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Helicopter Tours on "The Big Island" of Hawaii

See All Activities See All Activities By Vendor Big Island of Hawaii Helicopter Tours provide the only Hawaii helicopter flights to places where you can consistently see the active volcano!

There are 23 tours in this category that range in price from $50.00 to $2240.00.

Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours on the Big Island of Hawaii fly over the volcanoes of Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Helicopter tours taken on the Big Island of Hawaii are considered by many to be the single most spectacular tours available in all of Hawaii and these Hawaii helicopter flights should be made a priority if at all possible.

Helicopter tours in Hawaii to see mount Kilauea and the active volcanoes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park depart from both Hilo and Waikoloa.

Most visitors visiting the Big Island will stay on the Kona or Waikoloa coast and since there are Hawaii helicopter tours leaving from that side of the island, this is often they're first choice of departure points.

For years the magma under Kilauea has been pushing to the earth's surface through "pu'u" or vents and has been making its way through a series of lava tubes to the seacoast.

Here the hot lava pours into the sea at such enormous temperatures that vast plumes of steam and mist are formed and can be easily viewed from your Hawaii helicopter flight as the gases ascend hundreds of feet into the air.

Vast areas of the Big Island of Hawaii have been burned and paved over as a result, and the destruction and raw power of the earth's creative force is one of the most spectacular sites to ever be seen.

This spectacle of nature is often much too dangerous to be viewed up close without the benefit of helicopter flights and visitors are prohibited to go close to these most spectacular fiery displays.

The only way to realistically see the active volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii is by a helicopter tour or a small plane tour.

It should be remembered however that the reason the Big Island is called the "Big Island" is that it is very, very big (it is a fact that the total land area of all the other islands combined would fit within the confines of the island of Hawaii) and as a result the helicopter tours that leave from Kona to view the volcano are generally over two hours in length and are respectively fairly expensive.

Many people as a result choose to drive the 2 or 3 hours or so from Kona to Hilo and depart from there as the helicopter tour or small plane tours to see Kilauea are only 45 or 50 minutes in length and considerably less expensive.

The longer helicopter tours do have their merit however as they visit the slopes of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as well as the spectacular Kohala Coastline.

So if money is not an object please enjoy the longer helicopter tours and small plane tours on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Some considerations regarding your Big Island of Hawaii Helicopter flight:

  • During the Hawaii helicopter tour wear dark-colored clothing if you're going to be taking your own photographs. White or light- colored clothing will reflect in the windows and show up in the image.
  • Morning helicopter flights generally have the least cloud cover. These are also the ones that book up first, especially during busy times so book your Hawaii helicopter tour early in your stay. Better yet, book a morning Hawaii helicopter flight long before you get here.
  • The Kilauea volcano helicopter tour in my opinion is one of the best buys for the money in Hawaii. I say this not in the sense that it is in anyway inexpensive, but that it is probably a sight that you will never again see in your lifetime and is certainly worth every penny of the expense.

Types of helicopters flown on the Big Island of Hawaii:

  • The A-Star is generally considered the "gold standard" for helicopter flights. No matter where you sit you'll have 180-degree visibility. The rotor shaft does not come between the front and back seats and there are no visual impediments interrupting your view forward. The back seat is raised to give a better view above the seats in front and there is an abundance of windows.
  • The Eco-Star or Whisper-Star is actually the enhanced version of the A-Star and is generally considered the "Cadillac" of the touring helicopters. These helicopters are wider allowing for all bucket seats for more comfort. They have about 20% more viewing capacity through the larger windows and they produce less noise as heard from the outside.
  • The Hughes 500 is small, fast and maneuverable. It seats only 4 passengers so each person is guaranteed a window seat. It is often also flown with "doors off" for spectacular photos.
  • The Bell Jet Ranger seats four passengers. It is a little larger than the Hughes and smaller than the A-Star.

Pride of America Cruise Ship:

Big Island of Hawaii Helicopter Tours do not pick up at the Cruise Ship Dock. The majority of these helicopter flights however can be reached by a short taxi ride from the dock to the heliport or if you prefer Tom Barefoot's Tours can arrange a Rent-A-Car for you that will pick you up via shuttle at the dock. These flights will be available to you on Tuesday from the port of Hilo or Wednesday from the port of Kona.

Look for this symbol in the tour descriptions below to indicate if it is Pride of America compatible.

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Helicopter Tours Sorted by Specific Tour

We sell tickets to 23 items in the category Helicopter Tours on "The Big Island" of Hawaii.

