Pretty much since watching Jurassic Park, I’ve wanted to take a helicopter tour of the Hawaiian Islands. Having been to Hawaii twice, (the first trip being with my family) I didn’t have the ability to make detours like taking a helicopter tour. On my second trip, however, I was traveling solo…which meant the itinerary was managed solely by yours truly. And you better believe a helicopter tour of the island was happening!
I spent an amazing 5 days on the island of Kauai, and it is arguably my favorite (Shhh…I don’t want to make the other islands jealous!). Kauai is simply enchanting. The wild spirit and jungle-y vibes excite me and keep me coming back for more.
One of my first to do’s on the island was to book the helicopter tour. I travelled in the low season (January), so there wasn’t a huge need to book in advance, but if traveling during peak season I highly recommend booking ahead of time. There are a few options to choose from, but I went with Jack Harter Helicopters. They are the originator of helicopter tours on Kauai, the price was fair, and they offered helicopters without doors. Having the doors off was a must for me (rebel I know 🙂 ). But as an FYI, six-passenger air-conditioned helicopters are also available.
I took the 60-65 minute tour, and that was honestly enough for me. I tend to get headaches and motion sick, so right around the 1-hour mark I was ready to be back on solid ground.
What to Bring – if choosing the doors off option
– Warm Clothes –Even if travelling in summertime, bundle up because with the wind and altitude, it is chilly! I would go as far as to bring gloves too.
– Covered Shoes – Again, your feet will get chilly, so keep those babies covered – aka no flip flops
– Camera/iPhone Straps – You do not want your nice camera to slip out of your hands or get blown away. You can also purchase an iPhone hand strap at the Jack Harter office. I did this and I would recommend it (it’s only a few bucks)
– Ginger Pills – If you get motion sick, trust me, you will thank me later
What to Expect
My flight time was schedule at 11:00am, and I was asked to arrive at the office 45 minutes early. You’ll check in, go through a safety briefing and overview of the flight, and they’ll collect the payment. Soon after we were taken via bus to the helicopter launch pad location. After safely climbing aboard the helicopter and strapping in, the pilot gave his introductions and we were off!
The helicopter has a two-way intercom system so you can be in constant communication, not only with the pilot, but also everyone else on the tour. The pilot provides a narrative on Kauai’s history, popular landmarks, and other fun facts. My pilot (sadly I forgot his name) was also quite funny and entertaining, which made the whole experience completely unforgettable.
The tour circumnavigates the island, and lingers at certain hot spots.
You’ll start off flying through the Hanapepe Valley. A highlight of the trip was seeing some of the most beautiful waterfalls on Kauai. Due to the falls only truly being visible from the air, these beauties are a treat exclusively for the birds and yourself. They are located on private land are not open and accessible to tourists.
A major highlight of the trip was getting to fly over Manawaiopuna Falls, the waterfalls from Jurassic Park!
Then you’ll be flown through the beautiful Waimea Canyon.
Nā Pali Coast
Next was my personal favorite, flying over the Nā Pali Coast! This breathtaking coastal range is truly an earthly paradise. And if travelling from January to March, a bonus is you might luck out and see the migrating humpback whale surfacing along the coast.
North Shore & Hanalei River Valley
The tour cruises past the North Shore and Hanalei River Valley.
And then you’ll fly into the center of Kauai to see Mount Waialeale or the “Weeping Wall”.
Then as you start to make your way back, you’ll cruise on by the Waimea Falls.
From here we smoothly floated through the sky, heading back to the landing pad.
A helicopter tour of the island is truly a one of a kind experience, and is a must for any trip to Kauai.
Over to you! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!