimea Canyon, also known as ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ in SouthWest.

The other sights you see include Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley, the Hanalei Valley, Mt. Waialeale, etc.

Kauai has three heliports – at LihuePrinceville, and Port Allen and of these, most helicopter tours take off from Lihue.

Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

Route of Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour
The route followed when you book the Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour.

The ECO Adventure Kauai heli tour is the most popular tour of its kind. 

You go up in a new Eurocopter Eco-Star helicopter and take in the diverse terrain of the island.

You will have the privilege to witness everything from the rain-soaked Mt. Waialeale and the waterfalls of Waiapuna to the dry red ravine of Waimea Canyon and the breathtaking emerald spires of the Na Pali Coast.

Lose yourself in the beauty of iconic spots like Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls), Hanalei Bay, Kapaa, and Princeville.

The 50-minute Kauai heli tour also offers the “early bird or late bird option” at a lower cost price.

Since this is the latest model of tourism helicopters, you enjoy business class-style seats, full windows, two-way radio communication with the pilot, and noise-reduced engines. 

Cost of the tour (2+ years)

Kauai ECO Adventure: US$389 per person
Early Bird or Late Bird Option: US$349 per person

Kauai Helicopter Tour with No Middle Seats

Aerial view of Kauai island
Aerial view of the beautiful Na Pali coast of Kauai Island. Noblige / Getty

Since this Kauai helicopter tour is a private tour, you get the whole helicopter to yourself. 

You will get a bird’s-eye view of the Manawaiopuna Falls, the Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali coast, the North Shore, and the Wai’ale’ale crater.

This 1-hour heli tour in Kauai guarantees a window seat and no middle seats.

You also have the doors off option for this tour.

Cost of the tour: US$399 per person

Deluxe Waterfall Safari

The Deluxe helicopter tour in Kauai allows you a magical sightseeing tour of the island within an hour.

You will look upon the popular landmarks of Kauai, such as the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, waterfalls, and more.

Explore much more than a land tour in a doubly thrilling way.

Duration in the air: 55 minutes to 1 hour

Cost of the tour (2+ years)US$309 per person

Ultimate Kauai Adventure

Kauai Island tour by helicopter
Mdsansone / Getty

The Ultimate Kauai heli ride is a joyride taking you over Kauai’s most scenic attractions, such as Mt. Waialeale, Waimea Canyon, and Na Pali Coast.

Get an aerial view of the Alakai Swamp, home to several rare species of flora and birds, and Bali Hai, where “South Pacific” was shot.

This helicopter tour in Kauai spans 45 to 55 minutes, has a guide to answer all your queries, and is designed for sightseeing with large viewing windows.

The Ultimate Kauai helicopter ride comes with two flight options.

This tour allows you to purchase souvenir photos and a DVD of your flight.

Duration in the air: 55 minutes

Cost of the tour (2+ years)

WhisperStar Luxury Helicopter: US$350 per person
FXStar Standard Helicopter: US$294 per person

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Helicopter tours in Oahu

During your helicopter tour over Ohau, you are sure to be mesmerized by the island’s beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls, valleys, and other landmarks such as Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial.

Most of these heli tours take off from Honolulu

Open-Door Helicopter Tour over Oahu

Fly aboard an open-door helicopter over Oahu for unobstructed views of the island on this tour. 

You get to see Oahu’s lush valleys, mountains, and waterfalls. 

Feel the high-flying wind in your hair even as you fly over sights like Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, Waikiki Beach, Arizona Memorial, etc.

On this 50-minute Oahu helicopter tour, you can choose between first-class seats and regular seats. Passenger must be aged 12 years or older to sit next to an open door.

Cost of Regular Seats (3+ years): US$390 per person
Cost of First Class Seats (3+ years)US$350 per person

Unseen Sights of the Oahu Island

This 45-minute scenic helicopter ride over Oahu is ideal for a special occasion or a romantic moment. 

While booking the tour, you can choose if you want it to be a ‘doors on’ or ‘doors off’ flight.

Get bird’s eye views of famous Oahu sights like Sacred Falls, Diamond Head, Maunalua Bay, the Ko’olau Mountains, Ka’a’awa Valley, Pearl Harbor, and more. 

Cost of Shared Tour (2+ years): US$365 per person
Cost of Private Tour (2+ years)US$548 per person

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Helicopter tours in Maui

Since eighty percent of this island’s legendary beauty is inaccessible by road, a Maui helicopter tour is the most scenic way to explore this island. 

