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Passengers disembark Safari Helicopters landing tour on Botanical Preserve

Best Kauai helicopter tours

Can be quite daunting to find what is the best helicopter tour in Kauai; but it should not be to hard as I list my personal best.

To be the best Kauai helicopter tour it will be a doors off tour with a landing if available - but both cannot be done at once. Helicopter type in use is vital to the success of the tour, so make it with a doors off or a model with ceiling to floor windows. Kauai helicopter tours circle the island around the coastline or inland.

Its not random that I have only selected eight of what I consider to be the best Kauai helicopter tours on the island.

In fact, I only consider these helicopter tours to be up there among the best, while the rest in the pack are not bad - they just offer little else then what is listed here.

Jack Harter's 60-65 Minute Tour I think is the best in tour no thanks to the Kauai open door experience - which makes for unrestricted viewing.

Following up that one is Island Helicopters' Jurassic Falls Landing: Jurassic Park is my all time fav movie so its any wonder this one tops the list.

In third place is Mauna Loa Helicopters' The Kauai Experience; its doors off again tour only it happens in an agile Robinson R44.

Forth place is the Refuge Eco-Tour belonging to Safari Helicopters; it involves a 45 minute landing tour in the Botanical Preserve on the North Shore.

Fifth top Kauai helicopter tour is over to Island Helicopters' Grand Deluxe Circle; it is limited to the coast while often heading inland to view popular areas with tourists.

Final top three helicopter tours are what I consider to be the best for the whole family are behind closed doors in a large, 6-seater helicopter.

Think less about what you'll see from the air as the flight route across all operators is near identical. Its only the doors off or landing tour that is the standout event of the tour.

My quick BEST helicopter tour list

Operator: Tour Name: Dur.: Price:
Jack Harter 60-65 Minute Tour 60-65 $309.00
Island Helicopters Jurassic Falls Landing 75-80 $275.00
Mauna Loa Helicopters The Kauai Experience 60 $325.00
Safari Helicopters Refuge Eco-Tour 90 $279.00
Island Helicopters Grand Deluxe Circle 50-55 $145.00
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Discover Kauai 45 $319.00
Safari Helicopters Deluxe Waterfall Safari 60 $199.00
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Kauai Eco Adventure 50 $289.00
My personal best helicopter rides in Kauai from top to bottom: Note the operator who runs the tour, name of tour package - plus flight duration and price to pay.

Nicely packaged up for you is my best Kauai helicopter tours in a table that features all the data you need to make up your mind.

No links to web sites or information on the tour here; you'll need to read ahead for that in-depth detail, which is found farther down the page.

Here you'll notice Jack Harter's 60-65 Minute Tour is listed on the top; so that tells you its my best helicopter tour in Kauai.

Next up Island Helicopters in second with Mauna Loa coming in a close third place.

Below them you'll notice a mix of Kauai helicopter tour operators showing up twice on the list, as I believe they offer not one, but two of the best tours in Kauai.

Kauai Open Door tours are the best

Its vital you know when participating in a Kauai helicopter tour; the open door experience tends to be the best.

Its not for the faint-hearted nor the entire family, but it sure is a thrilling yet often scary helicopter ride you must try sooner than later.

I consider Kauai open door helicopter tours to be the best, for the reason it offers the best views with no restrictions - such as glare on the glass.

Closed door Kauai helicopter tours are fun with exciting views, but when the doors are removed, its a real surreal experience.

That is why open door Kauai helicopters tour are my best on the island.

So with that in mind, you'll find my absolutely favorite to top the list as the best is Jack Harter, before moving onto Mauna Loa Helicopters open door in their Robinson R44.

Experience a Landing Tour

Its not possible to do doors off with a landing helicopter tour in Kauai at the same time; so its important you know which package you want to experience.

Its difficult for me because open door tours I believe are unmatched in terms of quality, but that brings me over to the Kauai helicopter landing tour option.

That is important to me because its possible to participate in a landing tour that arrives at one of my top places in Kauai - Jurassic Falls - home to the Jurassic Park waterfall.

I am prepared to tell you to forget about that experience for now as instead to focus on a doors off tour.

That is due to open door tours can include Jurassic Falls; so while it will only be from the air, it won't be a landing one, but alteast you get to see it.

Who you'll tour with in a Jurassic Falls helicopter tour is with Island Helicopters; whereas Safari Helicopters land at the Botanical Preserve on the North Shore.

Ceiling to Floor windows

Its more common to participate in a behind closed doors helicopter ride in Kauai then it is doors off, so focus should then turn to window size.

What I mean by that is the window you'll be looking through over the course of the tour should be wide, plus low down to offer unrestricted views.

Example of closed doors is Blue Hawaiian Helicopters' Airbus EC130 'Eco-Star.'

On the plus side booking a helicopter tour with an operator who offers amazing ceiling to floor window views - is to be seriously considered.

It will involve a 6-seater Airbus H125 that has a window configuration to allow passengers unbelievable views.

If that is something that will interest you then book a tour with Island Helicopters or Safari Helicopters, respectively.

