If you plan on visiting Hawaii anytime soon, Kauai should be at the top of your list. It is truly a magical place that feels like something out of this world. The Garden Island can check off boxes for every nature lover. There are dozens of waterfalls, hiking trails, a canyon, and so much more.
Only a visit to Kauai is enough to do it justice. And there are essentially three modes of exploring this hidden paradise: foot, sea, and air. Your trip will be impacted by how you choose to get around, so do your research and choose wisely.
If you’re reading this, we can guess you’re thinking about an aerial tour of Kauai. So, let’s dive right in and explain the difference between helicopter and airplane tours.
So, why should you even consider touring Kauai by air? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, over half of the island is inaccessible by foot, and a boat can only take you around the island or through the canals. So, your exploration is limited by mode of travel.
When taking an air tour of Kauai, those limits are tossed to the wind. You will be able to see down into valleys, forests, waterfalls, and cliffs that you cannot see otherwise.
Secondly, taking a helicopter or airplane tour means skipping traffic. You won’t have to battle other tourists or locals to see the majestic beauty you came to Kauai to experience.
Ah, what can be said of a helicopter. Taking a helicopter tour is the most popular and exciting option of them all. The entire experience feels cinematic- like you’re playing out a scene in a movie.
There is something serene and thrilling about flying hundreds of feet in the air, taking in the landscape while shifting up, down, and sideways in altitude. You feel weightless.
With a helicopter, you can get super close to the waterfalls and cliffs. It can go places an airplane cannot because of its mechanical design and ability to hover in place. Helicopter tours also have "doors off" options which make for an even more amazing experience.
Sometimes referred to as a fixed wing, small airplane tours are another excellent option for viewing Kauai by air. One reason why many people opt for small plane tours is the cost. This type of aerial tour is considerably cheaper than helicopters. However, you do lose the "wow" factor and adrenaline that comes with the experience.
With that said, visibility of the surrounding environment is still excellent. And airplanes are usually more suitable for children as well. You cannot choose a “doors off” option, but most planes have efficient viewing windows.
Ultimately, getting up in the air is what matters most. The great Kauai helicopter vs airplane tour verdict is really up to your personal preference and what you want to spend. Both are safe to enjoy, and they both provide impeccable views. If price is a concern, opt for an airplane tour. But if you want to make the most of your adventure, a helicopter tour is the way to go.