TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

The 3 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours to Book on Your Next Hawaii Vacation

Ryan, Senior Traveler, US
22 August 2017

If you’ve heard the rumor, it is true indeed. Oahu is a thrilling piece of Earth. It hosts Honolulu, too—the capital city of Hawaii. Many Hawaiians reside here, a land decorated in the most exotic attractions you’ll probably ever encounter, with beautiful Honolulu city lights lighting up the sky at night.

In other words, you can whip up a storm of fun in Oahu.

While a quiet vacation might be all some people are willing to try, Oahu offers the rare opportunity to get your adrenaline pumping while capturing lasting memories from high above at the same time.

Oahu helicopter tours offer an incomparable aerial sweep of the island’s lush surroundings and picturesque views of nature and modern creations such as Circle Island, Turtle Bay, and Oahu’s North Shore, making them a favorite among Oahu tours for visitors and locals alike.

Oahu Attractions to Visit

The lively island has a bagful of tour destinations to fly over at close range.

  • There’s Hanauma Bay, which is the largest collection of indoor water in the island. If you want to try swimming with dolphins in Oahu, Hanauma Bay is the place to be too.
  • Waikiki Beach has beautiful scenery. The water is crystal-clear and there’s lots of activity down there…especially enjoyable from your helicopter seat up above.
  • And there’s Diamond Heads. This is a stunning formation that encapsulates a volcanic and military history up to its sleeves.
  • Also, to the south of Waikiki Beach is the legendary Pearl Harbor—the shrine of the 1946 attack

The best way to experience all this is to hop into a Hawaiian heli-tour and experience a crazy good ride.

With plenty of tours to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 4 based on price, reputation, experience, and the sights you’ll see.  Below are the fo
[one_third]ur that made the list:

Tour 1: Blue Skies of Oahu Helicopter Tour

The best helicopter tour company should magnify your tour feel.

The Blue Skies of Oahu team manages to engineer an out-of-ordinary experience. It is clear that has a lot to do with their industry-leading professionalism, flight instruction, genuine care, and meticulous safety precautions.

For example, the weather is checked almost on a minute to minute basis, and no flights are allowed if your safety is not guaranteed.

The pilots play dual roles and serve as your tour guides (and excellent ones too. They are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides), and you get to fly through a 45 minute tour of pure bliss on this once in a lifetime opportunity from your comfy window seats.

All you need to do is get to Honolulu, where the tours commence either in the morning or in the afternoon and take you up into the Honolulu skyline. You can check with their online correspondents to verify the array of attractions to fly over, slate a reservation, get exclusive limited deals, and check when your flight is due.

Where to Flyover

Places you can expect to fly over, stop over, hover over, and snap photos over the island of Oahu include the scenic Waikiki and Kaneohe Bay coral reefs (so turquoise and glowing), the crescent moon formation of the Hanauma Bay, storied Diamond Head extinct volcano, and historic Battleship Missouri (ahead of Pearl Harbor).

From our wholesome experience, it’s clear the company seems to take a lot of pride in one-on-one customer care, and nothing gives a more positive vibe than a business that cares more about you than its bottom line—that’s giving value.

You get to ask any questions, fly up close to some interesting sites, and enjoy a laugh and clear two-way communication. The pilots make you feel like a VIP and make the experience very fun and relaxing, eliminating any fears you might have had while you take in the highlights of Oahu.

All these make the trip comforting and go a long way in making the helicopter tour of Oahu feel authentic and not rushed.

The good thing is you can receive the experience as a souvenir. Towards this end, The Blue Skies company has a stunning video production arm that shoots and records every aerial experience of your air tour in HD (and optimizes for Blu-Ray) that you can request a copy of at the landing base for a small fee ($25 DVD or $40 Blue Ray).

Be sure to get yours at the Honolulu HI base; take it home and share with friends and relatives (and make some jealous).

