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10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Helicopter Tour in Vancouver

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Helicopter Tour in Vancouver

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Vancouver has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Sure, as locals we might be biased, but let’s look at the facts: it has gorgeous beaches, mountains, and a skyline that rivals New York. It’s the whole package!

Out of all the fun things to do in Vancouver, a helicopter tour has to be one of the most exciting. It’s an amazing city to explore on the ground, but what’s even better is taking in the stunning views from high in the air!

We have been on a couple of different helicopter tours, but Vancouver’s was extra special due to the stunning varied landscapes. Soaring above the city was an incredible feeling that we will never forget! You get a unique view of Vancouver’s most iconic sights such as Granville Island, Stanley Park, and Grouse Mountain just to name a few.

Booking a helicopter tour is a surefire way to make your time in Vancouver extra memorable (don’t forget your camera!). Of course, it’s important you book the right one, which is why we made this guide that covers everything you need to know about preparing for and booking a great helicopter tour in Vancouver!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Booking a helicopter tour in Vancouver is the most exciting and memorable way to see the city. This amazing tour makes the experience easy and enjoyable with free downtown hotel pick-up, a guided ground tour to the hangar, a 30-minute helicopter ride, and complimentary drop-off at the location of your choice. You just get to sit back and enjoy the ride!

1. Why book a helicopter tour in Vancouver?

Daniel smiles at the camera while sitting in a helicopter in Vancouver
So much fun!
Olympic Village as seen from a scenic flight in Vancouver, Canada
What an incredible view!

There are so many reasons to book a helicopter tour in Vancouver! 

The most obvious one is that you get amazing views of the city – but it’s also a fantastic way to see a lot in a short amount of time.

If you only have a couple of days in Vancouver, it’s easy to fit a helicopter ride into your itinerary to get an unbeatable aerial view of the city. Most tours take around 2.5 hours total for the experience, including about 30 minutes of flying time. So this way, you won’t miss out even if you don’t have time to see everything on the ground!

In fact, a helicopter tour can also let you see more of Canada and some of the best places in BC! Not only can you soar over Vancouver, but it’s also possible to take a tour from Vancouver to British Columbia’s backcountry, or even a day tour from Vancouver to Victoria!

Getting from Vancouver to Victoria can be tough! Victoria is on Vancouver Island and is 4 hours away from Vancouver by car and ferry. However, we’ve found it can take even longer if there’s a lot of traffic or queues for the ferry. It’s safe to say that doing this journey twice in one day would be exhausting! A helicopter, however, can get you there in just 35 minutes – which is much more appealing in my opinion! 

Meanwhile, some of the spots that the British Columbia Backcountry Tour takes you to are pretty remote and would be next to impossible to reach without flying in on a helicopter. Even if you love to hike, some of the spots would take forever to reach on your own. 

We also think that a helicopter tour would be an amazing way to celebrate a special occasion, whether you’re in Vancouver on your honeymoon, a bachelor/bachelorette weekend, or to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. It’s an experience you won’t forget!

2. When is the best time to book a helicopter tour in Vancouver?

Granville Island as seen from a scenic flight in Vancouver, Canada
Oh Vancouver you are so beautiful!

Helicopter tours in Vancouver operate all year round, so you can go at any time. You’ll get the best views on a clear, sunny day, so booking during the Vancouver summer months between June and September maximizes your chances of enjoying this kind of weather. 

Fall (mid-September to early November) can also be a great time to go, as you get to see all of the beautiful leaves changing color! 

Vancouver (or “Raincouver” as some may say) does get its fair share of rainy days during the winter months. November to March get the most rain on average, but with that said, there are usually some clear days so you can still enjoy great flight conditions. We recommend booking through Viator so that you can change your tour date up to 24 hours beforehand for no fee to make sure you get the best weather possible!

Helicopter tours can also be canceled due to bad weather as flights only operate when it’s safe to do so. This is another reason we like to use Viator, as they guarantee you’ll either get another flight or a full refund if this happens.

Related Read: If the weather doesn’t cooperate, check out the best Vancouver city tours. They are a great way to maximize your time and see all Vancouver has to offer!

3. How much do helicopter tours in Vancouver cost?

Kitsilano as seen from a helicopter flight in Vancouver, Canada
Kitsilano as seen from a helicopter flight in Vancouver, Canada

Unsurprisingly, a helicopter tour isn’t a cheap thing to do, but some of the flights aren’t quite as expensive as you might think!

