We continue our series on Hawaii helicopter tours with a look at the options on Hawaii (Big) Island. The island’s diverse climates and volcanic terrains make for spectacular aerial tours.
Seeing active lava is a popular desire from a helicopter tour company. Most helicopter tours offer an option to try to see the lava. Note that lava viewing cannot be guaranteed, but as long as the volcano is active, you have a good chance of seeing it in action.
As you may know, Hawaii Island is bigger than all the other islands put together. Such an enormous size creates many options for helicopter tours. Generally, tour options are:
- Tours of the Hamakua Coast include views of deep valleys, tall cliffs and waterfalls.
- Tours of the volcano activity include views of old and new eruptions.
- Some extended tours include a combination of the Hamakua Coast and of the volcano area.
- Other speciality tours include waterfall landings, hikes and other activities.
We list some of the top details for each tour. We encourage you to explore each companies website to see all their options.
Website: Paradise Helicopters
TripAdvisor reviews: Link to reviews from Hilo, link to reviews from Kona. and link to reviews from Waimea.
Current pricing: starts at $399 for 60-minute tour.
Notables: Tours depart from Waimea, Kona airport or Hilo airport. Paradise offers many land and air combo tour options. Their Circle Island Experience offers one of the most comprehensive tours of the island. For an upgrade, you can book “doors off” tours for the best photography views.
Website: Sunshine Helicopters
TripAdvisor reviews: link
Current pricing: starts at $324 fo 40 to 45-minute tour.
Notables: Tours depart from the “Kona side” of the Big Island at the Hapuna Helipad on the Kohala Coast. Sunshine offers an option to upgrade to “first class” seats which are in the front row beside the pilot. We do have experience with Sunshine and it was a good one, though it was nearly 20 years ago.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Website: Blue Hawaiian
TripAdvisor reviews: Link for tours from Hilo and link for tours from Waikoloa.
Current pricing: starts at $359 for a 50-minute tour.
Notables: Tours depart from either Hilo Airport or Waikoloa Helipad on the Kona side of the Big Island.
Mauna Loa Helicopters
Website: Mauna Loa Helicopters
TripAdvisor reviews: link
Current pricing: starts at $165 for a 30-minute tour.
Notables: Mauna Loa tours are private tours for up to three or four persons. They offer doors on and doors off options.
- All pricing was accurate as of August 2022. The starting costs that we’ve listed should provide a general comparison of pricing between companies. Pricing is always subject to change, so check directly with the providers for their current pricing.
- For more tips, see our advice on choosing a Hawaii helicopter tour.
- If you want to a helicopter tour of the volcano landscape and eruption, you can save money by taking a tour that originates from Hilo. If you are staying on the Kona side, perhaps you could plan to include a helicopter tour as part of a day trip drive over to the Hilo side.
Have you taken a Big Island helicopter tour? Which tour company did you use? Did you enjoy the experience?