Some takeaways from the Blue Skies Helicopter Tours include:

  • Spectacular aerial views of the sites mentioned above
  • 45-minute tour available in the mornings and afternoons
  • Digital Blu-Ray compatible DVD in-flight recording for souvenir purposes
  • State-of-the-art helicopters ensuring safety, excellent views around, and reduced noise
  • Low prices by booking online, which you can do here.

Also important to note is with regard to their canceling notice—canceling within 24 hours comes with a 50% charge on the full amount.

The explanation is that adding in a subsequent tour on such short notice is extremely difficult, and coming in late would interfere with other guests’ flights.  Just something good to be aware of in case you need to cancel so close to the flight time.

Here’s a handful of essential, additional information to keep in mind:

  • Free transportation from Honolulu and Waikiki
  • Use Eco-Star helicopters. These come with lots of indoor space and quiet technology (including Bose noise-cancelling headphones and two-way communication), and lots of panes to offer more visibility
  • If you need to cancel the tour, you’ll have to give the company a 24-hour notice prior to the scheduled take off time to receive a full refund
“See the true beauty Oahu has to offer from hundreds of feet in the air with an Oahu helicopter tour”

Tour 2:  Magnum PI Doors Off Helicopter Tour

What’s your fantasy?

Is it taking a private flight over a pristine destination and truly experiencing the spectacular views? Want to have the wind blow your hair while you take in an array of unobstructed scenes?

The sites you’ll view are pretty similar to the ones offered by Blue Helicopter Tours. The main difference is Magnum PI offers a doors-off tour.

Where to Flyover?

Their Waikiki Spectacular Tour package is worth every second. It’s a 50-minute tour that takes off from Keehi Lagoon and heads towards Honolulu Harbor. The ride begins over the Oahu skyline as you fly over downtown Honolulu, Koolau mountain, Waikiki beach, and Magic Island.

Then the helicopter charges towards Diamond Head and the stunning Hanauma Bay. Flying right ahead, you’ll pass over the National Memorial Service, above the breathtaking Sacred Falls, and right on top of the green Kaaawa valley where Jurassic Park was filmed. These spots are prime for a photo tour so don’t forget the camera!. The flight then turns east as you take in the island of Oahu white sands of Makapuu Point and Sandy Beach.

A doors-off ride treats your senses to a true spectacle; you get to embrace the smells, temperature changes, aromatic wind and a fair share of rainbows (and double rainbows) as you head over Mount Olomana and Kaneohe Bay.

Also, with the helicopter doors wide open, you can click and flash away from your camera freely to record the special moments. No obstructions behind the plexiglass of the helicopter doors. It is a perfect way to spend vacation time with 2-3 of your family, friends or tour mates.

Serious photographers will also love the chance to capture the serene beauty from above without any obtrusions. If you have your own GoPro outdoor camera handy, you will not want to leave it behind.

As the tour winds down, you’ll be treated to Coconut Island, the spot used for scenes from the famed TV show Gilligan’s Island. With the comfort of the MD-500 helicopter taking you on the ride of a lifetime, this is definitely a sightseeing tour you don’t want to miss.

Some tour highlights include:

  • Choose your desired flight hours and seat reservation in advance. You can order your ticket online
  • Doors-off flight, perfect for taking pictures
  • One-on-one customer care, a priceless thing to have when you need any type of help
  • Safe and sound aircraft with experienced crew and flight team
  • Option for First Class Seating (uber private) and open (fun and social) seating

One thing to note is that the doors off experience isn’t ideal for those who get air sickness easily.  If you have a strong fear of heights, or get queasy easily, it’s probably better to go with a doors on helicopter tour.

Here are some handy details to jot in mind:

  • Their aircraft and operations are certified by the International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations to ensure your safety
  • They are also certified by the Federal Aviation Association for maintenance excellence
  • Use of the MD-500 aircraft. The class is specially manufactured to provide excellent touring features. Those include a spacious cabin and open air cockpit for maximum visibility
  • Comes with quality Bose noise-canceling headphones and clear two-way communication

If for any reason you decide to cancel your reserved tour, you’ll need to inform them 72 hours prior to the flight. Otherwise, your canceled reservation will still checkout, and you’ll be charged in full (unless weather is an issue).

