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Maverick Helicopters Airbus ECO-Star at Laupahoehoe Nui landing site

THE 10 Best Hawaii helicopter tours

I'm a little bias when it comes to Hawaii helicopter tours as I prefer doors off experiences above all else, so you'll here about it more over other options.

The best Hawaii helicopter tours will be a thrilling doors off flight or a tour that includes an ground excursion on a remote landing spot. All Hawaiian islands are included who offer have a friendly landing tour to book. If going for a doors off, you'll come to know it as a Magnum P.I. experience.

Keeping budget in mind, listed tours are mid to high end prices. My best helicopter tours across Hawaii are based on experience only, not price or flight duration.

All four major Hawaiian islands are represented so while I might say Kauai offers my best helicopter tour, others are not far behind.

That is because you can book a Hawaii doors off helicopter tour that is not to be missed.

If that is not for you or an experience that limits the kids coming along; then why not book a special landing tour, so you can get an air and ground tour in one.

The best helicopter tours in Hawaii is not the flight route, doors off or landing only...

In fact the type of chopper in use as a final say so if you can book an upgrade to get a window or open door side seat, be sure to pay that little extra.

I've listed up to nine Hawaii helicopter tour companies who offer a very different tour experience every time.

Price list

Operator: Tour Name: Island: Min: Cost:
Jack Harter Doors off 60-65 Minute Tour Kauai 60 $309
Magnum Helicopters Doors Off Adventure Tour Oahu 50 $289
Island Helicopters Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure Kauai 75 $275
Paradise Helicopters Magnum Experience Oahu 60 $509
Paradise Helicopters Doors Off Lava & Rainforests Adventure Big Island 40 $324
Air Maui Helicopters Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour Maui 45 $245
Mauna Loa Helicopters The Oahu Magnum P.I. Experience Oahu 50 $279
Safari Helicopters Refuge Eco-Tour Kauai 90 $279
Maverick Helicopters Hana Rainforest Experience Maui 75 $249
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Big Island Spectacular with Landing Big Island 105 $749
In order, name of helicopter company; name of tour; Hawaiian island departure; flight duration in minutes; starting price per person.

Creating my best Hawaii helicopter tours is not quite fair as I've been a little biased towards companies who's tour includes a doors off or landing excursion.

You will notice one or two tours that are classed as 'air only' but that is about it.

While my lists focuses on the lonely traveler or a couple only, these tours are really only targeted towards that market.

It is possible they can cater for families or larger groups, but not many options are listed.

But what you'll notice is all Hawaiian islands are represented and while I do have my favourite all time Hawaii helicopter tours, its hard to pinpoint a single tour as there's so many options that are too my liking.

All four big Hawaii islands are there included; Kauai, The Big Island, Maui and Oahu with a jump over to Molokai via a Maui departure.

My best Hawaii heli tours

To be the best helicopter tour in Hawaii you have to upgrade to a doors off experience or at least make it an air only plus landing tour to get your monies worth it.

1. Jack Harter - Doors off 60-65 Minute Tour

Visit Page: Depart: Lihue, Kauai. Flight Duration: 60 Minutes. Cost: $289.

I must say one of my all time favourite islands to visit in Hawaii is indeed Kauai; so its not surprising to see a helicopter tour involving the island topping my list.

On top of that its a Kauai doors off helicopter tour courtesy of Jack Harter Helicopters in their Hughes 500 chopper.

Guests will lift off via Lihue Airport to begin a flight route that is in a clockwise direction.

Nothing is missed of importance on the ground so you'll pass Jurassic Falls which is officially known as Manawaiopuna Falls, deep in Hanapepe Valley.

Its then over to Olokele Canyon before entering at low attitude through Waimea Canyon as you head west.

Spend time over at the Na Pali Coast while viewing her sea cliffs and valleys, including the North Shore beaches, from Ke'e to Hanalei.

I believe this tour to be the best helicopter tour on Kauai that has a generous weight limit per passenger, but is forbidden to kids of a young age.

2. Magnum Helicopters - Doors Off Adventure Tour

Visit Page: Depart: Honolulu, Oahu. Flight Duration: 50 Minutes. Cost: $289.

Not surprising after reading up on me constantly praising the doors off helicopter tour on Kauai, to learn its one of my favourites on the island of Oahu.

Once again you'll depart in a quick yet tough little Hughes 500 with Magnum Helicopters.

