Helo Days logo
Kauai coats as seen out of Jack Harter doors off helicopter

Top 10 Kauai helicopter tours

What is sure to be an experience you won't forget, make sure you tour Kauai from the air with the most reliable, trusted helicopter tour companies on the island.

Top Kauai helicopter tours focus more on landing tours with exciting doors off experiences. The helicopter in use plays its part, so in Jack Harter, their Hughes 500 is fast and agile. Well closed door tours are included, I've made sure all sights are seen, including: Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon and the North Shore.

With only a small number of helicopter tours in Kauai, the best ones I've ranked for you in a top ten list, which is in my opinion, not of others.

I love Jack Harter so much, who are Kauai's doors off specialists; so together with their fast Hughes 500, taking a helicopter tour with them will not be forgotten.

Biased as I am towards Jack Harter, and I only wish they had more options to include, it has led me to include Kauai helicopter tours from other, trusted operators.

So with seven heli tour companies available, they have all made my list once or twice.

Cost of your tour will be in the region of $274.00 USD, with tours that include the doors off or if you like, an adventure landing with doors on.

Where the landing happens is important, so for me the Manawaiopuna Falls landing is a must, and is the location where Jurassic Park was filmed.

Similarly, landing at the remote botanical preserve is a must for Jurassic Park fans like me, with the fence climbing scene taking place only a mile or two away.

One thing you will expect from all Kauai heli tours included in the flight route is similar yet well thought our tours of Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast and the North Shore.

Flight times last approximately 50 to 60 minutes on average; so you will travel over 100 miles over the island of Kauai.

My top kauai helicopter tours

You've made it this far, so thanks for sticking around long enough to view my top Kauai helicopter tours; of which, most will cover over a 100 miles with all attractions seen by air.

Focus of my top helicopter tours in Kauai are doors off experiences in the Hughes 500, closely followed by a doors off/on AStar tour with a window clearance top to bottom.

Less so on the list, but tours I must include to avoid an uproar; are those of Maverick or Blue Hawaiian - in their big 7-seated Airbus EC130 helicopter.

1. Jack Harter Helicopters - Our 60-65 Minute Tour

Departing from Lihue: Cost $309, Min. 60. Check Availability

I prefer a small, fast agile helicopter as it makes for a more personal experience on the ground, and up in the air.

So therefore, Jack Harter tops my list as the helicopter operator who offers the best tours; simply for that reason only, and a big must of mine... doors off.

In the 60-65 Minute Tour option, the 60 minute tour will allow for viewing all major landmarks on Kauai, all coming into the view.

To name a handful, the tour includes: Manawaiopuna Falls in Hanapepe Valley, Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) Na Pali's sea cliffs and valleys, and North Shore beaches before arriving at Wailua Falls.

2. Island Helicopters - Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure

Departing from Lihue: Cost $275, Min. 75. Check Availability

My excitement for doors-off helicopter tours can only be matched with Kauai helicopter tours with landings.

What can be better than a tour that evolves around my favourite film of all time, Jurassic Park, and even its sequel - I hate the Jurassic World series by the way.

Thanks to Island Helicopters, this is possibility for all where its not easily accessible.

After a tour of the island, you'll land near Magnanimousness Falls - seen in Jurassic Park where Grant, Ellie and Hammond descend near to the waterfall.

3. Mauna Loa Helicopters - The Kauai Experience

Departing from Lihue: Cost $325, Min. 60. Check Availability

No landing to be had with this Mauna Loa Helicopter's Kauai Experience Tour, but it does have the all important doors off/on option.

So make it a doors off tour for me as the photography opportunities, together with the wind hitting your face cannot be beaten.

In one hour, you'll experience the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Manawaiopuna 'Jurassic' Falls and Mt. Waiale’ale Crater - if the weather permits.

Not a shared helicopter tour so a party of 2 to 3 passengers must be booked in order to go ahead with the flight.

4. Jack Harter Helicopters - Our 90-95 Minute Tour

Departing from Lihue: Cost $434, Min. 90. Check Availability

All hallmarks of the 60-65 Minute Tour that tops my list; while this Jack Harter 90-95 Minute Tour is an extended tour of that one.

While this tour does not involve the quick speed of the Hughes 500, instead its the job of the AStar to take in the sights.

Its not a doors off tour so the floor-to-ceiling window will make for great viewing.

So much so that, the panels of glass make for great photography; better yet as the tour calls for a slower pace, so all sights are seen in more time.

5. Safari Helicopters - Refuge Eco-Tour

Departing from Lihue: Cost $279, Min. 90. Check Availability

With an impressive 50 minute flight time, make it Safari Helicopters to bring you a tour that covers all popular designations, with a fascinating landing.

