I’ve have experienced a lot of things throughout all my travels but this is by far one the coolest experiences to date and here’s why!
The past decade I have traveled and explored 49 US states and 17 countries thus far. I love to experience new things in various ways. It’ll be a decade this year in fact that I started living my dream life traveling, adventuring and experiencing the world! (more on that later).
I think it is important to experience destinations in new ways to get a different perspective of what that place has to offer. I have gone to the extreme from skydiving at 15,000ft, traveled by water, horse, elephant, hiked to the rarely seen places but I have YET to explore anywhere by helicopter until now!
What better place to take a helicopter tour than the garden island of Kauai where over 70% of the island is inaccessible by car, foot or boat! Hawaii already has a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be more pumped to have my first helicopter experience exploring one of my favorite places on earth!
If you were to choose one activity your entire stay in Kauai, I would have to say take the Jack Harter Hughes 500 tour!
Why, you may ask? If you’re going to be getting up close to some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth that you can ONLY see by air… there is no better way than to have nothing inbetween you! Doors off, hands down!
Why, Jack Harter? My friend Erica and I love to dig deep to find the best expereinces. Researching the 15 hilicopter companies in Kauai, Jack Harter in our own opinion had the best reviews, saftey record, company expereince and tour offerings (we wanted all of us to have a door seat with doors off and the longest tour 60+ minutes.) Not many offer that.
I would also like to state I had no affiliation with JH nor did I recieve any discounts. I am just sharing my own experience and opinions in hopes that it will help/inspire you when planning your own vacation.
I took over 350 photos in 65 minutes. It was tough to narrow them down but here goes! All photos are in no particular order.
We arrived to check in at 10:15am for our 11am tour. It already felt like we were on the set of Jerrasic Park with the cool trees and little shack. They weighed us individually wearing everything we were bringing with us to balance the hilicopter accordingly. I held my Go Pro and Camera. Me… being the only photographer and the lightest one I was set to sit in the front middle (the only non-door seat in the Hugh500), I was bummed!!
Dont forget to bundle up! It’s 10-15+ degress cooler in the air. I wore leggings, tennis shoes, tank, sweater and jacket since its 10-15 degress colder in the air so dress warm!
They went over flight safty with a que card that took about 15 minutes to make us comforable with everything and answered any questions we had. Locked up all our stuff in the car since you can not bring purses or bags with you or have anything in your pockets unless it has a zipper. You can not use your phone or iPad for a camera. You can only bring a camera with a strap around your neck. They sell straps (looks like shoe laces) there so if you dont have one don’t panic! I did’nt have one, we used Rons shoe lace before we arrived and that was okay. Your Go Pro stick can be no longer than 12in. and has to have a strap that goes around your wrist. After we got that all squared away we all piled in a van and took a ten minute drive to Lihue Airport.
We waited our turn. Those fanny packs are life vests since we do fly over water, it’s required.
Being that my friend Erica and I were the same height and close weight our pilot felt it was okay to allow me a door seat! I was estatic!
I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of turbulence however, it was the smoothest flight I have ever been on. There was no feeling of altitude change, dropping stomach, ears popping, or increased speeds. It felt as if we were floating.
The incredible scenery began at take off.
Talk about panoramic views guys!
Flying up to Waimea Canyon, he was flying low as if we could hit the top of the ridge and within an instant it opened up to 3,600ft deep Canyon! That was by far one of coolest feelings I have ever felt! You have to do it to understand what I mean!
The layers and colors looked as if it was a different planet!
Did I feel like I could fall out at any moment? YES! But I knew we were totally fine. The over sholder harnes made me feel super secure. Looking down got my adrenaline pumping tho! I tried pointing to discribe something outside and my hand got pushed back in an instant! They really mean it when they say, “keep all limbs inside the hilicopter!” The headphones cancel out any outside noise so it made for a pleasant ride! Our pilot was amazing at explaining what we were looking at the entire time.
We flew over the famous tunnel of trees!
Make sure you pull your hair back, unless you want to be like a Samantha, lol!Flying though the valleys was incredible!
The bluest water I have ever seen! These pictures don’t do justice!
Now for one of the most famous coast lines in the world, the Na’ Pali Coast!
The waves crashing and riptides made for some awesome texture!Isn’t she lovely?!
The weather can be sunny clear skys on one part of the island and pouring rain on the other. It got really cloudly but our pilot took us right between two ridges! My heart was racing! It’s an un natural feeling but it was incridble. Nothing can compare the feeling, nor can you get up this close any other way!
Holding on tight!
Here is one of wetest places on earth averaging 452 inches of rainfall a year! They market it as the wetest palce on earth, however Mawsynram India comes in at number one with 467.4 inches of rainfall per year. Sorry guys! Still crazy tho!
High five to our pilot shimmying us between these two ridges with thick clouds above our head, hovering and successfully turning around!
This was my favorite part of all!
We headed back out along the coast and explored a bit more.Shoutout to Seascape Life! I bought myself a pair of their shark tooth leggings the night before an outdoor booths in Princeville! Seriously the most comfortable leggings I have ever bought! Love buying local <3!
Living life on the edge… literally!Though they are beautiful, the Albezia tree is considered an invasive species. They can grow 15+ feet per year, reach up to 100ft tall, 150ft wide and spread like crazy! They are the flat-topped ones you see here.
Flew by the famous Wailua falls. I have hiked up to it, now flown over it! It’s a drive up, get out, take a short walk and take a look kind of waterfall. Worth going to see in person!
Mahalo Jack Harter Tours for an expereince that will last a lifetime and another epic adventure checked off the bucket list!
Mahalo, to you for stopping by and reading my post! I hope it inspired you to take the same tour, add it to your bucket list and helped plan your vacation!
I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, share & subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!
COMPANY: Jack Harter Helicopters
DIRECTIONS: 4231 Ahukini Rd., Lihue
OUR TOUR OF CHOICE: Hugh 500 with doors off. Seats 4 passengers +1 pilot totaling 5 people. All door seats besides front middle. Lightest person sits there. Tour lasts 60-65 minutes. Highly reccomend over any other tour.
Highlights are Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast, Hanalei Valley, Wailua Falls and Mt.Waialeale the second wettest place on Earth.
MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- You can not wear flip flops you must wear a shoe that can’t fly off. We wore tennis shoes.
- You can ONLY use a camera device with a strap that goes around your neck or wrist.They sell straps (looks like tennis shoe strings) if need be. We used Rons shoe lace and they allowed it.
- You CAN use a gopro but it MUST be 12in max, have a strap around wrist and can not extend it.
- Dress warm expect temps to be 10-15 cooler in the air. I wore leggings, tank, sweater and jacket.
- You can not bring purses or belongings or have anything in your pockets unless there is a zipper. We locked everything in the Jeep and were fine.
- Book in advance, it said rain everyday on our phone but it could be raining in a small part of the island and blue skys the next. They will notify you if it’s not safe and you can re-schedule or refund if they cancel for weather.
MY OPINION: This was my first ever hilicopter tour and I am pumped it was in Kauai! If you were to do ONE paid activity during your vacation this is it! Go all out and do the Huge 500 to get the best views and the full experience with having nothing between you and the outside! It cost only $20 more for no doors and I would’nt have done it any other way! It is not cheap BUT again totally worth it! We paid $309 per person.
I had no affilation or discounts with Jack Harter Tours. I am just sharing my own experience and opinions in hopes it will help/inspire you when planning your own vacation.