Monday, June 26, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: doors-off volcano and waterfall helicopter ride

 I hope you like lava pictures, because this post is full of them! when we booked our helicopter tour, I was really excited because the paradise helicopter site shows some really intense lava pictures and I really wanted to see lava in real life. definitely seems like a bucket list type activity, right? well, it was. while the lava wasn't wildly erupting or shooting up in the air, this helicopter ride was definitely the best way to observe the flowing lava in the kīlauea volcano on the big island.

the travel channel calls this tour the “hottest helicopter ride on earth!” kīlauea volcano has been continuously erupting for 30 years, and even at 500 feet above the flowing lava and open vents, we felt waves of hot air rolling off the lava flows, which can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees! 

leaving the doors off meant there was nothing between us and the sights and open air. it definitely took a couple minutes to get used to as the wind was whipping in quite viciously. it was amazing to feel the heat from the lava on my bare legs though!

we started the trip with a view of these macadamia nut fields on our way to the volcano.

you can see where the lava meets the water with this massive cloud of smoke, which is visible for miles.

next, we started our lava hunt...

yep, I'm basically obsessed with lava now.

after finding our lava, we cooled off over hilo’s lush rain forests and the plunging wai‘ānuenue (rainbow falls). it was so cool to see all these waterfalls from the air, which would take you hours to see by car including driving, parking, and walking to each waterfall.

we loved our extreme doors-off helicopter ride in hilo, it was a great way to kick off our day in volcano village afterward.

have you ever ridden in a helicopter before? I took dramamine before and wore sea bands (no shame here!) and had no issue with motion sickness, even though I have heard a lot of other people who got sick on helicopter rides. it was surprisingly smooth and made for a hawaiian adventure we will never forget!


  1. Sigh!! These pictures look other-worldly! I would be scared to do a doors-off ride, but how cool.

    1. it wasn't scary to me, but doors-off was extremely windy which I didn't love!

  2. That's seriously so awesome! We loved our helicopter ride in Kauai, but I can't even imagine being able to see real life lava from above! I also can't imagine how hot it was not having any of the doors closed to the helicopter!

    1. I wanted to see so much lava but evidently it's not always possible, glad we saw some on our trip!

  3. Such stunning views! I can definitely see why this is a great way to view the island, plus getting to see the lava up close is so cool.

  4. That would absolutely terrify me, but your pictures are SO cool!