Sunday, 19 August 2012

Help, some advice please....

We are looking forward to our forthcoming trip to America where will be touring by coach.   We are flying to LA, where we stay for 2 nights before we join our coach to visit Scottsdale (1), The Grand Canyon (1), Las Vegas (3), Fresno (1),  Sonoral (1), Yosemite National Park , Lake Tahoe (1), San Francisco (3), Monteray, Carmel, Lompoc (1), Santa Barbara and back to Los Angeles (1) for our journey home. The figures in brackets are the number of nights we have in each place.

There are lots of excursions included but also lots of optional excursions.   We want to do as many of the excursions as possible, as we will not be revisiting this part of the world (we don't go back, there's too much of the world to see), but we are undecided about one of the sights we want to see and need the advice of anyone that has actually done this trip, so here's where you can help.

We definitely want to do the helicopter ride through the grand canyon and would love to do the skywalk, unfortunately the skywalk has got some really bad reviews on Tripadvisor so we are a bit hesitant about it.  Apparently one can't take photographs on the skywalk and it isn't all that spectacular.

Here are the optional excursions on offer for the Grand Canyon and I would like your advice on which we should do.    Bear in Mind we are only staying in the Canyon for one night so any sightseeing trip will have to be from Vegas I think.

1. Grand Canyon airplane tour
Take off toward the widest and deepest part of the Canyon. Views of the Desert View Watchtower, the Painted Desert and the Colorado River. Close up views of the North Rim and Imperial Point. $151

2. Grand Canyon Adventure
Helicopter flight descending 1,500 ft below the rim of the Canyon. Pass towering cathedral buttresses and columns bathed in an everchanging kaleidoscope of colours.  Then rise above the rim to turn back time as you land at an historic Ranch nestled under 'Spirit Mountain' site of the Old Mormon Trail.  A horse-drawn wagon drives you on trail lined with Joshua trees to the Ranch House for a western meal and refreshments.  You will be entertained by real working cowboys sharing with you their myths, legends and songs.  Your flight also includes spectacular views of the majestic Hoover Damn, expansive Lake Mead and a cruise down the world famous Las Vegas 'Strip. $519 plus a fuel surcharge.

3. Chariot of Fire Helicopter
Tour below the Rim of the Canyon. View Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.  Descend below the rim passing through millions of years of geological time.  After leaving the canyon other natural wonders unfold including panoramic views of Iceberg Canyon, the Valley of Fire and the Bowl of Fire.  Your flight includes a cruise down the dazzling Las Vegas 'Strip'. $405 plus fuel surcharge

4. Grand Canyon Skywalk
Travel by airplane to the west rim of the Canyon. Upon landing, get ready to witness the Grand Canyon skywalk, a glass bottom walking surface suspended more than 4,0000 feet above the Colorado River over the edge of a canyon wall.   Enjoy the specacular views along Eagle Point and receive a brief introduction to Hualpai Indian legends and culture at the Indian Village.  Continue on to Guano Point a breathtaking oversation area overlooking the canyon  Enjoy a meal at Grand Canyon West as you admire the beauty of the canyon before your return flight back to Vegas. $358 plus fuel surcharge.
We can also do a Helicopter Descent from West Rim on this trip for another $158.

Until reading the reviews of the Skywalk we were intending to do  #4 + the Helicopter Descent from West Rim.  Now we are undecided, what do you think, have you done any of these trips, which would you recommend?


Valerie said...

It all sounds wonderful, Pearl. My SiL did most of the trip but I don't think she did the skywalk. When do you go?

Akelamalu said...

29th August Valerie.

Jenny Woolf said...

Think I'd do the skywalk. Sounds unusual.

Banker Chick said...

Wow, what a trip, we will be in Santa Barbara w/o Sept 17, it would have been great hook up. August will be lovely.
Grand Canyon....I read some reviews of the Skywalk and they are universally poor. Mainly because folks feeling ripped off because of the cost. As someone who has been there (Grand Canyon not the skywalk) I would probably listen to the reviews and pass. I would vote for the chariots of fire. But that is me, I don't think I would be comfortable hanging over the grand canyon with glass/lucite under my feet. Have so much fun!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

you'd better be in great shape to go to the bottom! hard work but interesting.

vegas will be so hot you can fry an egg on the street, research where to eat for cheap good meals, otherwise it's expensive. don't know where you are staying but the bellaggio is the best. i loved that. the plaza was awful, ratty even.

lots of good shows but expensive. i'd still budget to do some of them though. once in a lifetime thing.

are you a gambler? other than poker i'm really not so all that glitzy casino stuff was pretty much lost on me.

if you are able to visit sedona i think that is much prettier than the grand canyon.

most of all relax and enjoy it.

smiles, bee

Finding Pam said...

I hope you have a wonderful trip. When are you going to see Texas?

Ron said...

