The top experience I wanted to have on the Big Island of Hawaii was to go on a Helicopter tour, mainly because the island is gorgeous. It is my absolute favorite as of yet, and seeing it from the ground, or even from the top of a mountain wouldn’t provide me with the same thrill as going up in a helicopter!
If you love adventure like me then thought of this thrill ride would fill you with so much excitement you might loose sleep over the idea- it was all I could think about the night before my big adventure with Paradise Helicopters. Hawaiian owned and operated since 1997, The Travel Channel has rated the Hilo: Volcanoes and Waterfalls Extreme Tour ‘The hottest ride on earth!’ and it’s not hard to see why. Paradise Helicopters also have several former “Marine One” presidential pilots flying for them. Seriously.
My flight was with Pete, one of Paradise Helicopter’s newest pilots. Pete did a great job explaining everything to us as we were going along, but the helicopter was pretty loud so it was hard to hear what he was saying- mostly because I was getting distracted by the views. We had noise reducing headphones on with a microphone piece so if I wanted to ask a question, I just pressed a button and then I could ask away. Our helicopter was designed perfectly so that each seat had a window view, and the most exciting part was not having any doors on the helicopter. No doors!! Zooming around feeling the wind, and the heat! What an incredible rush. I was excited to shoot with my incredible rented DSLR lens from Hawaii Camera, so it was amazing to hold the lens up (note to self: next time use a lighter lens) right out into the open air and take photos.
Departing from Hilo airport, we went in the direction of the Puna lava flow and the Pu’u ‘O’o vent- the East Rift Zone of the Kilauea Volcano. This vent began erupting in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since.
We also flew past the beautiful Wai‘ānuenue, also known as Rainbow Falls. I hear it’s mostly seen with a rainbow right over the falls in the early mornings….I feel like I might need a return helicopter trip so I can see this for myself!
Going up in a helicopter isn’t like any other sensation- maybe comparable to a hot air balloon in the sense that you don’t feel the liftoff at all. Before you know it, you’re airborne. Even without doors on the helicopter, I felt safe. I was strapped into a harness-like seat belt that stayed nice and sung the whole ride. I never felt like I was going to fall out, not for a minute. I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Check out this video of my Paradise Helicopter Ride:
If you could take a Helicopter Ride on any Hawaiian Island, which would you choose? Let me know in the comments!
A huge Thank you to Paradise Helicopters for having me as a guest on their helicopter tour. As always though, all opinions are my own.