The island of Maui is quite diverse, consisting of waterfalls, thick lush rainforests, and dormant volcanoes. Due to the extreme terrain, 75 percent of the island is not accessible by car. In order to see those more rugged interior parts of the island, you will need to take a helicopter tour. The rides are not cheap, but they will enable you to see parts of Maui that you can see no other way.
Helicopter tours on Maui are not limited to Maui; many helicopter companies will take you over to see Moloka`i and its rugged cliffs along the coast. A typical Maui helicopter tour might take you to see Honokohau Valley and its dramatic, cascading waterfalls, the dramatic Haleakala Crater, the falls of Manwainui, the progression of falls in `Ohe`o Gulch, or they might buzz you through lush and green Waihe’e Valley. Most helicopter rides last an hour or more and take in different regions. If you aren’t sure what you want to see, just do a Google image search of some of the areas featured in each tour and choose the tour with the locations that interest you the most.
Safety is typically a big concern when choosing helicopter companies. There are a couple of Internet resources you can use to check the safety history of different helicopter tour companies. The easiest and most obvious would be to do a simple Internet search for helicopter accidents. Use “helicopter accident Maui” as your search terms to find the companies that have had recent problems. Your second source is to search the website of the National Transportation Safety Board. Search using Hawaii as the location. If those two resources provide too much information to synthesize, use other methods to research your helicopter companies. Then when you get your list down to two or three companies, repeat your Internet search using the search terms “crash” and the name of one of the helicopter companies from your list. Repeat the process for all companies on your list.
Another great Internet resource to help you choose your helicopter company is TripAdvisor. Go there and search for “Maui helicopter” to see what others have to say about their experiences with different companies. A big advantage to doing your research online is that most companies will give you a discount if you book online.
While researching your helicopter company online, it will help to look into the specific helicopter each company flies. Once you learn which copter a company uses, do an image search on the Internet to see the seating arrangement. A helicopter with four seats in the back will mean that two people will not get a window seat.
Most helicopter companies require that you arrive forty-five to sixty minutes before your flight to check in. Plan accordingly. Also keep in mind that because of the helicopter’s noise, you wear headphones during the tour. The headphones quiet the noise and also allow you to hear the pilot’s instructions and the narration of the tour. Headphones don’t go well with certain earrings or hats, so dress appropriately.
The helicopter rides are quite expensive (typically $200 per person and higher), but the ride will be something you remember and relish the rest of your life.