The doors off helicopter ride was the highlight of our trip (June 2012)! We enjoyed every aspect of flying with Mauna Loa. From the friendly staff, to the great tips about local eats, to the private tour, to the AMAZING views, everything was top notch.
What we liked about seeing Kauai by air:
- Some things on the island can generally only be seen by air (e.g., many waterfalls, inside some of the canyons along the Na Pali coast, inside the "crater" of Mt. Waialeale, etc. ).
- This was my first helicopter trip (my husband's 2nd), and it was amazing! Doors off was definitely a great way to go. Loved the air, the view, the feeling, the everything.
- Seeing the island by air is a great way to become more familiar with the geography of the island.
What we liked about Mauna Loa in particular:
- I'm a fairly small individual (5'1"), so I'm sure I'd have gotten stuck in a middle seat had we gone with a company that combines groups. For the kind of money that a helicopter tour costs, I wanted to make sure I'd get a great seat. Mauna Loa does not combine groups, and every seat truly is window seat.
- As we were waiting for the shuttle to bring us back to the office (we parked at the office and were shuttled to the airport), we saw the pilot doing the safety checks on the helicopter and thoroughly cleaning the headsets. While this was all after our flight, it made us glad of our decision to go with Mauna Loa.
It is unlikely we will take another helicopter tour anytime soon due to the cost, but if this is your first trip and it's within your budget I highly recommend taking a helicopter tour, and Mauna Loa is a great one to book.
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