As much as I love getting up close and personal with Maui, seeing her from an aerial perspective was one of the most breathtaking moments of my time on the island. Maui is my favorite Hawaiian island, and I’ve explored her by horseback, boat, snorkel and flippers, zip-lining, hiking, car, and bike, but seeing her from a helicopter was an entirely unique experience that made the curves and edges that I’m so familiar with from the ground seem mystical and unfamiliar.
If you’re planning a vacation to Maui, seeing the island by helicopter will provide a one-of-a-kind bird’s eye perspective of the island, creating an unforgettable addition to your visit to the islands. Because they can fly above areas that are otherwise inaccessible, helicopter tours allow visitors to experience areas they would otherwise never even know existed. I chose to fly with Air Maui, a helicopter tour company that boasts 25 years of accident-free flying… that’s always important. Air Maui delivers thrilling, high quality tours and offers a variety of location and pricing options. I’d love to do them all… bucket list. But for this tour, I did the West Maui and Molokai option, which is apparently one of their most popular tours. I’ve yet to explore Molokai from the ground, but seeing her from the air was epic!
Air Maui offers five helicopter tours, ranging from 30-65 minutes:
The Maui Lite tour takes guests on a 30-minute excursion to either the West Maui Mountains or the Haleakala Crater.
The West Maui & Molokai allows guests to experience both the beauty of the West Maui Mountains as well as the stunning north shore of Molokai, across the Pailolo Channel. Towering sea cliffs, abundant waterfalls, and the rugged grandeur of mountain peaks and valleys create an unforgettable 60-65 minute tour.
The West Maui & Molokai Special is an abbreviated version of the tour above, providing a similar experience at a lower cost in 45 minutes.
The Complete Island gives visitors an in-depth glimpse of the incredible variety that Maui features, from the sun-drenched valleys to the stunning peaks of an old volcano; the lush rainforest to the picturesque coastlines. The tour is 60-65 minutes.
The Hana & Haleakala tour takes visitors on a 45-minute adventure to two of the most popular Maui sights: the beautiful Haleakala Crater, and the stunning waterfalls and rain forests of Hana.
“Think of the helicopter as a magic carpet that transports you not just to another world, but another time.” -AirMaui
Air Maui is located near the airport in Kahului, just about a 45-minute drive from the popular resort areas of Lahaina and Kaanapali. The helicopter tour company has excellent ratings and reviews, and as I experienced first-hand, makes guest comfort and safety a priority. Each helicopter is air-conditioned, with forward-facing leather seats (each with unobstructed 180-degree views,) noise-reducing headsets that allow guests to communicate with the pilot, music, and video system that records the sites and narrations so that you have the option of taking home a “movie” of your helicopter tour.
Take a Maui Helicopter Tour with Air Maui
Hours: 7am – 9pm Daily
Price: $175 – $307
Address: 1 Keolani Place, Kahului, HI 96732
Directions: From Lahaina/Kaanapali, take Hwy 30 to Hwy 380. Turn right and drive six miles to Hwy 36. Turn right, and follow Hwy 36 two miles to Hwy 37. Turn left onto Hwy 37, which will lead you straight to the Heliport. Air Maui is the last hangar. Prepay when you enter (about $5 for two hours), and then place the receipt in your dashboard.