The Kauai helicopter landing is located at the remote botanical preserve; with a 40 minute stay that takes in a photo-op and walkabouts where the pilot acts as guide.

This location is close to my heart at its near where the production of Jurassic Park was filmed in 1993 - that's the part where Grand and the kids climb the electrified fence.

Its a landing site that overlooks Olokele Canyon with more sights to see on the way back home, including Na Pali, Waimea Canyon and Waialeale.

6. Safari Helicopters - Deluxe Waterfall Safari

Departing from Lihue: Cost $199, Min. 60. Check Availability

Well the tour includes the beautiful sights of Na Pali, Waimea Canyon and Waialeale from the air, the focus is on waterfalls.

Thanks to the large, clear windows from top to bottom on the AStar helicopter, you will see the waterfalls without distractions.

No need to rush with your photographing as the helicopter slows to a crawl, or better still will hover near by for all passengers to see the waterfalls in good time.

Over a 60 minute helicopter tour, it will cover more than 100 miles of Kauai, with the focus always on Kauai waterfalls.

7. Sunshine Helicopters - Ultimate Kauai Adventure Tour

Departing from Lihue: Cost $230, Min. 50. Check Availability

Where you don't fly near too on this Kauai heli adventure will sure to be seen on a clear day, and that's not guaranteed as the island makes for the wettest in Hawaii.

But the tour will flyover most of the top Kauai tourist spots including the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon and Wailua Falls.

Passengers will be taken in the luxury Airbus EC130 helicopter that has air conditioning if its a hot or a humid day.

Be warned, people sat on the left side of the heli will see more of the coast than inland, so what ever you would prefer, it might be worth a seat upgrade.

8. Maverick Helicopters - Kauai Explorer

Departing from Port Allen Airport: Cost $269, Min. 50. Check Availability

Fly over Kauai with one of the most reliable, biggest operators of helicopter tourism, Maverick Helicopter who depart from Port Allen Airport.

Focus of the tour is on much of Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon; which in the grand scale of things, covers much of Kauai, so is hard to miss.

You'll be able to look out of the window to view busy or secluded beaches, hills of lush green rainforest with the sight of waterfalls, rivers and canyons.

You'll be flown, much like Sunshine, in a Airbus EC130 that is large enough for up to 7 passengers, so should be enough space for you.

9. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Eco Adventure Kauai

Departing from Lihue: Cost $289, Min. 50. Check Availability

When it comes down to it, most visitors to Kauai will choose to fly with Blue Hawaiian than small heli tour vendors.

And to be fair they have good reason too as Blue Hawaiian have a great service combined with their state-of-the-art Airbus EC130.

What you'll see on their famous Eco Adventure Kauai tour is my favourite place, the Manawaiopuna Falls. Along with Hanapepe Valley, Olokele Canyon and Waimea Canyon - with waterfalls to be seen right, left and centre.

Unlike any other Kauai helicopter tour; a detour could be made by the pilot to fly you to Mt Wai’ale’ale - a dormant shield volcano - if weather allows.

10. Maverick Helicopters - Kauai Discovery

Departing from Port Allen Airport: Cost $169, Min. 25. Check Availability

Finally, that brings us back to Maverick Helicopters to offer the last tour I've deemed good enough to be in the top ten - that is their popular Kauai Discovery tour.

Why I've decided to pick this tour over similar offerings is the duration of the flight, so with only 25 minute flight time, you'll be sure to save money.

Regardless, you'll still see all the amazing sights Kauai has to offer you, including; flying over the Hanapepe Valley, Manawaiopuna Falls, Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve with Awini Falls and Waialae Falls coming into sight.

Expect to see the Waimea Canyon before concluding your tour over western Kauai.

Top Kauai helicopter tours prices

Often a price is too cheap to be true, in this case it probably is true as overall, helicopter flight times will decrease or increase the price.

Helicopter type is use on the tour will also effect price as Jack Harter's Hughes 500 is cheaper to operate per hour than the AStar of Safari or the EC130, H130 ECO-Star of Maverick Helicopters.

Of the seven helicopter operators listed, expect an average price of $274.00 USD with a tour time ranging from 60 to 65 minutes.

No.: Tour Name: Price: Min. Doors: Land:
1 Jack Harter - Our 60-65 Minute Tour $309 60 OFF NO
2 Island - Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure $275 75 ON YES
3 Mauna Loa - The Kauai Experience $325 60 ON/OFF NO
4 Jack Harter - Our 90-95 Minute Tour $434 90 ON NO
5 Safari - Refuge Eco-Tour $279 90 ON YES
6 Safari - Deluxe Waterfall Safari $184 60 ON NO
7 Sunshine - Ultimate Kauai Adventure Tour $230 50 ON NO
8 Maverick - Kauai Explorer $269 50 ON NO
9 Blue Hawaiian - Eco Adventure Kauai $269 50 ON NO
10 Maverick - Kauai Discovery $169 25 ON NO

Reputable operators

Of the seven Kauai helicopter tour services who operate on the island of Kauai; all seven have found themselves in the top ten.

