What is the Best Maui Helicopter Tour?

What is the Best Maui Helicopter Tour?

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Generally speaking there are just a few different Maui helicopter tours that all the different companies provide.

They pretty much all have a 45 minute Hana/Haleakala Crater Tour, a 60 minute full island of Maui tour, a 60 minute West Maui/Molokai Tour and some will provide a 20 minute West Maui Tour. In addition of course they will also provide custom tours which will take you exactly where you would like and for as long as you'd like for an hourly price for the helicopter. As you might surmise, these tours are all awesome but some may provide a bit more of what you might want to see than another.

Here's a rundown on what you could expect:

The tour we least recommend is the 20 minute West Maui Helicopter Tour. It's not that this is a bad tour because visiting the West Maui Mountains via helicopter is one of the biggest thrills you might have when you're on island. It also is the least expensive way to get up in the air which is a positive as well. The problem with this tour is that on the top of the West Maui's at a place called Puu Kukui you literally have the 2nd wettest spot on Earth (Kauai is the wettest) with an average yearly rainfall of about 370 ". With this much rain you could easily suspect that many of the days on the mountain will be socked in with clouds. When it is packed with clouds you're only choice is to fly around the mountain and unfortunately miss all the amazing waterfalls, sheer drop-offs, amazing valleys and dramatic scenery. It is for this reason alone that we generally suggest visiting the West Maui Mountains in conjunction with either a visit to Haleakala Crater or as a part of your trip to see the island of Molokai so that if it does prove to be cloudy you can still salvage a good part of your tour with better visibility.

One of the very best values in a Maui helicopter flight would be the 45 minute Hana/Crater tour. This tour leaves from the heliport in Kahului and immediately begins winding its way up to the 10,000' summit of Haleakala. You'll be working your way above "upcountry Maui" and will be seeing the ranchlands and agricultural areas that Maui is so famous for. Upon arrival at the top you will be witness to the dramatic crater of Haleakala which descends 3000' and has a circumference of 21 miles. This is as close as you will ever get to a lunar landscape on planet earth and its stark beauty will take your breath away. Next you'll drop down along the Kipahulu and Hana coastlines to view the vast jungles and forests found along these eastern shores. These triple-canopy rainforests are dense, rugged and extremely picturesque. You'll be passing over endless streams and waterfalls and the jagged coastline is itself an amazing spectacle. Way below you will be able to make out the Hana highway which is chiseled right out of the rugged shoreline. From this vantage point you will be able to have a much better perspective of the island then can be had from simply riding on the roadway below.

The final tour that is offered by the Maui helicopter companies is the 60 minute West Maui/Molokai flight. This flight will take off from the heliport in Kahului and visit the West Maui Mountains just 5 minutes away and they fly over the open ocean all the way across the channel to picturesque Molokai. Molokai is one of the most beautiful islands to view from the air, especially its north facing coastline which will provide you with of view of the largest sea cliff waterfalls to be found anywhere in the world. Following the coastline further west will eventually bring you to the site of Father Damien's Leper Colony on the beautiful Kalaupapa Peninsula. This area of the island is so remote that the only ways in are by mule or a hike down a series of two-thousand foot cliffs, by sea into a port which has often very challenging ocean conditions or by small plane landing on a tiny air-strip.

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