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Paradise Helicopters Bell 407 passing Hawaii's Kohala Coast Waterfalls

Complete Hilo helicopter tours guide

Believe me when I say the small town of Hilo on the Big Island's east coast is sure to line up a helicopter tour that is within budget, with an experience that will be of interest.

Hilo helicopter tour departures are served by three tour operators, along with nine tour package deals via Hilo International Airport. Guests can book up a tour that includes volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforest and the coastline. Make it an experience to remember by booking a doors off flight or landing adventure.

Booking up a helicopter tour on the Big Island with a Hilo departure offers up all that you would expect from an island jam-packed with activities.

No area of interest will go unturned, as all major attractions on the island will be seen in the air or on a landing adventure.

Of the nine helicopter tours from Hilo Airport, three of them exclude a volcano but that's only because they're cheap Big Island helicopter tours, so focus more on the Hilo area.

Reliable yet well known Hawaii helicopter tour companies are located in Hilo; of whom offer cheap to middle range tour prices, per person.

Remember to compare price to flight duration to book a tour that offers the most value

It can't be said enough, please do book a Hawaii open door helicopter tour, or where available book a doors off upgrade.

Removing the doors while exploring the Island of Hawaii's volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforest and coastline guarantees optimum views when there's no doors in the way.

What else you can do is refine your booking more by ordering a air and landing tour that can include a coffee theme tour, a swim, a bite to eat or trekking up the Kilauea Volcano.

Hilo helicopter tour price list

Operator: Tour Name: Dur.: Price:
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Hilo Holoholo 15min $99
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Circle of Fire Plus Waterfalls 50min $269
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Historic Hamakua 50min $269
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Craters & Coffee Tour 1hr45min $439
Paradise Helicopters Doors-off Lava & Rainforests Adventure 40min $324
Paradise Helicopters Lava & Rainforests Adventure 40min $274
Paradise Helicopters Volcano by Air & Land 8hr30min $512
Paradise Helicopters Lava Adventure & Waterfall Swim 3hr $525
Safari Helicopters Volcanoes National Park & Waterfalls 55min $199
Three helicopter tour companies are located at Hilo International Airport; they serve nine tour packages with a mid to high range price.

Only the three Big Island helicopter tour companies who serve helicopter tours on the Island of Hawaii, of whom offer nine package deals between them.

What is fantastic about these offers is they cater to the lonely traveler or a group of people or a whole family.

You'd want to think about the cheapest Big Island helicopter tour at just $99.00, but after that the prices increase dramatically, but still within budget.

Thing to notice is price range to flight duration, as cheap as the $99.00 price tag is; its only a 15 minute air only tour.

Most landmarks or attractions on the island are the theme of each tour, but a volcano, rainforest, coastline, plus waterfalls I said to feature on every flight.

Be sure to pay attention to Paradise Helicopters' tours who include a doors off upgrade.

Nine helicopter tour options

  • Hilo Holoholo
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters | Dur: 15 Min. | Price: $99
  • Only tour to depart Hilo focuses mostly around Hilo itself; flight route circles the town but still includes a coastline, rainforest, waterfalls and valleys.
  • Circle of Fire Plus Waterfalls
  • Visit Site | Operator: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters | Dur: 50 Min. | Price: $269
  • Full Hilo adventure that encircles Hilo as you embark on a south/east flight route; Tropical rainforests are the order of the day including impressive lava flows.
  • Historic Hamakua
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters | Dur: 50 Min. | Price: $269
  • First port of call is a north route flight plan that brings you within rainforests, waterfalls and coastline - which is on the Hamakua Heritage Corridor.
  • Craters & Coffee Tour
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters | Dur: 1 Hour, 45 Min. | Price: $439
  • Still a new Big Island helicopter tour departing Hilo is one that is both an air tour plus a landing at Ka’u Coffee Mill for a guided tour and tasting experience.
  • Doors-off Lava & Rainforests Adventure
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Paradise Helicopters | Dur: 40 Min. | Price: $324
  • Doors off experience has to be done via Hilo as you visit the Mauna Loa’s vistas, the lush Puna rainforests and waterfalls near to Hilo.
  • Lava & Rainforests Adventure
  • Visit Site | Operator: Paradise Helicopters | Dur: 40 Min. | Price: $274
  • Soon as you depart its all rainforest but the highlight of the tour is arriving at Kilauea Volcano to see for yourself its current activity, along with lava flows.
  • Volcano by Air & Land
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Paradise Helicopters | Dur: 8 Hours, 30 Min. | Price: $512
  • Only recently available via Hilo, its an air and landing tour on this one as guests will soon land to receive a guided tour through the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
  • Lava Adventure & Waterfall Swim
  • No Longer Available | Operator: Paradise Helicopters | Dur: 3 Hours | Price: $525
  • Begin with an air adventure before landing for a guided tour that takes in chocolates treats, a locally made lunch and a swim under a cascading waterfall.
  • Volcanoes National Park & Waterfalls
  • Visit Site | Operator: Safari Helicopters | Dur: 55 Min. | Price: $199
  • As described in the title, as you depart Hilo its only the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the agenda along with lush rainforests and towering waterfalls.

