Best Time To Take Helicopter Tour In Kauai

Best Time To Take Helicopter Tour In Kauai – One of the best ways to see the Hawaiian Islands is from the air, and a Kauai helicopter tour around the Na Pali Coast is a true aerial photography experience!

If you don’t know by now, I love helicopters. In fact, I wanted to be a helicopter pilot as a kid (okay, maybe I still do).

Best Time To Take Helicopter Tour In Kauai

So on our last trip to explore the Hawaiian island of Kauai, I couldn’t pass up the chance to fly over the island’s famous Na Pali coastline in a helicopter!

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Soaring in the sky, hovering over landscapes and being able to take off and land almost anywhere – helicopters are super cool.

Although helicopter tours can be expensive, some places are made just for taking pictures from a helicopter, such as the Grand Canyon, New York City and Cape Town.

We decided to take a helicopter ride in Kauai with the doors closed for an extra adrenaline rush!

Anna and I decided to book a 60 minute open door helicopter ride with Jack Harter Helicopters. There are only 2 companies that offer this in Kauai, the other being Mauna Loa Helicopters. It’s great for photographers because there’s no glass to get into your photos. But you are exposed to the elements!

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Most people choose to fly with the doors forward, in the usual way. It is a bit quieter, and less windy/cold. There is a great Waimea Canyon & Na Pali Coast helicopter tour that covers the highlights. ➜ ORDER HERE

If you’re traveling to Kauai on a budget but still want to fly over the Na Pali Coast, a cheaper option is to book a Na Pali sightseeing flight, which costs less than $200 (about half the price of a helicopter). ➜ ORDER HERE

There are so many cool things to see on Kauai that I definitely recommend the 60 minute option over the shorter flights.

After leaving Lihue Airport, our Kauai helicopter adventure began by flying into Waimea Canyon – known as “The Grand Canyon” of the Pacific (thanks Mark Twain!).

Kauai Helicopter Tour Of The Na Pali Coast (doors Off!)

Waimea Canyon was 14 miles long and a mile wide and one of my favorite destinations on Kauai. While you can drive and walk along the canyon walls, flying over it in a helicopter was very special!

It consists of rough stones with different colors in orange, red and green. The gorge covers mostly the western side of the island – with 45 miles of hiking trails as well.

The highlight is Waipo’o Falls, a massive 800-foot water tower. Most Kauai helicopter tours have two passes so everyone gets a chance to photograph it.

There are so many waterfalls on Kauai! From the ground you can only experience some of them. But from the air…that’s when you can really appreciate the best waterfalls on the island.

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It seemed like there was some kind of big waterfall (or 10) flowing into every valley we flew over!

The most versatile part of our helicopter flight came next. The stunning Kauai Coast Na Pali State Park on the northern end of the island.

Often considered the most beautiful part of the Hawaiian Islands, Na Pali (meaning “the rocks”) is part of 17 miles of lush emerald green cliffs and jagged mountain peaks.

Pristine white sandy beaches mark the border between land and sea. The water has a deep turquoise blue colour.

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This is also where the Kalalau Trail is located, a rugged (and fast) 2-3 day hiking trail along the coast of Kauai.

Finally, we flew into the wet Hanalei Valley towards Mount Wai’ale’ale Volcano, one of the wettest places on Earth.

It is here that over 20 different waterfalls flow down the steep sides of the long volcano, into a river far below.

The weather here is often very bad, and today was no exception. The summit of Waialeale is only visible for about 20 days a year.

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We flew under the clouds, into the water and right next to the “Grade Wall” itself. With the doors off it was very cold, windy and wet!

If you’re looking for a challenging hike in Kauai, head to this wall of water, sometimes called the Blue Hole Hike. It is a hard (and rainy) full-day trip.

Although I love my Mavic 2 Pro Drone, aerial landscape photography from a helicopter with the doors off is so much fun! But it can also be difficult.

I love shooting in manual mode. But in some situations, things move too quickly to change manually. Helicopter shots are like that. I usually recommend keeping the shutter speed at 1/1200 (or higher) to avoid blurry images. Auto ISO is also useful!

Went On A Helicopter Tour Of Kauai Yesterday And Snapped This Shot Of The Na Pali Coast [oc] [5184×2916]

Fire as many shots as possible in rapid fire mode. Helicopter rides can move quickly and there is often little time to get shots. You have to work fast and fire a LOT of shots. Be sure to pack an extra battery and a large (and fast) memory card that can handle all the photos.

If you’re flying in a helicopter with the doors on, shoot through the windows. This glass can cause unwanted glare and reflections. Using a polarizing filter and sun visor can help reduce this.

If you have two camera groups, I would recommend bringing both. Or rent another one from (it’s very affordable).

Have one camera with a wide-angle lens (eg 16-35mm) and another with a telephoto zoom (eg 70-200mm). If you can only bring one camera/lens, choose something in the middle, e.g. a 24-70 mm.

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Over the past few years, there have been some high-profile sightings of helicopter crashes, some behind closed doors. However, I consider them to be very rare events, like plane crashes.

That being said, many helicopter tour companies have started banning sticking hands and feet out of the open doors. While I was allowed to do this in NYC, we couldn’t do it on our Kauai helicopter tour. Always listen to your pilot!

Helicopter tours on Kauai can cost between $250 – $400 per person, depending on the length of the tour, the type of helicopter used, and the company.

Kauai isn’t called the Garden Island for nothing! Winters here can be very wet and stormy. So summer is generally the best time of year to go on a helicopter tour. You have more chances for good weather.

A Helicopter Tour Of Kauai

In terms of lighting, since the Na Pali Coast is on the northwest side of the island, the sun hits the mountain peaks only in the afternoon. Just before sunset is probably a good time to go. ★

Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself against damage and theft abroad. Read why you should always have travel insurance.

I hope you enjoyed my guide to helicopter tours in Kauai! Hope you found it useful. Here are some more wanderlust-inducing articles I recommend you read next:

Do you have questions about Kauai Island helicopter tours? Have you ever been in a helicopter? Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to share! As usual, I struck up a conversation with a couple sitting next to me on the plane and excitedly told them that it was our first time visiting Hawaii.

Kauai Helicopter Tours

They were Hawaiian rulers and they talked about how wonderful the island of Kauai was. I asked them what their favorite things to do on the island were and both immediately said the Kauai helicopter tour was the best thing to do.

My first thought was that it was a bit too much and completely out of our budget. But when they explained it to us, we quickly became convinced that it was a necessary action.

If you’re still on the fence about booking a Kauai helicopter tour (it can be up to $250 per person!!), we hope this post will convince you that it’s worth the price, e.g.

Kauai has hidden waterfalls to discover, deep canyons to explore, hidden beaches and much more accessible only to those who wish to see it by plane!

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Many of Kauai’s waterfalls are on private land, accessible by road or simply hidden by the dense forest.

By taking a Kauai helicopter tour, you can see these up close! Our favorite was this stack of four waterfalls that all entered this deep valley.

This part of Kauai is accessible to cars because there are no roads following it. The only way to experience this coast is on foot, by boat or (you guessed it) by plane.

Exploring this area through a Kauai helicopter tour allows you to see the entire coastline from the blue sea to the “cathedrals”, on one of Kauai’s most famous ridges.

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But when you explore the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by plane, many pilots will take you deep into the canyon to give you a closer look at the red and green landscape.

You can walk through the dense jungle to a valley below called the “Blue Hole”, but this trip is very difficult and dangerous without a local guide.

Fly into the canyon to get close to the “weeping walls”.

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