Las Vegas… As soon as I knew I was going to be visiting the place that blinds you with colours, sounds, flashing lights and something new at every corner, I knew I had to go and see the Grand Canyon!
I booked my trip to the Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai Tribal lands, through a division of the company ‘smart destinations’ – Go Card City. You can check out their website here.
The tour I opted for was the ‘Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour’. As an adult the tour cost me US $189.99, which I think worked out to be just over $260.00. Yes, I know. That is a lot of money, however, I believed it was worth it because of what was included in the tour (See below).
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off (Depending on the hotel)
- Coach transportation to and from the Canyon (Apparently other tours don’t take you right to the gate)
- Driver and guide (Ours was super funny with some really awesome information)
- Hoover Dam photo stop (Loved it, since I wanted to see it, however, personally wouldn’t have spent a whole tour there)
- Morning snack, lunch, and bottled water (all very basic, but we had pit stops at mini-shops and gas stations)
- Reservation entrance fee
The whole tour takes around 11½ hours. We were up at 5am and collected at 6am. This meant that we would be back at our hotels at 5.30pm (If the tours at the canyon were not late… which, thanks to the helicopter tours, they were), so I didn’t get back to the hotel until around 6.20pm.
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon includes these three viewing points: Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Hualapai Ranch. All with their own unique personalities and charms, although, I have to admit my favorite was Guano Point.
Choosing which Rim to explore was an easy task for me. Simply put, the reason I chose the West Rim was for the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a horseshoe shaped bridge with a steel frame supporting the glass floor and sides. The Skywalk is sitting 4,000 feet (around 1.2km) above the Canyon floor and it sticks out around 21 m over the Canyon edge.
Now, as this is a popular tourist spot, there are a few things to keep in mind when looking into the Skywalk:
1) There are NO cameras, NO phones and No bags allowed on the bridge. Trust me, you want to follow these rules because the queue is so long, you don’t want to get turned around at the gate.
2) There are two queues once you finally make it to the Skywalk, one for people who would like to walk it without ‘professional’ photos, and the second for the people who would like to document their time on the bridge. I went for documentation, since it was my first time at the Canyon and I had my tourist glasses on (haha).
3) It is a very expensive add-on (Keep in mind all the other costs of the day – or in my case, tour). Apparently, you cannot just purchase a single ticket for the Skywalk, so the price is jacked up to match ‘special packages’. My ticket cost me around US $80.00 and I am not too sure what other inclusions that price got me as I only used it at the Skywalk.
4) Finally, if you did choose to get your photos taken they are NOT – with a capital T, free. They are over priced and really, for people like me who travel on a budget, a waste of money. However, they are a nice thing to have and there are packages and special deals available when selecting the photos you want.
If you ever get the chance, I would recommend that you take the trip out to see the Grand Canyon. I only saw the West Rim, but it was stunning, with so many diverse colours and shapes. It truly is breathtaking.