Manawaiopuna Falls
Manawaiopuna Falls is also called Jurassic Falls because it famously appeared in the movie "Jurassic Park."
Photo Credit: Getty Images

See Kauai's Unreachable Sites with These Amazing Helicopter Tours

Gaze Down Upon Lush and Rugged Beauty

Kauai, Hawaii’s northernmost island, has gained the nickname of the Garden Isle. It is the greenest, lushest and most ancient of the Hawaiian islands. Its landscape is marked with vast valleys and craggy peaks making it truly a sight to take in.

From waterfalls that have made it on the Hollywood big screen to the sheer cliffs along the Na Pali Coast to a dormant volcano draped in greenery to canyons galore, there’s tons to see on Kauai. However, only a small percentage of Hawaii’s oldest island can be traveled by car, meaning that if you want to really see the scenery — those amazingly verdant valleys and plunging waterfalls — then the best way is to take to the skies.

A helicopter tour is a fantastic way to experience Kauai and see scenery that more land-bound tourists will never have a chance to glance at. From a comfortable air-conditioned helicopter you’ll be able to enjoy all of Kauai’s best sights and capture the photos to prove it.

Check out our list of the best Kauai helicopter tours and find inspiration for your next trip. These tours are sure to make your Hawaii vacation one that you won’t soon forget. There are plenty of options on offer for every budget and group.

Jurassic Falls Helicopter Landing Adventure with Island Helicopters

Island Helicopters has been giving helicopter tours of Kauai for nearly 40 years and their expertise shows in the service and experience they provide. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, book the Jurassic Falls Helicopter Landing Adventure that lands at Manawaiopuna Falls. This 400-foot waterfall made a famous appearance in the 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park” and Island Helicopters is the only tour operator that’s authorized to take you on an excursion there.

Not only do you get to see the main sights on Kauai with a 50- to 55-minute helicopter flight, but you’ll get a chance to really feel the power of the massive waterfall. The helicopter will sit down right near the base of the waterfall and your pilot/guide will take you on a short, easy hike along a path that follows a stream right up to fall.

Here you’ll have a chance to take some photos and learn about the history of the area, the geology, and the plants and animals that call the area home — all while basking in the mist of the waterfall!

The company keeps comfort and safety at the forefront. Their tours take place in air-conditioned birds and they follow all the best practices for safety, including keeping the doors on the entire flight. You’ll get a true local experience here too as all the helicopter pilots they employ actually live on Kauai.

The Jurassic Falls Helicopter Landing Adventure costs $275 USD per person. For a cheaper option, the Grand Deluxe Circle Island Tour costs $145 USD — you’ll still see all the main areas on this tour, but the helicopter won’t land at the falls.

Overhead view of Olokele CanyonOn the Deluxe Waterfall Safari tour you'll make a stop at the Kauai Wildlife Refuge, which has stunning views of the Olokele Canyon.Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Deluxe Waterfall Safari with Safari Helicopters

Safari Helicopters operates on both the Big Island and Kauai and offer several Kauai helicopter tour options for you to choose from. The Deluxe Waterfall Safari visits Na Pali, Waimea Canyon and Mount Waialeale over the course of about 60 minutes. Alternatively, the Refuge Eco-Tour flies the same route but adds on a 40-minute stop at the Kauai Wildlife Refuge, which has stunning views of the Olokele Canyon.

If you want to experience the amazing scenery of Kauai in a more relaxed private group setting, then they also offer chartered flights where you can rent the entire helicopter and have a bit more control over your route and itinerary.

The company only recruits very experienced pilots that fully meet and exceed FAA requirements and maintain the utmost safety on their helicopters, which means you can relax and enjoy the view without a care.

The Deluxe Waterfall Safari costs $314 USD per person while the Refuge Eco-Tour costs $314 per person, with special discounts applied for booking online. Safari Helicopters is a good option for families traveling with small children as many of the other companies on our list do not allow babies or very young children on their tours. There is no minimum age requirement at Safari Helicopters and they offer free tickets to infants under 24 months provided they sit in a parent’s lap.

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The Napali Coast from a helicopterExplore the Na Pali Coast while on a Kauai Experience tour.Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Kauai Experience Tour with Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours

If you’re looking for a smaller, private tour experience, check out Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours. They offer tours with a maximum of three people per flight meaning that you’ll have the best possible views. Their Kauai Experience tour will explore the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Manawaiopuna (“Jurassic Park”) Falls and Mount Waialeale (if weather allows).

If you truly believe a picture is worth a thousand words, they also offer a unique Photography Flight that will help you capture the perfect shot that you’re envisioning. On these tours, you choose the flight path and can choose to concentrate on those areas that are most important to you. On both of their tours you’ll have the option to have the doors on or off at no extra charge, as well as English narration during the trip.

The Kauai Experience tour is priced at $325 USD per person whereas the more bespoke Photography Flight is $693 per hour.

Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours is completely dedicated to passenger safety. As such, they only use FAA-approved quick release seat belts in all of their helicopters, they meet and exceed all FAA safety standards and are a member of the Hawaii Helicopter Association

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