“Sightseeing Above Kauai”

One of Kauai's deep valleys.

One of Kauai’s deep valleys.

Kauai is the northern most of Hawaii’s eight major islands and is called the “garden isle” because of its many wet jungles and green covered craggy mountains. It is home to several of the state’s tropical gardens, wild faunas, and towering waterfalls. The wettest spot on Earth – Mount Waialeale – also calls this island home. It is privileged to be one of Hawaii’s most raw landscapes as it is mostly undisturbed by civilization. And you can’t appreciate this more than by seeing it from above. How? Helicopter tours, of course!

Craggy Mountains of Kauai

Helicopter tours around Kauai are abundant.

It’s no secret that this is probably one of the best way to tour the island. There are many private companies offering this service, so you will have no problem finding one. The average price of a tour is about $150 USD (at the time of this post) per person. Yes, that’s not exactly budget friendly. In fact, you can even fly on a commercial airline to a neighboring island for cheaper. But what this tour gets you that no airline or car ride or even a kayak trip cannot is that it gets you up close to Kauai’s most pristine natural surroundings when otherwise it would be almost unreachable. The tour takes you around the island and through its heart where verdant valleys with commanding waterfalls thrive.


These helicopters have the ability to get closer to the ground than most air crafts, and because so, during most of the tour, we were either parallel to or lower than the mountain tops, a perfect vantage point for sightseeing.

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Many of the areas you will explore, such as Mount Waialeale’s “Wall of Tears,” are not easily reachable except by helicopter. Of course, there are still those die hard hikers who try. But frankly, I much rather fly.

TIP(S):
1) Because safety is always a concern, flights are often canceled due to inclement weather. So book your tour towards the beginning of your stay. This way, you can reschedule, if necessary, on a later date.

2) Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you have a seat next to a window. So know your seating arrangement ahead of time. And change it, if you have to – there is always a way. Be sure to wear solid, dark-colored clothing to reduce the glare from the windows.

3) Please don’t wear earrings or metal/wood headbands as they may get in the way of the headphones.

4) It’s always best not to wear a dress as it may fly up.

5) If you want to check a specific helicopter tour company, the United States National Transportation Safety Board has a good list to reference, and be sure you query by state.

Sightseeing Above Kauai

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78 Responses to “Sightseeing Above Kauai”

  1. desiree says:

    the mountains look cool

  2. RT @TravelSort: Beautiful #Kauai #views from a helicopter via @sichree23 http://t.co/SzR48IsE #Hawaii #travel #photos

  3. Beautiful #Kauai #views from a helicopter via @sichree23 http://t.co/SzR48IsE #Hawaii #travel #photos

  4. Amazingly beautiful photographs. Your pictures of Kauai look like something out of “Land of the Lost”
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..GLOBAL CUISINE: Peruvian Shrimp (or Fish) CevicheMy Profile

  5. After seeing those pictures I need to Kauai on my bucket list! Love it!
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  6. Ayngelina says:

    I am heading to Maui next month, I really hope I get to take a helicopter ride, these photos are gorgeous.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Pigging out in Playa del CarmenMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Nice! I actually prefer Maui from the ground with its small winding roads that leads to waterfalls and wild tropical fruit bearing plants. If you haven’t already, you should drive along the Hana highway. Lots of waterfalls to see and fruits you can eat.

  7. I’ve never taken a helicopter tour, but I’ve always wanted to; the Grand Canyon would be great, but I think Kauai would be even better!

    • Sherry says:

      Thanks for the reminder – Grand Canyon one would probably take my breath away, too. That’ll be my next helicopter tour. Its a great way to see the landscape from a different perspective.

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  10. This looks great -> “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #photography http://t.co/weUbwLxH via @sichree23

  11. Deb says:

    This looks spectacular. We’re heading to Hawaii a couple of times this year, so we have got to somehow arrange a helicopter tour. Stunning scenery. Thanks for the information, I like your tips box at the end of the post.

    • Sherry says:

      Glad you liked the tip box. I’ve been slowly trying to do a combination of things with every posts making each one part story, part photos, and part takeaways (tips). I truly believe you both will love the helicopter ride. If you need some suggestions on a tour company I’d be more than happy to give you some names, just let me know.

