Whether it’s the giant Haleakala Crater, the jagged and gouged West Maui Mountains or the waterfall-lined North Shore, Maui’s landscapes are on a grand scale. Seeing them from above gives you an unforgettable, eye-popping new perspective on that grandness. Among the Valley Isle’s numerous helicopter tour options, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is one of the top.
Established in 1985, Blue Hawaiian is the only helicopter tour outfit operating on all four of the main Hawaiian Islands. As on the Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai, the company offers a variety of different tours on the Valley Isle—including customizable charter flights.
The choppers Blue Hawaiian flies out of the Kahului Heliport on Maui include state-of-the-art A-Stars and Eco-Stars. There’s two-way communication on board (not true of all Maui helicopter tours), so you can communicate with your pilot—who, in turn, provides in-flight narration.
Blue Hawaiian’s Maui helicopter tours range from 50 minutes to an hour and a half. Among the most all-around magical is the 50-minute “Waterfalls of West Maui & Molokai” flight. This tour takes in the marvelously rugged West Maui Mountains, an emerald wilderness of knife ridges, remote plateaus, and deep gorges laced with waterfall streamers. But it also crosses the Pailolo Channel to fly over the island of Molokai, including the enormous sea cliffs of its northern coast that are widely regarded as the tallest on Earth. Those remote and roadless Molokai sea cliffs aren’t all that easy to see, and to appreciate them from the air is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Other Blue Hawaiian tours include a 50-minute “Hana & Haleakala” option, with flyovers of the Haleakala summit and crater, the pristine (and off-limits) rainforest of the Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve, and the famous Oheo Gulch with its Seven Sacred Pools. Then there’s the roughly hourlong “Complete Island” flight providing an overall survey of Maui’s landscapes.
The longest option is the “Maui Spectacular” flight, which combines West and East Maui and includes a landing (with refreshments!) on the Ulupalakua Ranch on the Haleakala flanks.
As we mentioned already, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters also give you the ability to book private charter flights, with rates by the hour. These can be a good choice for special occasions, or if you’re particularly interested in a certain element of Maui’s geography.
Blue Hawaiian flights are wheelchair-accessible, by the way. And you can contact the company ahead to try to reserve front-row seats on the helicopter, which, when all is said and done, offer the best sightseeing experience.
Whatever flight you choose, your time logged on a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour of Maui is very nearly guaranteed to be jaw-dropping.
-Book your helicopter tour ahead of your vacation for the most flexibility in dates, and try to reserve a flight early in your trip. That way, if the weather scuttles the flight, you’ll have a better chance of rescheduling before your trip’s over.
-Try to schedule your Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour for the morning, when visibility’s generally best. An afternoon flight is more likely to include lots of cloud-obscured terrains.