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Displaying 23 of 23 Results


We have combined Paradise Helicopters' doors off Volcanoes and Waterfalls Extreme with Hawaii Forest & Trails' Hilo Tropical Waterfalls tours. Guests experience the exhilarating 45 min. helicopter ride…

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$630.00 - $840.00

See Big Island's untainted Kona coastline, a must see from the air! View over 30 miles of the amazing leeward side from the sky. Unlike shorelines that run for miles, this coast is a rugged volcanic shoreline…

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$930.00 - $1240.00

Enjoy a private stunning 75 minute fly-by of some of the best hidden sites that Hawaii's diverse climate can offer. On your flight to Waimea, your helicopter will dip down into the valleys to get up close…

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$1680.00 - $2240.00

On this 2 hour private adventure over the Big Island, you will see a diversity and beauty that rivals any other place in the world. Departing from the convenient Kona Airport, you will head for the most…

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On this two hour journey you explore the largest of all the islands and all of it's five volcanoes, hidden white and black sand beaches, lush waterfalls and breathtaking coastlines. Fly over the world-famous…

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This Hilo Lava & Rainforests Adventure Doors Off tour enables you to feel the heat! Kilauea Volcano has been continuously erupting for 30 years, and even at 500 feet above the flowing lava and open vents,…

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Explore the Big Island of Hawaii by air and on the ground. This 3 hour combination tour includes a Helicopter flight with amazing views of Volcanoes National Park, land tour of historic Hilo town, scenic…

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This Circle Island Experience is the only helicopter tour in Hawaii that ventures south to encompass the entire island in just 2 hours! You will see all 5 volcanoes, several waterfalls, 2000 foot deep…

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$50.00 - $514.90

Take in a Sunset Experience for memories of your Hawaiian vacation. This is the perfect way to cap off your day in paradise. You will see the gorgeous beaches along the Kona and Kohala Coasts, then venture…

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Choose the Hilo Lava & Rainforests Adventure Doors On air adventure to see volcanic activity and waterfalls inaccessible by any other means! This air adventure showcases how the story of Hawaii is inextricably…

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Half way through this circle island tour you get to land at a remote overlook deep into Kohala. This area is normally only accessible by hours of grueling hiking, you will walk the same fertile valleys…

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See the island from the air and land in Hilo to explore the windward side of the Big Island and see Hawaii's most stunning scenery, as well as learn the rich history and culture in historic Hilo town.…

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$125.00 - $686.90

This family tour combines two great adventures in one trip, a helicopter tour with ziplining! For this particular combination tour all taxes, helicopter surcharges and land tour fees have been included…

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This is a combination circle island to view Hawaii's Big Island by air and make a stop at the Hawaiian Legacy Forest to for planting a personal Koa Legacy Tree. For this particular combination tour all…

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This combination waterfall heli-trek tour is a helicopter flight with a Land Tour in historic North Kohala. This 8 hour tour departs from Kona International airport and lands in North Kohala where Forest…

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Choose the Lava Adventure and Waterfall Swim and learn about Hawaii's link between the elements. This helicopter and ground hike combination tour is a unique way to see and learn about this inextricable…

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Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from the air and on ground in this combination tour. For this particular combination tour all taxes, helicopter surcharges and land tour fees have been included to…

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Enjoy a helicopter flight a zipline and swim experience in one trip. For this particular combination tour all taxes, helicopter surcharges and land tour fees have been included to the rates below to view…

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Fly directly to Kilauea to view the current activity, which may include cinder cones with lava lakes, skylights and lava flows entering the ocean to create black sand beaches. See where some of the homes…

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Ascend from the helipad at the Hilo Airport and soar directly to Kilauea to view the current activity and the coastal region devastation by previous lava flows.

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$531.90 - $599.90

Experience the fiery lava vents of the Big Island's active volcano, Kilauea. The intensity of the live volcanic landscape will surely take your breath away. This is just one of the unique sights you'll…

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$187.90 - $223.90

View the awesome beauty of the Kohala Mountains and tour the deep winding valleys such as Waimanu, Pololu and Waipio.