Tour 3: Waikiki and South Shore Blast Helicopter Tours

This helicopter tour company lets you choose what you want—either a private flight with doors wide open or a private aerial tour with doors closed. The doors-open flight is perfect for photographers and anyone who’d want to capture unobstructed views of the extensive, breathtaking scenes around Oahu—especially the enchanting North Shore.

Alternatively, the flight with the doors-closed option is excellent for small family tours (up to a maximum of 3), a quiet and intimate honeymoon ride, as well as for anyone who may be afraid of heights that wants a mid-air take on Oahu.

Both flight options take the same routes, though. You get to fly over the fabled Waikiki shoreline—all the way to Diamond Head crater. The South Shore tour encompasses flying over the beautiful Koko Head and famous, century-old Makapu Lighthouse. The North Shore ride explores the scope of Kailua Beach (the surfers’ paradise), lush Ka ‘a’ awa Valley and spectacular Kaneohe Bay.

Here’s a more in-depth look at both tour options:    

  1. A 30-minute Waikiki aerial adventure

This is a short ride for the visitors among us who may not like to be in the air for extended periods but still are daring enough to give it a go and see some hidden Oahu gems. The tour adds additional exploration of the South Shore as well.

That means you get to fly over the USS Arizona Memorial (Pearl Harbor) and legendary sites such as Hanauma Bay (the volcanic-formed tuff ring), and ultra-cherished Koko Head formations. You can take a maximum of 3 flight-mates and a minimum of 2.

It is a private tour, so if you are wondering what perfect way to show love to your significant other on a special date, the Mauna Loa experience will take their breath away and make you a beacon of what great memories should be and feel like.

  1. All-inclusive Oahu tour

This one doubles the air time to 60 minutes. It extends the exploration route to cover both the North and South Shores.

The hour-long ride affords you plenty of time to marvel at the immaculate views of some of Oahu’s most magnificent views and brilliant natural landmarks. These include the Sacred Falls, totaling over 1,100 feet if picturesque waterfalls

There’s also the Kaneohe Bay, an attractive beach full of life, and the beautiful Kaawa Valley to behold for a lifetime.

You get to:

  • Take in a large chunk of the entire Oahu island in one unforgettable ride—perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway
  • It is an exclusive, private affair and is served ready with opendoor helicopter flights or closed
  • Requires booking for two at the minimum, so it’s excellent for couples (combined with the private aura)
  • Friends can ride together too—up to a maximum of 3

To Sum Up

Little else beats a helicopter ride, especially on the islands of Hawaii. Taking in the most fantastic, panoramic views of Oahu is truly breathtaking. If you’ve wanted to crush that comfort zone and roll out enviable moments from a floating seat in the sky, these 3 Oahu helicopter tours are your best bet to go out and do just that.

Your flight adventure waits. Book your flight today!

Blue Skies of Oahu Helicopter Tour

$246
$246
  • 45-50 Minute Flight Tour
  • Available at Morning & Afternoon
  • No Doors Off Option
  • Max. 6 People
  • 4-Camera Digital DVD In-Flight Recording
  • Discount for Booking Online in Advance

Magnum PI Doors Off Helicopter Tour

$246
$246
  • 50-55 Minute Flight Tour
  • Helicopter from Magnum PI Television Series
  • Doors Off Option
  • Max. 4 People
  • No Plexiglass to Shoot Photographs Through
  • Best Tour for Photographers

Waikiki & South Shore Blast - 30 Min VIP Private Tour

$219
$219
  • 30-35 Minute Flight Tour
  • Shortest Tour Duration
  • Doors Off Option
  • Max. 3 People
  • Only Private Tours
  • Best Tour if you don't like to be in the air for too long

Oahu VIP Experience - 60 Min VIP Private Tour

$356
$356
  • 60-65 Minute Flight Tour
  • North/South Shore of Oahu Tour
  • Doors Off Option
  • Max. 3 People
  • Only Private Tours
  • Guaranted Window Seats

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