Blue Hawaiian vs. Paradise vs. Safari

To embark on a air or land adventure with use of a helicopter tour via Hilo; a decision as to be made which operator to sign up with, so let's see what the companies have to offer.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Blue Hawaii Helicopters are what I would call Hawaii's go-to helicopter tour company, so much so they are suited to visitors bringing children along.

What makes the company so reliable for so many customers booking up with this firm annually is their use of a 6-seater Airbus EC130.

It will fit four passengers along the rear row whereas two guests can sit in the front.

The operator make sure they cater to as many people as possible by making it affordable, to do that they've made available a very cheap tour options, with two middle range pricing, with only the one on the higher end.

Blue Hawaiian have very little limitation in terms of weight or age restrictions, so you will be in safe hands when booking with this operator.

Paradise Helicopters

If you're traveling as a large group or family, again I would think about booking up with this operator over anyone else for two simple reasons:

One of their helicopter tours that depart Hilo is a doors off experience in a Hughes 500.

Whereas two of their other tours are not doors off initially, but guests can pay extra for a doors off add-on, which I highly recommend.

I do expect all four tours they've made available out of Hilo International Airport to be in the Hughes 500 - or MD500 - chopper that sits up to four passengers.

No guarantee but what other helicopter type could be laid on is their 6-seater passenger capacity Bell 407 - its has a front and back facing seat configuration.

Safari Helicopters

What is the operators only helicopter tour out of their Hilo headquarters is their Big Island Volcanoes National Park & Waterfalls Safari.

No doors off tour or landing excursion with Safari but the company do offer one unique experience.

That is their Airbus H125 helicopter has what is known as a floor to ceiling window configuration, it basically means the windows allow for amazing, unrestricted viewing.

Seating arrangement is similar to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters in that the H125 allows all forward facing passengers on the rear row, plus two co-pilot seat occupants.

Safari Helicopters have priced their only tour on the middle range, along with a 55 minute air only tour duration.

Hilo Airport departures

Paradise Helicopters Bell 407 sitting on Hilo Heliport
Paradise Helicopters luxury 6-seater passenger capacity Bell 407 helicopters sits on Hilo International Airport on the heliport, awaiting to whisk tourists over the Big Island.

All three Island of Hawaii helicopter tour companies will depart out of the less busy Hilo International Airport.

Its located in the heart of the town which is easy to get too on foot or by transportation.

Paradise Helicopters and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters will require guests to enter the terminal that has 'tour sign age' above the entrance.

Entering the building guests will be required to check-in a head of time, and don't forget your photo I.D.

Guests who have booked up with Safari Helicopters can find their offices a little easier as you approach the terminal, the standalone building sits on the entrance to Airport Rd.

Once you're due to begin your tour, all guests will be led out onto the heliport area of the airport where the choppers sit on the tarmac.

Hilo volcano helicopter tours

What with being located on the Big Island, you can probably guest its fascinating chain of volcanoes is the focus of most tours.

In fact you'd be hard pressed to miss the peak or steaming pocket of a volcano whilst cruising at 1,000 ft. in the air over Hawaii.

Of the nine Hilo helicopter tours, only three of them exclude a volcano centric flight route.

So what you can expect to see is the summit of the Kilauea Volcano along with lava flows that are not to be missed.

The best Big Island volcano helicopter tours are those that include a landing adventure, and that's precisely what you can experience.

But if its in the air only, its still an amazing adventure to be had for the whole family, and a safe one too.

Doors-off or Landing excursion

OK, so you cannot book up a Hawaii open door helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian or Safari Helicopters, so its over to Paradise Helicopters.

By default, Paradise only offer the one helicopter tour that is a doors off experience.

While two options allow for you to book a doors off tour as an upgrade option. But did you know you can experience doors off if someone else on your flight orders this add-on.

Participating in a doors off helicopter tour is one of my favorite things to do, so I cannot recommend it enough.

What else you can get out of what would usually be an 'air only flight' is one that includes a landing - its a good one too as its a guided volcano ground excursion.

Blue Hawaiian also offer their coffee theme tour which is fantastic for the whole family as its include a lunch and chocolates.

Half-day family adventure

If you're bringing the kids along for a helicopter tour on the Big Island via Hilo; then be sure to book a family adventure.

Air only flights are a must but you won't be disappointed if that's all you can afford.

However, a family adventure for half of the day is one to experience if the budget allows it, but you want more than an air only helicopter tour.

It must be said its not quite half a day, but if I include the hotel to airport transfer time and vie versa, it can be as much as ten to twelve hours will need to be set aside.

What will be involved is a less than 30 minute air tour; along with a guided tour through the rough terrain of the Volcano National Park, handed over to specialist tour guides.


Its the nine Big Island helicopter tours if departing Hilo International Airport, of whom only three helicopter tour companies are based their.

Budget is important so know there's a basic yet short flight duration tour from $99.00.

Whereas Hilo helicopter tour departure prices average between $250.00 to $350.00, so are middle range pricing.

Blue Hawaiian, Paradise or Safari Helicopters operate directly out of the Hilo Airport terminal, where guests must arrive in time to be checked-in.

Not so with Safari as the company have their own building isolated but easier to spot as you arrive on the airport grounds.

What is the Big Island known for most, Volcanoes; so expect all but a few helicopter tours to feature the Volcano National Park including amazing lava flows.

Where the option is available I only ask you to upgrade to a doors off experience via Paradise Helicopters, or make it a landing adventure with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

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