Reasons why this is, all operate magnificent Kauai helicopter tours and while often similar in regards to flight route, the overall experience is different.

With only a handful of departure locations around the island; they are all within an easy drive from Princeville Heliport in the north, to Lihue Heliport in the south/east.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

One company that dominates Hawaii the most is Blue Hawaiian Helicopters who depart out of Lihue Heliport or Princeville Heliport.

Maverick Helicopters

If that respect, Maverick Helicopters who fly passengers out of Port Allen Airport, operate a tour service, flight route and helicopter model that measures up to their big rivals.

Island Helicopters

In Island Helicopters they depart out of Lihue Heliport; well a smaller helicopter tour operator, the service and experience is second to none - including a landing tour.

Jack Harter Helicopters

Probably one of my personal favourites on Kauai, and Hawaii overall; Jack Harter Helicopters top my list as the most exciting helicopter tour company based in Kauai.

Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours

Unlike their rivals who concentrate there operations nearby, Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours are located on Rice Street, close by to Lihue Airport.

Safari Helicopters

You can take the name quite literally in Safari Helicopters as they operate a service that really feels like a sightseeing safari over Kauai - who operate out of Lihue Heliport.

Sunshine Helicopters

With a big presence across Hawaii islands; Sunshine Helicopters fly doors on with no landing tours, but still reach the top ranks due to their remarkable service.

Thrilling vs. smooth tours

Well not always intended, simply taking a Kauai helicopter tour with doors off will in itself make for a thrilling helicopter ride.

When the pilot manoeuvres in a way that turns left or right at great speed, passengers will sure feel the thrill in there tummies.

Not all doors off tours will feel it, so its more restricted to smaller, less stable helicopters.

Jack Harter for example, operate a classic Hughes 500 helicopter that will not only be thrilling in the air, but also departing or coming into land can be scary.

Reason for that is their fast, agile Hughes helicopter flies with confidence of their pilots, so the approach or lift off is fast.

Doors off will be ideal for those you need an adrenaline filled helicopter ride, so make it Jack Harter when you're on Kauai.

Smooth helicopter tours tend to go hand in hand with all operators who fly with doors on.

Doors off triumphs

If more Kauai doors off helicopter tours existed, you can bet your bottom dollar I would include them all in my top ten, if I could.

Instead, while still being fair and unbiased, you'll notice two such doors off experiences are available, courtesy of Jack Harter and Mauna Loa Helicopters, respectively.

While Jack Harter operate almost exclusive doors off; the option for a doors on tour is made available.

Similarly, Mauna Loa allow the passenger to fly with or without doors is they choose too.

So what options you decide is entirely up to you, but know that doors off will allow for breathtaking photography opportunities.

Saying that, the thrill of doors off option can also be quite scary, as often the helicopter will manoeuvre in a way that will make your stomach turn.

Impact of helicopter model

People who take helicopter tours tend to look less as the helicopter they will be flying in, and more so at the tours on offer.

In fact its the model of helicopter that will effect your overall experience, as visibility, air conditioning, number of seats and quietness can play its role.

So with that in mind, here's a quick guide to the helicopter model you will be flying in, with the operator who pilots them.

In Jack Harter you will be flying in one of my all time favourites, the Hughes 500; a 4-seat capacity, with a cruise speed of 135 knots, at a range of 290 km.

Jack Harter also have an Airbus (formally Eurocopter) 6-seater AStar is available in their fleet, and so do Island and Safari Helicopters have the model. The ACH125 has a 143 knot cruise speed, traveling 651 km.

The big, wide, modern Airbus EC130 is owned and operated by Maverick, Sunshine and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - traveling at 134 knots with a 643 km range.

I would prefer the Hughes 500 of them all, as it makes for clear views for passengers, well the Mauna Loa Helicopter operated Robinson R44 makes for a fun, shaky ride.

Summary

That concludes my top Kauai helicopter tours all visitors to the island must experience before going home.

My list doesn't count for popularity with tourists, these are helicopter tours of Kauai that I consider to be among the best.

To be the best you must make it a heli adventure with a landing; taking in Manawaiopuna Falls, where my favourite movie of all time was shot, Jurassic Park.

If its not a landing tour, you have to experience Kauai from the air with no distractions, so it must be a doors off helicopter tour.

Not for the faint hearted, but for thrill seekers its an absolute must.

Up to seven Kauai helicopter tour companies operate out of Kauai, all of whom have a one or two featured in my top list.

Share this article: