It’s your dream trip to Hawaii. And the number one thing on your list? Fly over an active volcano.
Well, you can do just that on the Volcanoes and Waterfall Extreme: 45-Minute Open-Door Volcanoes Helicopter Flight. That’s right, take a ride in a helicopter with the doors off — that’s one way to truly feel the heat.
Kilauea Volcano continues to erupt in Halema’uma’u Crater at its summit and red-hot lava is flowing into the ocean at Kamokuna. Can you even imagine how cool that is? Or rather how hot it is?
And we did just that on our recent visit to Hilo, Hawaii. It was the perfect activity as our cruise ship docked for just that day. The airport was a 10-minute cab ride from the port.
The check-in process was fairly painless, except the part where I was required to step on a scale to weigh in. But it’s over quickly and necessary for everyone else’s comfort and safety. After checking in we were escorted into a back room for a quick video introduction and a safety briefing given by a staff member. After all we were about to board a helicopter without doors! Without doors!
Next thing I knew we were walking towards the tarmac. The sound of chopper blades whoomping through the air, my hair swirling around in all directions. Straightaway, the thumping noises from the blades diminished after putting on our giant two-way headsets.
We were boarded onto a 5-seater helicopter and lucky enough to have a back seat open for panoramic views out the open doorways. When the helicopter took off, I did feel my nerves kicking in, especially once the helicopter banked to the side and all I could see was ground. But trusting in my safety belt, I sat back and took it all in — enjoying the spectacular landscape.
Through the two-way headset, our pilot regaled stories of Hawaii and facts about the volcanic landscape. And then it wasn’t long before I spotted fiery red lava below. Our pilot lowered the helicopter so we could feel the unstoppable heat radiating from the ground. We were close enough where we could easily take photographs of the red embers burning amongst the silvery-black moon-like landscape.
While the eerily barren landscape was captivating, nothing could have prepared me for the moment we reached the ocean. A billowing white puff of hot steam rushed up to warm my insides. And as I peered through the clouds I spotted the red flow pouring ceaselessly into the ocean.
Our pilot took several turns around the phenomenon allowing every passenger to have an exciting bird’s-eye view and feel the warmth of nature’s fury on our skin. I couldn’t get enough and didn’t want to leave, but our pilot regrettably indicated the 45-minute flight time allotment was running out. Time to soar off.
The staff had considerately offered me a windbreaker to wear for the ride. While I’d been wearing a cardigan, I was grateful for the extra layer because it gets windy up there, really windy, and cold.
That chilly wind picked up, but I was distracted by the tropical rainforests and the chocolate milkshake color of Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park. Since we mentioned to the pilot we were cruising around Hawaii, he veered over our ship for an impressive aerial view of our cruise liner.
Finally, our time came to an end and the helicopter hovered back to the airport, landing softly, almost cloud-like, on the tarmac. We were given the opportunity to take a few last-minute snaps with our pilot and our helicopter.
For an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation, this tour is a must. Both for its spectacular views and adrenaline-pumping thrills. It’s a hot expedition that you’ll remember forever.
Visit Viator for even more helicopter tours — happy traveling, everyone!