After booking my plane tickets to Hawaii, I was excited. Excited to be going to Hawaii for the first time, excited to backpack the Kalalau Trail, and excited to partner with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for my FIRST helicopter ride.
I thought it would be easy to share my first helicopter experience. However, Mother Nature had other plans. Stuck on the Kalalau Trail and not willing to cross the raging Hanakapiai River, I saw my chances of my first helicopter ride dwindling as we had to stay an extra night on the trail. Waking up early in the morning in hopes to cross and make the 2-mile hike to the trailhead and an hour drive to Blue Hawaiian by 8:45am, I sat on the beach and cried when the water had not receded to allow us to cross.
How could I be missing my first helicopter ride?
This was the first time I was really angry with the amount of rain and being stuck on the trail. Fast forward an hour, we started flagging the tour helicopters that were flying down the coastline. Not sure if any of them could see us until the rescue helicopter came around 9:30am–the time we were supposed to be starting our Blue Hawaiian tour.
Little did I know, I would be having my first and second helicopter rides all within 5 hours.
It was one of my first partnerships with a tour company, and I felt like I was letting them down. Not only was I a no-show for my tour Christmas Eve morning, but I had not way to let them know we weren’t going to make it. They were the first ones I called when I had cell service again and were understanding as I told them about being stuck on the trail. Even though they were booked through Sunday, they were able to find two tours with one seat left on each. It was time to high-tailed it to Lihue to check-in. Later, I found out they were completely booked through Sunday because they did not fly the tours the last two days because of the rain we were stuck in.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour
Blue Hawaiian may not have been my first helicopter ride, but it was still a blast flying over Kauai. Kauai reminds me of Iceland in that the interior of the island is hard to reach and rarely experienced. Steep mountains plummet into valleys making it hard to build roads or trails. Even though I did not have a window seat, I enjoyed the many rainbows and waterfalls from above.
Blue Hawaiian Kauai tours leave from near the Lihue airport. From there, we traveled in a clockwise rotation around the island and headed to Waimea Canyon and the Robinson property. The Robinsons own the largest portion of land on Kauai, which is not accessible to tourists. Though, the popular Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is where land travelers head for geographic variety and beautiful red colors. From the Waimea Canyon, the helicopter flies over the ridge and down the Na Pali Coastline with its steep mountain spines plunging deep into the Pacific Ocean as waves crash against the coast below.
Na Pali Coastline
I could see the rescue helicopter at Hanakoa, where we camped for two nights and saw sections of the exposed Kalalau Trail. After the Na Pali Coast, the tour attempts a pass at the Mount Waialeale or “Wall of Tears” with water falling thousands of feet. Mount Waialeale is a shield volcano and holds the record for being one of the rainiest spots on Earth. The recent rainfall created full waterfalls or new ones that most tourists do not get to experience.
The end of my Kauai trip couldn’t have been enjoyed more with a highlight of my trip overlooking the places we camped and hike while on Kauai.
With many tour options across multiple Hawaiian Islands, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters was my first choice and a good one, especially since they are an ECO-friendly tour company.
- Narrative from a local Kauai pilot.
- Music playing when the pilot wasn’t talking.
- Seeing the island from a bird’s view since most of the interior is privately owned.
- ECO-friendly helicopters trying to reduce the amount of impact while still being able to showcase the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.Video and audio recording of tour for a small additional price.
Andy and I rode on separate tours in order to make up our missed tour. I bought footage of my ride, and Andy shot some with a GoPro. Here is a video highlighting our tours.
One downside is the helicopter is enclosed with windows and doors. As we were waiting to board the helicopters, we saw another company with an open ride. However, I was also asked to wear a black shirt to minimize the amount of glare from my bright-colored tank top to reduce the reflection glare on the windows. Being a photographer and wanting to capture the experience, I was grateful of the thought of limiting light reflections for photos.
Watching Barrett controlling the helicopter.
Following another Blue Hawaiian tour around the island.
A very wet Na Pali Coastline.
Plush green mountains.
Flying around one of the wettest places on Earth.
Barrett is a knowledgeable guide and local.
I would like to thank Blue Hawaiian for a great end to a memorable trip to Kauai.
Where is one place you want to fly over?
Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post.” Blue Hawaiian Helicopters provided a discount in exchange for writing a review. All opinions and observations are 100% my own.