It is indeed a Magnum P.I. helicopter tour experience in name only as a small part of the flight route replicates that from the TV show.

Then its a matter of enjoying yourself as you're brought within all major area's on Oahu.

Departing Honolulu, the Honolulu skyline is seen as you descend into the sky but you'll soon be getting intimate shots of the Keehi Lagoon, Honolulu Harbor and Aloha Tower

Across the shoreline don't forget to look up to view Koolau mountains while Ala Moana Beach Park and Waikiki Beach pass by beneath you.

The heading will reach Oahu's Diamond head before moving onto Kaawa Valley, Sacred Falls, and the Oahu North Shore.

As you approach Honolulu again you'll be whisked away over Pearl Harbor.

3. Island Helicopters - Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure

Visit Page: Depart: Lihue, Kauai. Flight Duration: 75 Minutes. Cost: $275.

Its always a little difficult for me compiling these best of sort of articles as there're two top helicopter tours on Kauai I absolutely adore.

Jack Harters open door tour and this one which entails a landing at what is probably my top place to visit on Kauai - Jurassic Falls in the Hanapepe Valley.

So while its third on my list you'll notice the top two are doors off which this tour cannot beat.

But its my first Hawaii helicopter tour with a landing which I believe this one beats the lot.

You'll depart Lihue as usual in Kauai as the tour flight route pretty much circles the whole island - in Island Helicopters' Airbus H125 that is equipped with ceiling to floor windows.

Up to six passengers will come along as 20 minutes or so will take place at the waterfall landing spot.

Once you're on the ground its only a brief walk through some trees to arrive at the location.

4. Paradise Helicopters - Magnum Experience

Visit Page: Depart: Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu. Flight Duration: 60 Minutes. Cost: $509.

I will bring you back to a Magnum P.I. theme doors off helicopter tour experience again (but not the last) with the only difference being its a Oahu North Shore departure.

What is unique about this one is the location. Guests will depart on this helicopter tour via Turtle Bay Resort.

Basically the location is best for those staying at the resort or on the North Shore are; but it won't take long to get to Turtle Bay if traveling in a car from anywhere on Oahu.

Located on a tight spot on the adjoining car park, guests will lift off in a Hughes 500 with doors off - so you'll feel the cool breeze passing through the open cockpit.

Flight route will involve Oahu east side as you head towards Honolulu on the south.

At this point the helicopter will turn back as you head inland to view the island from a more strategic position, especially if taking photographs.

Landmarks you'll be sure to pass will be Kaliuwaa (Sacred Falls), the Ka’a’awa Valley, L‘ahi, Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.

5. Paradise Helicopters - Doors Off Lava & Rainforests Adventure

Visit Page: Depart: Hilo, Big Island. Flight Duration: 40 Minutes. Cost: $324.

Normally with Paradise Helicopter you would have to upgrade to a doors off tour, but by default this open door experience is included.

Which is just as well as this lava and rainforest theme tour calls for amazing, unrestricted views out of the helicopter.

As usual its will involve a flight in a 5-seater Hughes 500, or what is officially called an MD500 - in doing so you'll hover over an active volcano with real flowing lava.

It is by far one of my best Hawaii volcano helicopter tours but certainly not my last.

You'll lift off on the east coast of the Big Island before making your way to the Kilauea Volcano; spending time exploring steaming pockets with lava guaranteed to be seen.

Its not the longest of helicopter tours in Hawaii but one that stays within touching distance of Hilo, your original departure location.

Not to be missed if you want to partake in what is one of the best volcano tours in Hawaii, and quite possibly the world over.

6. Air Maui Helicopters - Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour

Visit Page: Depart: Kalului, Maui. Flight Duration: 45 Minutes. Cost: $245.

I admit this Maui helicopter tour is the best thanks to many things happening on this tour, among them: its a doors off, Maui tour and a Molokai helicopter tour in one.

So not only will you be departing Maui's Kalului Heliport with a flight route concentrated over West Maui - but it will carry on beyond the coast line.

Once you've arrived at the shore the chopper will continue to cross the channel.

What comes first is a thorough Maui helicopter tour as you fly at low attitude in valleys - weather dependant - with a higher attitude over mountains and the rainforest.

As you cruise over the water towards Molokai, soon her world famous tall sea cliffs will come into view.

Its then over to the Molokai north shore around the coastline before cutting through inland, but its unlikely you'll fly directly over the Molokai Forest Reserve.

