The helicopter tours on the Big Island seem to be so expensive as compared to other islands. We'd like to see the live volcano but what's the best pricing option? We're staying somewhere near Kona.
The thing that makes helicopter flights on the Big Island expensive is that the Big Island is "so big". It just takes much longer to get to places, even by helicopter. The single most interesting thing to see on the Big Island is the live volcano; in fact, the volcano may be the most interesting thing to see on any of the islands. If you're staying in Kona you can take a helicopter flight from Waikoloa (45 min drive from Kailua-Kona) and see the active volcano. This flight is a long one however. It takes about 2 hours in air time but to its credit it also visits the north side of the island and the amazing Kohala Mountains. Yes you're right, these flights are among the most expensive to be found anywhere in Hawaii. If you'd like to save some money however and still see the active volcano just drive across the island (2.5 - 3hr ride one way) to Hilo and take a helicopter flight from there. Your flight will be perhaps 45 or 50 minutes long and will get to the volcanoes within 10 minutes after your take-off. The price of the flight will be about half the cost. This is your best option to save money and the drive across the island and back is quite interesting anyway.
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