I would probably do #1. the Grand Canyon airplane tour because you'll at least get a good view of the canyon, and then you could just casually (in your own time) see whatever else you would like to see.

Or, if you could just do #4, the helicopter descent from the west rim by itself, I would do that.

I wish you were coming to the east coast because I would LOVE to meet you in NYC!

Travis Cody said...

I say bypass the sky walk. It isn't necessary. Also, the impact of the Canyon is much different from the air and from the ground.

The helicopter tour will give you a sense of its vastness. But I think that seeing it from the ground at the rim will give you an overwhelming sense of its majesty. It really isn't necessary to go to the bottom, in my opinion. So I suggest #2 or #3, and then drive over on one of the days you'll be in Vegas so you can walk along the rim.

You're going to see a wonderful contrast with visits to the Canyon and to Yosemite. looks like you've got a night in Lompoc. Lompoc is just a little town to the north of Santa Barbara...a stop over really. If you have time, head east to Solvang, which is a lovely little tourist village. There are great places to eat and shop.

Beach Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beach Bum said...

I've never been to the Grand Canyon but I have heard less than flattering reviews of the glass skywalk.

Personally the Grand Canyon Adventure sounds the best.

On a side note I cannot help but wonder if any of the tour guides will mention the drought.

Mimi Lenox said...

You are going in a helicopter? In the air? Over the Grand Canyon? On purpose???!!

I am going to faint.

(I wasn't much help, was I...)

Akelamalu said...

We would like to do the skywalk Jenny but the reviews have put us off. :(

Shame we won't be there on the 17th Bankerchick, a meet up would have been great.

Thanks for the advice Bee, I think we do go through Sedona, so I shall look forward to that. :) One of the optional excursions is to see a show, The Rat Pack I believe, so we will probably do that. We don't really gamble but may just have a little flutter.

Texas is on the 'to do' list Pam, but I can't say when we'll get round to it. :)

Just doing the Helicopter Descent is not an option Ron as we have to do #4 to get there. As we only have 3 days in Vegas with other excursions planned doing things in 'in our own time' wouldn't be an option I think. I would love to visit the east coast and meet up with you, hopefully we will in the not too distant future. x

Thanks for your input Trav we are now thinking #2 may be our best option as we will actually be staying on the rim for one night so will see that aspect of the Canyon then.

Yes that's what we've read Beach. #2 seems to be the popular choice up to now.

I know Mimi, I can hardly believe it myself as I'm really scared of heights! :0

MorningAJ said...

No idea. I hate heights so I don't want to do the skywalk anyway (so maybe I'm the wrong person to offer advice) but I like the sound of the cowboy one. It's not cheap though is it?
But you've got other stuff like the cruise down the strip and the Hoover Dam included with it.

cheshire wife said...

Whatever you decide to do I hope that you enjoy it. Will be interested to read about your holiday as we have something similar pencilled in for next year.

Akelamalu said...

None of them are cheap AJ, we were a bit shocked when we saw the prices. However, as we will never visit that part of the world again (too many other places to see) we really want to do as much as possible whilst we're there.

I will be blogging about the trip so I hope our experiences will be of help to you for your trip Cheshire Wife :)

Daryl said...

havent been to Grand Canyon so I cant help .. but if you want LA, San Francisco or Vegas recommendations .. I am happy to help

Akelamalu said...

Thanks Daryl, we have quite a full itinerary we are just undecided which of the Grand Canyon trips to do. :)

Linda said...

I personally LOVED the sounds of #2 as it covers not only the Grand Canyon itself but some of the history around it plus I'd be willing to bet that seeing the Hoover Dam from a helicopter has got to be great!

Truthfully if it's something where I can't take photos, I think I'd rather not do it!

nitebyrd said...

I've only been to Vegas once, so I can't be of much help but ... that Grand Canyon Skywalk sounds absolutely amazing!

Remember, if you ever get to Florida, you're welcome at my home!

Hope you have a FABULOUS trip to the US. I'll be looking forward to your reviews and pictures.

nitebyrd said...

Sorry, forgot to add, I usually never listen to critics and/or reviews!

Akelamalu said...

Not being able to take photos is putting us off too Linda and seeing the Hoover Dam from the air is a real attraction.

The skywalk does sound amazing but we do tend to take notice of reviews if the majority are the same Nitebyrd. Thanks for the invite, if we every do get to Florida I would love to meet up with you. x

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

If at possible, the train ride out of Williams, AZ might make for some unforgettable memories. While I was trucking cross-country years ago, I never had time to go, but I have heard from others that it would have been worth getting yelled at for being late on a delivery.

Akelamalu said...

Don't think that will be possible Jenny, but thanks for your input.

bobbybegood1 said...

No NYC stops? Well, we do have a Carmel, NY is that the Carmel you are talking about. LOL! Chitown and North Carolina and DC is a far as I've gotton. Cheers!!