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“Great ride with a great pilot.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Paradise Helicopters

Paradise Helicopters
Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI
(808) 969-7392
Website
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Book ahead on Viator
VIP Tour
$685*
and up
Viator VIP: Sunset Champagne Helicopter Tour from...
Ranked #20 of 59 Activities in Hilo
Attraction details
ghent, new york
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great ride with a great pilot.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

Darren went the extra mile to make our ride great. We flew with the doors off, it was raining, pretty cloudy but we went up anyway. I had the seat next to the open door, my rear was hanging out almost, but felt very secure. The pilot was a military veteran and knew his stuff. We got a great price for the ride which lasted close to an hour or longer, time went fast, too fast up there. If you go try to spend some time with all the staff, they are helpful people and want to make it a fun time.

Visited October 2012
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Hamilton
Top Contributor
136 reviews 136 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 85 cities Reviews in 85 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
“OMG! Do you know what a turn and bank indicator is!?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

I ask that question because our pilot had the ball buried in the corner. You're supposed to keep the ball centered in the tube. This was a great ride. Capt Darren put the little bird on it's side so we could have a better view of the boiling lava. I was sitting front outside and I could feel the heat on my face and leg. I liked the thrill and am not afraid of the heights but we weren't that high. I never looked at the altimeter but did ask about the ground speed because when I peeked my camera around the cowling the wind nearly took it out of my hands. 120 he said! We had worn sweatshirts but he was in a short sleeve shirt and shorts. I'd been more comfortable wearing his fashions.
On our way to the lava flows we zipped past the farms and houses and he showed us some of the places where houses used to be not very long ago. We could see the vent gas in the distance and we were on it quickly. He kept us over the flowing and boiling lava as long as possible. He said he had to share the area with other tours but we got a great view and he circled us around many times. It was slow like a big snake and it was red all the times. He told us how to pick out the movement and also to look for the silvery stuff cause it was new.
Our other helicopter ride was with Blue Hawaii and it was OK but this was darn good. We took the 4 seat doors off tour and it lasted just short of an hour. This is more expensive but if you're gonna take just one take the doors off 4 seat ride.
We got to chat with Darren a little, we already knew he was a retired U.S. Marine pilot. And he was carrier certified. We went by Upper Rainbow Falls and over the cruise ship. He brought us back in sideways and landed as a carrier recovery. Kinda cool.
The support staff was good and didn't leave you wondering what to do. They took you to the little bird and strapped you in, put your headset on you and made sure you were OK. And when we landed they were there again helping us out and ensuring our safety.
The front desk people were a bit more laid back. We enjoyed talking with Michelle. Watch out for Jill cause she will wipe you down with handi wipes.
Lava watching is like fishing...sometimes you get some and sometimes you don't. This time we DID!

Visited October 2012
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Kawhia,New Zealand
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
“Okay but not that exciting”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

This was my first helicopter ride ever and for over $512 NZ for the two of us it was okay but not particularly exciting.
Probably disappointed as the helicopter seemed slow and there was not much red lava to be seen.
The pilot was young, good looking and very nice and the service was fine but it was a treat for us and not really how I imagined.
That is not in any way the Paradise company's fault- it was just that there was very little to no red lava to be seen.
I was in the middle seat in the front and when my husband took photos he impeded my view.
I suppose these things just can't be helped.

Visited September 2012
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Dont Believe The Pictures!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

A great tour but dont believe the pictures. The advertisement pamplets show a lot of lava (which I understand isnt always guarenteed) and the small helicopters only a few hundred feet away from HUGE waterfalls on the side of a mountain. Not the case. We were about 800 feet above the volcano and about 800 feet from a waterfall. It could have been seen better on the ground.

Visited October 2012
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100 Mile House, Canada
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“The best!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Went on the doors off tour on Sept. 24th and were very happy with the experience. Our primary reason for taking this tour was to see the volcano and since the other couple on the flight had the same desire we asked the pilot (Zack) to spend most of the time on that side of the island and he gave us a very good tour of the lava fields and made several passes over the puu oo crater allowing us to get some good images of the red hot lava. During the whole flight his narrative kept us very ell informed about the area and any pertinent historical facts. All in all a very good experience and no regrets for taking this flight; well worth it!

Visited September 2012
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