On this forty-five minute tour you can expect the flight duration to be split between both Maui and Molokai, with time needed to cross the Pailolo Channel.

7. Mauna Loa Helicopters - The Oahu Magnum P.I. Experience

Visit Page: Depart: Honolulu, Oahu. Flight Duration: 50 Minutes. Cost: $279.

The operator will make this one to remember if booking on Oahu as guests can choose to make it a doors off or on tour - in a 4-seater Robinson R44.

Its an agile little chopper so can be bumpy, but this can only make the experience more enjoyable.

Depart out of Honolulu as you view her amazing skyline and so too the Waikiki shoreline.

Head down the leeward coast to Diamond Head, Koko Head, and the historic Makapuu Point Lighthouse.

Up north along the coast you'll fly pass the Kailua Beach, Chinaman’s Hat and the beautiful waters of Kaneohe Bay.

Once you've arrived at the Kaaawa Valley and Sacred Falls, Oahu’s famous North Shore will be the centre of attention.

Finally, you'll head inland to visit the Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay, known for its enormous waves. This will come to and end with a reduced cruise speed over Pearl Harbor and her war time attractions.

8. Safari Helicopters - Refuge Eco-Tour

Visit Page: Depart: Lihue, Kauai. Flight Duration: 90 Minutes. Cost: $259.

Safari Helicopter tours cannot be missed in their state-of-the-art floor to ceiling window configuration Airbus H124, and here they are.

This time its a Kauai adventure helicopter tour that includes a landing to explore the isolated Botanical Preserve.

Pilot one minute then he or she will turn tour guide as you spend time on the ground for up to 40 minutes - so its 50 minutes in the air.

Landing will come towards the end of the tour before arriving back at Lihue Heliport, but first its a route that brings you to Kauai's famous landmarks.

Immediately after lifting off, passenger will skim the south coast before heading towards the Hanapepe Valley.

That's important as this route will eventually bring the chopper to a low attitude once you arrive at the Waimea Canyon.

Passing Waimea Canyon the helicopter tour will arrive at the Na Pali Coast where you'll be sure to zigzag in and out of the coast - inland and out on the coast.

Regular flight route between all operators on Kauai, but don't forget you have the landing experience to come.

9. Maverick Helicopters - Hana Rainforest Experience

Visit Page: Depart: Kahului, Maui. Flight Duration: 75 Minutes. Cost: $249.

Only the second Maui helicopter tour to feature on my list, but don't let that discourage you from considering other options.

Operated by Maverick Helicopters - a big player in Hawaii - this is a rare Maui helicopter tour with a landing inside the Hawaiian rainforest - its a beautiful landing spot too.

Board a luxury, family friendly, 6-seater Eco-Star with comfy seating and air conditioning.

Lifting off at the Kahului Heliport on north Maui, the flight route will focus more on Maui North Coast as you explore waterfalls, beaches, valleys and sea cliffs.

Air only part of the tour will be 40 minute viewing Haleakala from a distance, plus a pass by of Paia, Hookipa, Haiku, the Road to Hana and Jurassic Rock.

All this will lead to Maverick Helicopters exclusive landing spot buried deep in the Maui rainforest.

On this 30 minute ground tour, guests with explore a former taro plantation in the Wailua Valley, which include bananas, papayas, lilikoi, coconut and native wild flowers if in season.

10. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Big Island Spectacular with Landing

Visit Page: Depart: Waikoloa, Big Island. Flight Duration: 105 Minutes. Cost: $749.

Blue Hawaiian are the biggest helicopter tour company in Hawaii so should be featured more, but its nothing against the company, it just I adore doors off experiences more.

That is something they do not offer but you can book a equally enjoyable landing tour.

Explore the Big Island at her finest with a flight route that encircles the Island of Hawaii's East Coast with a route that turns inland.

What you see from the air is the Hawaii Volcano National Park, including the active Kilauea volcano with lava flows.

Quite possibly one of the best volcano helicopter tours in Hawaii as the route brings you to landing spot at the Laupahoehoe Nui on the Kohala Coast.

The location lends itself to a majestic 1200 foot waterfall which provides passengers a once in a lifetime photo opportunity during the 20 to 25 minutes on the ground.

Laupahoehoe Nui will be seen in the air tour and so will the volcanoes, but let's not forget there's more rainforest, waterfalls and beaches to be seen.

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