  12. cheryl says:

    I have actually done this and agree … it’s amazing! Really lovely photos and thanks for bringing back the memory of a pleasant travel experience.
    cheryl recently posted..Plac Nowy Jewish Market in Krakow.My Profile

    • Sherry says:

      I’m delighted to see that so many people have already tried the helicopter thing. Its such a great experience; plesant and fun at the same time. And it is especially great since I love seeing things from a high vantage point. Brownie points for you for having tried it, too!

  13. Don Faust says:

    Wow – fantastic shots, Sherry!

    I have to see the wall of tears on my next trip to Hawaii.
    Don Faust recently posted..Photo Friday: White Sands National MonumentMy Profile

  14. Flying Above #Kauai | Colorful Footsteps http://t.co/R73zorWX #hawaii via @sichree23

  15. Dayna says:

    WOW. Those are some of the most stunning photos I have ever seen of Hawaii… and I’ve seen plenty! What an incredible ride, can’t wait to try it out someday!
    Dayna recently posted..Snowed In… and My Bulgarian IglooMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      You guys should definitely try it as I’m sure you all be in awe! Hawaii has such varied but beautiful landscapes that almost takes your breath away. And this beauty is only heightened from above.

  16. “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #photography http://t.co/7FqR8RO8 via @sichree23

  17. Christy says:

    Whoa. The Wall of Tears is stunning! I just went on my first helicopter ride and I agree that’s worth it. $150 actually doesn’t even sound expensive for Hawaii.
    Christy recently posted..Are Goals Overrated?My Profile

    • Sherry says:

      So awesome you got to ride in a helicopter, too! My little brother flies blackhawks for the Army and I told him when he gets more practice, I’ll let him take me up. That way, I’ll only need to pay for the gasoline. This is probably where most of the $150 goes to anyway :) I think overall its still a rather expensive tour, even for Hawaii, but I always love it.

  18. One of my favorite experiences ever ever ever! Did the Kauai helicopter tour the summer after I graduated from college and it’s one of my fondest memories. Hearing the Jurassic Park theme song in the headset while flying through the valleys gave me goosebumps!
    Angie Orth of Angie Away recently posted..Kom Ombo, Edfu, Karnak and Whatnot | Temple Fatigue Sets InMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      So strange that your comment ended up in “spam,” but I’m sooooo glad I found it! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the Jurassic Park thing on my past helicopter rides. And yet you are not the first one who mentioned it. I wonder if its just certain pilots who make light of the movie? I’ll definitely make sure to ask on my next helicopter ride to at least point out the location :) – would be nice to know.

  19. Turtle says:

    Did you find Jurassic Park? :)

  20. Andrea says:

    I’d love to see Kauai – either on the ground or helicopter will do – have heard such great things!
    Andrea recently posted..Why Travel With Kids Is Good For All InvolvedMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Hopefully you guys do make it to Kauai. I think you’ll both thoroughly enjoy what it has to offer. I’m about to leave the state, but I sure had a great time on the ground and from above.

  21. wowowowow! Ive never done a helicopter tour before… this looks AMAZING
    Jade – OurOyster.com recently posted..Budget Travel In Santorini GreeceMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Helicopter rides are great fun and I’ve seen them being offered in so many places around the world. I’m sure you guys will have an opportunity to fly in one some where. The real thing is much better than the photos :)

  22. Gorgeous!! When we visited Kauai a few years ago during March the weather was terrible; it was just after a huge storm so all the beaches were torn up, and the views were obscured by fog. I’d love to go back and try again.

    • Sherry says:

      Oh, no! Sometimes bad weather does happen and it sucks when it does. Especially if you spent so much money to get there. I do hope you guys get to back. I love the views and tranquility of the island (sans storm and its aftermath, of course).

  23. (@ToshioK) says:

    Sightseeing above Kauai http://t.co/7WSkg6fi #photography #aloha

  24. Gael Thomas says:

    Oh, wow! This looks like an amazing experience. I have plans to go back to the island in a few months. I will surely be doing this, even though its expensive. I especially like that you were able to get to Mount Waialeale since its so difficult to get to by land. Beautiful photos indeed and a beautiful places to enjoy.

  25. Laurel says:

    Absolutely stunning photos! I’ve only done one helicopter ride (above the Canadian Rockies) and while it wasn’t cheap either, I agree that helicopter rides are worth the money.
    Laurel recently posted..My Bucket ListMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Thanks, Laurel. I’ve never flown on top of the Canadian Rockies, but I have gone through it via train. It was stunning on the ground I can only imagine it would be equally stunning from above!