Of course, the price of your helicopter tour will depend on the experience that you choose, but in general, they range between $379 CAD to $759 CAD per person. 

Kids under 12 usually receive a discounted rate, although if they’re near the upper age limit you should bring their passports with you on the day to prove they qualify for this. Meanwhile, kids under 2 usually fly for free. 

4. What helicopter tours are available in Vancouver?

Victoria Excursion from Vancouver by Helicopter and Sea Plane

View of English Bay from a sea plane traveling from Vancouver to Tofino
Flying out of Vancouver on a seaplane!

If you’re dying to visit the charming coastal city of Victoria (…who isn’t?), but don’t have much time, this helicopter and seaplane tour is the answer you’ve been looking for! 

We love to visit Victoria, but to be honest, doing it on a day trip is way too much. It’s a lot of driving plus a 1.5-hour ferry ride, so it takes about 4 hours each way in total. However, it’s only a 35-minute helicopter ride from Vancouver PLUS you get amazing views the whole way. 

The included transfer will pick you up from your hotel around 9 am and take you to the heliport. Here you’ll have free tea, coffee, light snacks, magazines, and WiFi as you wait in the lounge before takeoff. Then, once you take off you’ll have insane bird’s eye views as you fly out of the city and over the Strait of Georgia towards Vancouver Island!

When you arrive in Victoria, you have free time to explore the city at your leisure. There are many things to do in Victoria. You could visit the Butchart Gardens, dive into some history at Craigdarroch Castle, or ride around in a horse and cart – the options are endless! 

Your return flight to Vancouver departs at 6 pm, but this time you’ll be traveling by seaplane instead! The views on the way back are just as amazing and if you book this tour in the spring or autumn, you might even be flying back at sunset. Plus, Vancouver is actually famous for its seaplane rides so we love that this tour allows you to experience that, too.

This tour costs $759 CAD per person and is typically available from May until October. It’s the perfect way to take a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver, and the transport is even more exciting than the city itself!

This tour is great for everyone, but we think it is especially great for independent travelers! It makes visiting Victoria SO much easier and you still get to have your freedom to explore and do your own thing. So if you’re ready to travel to Victoria in style, book this tour online here!

Related Read: Want to make the most out of your short time in Victoria? Check out the best walking Tours in Victoria to learn some history or indulge in the best food the city has to offer!

Helicopter BC Backcountry Tour with Hotel Pick-up 

We believe British Columbia’s wild and beautiful backcountry is something everyone should see – especially from the air! From rivers and waterfalls to rainforests and glacial lakes, the scenery here really is out of this world. 

The BEST way to explore British Columbia’s backcountry is with this helicopter tour. It includes an unforgettable 30-minute flight over British Columbia’s Coastal Mountain Range. You would honestly need weeks to explore it on the ground, but with a helicopter, you can gaze at the remote wilderness and breathtaking landscapes from the air – talk about a bucket list experience

There’s a maximum of 10 travelers per tour, so you get a nice, personal experience and plenty of chances to ask your pilot about what you’re seeing as you fly over all of the incredible, dramatic scenery. It also runs year-round, so you’ll get different and unique views depending on the season you go (hello snow-capped mountains!).

The tour costs $379 CAD which includes downtown Vancouver hotel pickup and dropoff (pickup between 10-11:30 am). Cruise passengers can also arrange to be picked up/dropped off at the port – we actually think this is an amazing thing to do if you only have a single day in Vancouver

The tour company is so accommodating that they will even drop you off at Vancouver International Airport if you’re flying out of the city that evening! If you need to bring your luggage with you, the tour company will handle it for you and store it safely at the heliport while you enjoy your tour.

This tour takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes total including pick up, the helicopter ride, and drop off. Some additional information to note is that this tour is NOT wheelchair accessible and has a weight limit of 136kg (300 lbs) per passenger.

For a front-row seat (or hopefully a window seat!) to BC’s backcountry, reserve your seat on this helicopter tour now!

Downtown Vancouver from a scenic flight
Downtown Vancouver from a scenic flight … isn’t it gorgeous?

Helicopter Vancouver City Tour with Hotel Pickup 

If you’re pressed for time, this helicopter city tour of Vancouver is a fantastic way to see as much of the city as possible.

As you soar over its skyscrapers, you’ll understand why so many movies set in New York are actually filmed here in Vancouver! In fact, it’s nicknamed “Hollywood North” for this very reason. 

