Helicopter tours in Kauai – prices, discounts, timings, routes

Kauai Island helicopter tours

Image: Bluehawaiian.com

A helicopter tour is the best way to see Kauai, which many considered to be nature’s masterpiece. 

Also called ‘Garden Isle,’ this Hawaii island is made up of lush green valleys, evergreen jungles, sea cliffs, beautiful waterfalls, and long winding rivers.

More than 70% of the Kauai Island is inaccessible by road, and as luck would have it, it is these parts where the most stunning of the sights exist. 

Around 100 helicopters take-off every day, ferrying excited tourists over Kauai’s scenic attractions. 

In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you book your helicopter tour in Kauai.

What is to see in Kauai

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

Other than these two, the other sights you see include Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley, the Hanalei Valley, and Mt. Waialeale, etc.


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Airports from where Kauai tours takeoff

There are three airports in Kauai from where you can book your heli tour. It is best to choose an airport that is closer to where you are staying.

Lihue Heliport
3730 Ahukini Rd
Lihue, HI 96766

Princeville Heliport
5-3541 Kuhio Hwy
Kilauea, HI 96754

*Only one heli tour offered by Blue Hawaiian takes off from Princeville Heliport.

Port Allen Airport
3666 Kuiloko Rd,
Eleele, HI 96705

*All of Maverick Helicopters’s tours take off from Port Allen.


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Best time for a helicopter tour on Kauai

Since a helicopter tour over Kauai island is a visual experience, it is best to take off between 12 noon to 3 pm when the light is much better, and the skies are clear.

Since Kauai’s valleys, canyons, and Na Pali Coast are full of shadows and ridges, you need the intense afternoon light to make a better sense of what you are seeing.

The best time of the year

The best time of year for a helicopter tour in Kauai is summer.

You are more likely to avoid the storms, which can often delay or cancel the flights.

In the winter, the weather gets a lot more unpredictable. Storms can easily wreak your plans, and flights can get canceled.

Winters are also not a good time for doors off helicopter tours.


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Kauai helicopter tour prices

Aerial view of Kauai from a helicopter. TriggerPhoto / Getty

The cost of helicopter tours in Kauai ranges from around 200 USD to 350 USD.

The cheapest heli tours usually last 25 minutes while the duration of the costlier trips is around one hour.

In some cases, heli tours from 1 pm to 2.30 pm get priced cheaper because there is less demand.

That is because most people prefer to book a morning flight or a late afternoon take off so that they can indulge in yet another activity during the rest of the day.

For instance, Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour costs 25 USD lesser if you opt for a time slot from 1 pm to 2.30 pm.


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Best Helicopter Tours in Kauai

We list below the best heli tours on the Island. 

A few things to remember before you book any of these chopper tours:

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before your chopper tour
  • If the trip gets canceled due to poor weather, you will get offered a different date or a full refund.
  • All the recommended tours include a 10-minute pilot safety briefing

Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

This tour is the most popular Kauai helicopter tour ever. 

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

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. 

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

Departure: Lihue Heliport (Google Map)
Duration: 50 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Blue Hawaiian*
Tour timings:
10.30 am, 11 am, 11.30 am, 12 noon, 12.30 pm (known as ‘Early AM’ slots)
1 pm, 1.30 pm, 2 pm, 2.30 pm (known as ‘Early PM’ slots)
3 pm and 3.30 pm (known as ‘Late PM’ slots)

Price of Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

The price of the ECO Adventure tour depends on the timeslot you book. 

Early AM slot: 308 USD/person
Early PM slot: 286 USD/person
Late PM slot: 308 USD/person

Every year since 1998, Blue Hawaiian’s maintenance engineers have earned the FFAA’s Certificate of Excellence ‘Diamond Award.’ No other helicopter tour company in Hawaii has received it even once.

Ultimate Kauai Adventure

This tour happens on a modern helicopter explicitly designed for sightseeing with large viewing windows and a professional guide.

Mdsansone / Getty

Departure: Sunshine Helicopters, 3416 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA (Google Map)
Duration: 55 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Sunshine Helicopters
Tour timings: 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm

Ultimate Kauai Adventure price: 350 USD

Kauai Shore Excursion (55 minutes)

If you are getting off a cruise or staying close to Nawiliwili Harbor, this is a perfect heli tour for you. 

Port pickup and drop-off is part of the tour ticket price. 

You also get a relaxing non-alcoholic beverage at the end of the tour. 

Departure: Nawiliwili Cruise Pier, 3150 Waapa Rd, Lihue, HI 96766 (Google Map)
Duration: 55 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Sunshine Helicopters
Tour timings: 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm

Kauai Shore Excursion price: 320 USD per person

Discover Kauai heli tour

This tour is an excellent opportunity to look down on Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, Manawaiopuna Falls (aka Jurassic Park Falls), Hanalei Bay, the Na Pali Coast, and other natural sights from the comfort of your helicopter seat.

Discover Kauai is the only heli tour to take off from Princeville Heliport.

The route your helicopter will follow when you book the Blue Hawaiian’s Discover Kauai Heli tour.

Departure: Princeville Heliport (Google Map)
Duration: 45 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Blue Hawaiian
Tour timings: 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm

Discover Kauai price: 340 USD per person

Private Kauai Helicopter Tour with No Middle Seats

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

Once at the Heliport, you get to choose if you want the experience of Door on or Doors off helicopter.