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$489.90 - $564.90

Experience the fiery lava vents of the Big Island's active volcano, Kilauea. Then, continue on to the hidden tropical valleys of the Kohala Mountains and the beautiful rain forest of the Hamakua Coast.For…

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Helicopter Tours Sorted by Company

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(5 Reviews, 5 Stars)

Sunshine Helicopter

3 Activity Options

Helicopter Tours, FX-Star and Whisper Star, Helicopter Tours

Sunshine Helicopters has been operating in Hawaii for over 25 years and has a large fleet of FX-Star and Whisper Star helicopters. You'll experience the ultimate in comfort and with more visibility on these state-of- the-art helicopters. The owners, Ross and Anna Scott, are respected helicopter tour operators and offer spectacular flights of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
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  • 5
(8 Reviews, 4.9 Stars)

Safari Helicopters

2 Activity Options

Helicopter Tours, ASTAR Helicopters Tours

Operating on Kauai and exclusively out of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, Safari Helicopters specializes in air tours of the entire island of Kauai and specifically the Hawaii Volcanoes area of the Big Island. Safari is a family owned and operated business that began on the island of Kauai and then expanded to the Big Island. They fly the popular A-Star helicopters that offer great visibility and communication systems for pilot-passenger conversations.
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(31 Reviews, 4.8 Stars)

Paradise Helicopters

14 Activity Options

Scenic Helicopter Tours of Oahu, Pearl Harbor Flights, Door's Off Adventure Tours

Paradise Helicopters is one of the premier helicopter touring companies that services both the Big Island and Oahu. One of the biggest differences between this company and many others is the fact that they will offer you the opportunity to take a flight with the doors off. As nerve racking as that may sound, you are completely strapped in an just a secure as you would be in an enclosed helicopter. The big difference is that your view from this perspective will be absolutely amazing.
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Hawaii Forest and Trail

1 Activity Option

Merriman's Farm Visit and Dinner, Hiking, Nature Trails, Land Tours, Bird Watching Hawaii

Hawaii Forest and Trail is one of the premier hiking and eco-adventure tour companies on the Big Island. They offer a variety of hiking tours which visit vastly different areas of the island and concentrate on the geology, biology, botany and history of each region. Small groups are led by naturalist guides. Their international reputation has made them a requested and popular touring option on the Big Island.
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Mauna Loa Helicopters

3 Activity Options

Book a flight with Mauna Loa Helicopters

Mauna Loa Helicopters flies the Robinson R44 Helicopters. These machines have a smaller capacity than their competitors which enables them to offer more customized tours.
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Customer Favorite Tours Based on Reviews

Video Transcript

So, this video segment is going to be about helicopters on the big island.

Helicopters on the big island are among the most requested activities that we have in all of Hawaii. Certainly, with regards to helicopters in general, this is an island that many of the people prefer to do as adverse to going on one of the other islands.

So, what is the reason for that? Why do people want to do the helicopter flights on the big island? Obviously, the answer quite simply is the volcanoes and the volcano area that we have on the big island.

The volcanoes have been going off continuously to a lesser or greater extent since the early 80s. It is just a spectacular view that you are in all likelihood probably not going to be able to see again in your lifetime. But, yet this is available to us here in Hawaii on the big island almost every day.

We're seeing lava that is just pumped out of the volcanoes flowing down to the ocean in lava streams. Oftentimes entering into the ocean ... giant plumes of gas and steam when it does enter into the ocean ... this changes from day to day, week to week, month to month ... The flows and how they work.

Also, up at the Puu Oos or the vents, you're seeing activity where lava is coming out, going over the top, looking down into the vents. So, you have this incredibly, red hot, actually, orangy red lava that in contradistinction to all the brown lava or black lava surrounding it really is highlighted.

This is an amazing sight to see and it's what people want. Now, the lava, of course, can be very dangerous. You're not allowed to get into areas where we have a lot of this volcanic activity. So, consequently the very best way to view it, is going to be by air. Hence, the helicopter tours that we have that take you to those regions

Now, let me take you back to that map of the big island so you can get a sense of what is going on. So, here is the big island. The majority of people when they come visit they're going to be staying on Kona Coast, Waikoloa, or down in Kailua-Kona. Very few would be staying over in Hilo, but, some we do. But, yet, the volcanic activity you are going to be seeing is in this area. This is Kilauea. That's the volcano that is going off. It's located on the side of a giant ... of Mauna Loa. If these were in relief you would see there is a giant mountain here and another one here that are about 13,000 feet plus. But, yet, they are not going off currently, but, Kilauea is.