When doors off restricts young children being involved, then be sure to book a tour with a helicopter that is fitted with ceiling to floor windows.

Best helicopter type in use

Its not much use experiencing one of the best Kauai helicopter tours in a helicopter seat configuration that restricts your views.

So with that in mind you will want to seriously consider the helicopter model in use.

Not often a thing guests will need to think about; but please do take my advice to make it a door or window side seat.

If participating in a doors off tour via Mauna Loa in their Robinson R44, it won't matter as all passengers sit on the outside.

So while Jack Harter is my all time favorite helicopter tour in Kauai; only downside to that is a passenger will have to sit in the middle, front co-pilot seat.

That is not worse than sitting in the middle seats of Hawaiian Blue Helicopters' Eco-Star or Safari or Island Helicopters Airbus H125 helicopter type.

Circling Kauai is common route

To sum it up, you will want to book a Kauai helicopter tour that involves doors off, landing to explore - plus a helicopter that allows for a window or door side seat.

Once you've got all that down, regardless of the tour you choose to take; its a common thing to see a flight route that is near identical.

Kauai is a fairly small island with landmarks to visit on the ground are those that guests want to see in the air - so there's no avoiding them.

So whether you take a Jack Harter 'Open Door' tour or Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Kauai Eco Adventure in a closed cabin, the flight route covers the same airspace.

Having said that, no helicopter tour is ever likely to be that similar as the pilot cannot replicate one tour to the next - with an extended or shorten time expected at waterfalls, for example.

Where Kauai helicopter tours differ are the helicopter tours that involve a landing as an 'air only' tour cannot be beat to an air plus ground tour.

1. Jack Harter: 60-65 Minute Tour

Price: $309.00, Flight Time: 60-65 Minutes, departs Lihue Airport. Check Availability

If you haven't realised it already, Jack Harter's 60-65 Minute Tour in their Hughes 500 is my best helicopter tour in kauai.

Open door is the theme of this ride with a flight route that circles the island in a clockwise direction.

Hughes 500, or MD500 is the helicopter to do it in as its fast, agile and extremely well built for the unpredictable Kauai change of climate.

Lots to see on this tour which will bring you within range of: Nawiliwili Harbor and the Menehune Fishpond, Kipu Kai and the Tunnel of Trees.

Its over to Manawaiopuna Falls - also known as Jurassic Falls - in Hanapepe Valley, then over to Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon, and Na Pali Coast with beaches of Ke'e to Hanalei.

Finally, jump over to The Beautiful Bay and Valley of Hanalei, Mt. Waialeale and Wailua Falls.

2. Island Helicopters: Jurassic Falls Landing

Price: $275.00, Flight Time: 75-80 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

Hard for me to pick a closed door helicopter tour, but I can do so easy here as its only Island Helicopter's who have been granted permission to land at Jurassic Falls.

That's right people, if you want to see the famous waterfall as featured in the motion picture, Jurassic Park - Island Helicopters will land near to the waterfall for you to explore on the ground for up to 25 minutes.

The pilot will escort guests through a jungle walkway that leads right up to the waterfall.

Its done so in style too as passengers will explore most of what Kauai has to offer them in the air, but in doing so in a ceiling to floor window configuration.

Departing Lihue Airport, guests will be treated to this landing plus a grand circle of the island.

Lift off in a comfortable 6-seater Airbus H125 which has 4 seats along the rear, plus two co-pilot seats next to the pilot.

3. Mauna Loa Helicopters: The Kuaui Experience

Price: $325.00, Flight Time: 60 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

Not surprising to see that my third best helicopter tour is one that involves a doors off experience, with all passengers guaranteed a door side seat.

Only this time passengers will be treated to a less steady tour in what will be in a 4-seater Robinson R44.

Its a light, piston powered helicopter but is not as steady in the wind as larger helicopter types. That is important to know if you suffer from motion sickness, yet is a fun prospect for passengers seeking a thrill.

Premise of Mauna Loa Helicopters' The Kuaui Experience tour is a trip over to the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, plus a low attitude flight into the gorges of Waimea Canyon.

Not forgetting a bit of time to explore Jurassic Falls from the air only.

Guests will arrive at Rice Street before being shuttled to nearby Lihue Heliport where you will embark on a doors off Robinson R44 helicopter in waiting.

4. Safari Helicopters: Refuge Eco-Tour

Price: $279.00, Flight Time: 90 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

If you can't experience the open door helicopter tour in Kuaui, then do so with a once in a lifetime closed doors tour with ceiling to floor windows.

That is with Safari Helicopters' Refuge Eco-Tour that involves a landing at the Botanical Preserve, on the North Shore.

Experience what Kauai has to offer you in the air, before landing at this secluded spot.

Its a 40 minute landing that will include a guided tour by your pilot. Guests will explore dozens of endangered plants with native birds that are not found anywhere else on earth.

Departing the Botanical Preserve, the air part of the tour will continue before or after at the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon and Waialeale is seen.

