If you ever take a helicopter ride in Hawaii, do so on Kauai. Why? Our friends at Island Helicopters say it best:
"Everyone should experience a helicopter tour at least once in a lifetime. We believe there is no better place than Kauai because so much of this magnificent island can only be viewed from the air. Over 80% of our diverse terrain is inaccessible making the helicopter the best way to see our spectacular waterfalls, canyons, mountains, valleys, rain forests and secluded beaches."
I agree full-heartedly.
What You'll See
Highlights of most helicopter tours on Kauai include Nawlliwili Harbor, the Menehune Fish Pond, Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast, the Hanalei Valley, Mt. Waialeale and Wailua Falls.
Most tours last between 50 minutes and an hour. Some companies offer longer tours, usually accompanied by a stop or designed for the serious photographer. At least one company offers tours with the doors off, allowing for even better photos (no glare from the windows).
Do Your Research
The smart traveler does his or her research and makes sure that they are comfortable with the company they choose. On Kauai, I have flown with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Island Helicopters and Jack Harter Helicopters. I have flown with Sunshine Helicopters on Maui. I can recommend those companies, but other companies are equally good. I only recommend companies with which I have flown. It's really a personal choice. Check out their websites and read reviews on sites such as tripadvisor.com.
Kauai is a tropical paradise and it rains a lot. For your safety and enjoyment flights often are canceled due to bad weather. I recommend that you book your helicopter tour early in your visit to Kauai so that you have time to reschedule should it be canceled. Most companies offer significant discounts if you book online. Prices vary widely, so check the websites of the various companies for current pricing.
An Alternative - See the Island by Airplane
A flight with AirVentures Hawaii is a fine alternative to a helicopter tour on Kauai. It's perfect for the significant number of people who are afraid of flying in a helicopter or who tend to get sick in a helicopter. It is an economical (about $100 less expensive per person) and eco-friendly (lower fuel consumption) alternative to a helicopter tour. For folks who have taken a helicopter tour on Kauai, a flight with AirVentures Hawaii offers the opportunity to see areas of the island from the air that are not on the standard helicopter route.