f you take one helicopter tour in a lifetime, take it in Hawaii. Your personal tour lingers over the crystal-blue Pacific, rushing waterfalls, majestic mountains, dense forests, an old volcano – and the World War II Valor in the Pacific Monuments, including Pearl Harbor.
On the ground, you’ll be briefed on the aircraft and safety procedures. (Part of helicopter safety is even weight distribution, so don’t be offended when you’re asked to step on a scale.) In flight, you’ll find the ride fairly stable, though somewhat noisy compared to an airplane – you’ll wear a headset to offset that and help you communicate with the pilot and other passengers. Bring your camera (of course) and consider spending slightly more money to reserve the seat next to the pilot – the views are worth it.
Makani Kai Helicopter Tours range from 30 minutes to an hour across several routes, including trips to other Hawaiian Islands. You’ll find three options from Waikiki, two from Koolina and private charters. The Pali Makani tour reveals historic Honolulu Harbor, the Gold Coast, Sandy Beach and the Keehi Lagoon. The Hidden Oahu tour covers the same, plus Kaneohe Bay, Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island. The most popular option, the hour-long Alii Sacred Falls Tour, circles big-name attractions like the Polynesian Cultural Center and the majority of Oahu.
Blue Hawaiian’s new Eco-Star helicopter features first-class seating for every passenger. Reserve the 45-minute tour or a private charter for aerial views of lush rainforests, plunging valleys, Diamond Head peaks, Chinaman’s hat, the turquoise reefs of Waikiki and Haunama Bay and sprawling Dole Pineapple Plantation.
“ If you are visiting between November and February, don’t miss Waimea Bay on the North Shore where the island’s top surfers take on 30-foot waves ”
Makani Kai Helicopters
Address: 130 Iolana Pl., Honolulu, HI 96819
Phone: (808) 834.5813
Web Address: www.makanikai.com
Distance/Drive: Less than 8 miles from THE MODERN HONOLULU – a 20-minute drive.
Brief directions from THE MODERN HONOLULU: Southeast on Ala Moana Boulevard, U-turn on Ena Road, left on Lagoon Drive, right onto Iolana Place.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Address: 99 Kaulele Pl., Honolulu, HI 96819
Phone: (808) 831.8800
Web Address: www.bluehawaiian.com
Distance/Drive: Eight miles from THE MODERN HONOLULU – a 20-minute drive.
Brief directions from THE MODERN HONOLULU: Southeast on Ala Moana Boulevard, U-turn on Ena Road, left on Lagoon Drive, turn right onto Kaulele Place.