On your next vacation to Kauai, whether it’s your first visit or “nth” visit, experiencing the garden island of Kauai offers whole new experience through a scenic Kauai helicopter tour.
Helicopter tours in Kauai have to be one of the quintessential vacation activities to add to your vacation bucket list. Why?
Kauai is known worldwide for its dramatic cliffs covered in lush green jungle, deep canyons, and breath-taking coastlines. Not to mention, if you’re a movie buff, the island is a go-to destination for some of the most iconic blockbuster movies you’ve probably seen in the theatres. Just think about taking a helicopter tour over the same landscape you saw in Jurassic Park movies (excluding the T-Rex and dinosaurs of course 😉 ?
The oldest of all of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai was formed by a volcano which gave it a unique and distinctive look. Almost the entirety of inland Kauai is inaccessible by car, so you’ll need to get up in the air if you really want to see the whole island! (~90% of Kauai is covered in lush jungle!)
Simply put: there’s no other way to really take in the breath taking awe of Kauai island other than from the air. It’s the best way to enjoy the entirety of the island, next to the feeling of home in one of our Kauai vacation rentals.
So if you’re considering booking Kauai helicopter tour, here’s everything you need to know, and the kind of tour you can expect.
What are the best places for helicopter tours in Kauai?
Kauai is definitely the best Hawaiian island for a helicopter tour, thanks to the dramatic landscape and diversity of environments on our beautiful island.
The majority of helicopter tours follow a similar route, which covers the main attractions of Kauai. Of course, if there are particular areas you’d like to specifically visit, most private tour operators will try to accommodate you. (Contact us to help arrange an exclusive private helicopter tour offered through our Kauai vacation planning service.)
The top attractions that you’ll likely see on your tour include Waimea Canyon, Wailua Falls, the Na Pali Coast, Hanalei Valley, Tunnels beach, and Mt. Waialeale, along with multiple waterfalls and jungle features.
Helicopter tours operate out of two places on Kauai: Princeville airport and Lihue airport. Choose your departure point based on where your vacation rental is situated.
Can you do a doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai?
Yes! This style of helicopter tour is particularly popular with people who are specifically flying to take photos and videos and don’t want any window reflection in their footage.
It’s still just as safe, though if you’re scared of heights you might want to steer clear!
There are only a few operators in Kauai who offer doors-off helicopter tours, and Jack Harter helicopter tour is the most highly reviewed. It does cost a little more but it’s a whole different experience, feeling the wind on your face as you discover the stunning island from above.
What the best Kauai helicopter tour on the island?
Well, if you don’t have friends who have their own private helicopter parked at their luxury home, then the next best thing is to see what other customers have to say of their experience.
Each and every helicopter tour company offers something different, unique and special. While each company may range in price, and some fly similar if not same routes, the people and employees and overall experience each company offers is difficult to compare.
My recommendation to find the best helicopter tour in Kauai, either visit each of the following helicopter tour companies and check their Google reviews from customers. But, safe to say, the best Kauai helicopter tour has to be your own private tour tailored to the interests along with the locals recommendations (and and a doors-off on the choppers too!)
Blue Hawaiian is the largest and probably best-known of all the helicopter tour operators in Kauai. They’ve been in the biz for 35 years so it’s safe to say they well and truly know their stuff! Tours last for 50 minutes and circumnavigate almost the whole island.
Prices with this operator tend to be a little higher, but are ideal for anyone whose major concern is safety –– Blue Hawaiian’s craft are designed specifically for tour use, and they have a stellar reputation.
Island Helicopters offer something pretty special –– helicopters with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, so there’ll be nothing to obstruct your perfect views.
They offer a couple of tours to choose from. Their longer, 75-minute experience includes a stop-over. The helicopter lands at the base of Manawaiopuna Falls (which you may recognize from Jurassic Park!), an area that is otherwise inaccessible to the public.
Jack Harter Helicopters
As we mentioned above, this company is beloved by adventurers for their doors-off helicopter tours in Kauai. They offer a variety of different tours ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, all of which depart from the heliport at Lihue.
For a private helicopter tour of Kauai, Mauna Loa is the operator for you. They have smaller aircraft in their fleet, so offer private tours for up to three passengers. The best thing about a smaller helicopter is that every single seat is a VIP seat. No elbowing strangers for the best view: everything you need to see is right out the window (or windscreen) in front of you.
If you’re renting a beach house near Princeville and don’t want to travel too far, check out Sunshine Helicopters: they have helicopter tours operating out of Princeville airport. They offer short and long flights, as well as private tours and charter flights, so you’ll be able to tailor the exact experience you’re after.
If you’re looking for a recommendation or have questions, feel free to contact us to help tailor a personalized Kauai vacation package for you and your group or family.
What time of day is best for a Kauai helicopter tour?
This depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. A sunrise tour would of course give you some stunning visuals of the sun coming up over the island. However, if you’re planning to be taking photos or videos during your tour, you’re better off heading up a little later during the day.
The afternoon hours between about 1 pm and 3 pm are ideal for taking aerial shots since the sunlight is directly overhead, and won’t cause any irritating glare in your photos.
How much do helicopter tours cost in Kauai?
This completely depends on the tour operator you go with and the type of package you purchase. They’ll usually start at around $250 per person. Shorter flights last for around half an hour, while longer tours can go for an hour.
Is a helicopter tour of Kauai worth it?
Sure, it’s not for everyone. Those with a fear of heights may be put off by the thought of a helicopter trip. It can also be a pretty costly activity. However, it’s far and away one of the best travel experiences you’ll ever have, and very much worth your money.