During the 30-minute flight, you’ll have amazing views of the Port of Vancouver, the ocean, and the Coast Mountain Range. You’ll also fly over Stanley Park, and while we love exploring it at ground level, you can only really understand how big it is when you see it from above. Some other highlights include the famous Lions Gate Bridge, Burrard Inlet, False Creek, and the downtown beaches

This 2.5-hour tour is perfect for pre- or post-cruise passengers who are tight on time, but to be honest it’s an amazing tour for anyone who wants to see Vancouver from a different perspective. Vancouver is such a gorgeous city and there’s really no better way to appreciate its beauty than from a helicopter. 

The tour runs year-round and costs $379 CAD. It includes pickup and dropoff, either from your downtown hotel or the cruise port. There is also an option for drop off at the airport if needed – the tour company will even handle your luggage for you! Please note that this tour also has a weight limit of 136kg (300 lbs) per passenger and is NOT wheelchair accessible.

For a quick and scenic helicopter tour in Vancouver, book this specific tour with Viator here.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

5. Do you need to book your helicopter tour in advance?

Views over Stanley Park from a scenic flight in Vancouver
Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium!

Yes! You should book at least a few weeks in advance, especially during the summer months.

Lots of tourists come to Vancouver between May and September so helicopter tours are always in demand during these months, but it’s a pretty popular activity all year round. To be safe you can book with Viator, which allows you to cancel or change your booking for no additional fee if needed! 

6. Do helicopter tours in Vancouver include hotel pick-up?

Views of the coastline as seen from a helicopter flight in Vancouver
The coastline is stunning!

Yes, all the tours we’ve discussed in this blog post will pick you up from your downtown Vancouver hotel and drop you off again afterward. Cruise passengers even have the option to be picked up from the port before the flight and dropped off at either the port or the International Airport afterward!

Basically, the transportation options are really flexible and the companies are accommodating, so you can easily arrange the pickup and dropoff to suit your needs. 

Not sure where to stay in Vancouver? Keep reading for our favorite hotel suggestions later in the post!

7. What should I wear/bring on a helicopter tour?

Stanley Park as seen from a helicopter in Vancouver
Stanley Park is massive!

Dress according to the weather on the ground, but bring some extra layers just in case (which is always a good idea in Vancouver anyway!). Just wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in, and most tour companies also recommend wearing closed-toe shoes. 

If you’re going on the helicopter day tour to Victoria then you’ll have lots of time to explore the city, so make sure to wear good footwear. You’ll probably end up doing quite a bit of walking, and no one likes getting blisters!

You should also try to wear dark clothes because light ones aren’t very good for taking photos in the air. And let’s be real, you’ll probably want to take a few selfies to commemorate this experience!

It’s a good idea to bring some sunglasses as well! We were certainly glad we had ours during our helicopter tour. Being up high on a clear day can be hard on the eyes and sunglasses will help you to take in more of the views!

Pretty much all helicopter tours require you to bring a form of government-issued ID on the day, such as a passport or driver’s license, so don’t forget this!

Also, gratuities usually aren’t included in the tour prices, so have some cash on hand to tip your pilot if you wish.

If you or anyone you travel with experiences motion sickness it may be wise to bring some tablets with you from the pharmacy just in case – you don’t want to take any chances!

8. Are helicopter tours safe?

False Creek from above on a helicopter flight in Vancouver
False Creek from above on a helicopter flight in Vancouver!

Helicopter tours are very safe, especially in Canada where there are a ton of safety regulations. Helicopter companies have to meet rigorous safety standards and they monitor the weather very closely to make sure that it’s safe to fly. So yes, you can feel confident about taking to the skies in Vancouver!

If you are concerned about the noise, there’s no need to worry! All tours will provide noise-canceling headphones during the flight to keep your ears safe.

Lots of tours require your weight either during booking or before the flight. You must give an accurate weight as this helps the crew keep you safe by choosing the correct aircraft and fuel load.

Helicopter tours are a safe and fun way to explore! Just make sure to follow any instructions given, fasten your seatbelt, and enjoy the ride!

Related Read: If you love hiking and want to explore more of BC’s beauty, these easy day hikes in Vancouver are perfect if you’re not a regular hiker but still want those epic views.

9. Are Vancouver helicopter tours suitable for children?

False Creek as seen from a helicopter tour in Vancouver

Yes! Kids of all ages are welcome on Vancouver helicopter tours. Kids under 12 usually fly for a reduced rate and kids under 2 typically fly for free, as they have to sit on their parents’ laps. If you have a child under 2, please double-check with the tour company as to what their policy is.

