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“Short close encounter with lava on Big Island” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Paradise Helicopters

Paradise Helicopters
Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI
(808) 969-7392
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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
Redmond, Washington
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Short close encounter with lava on Big Island”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

We wanted to do the boat ride to see lava real close however it was full/not working in our timeline. So went with doors off experience. it was bit scary at first with all the wind blowing/hitting you in all corners but safely is ensured. The pilot (we had) was very experienced and friendly.

Pros:
nice short visit to volcanoes and shore line where lava meets the water. Helicopter circles from both directions such that passengers on each side get the view.

Cons:
at the lava sights, they could have wondered a bit more since people come from all the way to see lava and not just sit in helicopter.

Visited March 2013
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London, Canada
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
42 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Doors off - feel the heat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Wow, we were so excited after this helicopter ride over Kilauea. It really is the best way to see the volcano. The magnitude and extent of the flow of lava blew me away. So exhilarating, I sat in the front seat right by the edge and captured some nice photographs. We saw the road at the end of a cul de sac-- all that was left after all the houses had burned from the hot lava. The pilot was very experienced and played fitting music. The view of the falls wasn't that great in comparison.

Visited October 2012
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Schenectady, NY
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Adventure of a lifetime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We booked the doors off helicopter tour. I was very nervous but the staff made us feel very comfortable. Once we were over Kilauea we could see lava flowing and bubbling in the crater. We were close enough to feel the heat. It was simply amazing. Thank you for a fantastic adventure Paradise Helicopters! We will never forget it!

Visited September 2012
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Lee's Summit, Missouri
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Most disappointing part of my trip”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Before leaving for our trip, I told EVERYONE about how excited I was to do the helicoptor tour, especially with the doors off! There were four of us that went together and I was the one who convinced everyone in my group to pay extra for the doors off. And it took a lot of convincing! I just couldn't wait for photo opportunities! I even bought a new DSLR camera and took photography classes so I could get the best photos possible in the short time we'd be in the air.
It started off bad when I was told I had to take the middle seat. Since everyone in my group knew how badly I wanted the doors off, everyone was willing to switch with me, but I was told there was no way. I weighed the least, therefore I had to sit in the middle. I realize now why no else would have fit. It was the most uncomfortable 35 minutes of my life! I had to sit with my shoulders twisted to the side so I wasn't in the pilots way, shoved up against my husband with the center metal bar on the windshield and raindrops (as there are no wipers) or my husband's head as my view. My husband sat next to me and was about 1/4 of the way outside the helicoptor in order to give me any room (keep in mind I have a 26" waist and my husband a 33" so we are not large people by any means). It was VERY uncomfortable!
The rainforest and tree farms were pretty. You do not get to fly over the active part of the volcano. Only the steam vents. Another HUGE disappointment. I understand the concern with flying over the active portion, but I wish the advertisement wouldn't have tricked me when it said I would see "the current eruption of Kilauea" when all I saw were the vents. The lava flowing into the ocean was cool, but then again my view in the middle was horrible. The waterfalls were a waste of time. You can drive to Rainbow Falls in town. We were so high up in the air and the pilot didn't point them out well that I didn't even notice we were there until we flew away.
In all, I was incredibly let down by the whole experience. It was in no way worth the money we paid. I maybe would pay half the price. At the very least, the person stuck in the middle should get a discount.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Awful!!! Take your chance.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

We did not see much it was way windy & cloudy.Nothing like the ad says,it may have been due to weather,Our trip should have been canceled due to weather by Paradise Helicopters.We prepaid.That was a waste of $500(and 2 other people rode with us $1000 for 4 people abord)) for seeing not much.We took the morning trip 2/20/2013 Very disappointed
Just say trees old harden lava,NO RED HOT LAVA,NO CRATER.
No waterfall as in add,just a brown river.
Rip off!!!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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