If you are on this side there's a couple ways to do this to see the volcano. Certainly, the most convenient way for you to do this would be to just get into a helicopter in either Kona area or Waikoloa and then fly over. These are generally going to be longer flights. In fact they're probably going to include a full island flight. Maybe 2 hours or so in length. So you are going to be leaving from this coast line, going over what they call the "saddle" between these two volcanoes. Seeing lava flows that all throughout this area ... that 1800s, 1700s ... there are all different ones layered one on top of another. Then you will be cruising over to the volcanic area. Here you will be able to see Kilauea, Halemaumau, the various vents we have in this area and all the rift zones and lava streams that we have that are heading down to the ocean.

This is the major area on the island and this is what you will be seeing. So, you see that until you got that completely saturated and you really have an understanding of it and can see it well.

Then they're going to go back over to Hilo and then up the Hamakua coast ... which is a spectacular coast line ... up to Hawi, back around Waikoloa. If you are staying in Kona they are going to go down this coast line which you can see all the major hotels we have on the beaches, the beautiful beaches and bays that we have on that side. Then you're going to cruise back to Kona.

So that is a way to do it. That is the most complete way to see the entire island, for sure. But, it is also the most expensive way, because you're in the air a couple hours.

Since the primary thing that most people want to see on the big island regarding helicopter flights is Kilauea. You can make this less expensive for yourself by driving over to Hilo and leaving from Hilo in a helicopter and just heading up to the volcanic activity. This is going to be maybe a 45, maybe a 50 minute, maybe an hour flight. It may include a little of the coastline here that you can see as well. But, this would be the most affordable way to do it.

Yes, you do have to make the drive. There is nothing wrong with that. It just takes a little while. It could take two-and-a-half or three hours to get over there, so you might want to consider organizing a tour helicopter flight that would leave perhaps mid morning or so. Because you have to drive that entire distance and you don't want to make it early, early those are great flights. If you don't mind getting up really early and taking your rental car across the island you can certainly do that. But, a more reasonable time for most people would be like 10 or 11:00 and kind of organize that. Which means that you need to organize those early, because those flights can disappear. It's not just something you can wake up on the day of, or the day before and go, "yeah let's do the 10:00 flight" and get over there. These are things that are best organized in advance.

What that enables you to do is to leave right form Hilo. As soon as you get up in the air you're not even that long ... maybe 10 or less than 10 minutes ... and you're out over the area that you're wanting to be seeing. You're not going to see any of the rest of the island, but, then again you are not going to have the expense either.

These are the basic helicopter tours that you're going to be wanting to book while you're on the island of Hawaii.

There are a number of different aircraft we have that do this. One of the popular, most popular, I guess, would be the A-Star helicopters. These are aircraft that are designed specifically for the purpose of sightseeing. They've got beautiful view windows. They can carry 6 people. You've got 4 people on a bench seat in the back and 2 in the front, plus the pilot. You've got very, very good views.

If you want to enhance your view on a similar aircraft you could also do, what we call the Whisper Star which is made by the same company. It's wider, it has bucket seats instead of the bench seats, a little bit more comfortable. There's more viewing window space so you're going to be able to see a little bit more.

In both the AStar and the Whisper Star, they have taken the rotator shaft out of the fuselage area ... they've taken it out of the cabin ... they put it behind you. You don't have that in your way and also the back seats are higher than the front seats so you got a bit of the theater seating, where you've got good views in all the seats that you could be sitting in.

There is also the ... they call them the Bell 407s, that we have there. There is the Bell Jet Rangers and there's the Bell 407. The Bell 407 is the one that is more primarily used on the big island. This is kind of ... it has executive seating. Actually, you sit in the front or you sit in kind of a cabin behind with seats facing each other. So, you're either looking forward or looking back. Just because of the nature of the flights, you've got beautiful views wherever you sit on these. So, that's the other type.

Then for those of you that really want to be a bit more adventuresome ... and those of you that are photographers are really concerned about making sure that you get the best pictures ... the Hughes 500 can operate with doors off. This is bout as good as it gets because you have nothing between you and the volcanic activity down below. A little scary for some people. You're completely strapped in, but you've got nothing off to your side. You get a little bit cooler, because you've got the air rushing through. So, it's not a flight for everybody, but, for the people that really want that type of excitement and those good photographs, you really can't beat it.

So, those are the types of helicopters that we have.

Those are the main points I wanted to bring up about the helicopter flights on the big island. Definitely well worth it. You're not going to be seeing the volcanic activity on any of the other islands of Hawaii and probably hardly any other places in the world that you'll actually be able to take a regularly scheduled flight to go see that.

If you have an interest, this is the place to do it. Helicopters on the big island.

If you have any questions about tours or activities in Hawaii, just give us a call, or check out TomBarefoot.com
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