Earn backpacker bragging rights by adding one of the world’s best helicopter tours to an already adventure-packed holiday. It’s true that seeing UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Great Barrier Reef from a bird’s-eye view will cost a little extra, but splurging on a helicopter ride over Wonders of the World like the Grand Canyon can be one of the most satisfying indulgences on the planet! Do a little pre-planning and easily budget any of these spectacular (and affordable!) heli tours into a vacation itinerary that will make your backpacker buddies envious for years.
Best Helicopter Tours | Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe – AFRICA
Trekking around Victoria Falls and adjoining Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone can take days, and still even the most adventurous backpacker might not see everything there is to see. That’s what makes helicopter tours so awesome! Take in a mile-long sheet of falling water while swooping through colorful ravines above the Zambezi River, which draws the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Helicopter tours in Victoria Falls not only offer jaw-dropping views of “the smoke that thunders,” the literal translation of mosi-oa-tunya, but they also are an ideal way to spot elephants, hippos and other African wildlife. Oh, and did we mention that Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site? Exploring the area on foot also is highly recommended.
Flights above Victoria Falls start at about 150 USD per person and pack all the important sites into a 12- or 13-minute tour.
Helicopter tours at Victoria Falls
- Victoria Falls Helicopter Flights
- Shearwater Helicopter Services
- Helioter Tours Victoria Falls
- Bonisair Helicopter Flights
Check In to Ilala Lodge Hotel, Step Out to Victoria Falls
Discover more backpackers lodges and hostels in Livingstone
Best Helicopter Tours | The Grand Canyon, Arizona – USA
Follow the Colorado River for 277 miles through one of the most remarkable wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon measures nearly one mile deep and 17 miles wide on average and features layers and layers of colorful rock formations estimated to be thousands of years old. Hover between canyon walls that change hues of red, yellow and orange as the sun moves across the Arizona sky, and count on bonus views of nearby Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Strip and Mojave Desert.
Many Grand Canyon helicopter tours also include views of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park, as well as boat rides on the Colorado River and death-defying walks across the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour packages range in price according to adventure. Flights in the North Rim start at about 190 USD and last for 20 to 25 minutes. South Rim tours start at 250 USD and last up to 50 minutes. VIP tours start at about 450 USD.
Grand Canyon helicopter tours
- Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
- GC Flight (Las Vegas)
- Sundance Helicopters (Las Vegas)
- Maverick Helicopters (Las Vegas)
Check In to Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower, BW Premier Collection, Step Out to the Las Vegas Strip
Best Helicopter Tours | Fox Glacier, South Island – NEW ZEALAND
Hover above both ice and rainforest during a mind-blowing tour of Fox Glacier, part of Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Fox Glacier is an 8-mile longer snowy wonder set on the edge of a flourishing jungle. If that doesn’t peak enough interest to schedule a bird’s-eye tour of the area, helicopter tours also promise safe passage over Mount Cook before landing in a snow-packed region where passengers can stretch their legs on the glacier itself. Add a bonus adventure, and book a flight over neighboring Franz Josef Glacier as well.
Jaw-dropping helicopter tours in Fox Glacier
- Glacier Helicopters Fox Glacier
- HeliServices.NZ Fox & Franz
- The Helicopter Line
Check In to Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Step Out to Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Discover more motels and retreats in Fox Glacier
Best Helicopter Tours | Rio de Janeiro – BRAZIL
Listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Rio de Janeiro Harbour is a magnificent mixture of historic landmarks and world-renowned attractions. Strolling around sights like the larger-than-life Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain makes for an unforgettable holiday in itself, but imagine seeing Rio de Janeiro’s iconic attractions from the air! Helicopter tours of the region encompass these most popular sights as well as views of Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach, Corcovado Peak and the rolling hills of Tijuca.
Heli rides in Rio de Janeiro last from 12 to 50 minutes and cost 150 to 220 USD, respectively.
Best helicopter tours of Rio de Janeiro Harbour
- Rio Adventures
- Infinity Rio
- Rio Helicopter Tour
Check In to Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Ipanema, Step Out to Rio de Janeiro
Best Helicopter Tours | Iguazu Falls – ARGENTINA, BRAZIL (& PARAGUAY!)
Getting to view three countries at once as well as one of the largest waterfall systems in the world is one helicopter ride you’ll never forget! Not only is Iguazu Falls designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but it also is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Plus, it forms the border between Argentina and Brazil and connects on the west side with Paraguay! The incredible Iguazu Falls span more than 1.7 miles and are comprised of nearly 300 smaller falls that spill endless supplies of water over 250-foot-tall cliffs. Buzz over Devil’s Throat on the Argentina side before whisking over the jungles of Iguazu National Park and the Three Borders Landmark, which represents the relationship between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Cross over to Brazil to view Itaipu Dam and hover over the Parana River, the second longest river in South America.
Ten-minute flights over Iguazu Falls start at 335 USD for groups of four.
Incredible helicopter tours at Iguazu Falls
- Argentina4u (Buenos Aires)
Check In to Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Step Out to Iguazu Falls
Best Helicopter Tours | Great Barrier Reef, Queensland – AUSTRALIA
Comprehending the size of the Great Barrier Reef is impossible, but seeing the 1,250-mile stretch of natural marine life from above helps put this natural world wonder into perspective. In fact, taking a helicopter tour might be the only proper way to appreciate Australia’s most famous attraction. Book a heli flight in Queensland to get a bird’s-eye view of the reef, plus see Green Island, Whitehaven Beach and the Low Isles in the same journey. The Heart Reef also is a favorite for aerial photographers. Sometimes marine life – like sharks and sting rays – can be spotted from the air, and more extensive tour packages include passes through Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tableland (Cairns Highlands) and the Mossman and Barron gorges.
Helicopter tours over Great Barrier Reef start at 200 USD for a 30-minute flight.
Spectacular Great Barrier Reef heli flights
- GBR Helicopters – Cairns Heliport
- Nautilus Aviation
- HeliTours North QLD
Check In to Lizard Island Resort, Step Out to Great Barrier Reef
Discover more 5-star resorts and hotels in Queensland
Best Helicopter Tours | Amalfi Coast, Amalfi – ITALY
There are fewer regions in the world more picturesque than the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Weave through rows of colorful homes built into a fairyland-like cliffside while photographing lush vineyards, sprawling orchards and the forests of the Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve (Riserva Statale Valle delle Ferriere). Romance is definitely a reason to visit Amalfi, but even for single adventurers, seeing bird’s-eye views of Capri, Naples and the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano), buried by nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., are worth taking a solo flight!
Helicopter rides over Amalfi Coast last for three hours, and tickets start at 735 USD.
Best helicopter tours in Amalfi
- CAB Air (Naples)
Check In to Hotel Aurora, Step Out to Amalfi Coast
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