It’s a very safe thing to do and a wonderful experience for children and families. Unless children have a bad fear of heights or severe motion sickness, they should be fine.

10. Is a helicopter tour in Vancouver worth it?

Vancouver city skyline and Stanley Park from a helicopter in Vancouver
Breathtaking views of the Vancouver skyline!

Absolutely! A helicopter tour is such an amazing way to take in the beauty of this unique city. You get to see so much in a short amount of time. It’s truly a bucket list experience!

Other Things to do while you’re in Vancouver

Bailey walks on the Lynn Canyon suspension Bridge, Vancouver
The Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is a must!
Bailey sits at the Boatshed Restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
Enjoying the sunset from The Boatshed restaurant in Kitsilano.

Vancouver is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So while you’re here, be sure not to miss some of the top attractions and activities:

  • Go whale watching – It’s not just people who flock to Vancouver every year! From the beautiful black and white orcas to the lively humpbacks, going whale watching in Vancouver makes for a truly unforgettable memory. This half-day whale watching tour offers an amazing experience with a guarantee you’ll see whales!
  • Eat ALL the food! – Vancouver is a foodie destination. Showcasing cuisine from all around the world in top-rated restaurants, you really need to eat out a few times while in Vancouver. For breakfast, Jam Cafe or Medina are our go-tos. For Asian cuisine, you can’t pass up Minami for sushi or Danbo for ramen. You can also join this highly-rated food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best restaurants in Gastown.
  • See Granville Island – Granville Island has such a fun energy and you can easily spend an afternoon wandering through the streets seeing the street performers, checking out the famous Granville Public Market. If you’re short on time or want a stress-free stop, there are some Granville Island tours we love like this VIP market access tour where you’ll get to sample all the best food!
  • Explore Kitsilano – One of our favorite areas in all of Vancouver is Kitsilano. This suburb is super trendy and has many cute stores, cafes, and restaurants that are well worth checking out. On top of that, Kitsilano Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver and the perfect place to relax. It’s also our favorite place to watch the sunset.

Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada

Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Photo credit: Hyatt Regency Vancouver

Now that you know one of the adventures you want to take while in Vancouver, you’re going to need a great place to stay. With so much to see in Vancouver and tons of other amazing places to visit in BC nearby, basing yourself here for a while is a great idea. So let’s help you find a great place to stay!

Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter the city books up in advance very fast! Booking your hotel or hostel well in advance is the only way to secure the best place to stay for you!

Here are a few great hotels in Van that we love:

The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $

If you’re traveling on a budget, look no further than The Cambie Hostel. It’s located in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants, and there’s also a great bar attached to the hostel too.

It can always be a bit of a gamble trying out a budget hostel, but from our own experience, this one is a real gem! While the bathrooms are a little bit small, the rooms are clean, there’s free WiFi and the staff are really happy to help you out with anything you need. Private rooms here start at $100 CAD or bunks in dorm rooms are more around the $50 CAD mark. You can book your stay over on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!

Times Square Suites – $$

For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park you can’t pass over the Times Square Suites. Toeing the line between affordability and comfort, it’s very hard to fault this hotel and its location in Vancouver’s west end is nothing short of perfect!

We stayed in their one-bedroom suite, and I’ve got to say I had the most restful sleep in that bed that I’ve had in weeks! Rooms here start at $224 CAD per night and can be booked over on Booking.com.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$

The Hyatt Regency is situated right between Gastown and Stanley Park, so right in the heart of Van’s action. As you can imagine, this is a luxury hotel stay at a well-known hotel chain, so you know your stay will be top-notch.

With a 42″ flat-screen TV is provided in every room. free WiFi, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, the views of downtown Van don’t get much better than this. The Mosaic Bar and Grill serves some truly amazing food, and if you fancy something a bit stronger, the Grain Tasting Bar has some awesome signature cocktails. Book a luxurious stay here online.

Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!

For more info on the best areas and hotels, check out my complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver. It breaks down everything you need to know before choosing the right hotel!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie on a scenic flight over Vancouver
Thanks for reading!

Well, there you have it, a complete guide to taking a helicopter flight in Vancouver. Whether you’re planning a quick one-day visit to Vancouver or are staying a while, a helicopter tour is a fun activity you can do any time of year. If you’ve done one before, let us know what you thought!

Make sure to browse around our other blogs if you’re headed to the Vancouver area. We have a ton of Canada road trip ideas and West Coast blogs to make your time in this part of the country memorable.

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22 BEST Day Trips from Vancouver

10 BEST Restaurants in Yaletown, Vancouver