Safari Helicopters is headquartered on Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766; so its a short shuttle ride over to Lihue Heliport near the airport.

5. Island Helicopters: Grand Deluxe Circle

Price: $145.00, Flight Time: 50-55 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

Soon after departing from Lihue Airport, guests will see the first attraction on the agenda; that is the Nawiliwili Harbor and the Kauai Marriot Resort.

Heading inland up next is Hanapepe Valley - plus rainbows to be seen - then soon after you'll reach the 400 ft. high Manawaiopuna Falls - home to the world famous waterfall featured in Jurassic Park.

Get intimate views of Olokele Canyon which then brings the helicopter tour to the Na Pali Coast - as you view it from an ocean view.

She offers incredible mountains, cascading waterfalls, remote beaches and cliffs - also view Bali Hai and Lumahai Beach.

On to Hanalei Bay & Valley with a view of Princeville Resort before finally reaching the crater of Mt. Waialeale volcano.

Nothing is missed in the Airbus H125 helicopter as its equipped with ceiling to floor windows for the best view possible.

Bonus too as this is the cheapest Kauai helicopter tour on my list, and cheapest in Kauai overall.

6. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters: Discover Kauai

Price: $319.00, Flight Time: 45 Minutes, departs Princeville Heliport. Check Availability

I wouldn't normally endorse behind closed door helicopter tours; but I would do in Blue Hawaiian Helicopters' 6-seater passenger Airbus EC130.

No ceiling to floor window configuration, plus there's a possibility of sitting in the middle two rear seats, or the middle co-pilot seat - but the windows are pretty big.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters' serve all major Hawaiian islands so offer no restrictions to families with young children.

You won't be circling the island on this tour but more so inland. Though you will explore the majestic 3,000-foot sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

Passengers will depart Princeville Airport as the tour takes in what 'The Garden Isle' has to see inland - as oppose to coastal views.

Still, guests will get views of Manawaiopuna Falls which is surrounded by the Hanapepe Valley. View Olokele Canyon before spending time seeing the majestic Waimea Canyon and blue waters of Hanalei Bay.

7. Safari Helicopters: Deluxe Waterfall Safari

Price: $199.00, Flight Time: 60 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

Safari Helicopters only offer the two Kauai helicopter tours; even so they both are good enough to be listed on my best helicopter tours in Kauai.

Previously, I listed the Refuse Eco-Tour as one of my best; only this one is without the landing in the Botanical Preserve.

No additional 40 minutes for the landing tour then; so guests will spend the entirety of the trip in the air in the companies Airbus H125, equipped with ceiling to floor windows.

The Deluxe Waterfall Safari will bring guests within touching distance of Kauai' many wonderful waterfalls - cascading deep into canyon gorges.

Therefore, that can only mean the pilot will fly at low attitude as you hover near to waterfalls with time to take in its natural beauty - plus time to take as many pictures as you can.

Once out of the canyons you'll begin to climb in attitude to view the incredible Na Pali Coast with her secluded beaches and cliffs.

8. Blue Hawaiian Helicopter: Kauai Eco Adventure

Price: $289.00, Flight Time: 50 Minutes, departs Lihue Heliport. Check Availability

No doubt about it Blue Hawaiian Helicopters' Kauai Eco Adventure is among the best tours on the island.

So while I still consider it to be among the best, it still is listed as my eighth best Kauai helicopter tour.

Nothing against it at all, but if you know me by now with my love for open door tours; it simply cannot come close to that type of experience.

Having said that, I can book this tour knowing that all members of my family won't have an issue with it, as its less frightening when you're shut in behind closed doors.

Departing Lihue, guests will embark on the usual touristy spots to see in the air, as they include Manawaiopuna Falls deep in Hanapepe Valley and Olokele Canyon.

Then it turns into its own little Waimea Canyon helicopter tour as you view the cascading waterfalls up close with a short stay.

Flight route then opens up into the North Shore to reveal the 3,000-foot sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.


I think its easy to say Kauai must be the best Hawaiian island for helicopter tours in the air, land and sea - all of which is a possibility.

Many variables to consider when booking a tour to avoid disappointment later.

I would advice you to first book a helicopter tour in Kuaui that is doors off; therefore book it with Jack Harter or Mauna Loa.

If you need something that is more family friendly with children to bring along; then a doors on tour can be booked - only make it with ceiling to floor window views.

So its over to Island Helicopters or Safari Helicopters to offer guests unrestricted views in their 6-seater Airbus H125.

Most of the best Kauai helicopters tours are air only, but an improvement on that is a landing tour. With time to spend exploring the Botanical Preserve or a 25 minute stop at Jurassic Falls - my favorite place on the island.

Its important to know the type of helicopter you proceed to take a tour in can have a negative or possible effect on the overall experience.

I love doors off plus a landing tour, but both open door and a landing tours cannot be booked via the one operator.

So if the budget allows it, make sure to take a open door tour plus a landing adventure.

Overall, all tours will circle the island farther out to the coastline or proceed inwards as you zigzag to and from landmarks.

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