Maui’s unique topography – from the dignified crater of Mt. Haleakala and the high valleys of the West Maui Mountains to the towering sea cliffs on Molokai’s north shore makes viewing it from the sky particularly magical. 

West Maui and Molokai Helicopter Tour

This 45-minute helicopter tour is a scenic flight over West Maui and Molokai.

You will soar past valleys and hidden waterfalls inaccessible by land and hover above ridgelines that sit at the heart of the rugged West Maui mountains. 

Then cross the channel to neighboring Molokai for a flight past the world’s tallest sea cliffs. These vertical sea cliffs spill 1180 meters (3900 feet) to the turbid shoreline below.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$263 per person

Molokai and Maui Helicopter Tour

This helicopter tour over Maui and Molokai takes off from Kahului and lasts 55 minutes.

Watch surfers riding Maui’s breaking waves as you fly towards Molokai’s sheer coastal cliffs. 

You will see aerial views of Kahiwa Falls and the isolated North Shore, then turn towards the emerald green Halawa Valley. 

Watch out for whales and dolphins as you cross the Pailolo channel. 

Your chopper then swoops over Maui’s lush rainforest canopy and flies over Iao Valley State Park. 

On your return path, you see the fascinating Honokohau Falls and Haleakala volcano.

Cost of the tour: US$426 per person

Doors-Off West Maui and Molokai Experience

If you want to increase the adrenalin rush of your helicopter tour in Maui, we recommend the doors-off West Maui and Molokai Experience.

During this 45-minutes Maui helicopter tour, you will soar over the natural landmarks of Maui and Molokai in a helicopter without any doors. 

This experience is the only doors-off helicopter tour in Maui.

Cost of the tour (10+ years): US$340 per person

Another wonderful tour worth mentioning is Hana Rainforest Helicopter Flight with Landing.

Types of helicopter tours in Hawaii

To get a sense of the Hawaiian Islands, you must book a helicopter tour and see it from the sky.

Since all the major islands have similar features – volcanic mountain ranges, isolated valleys, extended coastal areas, tall sea cliffs, waterfalls, etc., heli tours from all islands fall under four distinct categories. 

Volcanoes and Lava

These tours give the biggest adrenalin rush because you fly right over a volcano and even see bubbling lava if the timing is right. Some tourists in off-door helicopter tours have even felt the heat of the lava. It is an excellent choice if you want to witness nature’s raw power.

Waterfalls and cliffs

These tours are best if you want to see the beauty of the Hawaiian islands because the chopper flies close to forests, waterfalls, cliffs, and volcanoes. You snap incredible photos and go back home with excellent visuals in your memory.

Circle Island tours

These are the longest and hence the costliest helicopter tours, and take a circle around the island showing you everything there is to see. 

Tours with landings

These tours include a landing in a private, secluded part of the forest or oceanfront. Sometimes, you may even have champagne or picnic at the spot. Such tours make a lot of sense if you are a romantic couple or a family with kids.

There are Hawaii helicopter tours to fit all budgets, so don’t leave the beautiful islands without going up in the air at least once.

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Which island is best for helicopter tours

All the four major islands of Hawaii – Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai – have similar natural features, and all their helicopter tours are an out-of-the-world experience. 

However, we recommend helicopter tours in Kauai or helicopter tours in Big Island if you have to make a choice.

Aerial tours over Kauai take you over Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast, Hanalei Valley, Mt. Waialeale, abundant waterfalls, and more, making it a memorable trip.

Aerial tours of Big Island come in a close second because of the adrenalin-pumping opportunity to see volcano activity at Kilauea. 

Cancellation policy

You can cancel your helicopter tour in Hawaii up to 24 hours before the experience for a full refund. 

All air tours over Hawaii islands require good weather. 

If it is canceled due to poor weather (heavy rain, low clouds, lightning, or extreme winds), you will be offered a different date or a full refund. 

Failure to show up for your appointment without notice will result in the cancellation of your tour without a refund.

Recommended Reading

# Helicopter tours in Kauai
# Helicopter tours in Big Island
# Helicopter tours in Oahu
# Helicopter tours in Maui
# Helicopter tours from Honolulu
# Helicopter tours from Kona
# Helicopter tours from Lihue

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