I’m always on the hunt for hidden gems and new scenery on Maui. Whether it’s by zipline, horseback, outrigger canoe, submarine, or Porsche speedster, there are several excellent ways to see and explore Maui, a great way to learn about and appreciate the natural beauty of the island.
My First Time
While I had never been on a helicopter tour, I was excited for the opportunity to see the island from above. You can catch aerial glimpses of Maui on your plane flight in, of course, but the chance to get up close and personal and zoom in, out and around certain areas of interest was something I was excited to experience for myself. Plus I’m always down (or up, rather) to try something new!
The folks at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters welcomed me to the Kahului Heliport, located conveniently near the airport in central Maui, and after a brief weigh-in and safety video, I climbed aboard the Eco-Star model, settling in beside our pilot and tour operator, Glenda. After introducing herself, she welcomed any and all questions about Maui during our tour, in addition to sharing particularly interesting information about the history and land use on Maui.
Not three minutes into our flight, we spotted a breaching whale just outside Kahului Harbor, where we hovered to get a closer look before heading towards the West Maui Mountains. Glenda pointed out several interesting sites within the mountains, and before we knew it, we were approaching popular West Maui areas of Kapalua, Kaanapali and Lahaina.
After some interesting information on the historical use of the land, Glenda flew us through the clouds and over the South shores of Maui, pointing out the resorts of other guests on the tour for frame of reference. We then flew over the lush, rolling pastures of Upcountry Maui before ascending nearly 10,000 feet to Haleakala Crater, where we hovered to take in picturesque views of the Big Island, neighbor islands and less traveled, rugged back side of Haleakala.
Road to Hana
Glenda then gave us a tour of some of the best sites along the Road to Hana, and watching cars maneuver the winding roads from above is quite a sight unto itself. We veered over seemingly endless pools of cascading waterfalls, and changed direction often to offer great views for guests sitting on both sides of the helicopter.
We ended our tour with a flight over the ocean, passing north shore spots like Jurassic Rock, Maui’s largest surf break at Jaws, Ho’okipa Beach Park, Paia Town, and finally, the sugarcane fields of central Maui before landing back at Kahului Heliport.
Glenda was very friendly, informative, personable and professional, and the views during the flight were absolutely breathtaking. Helicopter tours can be done anywhere, but few places are as magical as Hawaii.
Top 2 Maui Helicopter Tips
Tip#1 – Wear Black
Or a dark solid-colored shirt, if possible. This important tip helps to ensure prime viewing, as it works to eliminate glare on the windows. This is especially important for quality photographs.
Tip#2 – Book Early
Many companies recommend booking a tour toward the beginning of your vacation. In the event of inclement weather, this allows plenty of time for re-booking. You don’t want to miss this Maui experience!