Flights of Fancy
Ever since you watched the movies Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean together, you and your spouse have placed “helicopter trip in Kauai” at the top of your marriage bucket list and without a doubt the perfect way to see the island in all its beauty. About a month before your first-ever vacation to the Garden Isle, you sit with your laptop together and research some of the helicopter tours offered on the island. These adventures look incredibly exciting but are also quite expensive. Can you afford this? Will you have to mortgage the house to fulfill your dream? You decide to call your resort, Koloa Landing, on the sunny South Shore of Kauai, and connect with their concierge to get her take on this helicopter business.
“What’s the one activity we shouldn’t miss while we’re on the island?” you probe.
Kiana, a Hawaiian native who’s been a resort concierge at Koloa Landing for 18 years, answers without hesitation: “The helicopter tour!”
“I had a feeling you were going to say that,” you reply with a chuckle.
“Because it is the best way to see Kauai,” she answers. She goes on to explain that eighty percent of the island remains pristine and is accessible only on foot or by air, so a helicopter can get you a remarkably up-close-and-personal view of Kauai that few ever get to witness. Plus it’s a total hoot and absolutely unforgettable. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says, “and worth every penny.”
She discusses the cost and explains that 50 minutes is plenty to see what you want to see. You are pleasantly surprised that it isn’t going to break the bank. You agree to let her book you and your spouse on the very cool-looking Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour. It’s on, baby!
On the big day, meet at a small grassy helipad near the Lihue Airport — about a 30-minute shuttle ride from your luxury resort in Kauai. Your pilot is highly experienced and looks reassuringly reliable — like a fun but smart uncle. Only five passengers fill the seats. You and your spouse strap in, the blades burst into action and the vessel begins to float up. As the ground drops away under your feet you get an unreal thrill. Your spouse squeezes your hand. You pick up speed and the ride is like a gentle rollercoaster with no track — and utterly exhilarating.
Kauai’s stunning landscape widens before you, the ocean shimmering off to your left, as you head toward the Na Pali Coast. You understand why this is touted as one of the best Kauai helicopter tours. Your pilot really knows how to see the entire island! The natural wonders abound and take your breath away: sea cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and the velvet-green Hanapepe valley. You buzz over Olokele Canyon! You soar through majestic Waimea Canyon! (aka the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”). You fly up to Kauai’s North Shore which is lush and filled with vast green taro fields, soaring 3,000-foot high cliffs and over the turquoise blue waters of Hanalei Bay. You smile at your spouse and realize you are still clutching each other’s hands.
At one point, the helicopter rounds a huge mountain and buzzes across razor sharp cliffs. You now come face-to-face with the thundering water that rushes from Manawaiopuna Falls (aka “Jurassic Falls”). The pilot hovers in front of these massive, towering falls and complete silence washes over the passengers. You feel humbled by the beauty and the grandeur of it all. You glance at your spouse and she is equally wonderstruck.
So . . . was that Helicopter Trip in Kauai Worth it?
Before heading back, your pilot announces: “Mother Nature has given us the gift of good weather today. Anyone up for a visit to Mount Waialeale — one of the wettest places on the planet?”
Yes. Yes, you are.
A dormant shield volcano with over 450 inches of rainfall each year, majestic Mount Waialeale is draped in swaths of emerald green vegetation and shrouded in a silvery mist. As the pilot eases you higher and closer, you are soon surrounded by multiple cascading waterfalls that trickle through the crevices. You and the other passengers murmur and softly applaud. What a magnificent finish to this spectacular adventure over the Garden Isle.
And worth every penny.
Come to Koloa Landing Resort and take your own unforgettable flight around the island! Our concierges are ready to book you on the best helicopter tours on Kauai. Your bucket list will thank you.
— Erica Karlin