• things to do in hawaii

Seeing the island differently with Air Maui

I am just cutting to the chase and saying: I loved everything about my helicopter tour with Air Maui, so if you’re looking for an Air Maui review, I’m giving it two thumbs up! I got so many great photos that I wanted to share and a few tips to help you enjoy your ride to the fullest.

air maui review

air maui review First off, getting there. Air Maui is at the heliport at the Kahului airport. Actually, ALL of the helicopter tour companies are lined up next to each other. You need to take 5 dollars exact change for the parking, arrive 30 minutes early (it’s easy to find on Google maps), and wear black so there is no reflection on the windows. I went the morning after I flew into Hawaii and didn’t have a single black thing in my bag, so ugh on that one! The pictures turned out okay though.

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review You can’t take anything on the helicopter with you except a camera. They will weigh you, and if you’re over 240 pounds you’ll have to get an additional seat.

If you think it’s a bit scary, it’s not at all! It was a smooth ride and even though the glass is right in front of you so you can see everything, it never made me nervous looking down. I think because you’re going fast, it seems like a ride.

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review I felt like a super lame-ass taking this pic, but ya know, .. then it didn’t really turn out showing my bracelet has the quote so didn’t even make it on Instagram! The things I do for blogging.

You’ll wear headphones and not be able to talk to the pilot because he’s dealing with air traffic control at first, but he can talk to you into his little microphone. There’s also a playlist going with some sweet music.

air maui review It’s hard to not push the buttons. Good thing Ben is afraid of heights and didn’t come, because he would have touched at least one.

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review How crazy that the couple behind me has family from Goa and Kerala!? They were on their honeymoon. I made besties with this fellow solo traveler on the left.

The ride I did was the West Maui / Molokai (another island), was 40 minutes long and cost $253 USD. If you’re solo like me, you get a discount! I’d be curious to try the road to Hana one as well, but loved the one I did. If you’re a millionaire reading this, then you might like to know they do private charters starting at over 2,000 USD per hour.

Our dude was really cool and flew right up next to some waterfalls, one of which was going sideways because it is so windy here with the “trade winds”. Here’s the sideways waterfall:

air maui review

air maui review When the pilot took us into the valley of the mountains, and up near the waterfall I almost got happy tears again, which hadn’t happened since a very touching Budweiser commercial involving a horse a puppy.. takes a lot for me! Our pilot told us some cool stories about the island while we flew around.

One was about how the islands came to be. He said one local story is that there was only one, the Big Island, and a kid was fishing there. He caught a the smaller islands but while pulling in the line broke leaving them halfway out, how they are now. He also pointed out the mountain goats on the side of the cliffs which was crazy! They have no predators, so kind of overtake everything.

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review

air maui review

I was a guest of Air Maui on this tour, but all opinions are always my own.



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Melanie June 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    This looks like such a fun experience!!!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  2. Samantha June 3, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    I saw your photos from your Instagram profile so I had to pop over to read the post. This looks amazing! I’ve never been in a helicopter and I can imagine it’s fun either way but to see Maui from the air like this is something special. You don’t get views like that everyday especially of such a beautiful place. I haven’t been to Hawaii in years and I’m itching to go back. Looks like you had a wonderful time and lovely photos :)

    • Rachel Jones June 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Samantha! Was just reading your blog today about affiliates.. somewhere I LACK! Lol you should totally head to Hawaii… it is now my favorite place on earth!!

  3. Elizabeth Hampton June 4, 2015 at 2:14 am - Reply

    When I saw this post I had to read it. My dream has always been to go up in a helicopter! The funny thing is I hate flying and I’m afraid of heights but I will not let that hold me back. You convinced me, the next opportunity I get I’m doing it! Beautiful pics!

  4. Emily June 4, 2015 at 6:42 am - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to go on a helicopter ride – I can’t imagine a cooler place than Hawaii!

    • Rachel Jones June 4, 2015 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Exactly! It’s like if you go sky diving, you should pick a place that’s really memorable

  5. Will & Laura @ Bottled Air June 4, 2015 at 7:20 am - Reply

    We were waiting for this post ever since we saw your helicopter selfie on Facebook! And we’re still jealous. It looks so awesome and the view is absolutely stunning. :)

  6. Justine June 4, 2015 at 8:43 am - Reply

    How amazing! I did a similar (or maybe the same?) helicopter tour in Maui when I was in high school. I can still remember being completely overawed by seeing those huge waterfalls in the middle of the jungle. It was so, so incredible :)

  7. Lisa June 4, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    It looks amazing! This is definitely on my bucket list.

  8. christine wilhelm June 5, 2015 at 3:12 am - Reply

    I knocked off “helicopter ride” from my bucket list last fall flying over the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean near Murrell’s Inlet S.C. It was an absolute thrill.
    I have pictures of my son and his gf with that same “mule eating briar” grin you have.
    Now I am addicted to helicopters and their adorably cute/ brave helicopter pilots (can’t help it lol) and am planning a fall Las Vegas trip that includes a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. It only took one trip to get hooked.
    I need to get to Hawaii soon too. I had a free place to stay in Kona this past winter but went to India instead. Oh well.

    • Rachel Jones June 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      hahahah mule eating briar! that’s great. I bet the grand canyon one will be amazing!! have fun!

  9. Drew January 20, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    This looks like the trip of a lifetime! I can’t imagine a better way to see the Island. I don’t think I could have resisted the urge to push at least a few buttons though.

  10. Joanna Szreder May 26, 2016 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Wow! Great photos and it looks like a thrill. I’m afraid of flying, but I always make myself do things. I would definitely do a helicopter tour!

    • Rachel Jones May 27, 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply

      It was amazing, my boyfriend is also afraid of heights so he skipped this.

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