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

For a small fee, you get Gopro mounts, using which you can record what you see. 

Departure: Lihue Heliport
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Ali’i Air Tours & Charters
Tour timings: 8 am, 8.30 am, 10 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.30 pm

Price of private Kauai Helicopter:  349 USD per person

Kauai Discovery Helicopter Tour

This trip is one of the cheapest Kauai helicopter tours around and happens on the state-of-the-art EC130 helicopter.

Departure: Port Allen Airport, 3666 Kuiloko Rd, Eleele, HI 96705 (Google Map)
Duration: 25 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters
Tour timings: 9 am, 10.30 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 3.30 pm

Kauai Discovery tour price: 198 USD

Kauai Explorer Helicopter Tour

This is a fantastic helicopter tour over Kauai, where you also get to see the jungles where the movie Jurassic Park got filmed. 

Departure: Port Allen Airport, 3666 Kuiloko Rd, Eleele, HI 96705 (Google Map)
Duration: 50 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters
Tour timings: 9 am, 10.30 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 3.30 pm

Kauai Explorer tour price: 299 USD

Deluxe Waterfall Safari

This tour is often also referred to as ‘Safari helicopter Kauai’.

During this chopper tour, you will cover 160 kms (100 miles) of amazing Kauai scenery from the air.

This helicopter ride includes pick up from select hotels. 

Once your purchase is complete, you’ll be able to coordinate pickup details directly with your operator.

Departure: Safari Helicopters, 3225 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA (Google Map)
Duration: 55 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour Operator: Safari Helicopters
Tour timings: 8.20 am, 9.20 am, 10.20 am, 11.20 am, 1.20 pm, 2.20 pm, 3.20 pm, 4.20 pm

Deluxe Waterfall Safari price: 247 USD


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Princeville helicopter tours

If you are staying in Princeville, Kauai, it doesn’t make sense to go all the way to Lihue Heliport, which is 40 kms (25 miles) away for a heli tour.

You can avoid the 40-minute journey to Lihue Heliport if you take off from Princeville itself.

You can book Blue Hawaiian’s Princeville Airport Helicopter Tour, which is the only helicopter tour out of tiny Princeville airport.

Anyway, Blue Hawaiian is the best tour operator in the region, with excellent safety records and professionalism.

Duration: 45 minutes
Narration: By pilots who are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides
Tour timings: 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm
Tour Price: 340 USD


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Helicopter tour companies in Kauai

Kauai has around ten heli tour operators, who make a total of 100+ sorties every day during peak seasons. 

We list out some of the best companies – 

1. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Blue Hawaiian is the largest helicopter tour operator in Kauai, and they fly the tourist-friendly ECO-star helicopters. 

Their 55-minute Kauai Eco Adventure tour, which starts from Lihue Heliport, is the most popular heli tour in Kauai.

2. Island Helicopters

Island Helicopters have been around for more than three decades and offer excellent tours. 

They fly Eurocopter A-Star helicopters that come with ceiling to floor glass doors and windows.

Their most popular tour is the 60-minute Deluxe Kauai Grand Tour, which takes off from Lihue Heliport. 

3. Safari Helicopters

Safari Helicopter tours company has a fleet of A-Star 350 B2-7 helicopter with massive windows, an onboard 2-way communication system which makes chatting up with the pilot fun. 

Their most popular tour is called the Deluxe Waterfall Safari.

4. Sunshine Helicopters

After they merged with Will Squyres Helicopter Tours, Sunshine Helicopters, Inc. is now a more prominent operator.

They offer chopper tours from Lihue Heliport and their fleet includes FX STAR and WhisperSTAR helicopters.

5. Jack Harter Helicopters

Jack Harter has two types of helicopters – the 6-seater A-Star helicopters and the 4-seater doors off Hughes 500s.

Their tours have three variations – 50, 60, and 90 minutes long, all of which take off from Lihue Heliport.

Jack Harter is most known for its doors off helicopter tours.


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Kauai open-door helicopter tours

These are also known as Kauai doors off helicopter tours because these involve choppers that don’t have doors. 

The only advantage of a doors-off helicopter tour is the more unobstructed view because of the lack of glass between you and what is on the ground.

There are no other significant advantages of paying more for a door-less helicopter experience. 

Besides, once you are up in the air, the wind can be freezing even on a warm day. Not to mention, you could get exposed to rain in case it drizzles. 

As of 2020, only two companies – Mauna Loa Helicopters and Jack Harter offer the doors-off option.

The prices are a bit costly for doors off experience and range from 250 USD to 400 USD per person.

Check out Jackson’s experience on a door’s off helicopter in Kauai.


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Map of Kauai Island

Recommended Reading

# 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
# Helicopter tours in Hawaii

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Jamshed V Rajan: He is a two-faced traveler, who enjoys both the hustle-bustle of an urban holiday and the serenity of a break from the rest of the World. During some of his vacations, he is a resort hopper, and on others, he barely spends time in his hotel. He loves to try mouth-watering local cuisines, especially non-vegetarian dishes. Favourite Cities: Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Dublin, Prague, Vienna