4.5 star rating: Recommended 50 Reviews

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  • Location:Hilo, Hawaii
  • Duration:50 minutes (approx.)

45-Minute Open-Door Volcanoes Helicopter Flight

Feel a Hawaiian volcano’s heat radiate from its crater as you experience live volcanic activity up close, with nothing between you and the lava! An open-door helicopter ride over a Big Island volcano is the adventure of a lifetime. After the lava warms you up, you’ll cool back down with breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls before soaring back to Hilo.

For a guaranteed window seat, make sure to upgrade to the preferred seating option.


  • Open-door helicopter flight over a volcano from Hilo
  • Spend 45-minutes in the air above magnificent Hawaiian sights
  • Feel the heat radiating from the lava of an active volcano
  • Get amazing views of the Big Island's lush forests and tropical waterfalls
  • Descriptive commentary from your friendly pilot

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

A once-in-a-lifetime experience! Feeling the heat of volcanic lava is incredible. Just be aware it's windy on the flight, so dress warmly and tie back your hair if you need to so you can enjoy the glorious views!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

45-Minute Open-Door Volcanoes Helicopter Flight

45-Minute Open-Door Volcanoes Helicopter Flight

This 45-minute Big Island helicopter ride from Hilo isn’t your average helicopter tour. You won’t simply stare out of glass windows – this helicopter is open-door, meaning there’s nothing between you and these amazing Hawaiian sights (don’t worry, it’s safe!).

You’ll take off from Hilo International Airport in a four-passenger Hughes 500 Helicopter and spend almost an hour flying over this beautiful island. Soar above an active Hawaiian volcano and watch the lava flow to the ocean. Get up close and personal with volcanic lava, and feel its heat emanating from the crater, with nothing between you but air. This once-in-a-lifetime experience gets you as close as you'll ever want to be to a natural wonder so powerful and magnificent.

In addition to the volcano, you’ll fly over waterfalls and tropical rainforests. Listen to expert narration from your professional pilot on your two-way headset, and see great views of historic downtown Hilo on your return flight to the airport.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Our pilot was Pete. We had our two 17 year old granddaughters with us. It was an informative and highly visible trip of the volcano area. I would recommend this open door trip if you want an experience of smelling and seeing an active volcano.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Simply amazing, well worth it, you can feel the heat, yet it's cool and breezy. You are so close to the lava erupting, you can't see this any other way, so for us it was priceless. My 13 year old son was in awe.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Rachel, our pilot, was wonderful. Very informative and made sure everyone had a photo opportunity. Flying with the doors off is the only way to go! Up close and personal experience, a must adventure.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Amazing, I could feel the heat of the lava! I felt like I was on a National Geographic show! Expert pilot, we got all views of the lava activity, we felt like we could reach out and touch it! He was friendly and informative with lots of interesting information about the Hilo area, volcano activity, etc... well worth the money ...this was not a Disney ride!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Awesome, absolutely awesome and great crew too.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Rachel was a great pilot. I am usually afraid of heights, but I felt safe and secure with Rachel. She made every effort to see that we saw flowing lava and that both sides of the helicopter got a chance to photograph what we saw.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Great Tour the pilot made this trip a once-in-a-life-time adventure Not for the weak at heart. With the door off I could feel the heat from the lava as we flew over, awesome photo opportunity

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

It was amazing! The staff were friendly and helpful - even gave us great suggestions for local restaurants. The pilot was very informative and selected the BEST music for our fight. I'll recommend this to everyone!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

The morning started with a short safety session hold at the office in Hilo airport, and review of proper gear and equipment. The team made sure we had warm clothes as we had chosen to do the Open Door Helicopter tour. We then headed to the heliport, where the helicopters were being readied for our trip. It was funny to see the doors removed and put aside! After we were safely secured in the helicopter, we smoothly took us and headed to the most recent lava fields, close to Pahoa. Some of these lava fields started June this year and went through forests and towards town and houses. Though there was no active lava coming through when we flew over, we still managed to see some red spots of lava, thanks to our pilot who was great at spotting these within the fields. The most amazing part of the tour was when we flew over Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the other active volcano within Volcano National Park. Lots of steam vents, giving an amazing contrast of white smoke against the dark black color of lava rocks. Our pilot was great to fly left and right to ensure all sides of the helicopter had equal good views. There again we were able to see some hot red lava spots! This was really an unbelievable view! We returned back to Hilo, checking a couple of waterfalls like the Rainbow Waterfall. I was glad we went for the Open Door experience, as this really gives you an unobscured view all around, and you get a feeling of total access to the scenery. One note though – make sure you are dress warmly – a good fleece, wind jacket, turtleneck and some light gloves really help make a difference! This is a once-in-a-life time experience, and the whole team, both on ground and the pilot, were true professional, very friendly and ensuring we had the best of tour possible. This is a must-do while in Big Island, and I really recommend this tour for a unique feel – how often will you fly with no door?


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

The experience started with a short safety video and briefing at the Helico company's office inside the Hilo airport terminal. The staff made sure we wore warm clothes (doors off flight!), that all cameras had straps and that each passenger knew its sit number (I was on the righthand rear sit). After that it was off to the Helico tarmac! Shortly after take-off, the flight headed south of Hilo, towards the town of Pahoa which had been threaten by very recent lava flows. There, the pilot took us around lava fields, bordered with still burning forested areas. The pilot pointed at red dots and thin scarlet scars of hot lava. Impressive to see vast areas of the forest split by black streaks of harden rock. The highlight of the tour came right after Pahoa with the flight over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō volcano which was blasting out white and yellow smoke. The pilot did a few back and forth circles around and above the crater to allow all sides of the helicopter to get the good views. We stayed long enough and close enough to see some melted lava areas inside the crater (when the smoke allowed) and to appreciate the forces of nature in action as well as take a good number of video clips and photos. The rest of the flight included a couple of waterfalls north of Hilo. An awesome, highly recommended experience! Note on Doors Off: absolutely a must if you know you won't be scared, however, it got really cold up there specially with the wind chill-factor. I was glad to wear a good number of layers, windbreaker with hood and gloves!
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Tour code: 5120_H0004


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