  26. “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/UhjxGA4n – Stunning photos! via @sichree23

  27. Angela says:

    This is stunning! Seriously, Mother Earth never stops amazing us!
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  28. I have never been to Hawaii and am terrified of helicopters. But these photos … they could be a turning point. I would love to see something like this. It’s so untouched. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
    dtravelsround recently posted..Facial bliss at Tropicana’s Glow, a Mandara SpaMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Helicopters are loud but from what I’ve experienced, they seem to be more stable in the air than other small aircrafts. I say you should make it out to Hawaii. Usually, the airlines circles part of the islands first before it lands. That’ll give you some aerial views and visit the islands at the same time. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

  29. The world is SO beautiful. Photos from flying over Kauai via @sichree23 http://t.co/jpga6DyV #ttot #travel #hawaii

  30. Erik says:

    This is amazing. I would toss the budget out for this experience.
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- Lion’s Tail, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New MexicoMy Profile

  31. Great photos, Sherry! How wonderful that you were able to view Kauai from the air. I did the same when I was in Denali NP in Alaska (in a small plane though) and it was worth every cent. You get such a different perspective and can really appreciate the vastness of these kinds of wilderness.
    Cherina | Quiet Wanderings recently posted..There’s Something About MelbourneMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Wow – I’m jealous! Denali NP must be gorgrous from above. I assume you flew in a cessna? I was learning how to fly cessnas when I was younger, but I didn’t last very long since I couldn’t hack the long hours of turbulance. I guess I have bad motion sickness. Seems like I do better in helicopters (less turburance, for some reason). The vantage point from above is worth every cent.

  32. Spectacular aerial views of Kauai island in #Hawaii http://t.co/G4bqikzC via @sichree23

  33. OMG absolutely stunning images, I can understand why a helicopter flight is the only way to see these landscapes in their full glory.
    Natasha @ Wandering Kiwi recently posted..Photo Essay: Philadelphia Street ArtMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Indeed! To be fair, its also nice on the ground level, but I think its remarkable from above. Especially since you get to go to places that would otherwise difficult.

  34. RT @KerriFar: WOW! RT @SophieR: “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/g4DGtdVn via @sichree23 –> beautiful shots!

  35. WOW! RT @SophieR: “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/g4DGtdVn via @sichree23 –> beautiful shots!

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  37. (@Muzachan) says:

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  38. RT @SophieR: “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/srj55zGR via @sichree23 –> beautiful shots!

  39. Sophie says:

    Nature has the most incredible colours here, Sherry. Beautiful photos!.
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  40. (@SophieR) says:

    “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/srj55zGR via @sichree23 –> beautiful shots!

  41. Muza-chan says:

    Great pictures, Sherry, as always :)
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  42. Abby says:

    These pictures are amazing! I was in Maui last year for a wedding, and this is the one thing I really wanted to do — but there just wasn’t time. I took my first helicopter ride last year, over the Grand Canyon. It was so cool and fun. What a way to see the world!
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    • Sherry says:

      I remember both your Maui trip and helicopter ride from last year – two great moments for you. While Kauai’s valleys and canyons are beautiful, I’m truly envious of you flight above the Grand Canyon. I think that’ll be my next helicopter ride (I hope).

  43. Wow, stunning photos Sherry. I haven’t done a helicopter tour yet, but definitely want to! maybe when I get to Hawaii.
    Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad recently posted..Late for the Chinese New Year in LondonMy Profile

    • Sherry says:

      Well, Hawaii is not far from Asia. So I do hope you land on the islands, too one day. There are many different helicopter tours in Hawaii, but I think the Kauai one is the most worth it.

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  47. “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/FRpqqB7D via @sichree23 <Gorgeous photos and views!>

  48. I love Kauai – it’s my favorite island in Hawaii. However, I never did a helicopter tour but now I wish I had. These photos are amazing! Love the waterfalls and the view of Mount Waialeale.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Travel news: A new airline fee, smaller airline seats, travel reviewsMy Profile

  49. Peter Daams says:

    This is definitely on my must-see list now. Those views are totally worth $150 if you ask me. Absolutely amazing!

    • Sherry says:

      Thanks, Peter. I love the mountains of Kauai – they’re so photogenic. Not many people can swallow the cost, but I agree with you, its worth it. If you ever go, let me know.

  50. (@sichree23) says:

    “Sightseeing Above Kauai” #Hawaii #Kauai #Photography #Photos http://t.co/UAsDsrio via @sichree23

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