Taking a helicopter tour of Maui and Molokai will easily be the one of the main highlights of your trip to Maui. It’s worth splurging on.
On a recent trip to Maui, I took my first ever helicopter ride. Although the saying goes, “save the best for last,” I definitely started with the best, first. Hawaii, and more specifically Maui, is perhaps the world’s preeminent destination to tour via helicopter — and after this flight, I’m not sure future helicopter rides will be able to compare.
For this, my inaugural flight, I choose Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and their West Maui and Molokai tour. The details from that experience, which I hope help get you up into the sky one day soon, are below.
BLUE HAWAIIAN HELICOPTERS
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters was founded in 1985, and today, is Hawaii’s premier helicopter tour provider with outposts on all of Hawaii’s major islands (Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island).
On Maui, Blue Hawaiian’s operation center is conveniently located at Kahului Airport (the airport you’ll be flying in and out of). If you’re sitting on the left side of your plane while landing, you’ll probably get a sneak peek at their helicopters.
Blue Hawaiian’s fleet includes an ever expanding number of new, $2.8 million Eco-Star helicopters which come complete with anti-vibration control, climate control, and Bose noise canceling headsets– together, this trio creates a smooth, comfortable and quiet ride.
The choppers are also equipped with HD cameras, both inside and out, which will capture your entire ride.
Tip: A DVD of flight footage can be purchase for $25. Trust me, it’ll be better than the video you take, so consider buying it.
I took the 50-minute long West Maui and Molokai tour on an Eco-Star helicopter — and I would highly recommend it for two reasons.
1) Blue Hawaiian offers six different tours on Maui, but this is the only one which visits Molokai. Believe me, you do not want to be on Maui, which is only 9 miles from Molokai and not see it. It’s home to the tallest sea cliffs in the world (at over 3,000 feet tall), Hawaii’s tallest waterfall (at 2,000 feet tall) and is arguably the most jaw-droppingly beautiful island on the planet.
2) 50-minutes is the perfect tour length. It’ll leave you having seen unbelievable sights, but also leave you wanting just a little more.
After taking off from Kahului Airport, you’ll tour the rugged coast of West Maui, then cross the 9-mile stretch of ocean which separates Maui from Molokai.
Tip: From December to May, humpback whales can often be seen during this segment of the tour (the crossing between Maui and Molokai) as they make their winter home in the warm Hawaiian waters. Seeing whales from this bird’s eye vantage point beats sitting on a whale watching boat any day!
Within a minute or so of being over Molokai, you’ll be viewing a series of jungle waterfalls cascading down a mountain from pool to pool. From there you’ll fly straight over a cliff which drops thousands of feet into the sea below, get an up close look at Hawaii’s tallest waterfall, soar along Molokai’s stunning sea cliffs and through lush valleys only accessible by helicopter.
“It was incredible getting to see the most remote and untouched parts of Hawaii. It was like flying back in time.”
You’ll then fly from one side of the island (where it’ll likely be raining) to the other (where it’ll likely be sunny) and drop down to take a look at Hawaii’s largest continuous coral reef. Our pilot spotted a group of manta rays gliding in the turquoise water!
Back on Maui, you’ll wrap up your tour with a trip through the valleys of the West Maui Mountains (which contain both a rainforest and a desert), over the sugar cane fields of central Maui, then back to Blue Hawaiian’s operation center for a smooth landing.
The West Maui and Molokai tour on an Eco-Star helicopter costs $264 per person. The same tour on A-Star helicopter (which are slightly older and a little less fancy than the Eco-Stars) costs $222.75 per person. For just about $40 more, I’d say the upgrade to an Eco-Star is worth it.
If that’s not in your budget, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters offers a 30-minute tour of West Maui on an A-Star helicopter for $148.50 per person.
SO SHOULD I DO IT?
Yes. The helicopter ride was one of the main highlights from my trip to Maui and I’m very glad I did it. Although the prices aren’t a drop in the hat, I think it’s something worth splurging on. After all, how often will you be on Maui with an opportunity to view some of the world’s most incredible landscapes from above? Chances are, not too often.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Contact Information:
Address: 1 Kahului Airport Rd #105, Kahului, HI 96732
Phone: (808) 871-8844
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I was a guest of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, however, all opinions are my own (seriously, the whole experience was great and I’d do it again any day).
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