There are lots of ways to visit the Grand Canyon. Helicopter, airplane, and rental car come to mind. The most economical, however, is motor coach. Before you plunk down your hard-earned cash on a motor coach trip, here are seven things you need to think about first:
1.Select a rim to visit. There’s two: The West Rim, which is 120 miles (2.5 hours) from Las Vegas, and the South Rim, which is 277 miles away (5.5 hours).
2.Grand Canyon bus tours are full-day excursions. Trips to the West Rim run about 9.5 hours. Be ready to spend 15.5 hours (a full day) on South Rim tours. Both trips leave around 7 a.m.
3.The West Rim has the best attractions. It’s home to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that suspends you 4,000 feet above the Colorado River, and the Indian Village, a remarkable re-creation of a small Hualapai community.
4.The South Rim has the best views. Most of the pictures you associate with the Grand Canyon have been taken here. Mather Point, Bright Angel, and Yaki Point are just a few of the most well-known lookouts.
5.Bundle in a helicopter trip. Only at the West Rim can you fly a chopper to the bottom and land. The South Rim is famous for the Dragoon Corridor, the widest, deepest part of the National Park. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Don’t miss them.
6. Dress accordingly. Grand Canyon weather is one of extremes. During the summer, pack lots of water and sunscreen. Wear a hat, preferably with a brim, and loose-fitting clothing. Winter is cold. Dress in layers. Snow’s a possibility at this time. The Park is open 365 days a year.
7. Reserve your seats over the Internet. Tour operators feature the cheapest deals on their websites. Using travel agents, third-party brokers, and #800 numbers will cost you more.
Bus trips to the West Rim and the South Rim begin at $95 and $80, respectively. Upgrading a West Rim package to include the all-popular Skywalk will run about $135 per person. Adding a helicopter descent and pontoon boat ride down the Colorado River is just $200 per person. The South Rim offers a helicopter upgrade that costs $190 per person. These upgrades, in my opinion, deserve serious consideration. Here’s why:
A. Nowhere in the Grand Canyon except in the West Rim can you land on the bottom. This is an extra special opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
B. The world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is one of Vegas’ most popular outdoor attractions. Each year, more than 200,000 people walk its glass bridge 70 feet past the rim’s edge.
C. The South Rim helicopter tour lets you see in 30 minutes what would take several days on the ground. It’s the only way to experience the Canyon to the max.