Vegas and G.Canyon

Old Mar 16th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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Vegas and G.Canyon

Hi

In September I will be travelling to the US from Australia. Part of our trip will involve flying from San Diego to Las Vegas, and then back on to LA after that. For the Vegas part of our trip we are planning on 3/4 nights there, which would include our trip out to the Grand Canyon.

Can anyone suggest short tours to the canyon, we don't really have a tight budget to stick to so we can fly there from LV. Any recommended tour operators?

Also, for our stay in Vegas we really wanted something memorable, preferably a themed casino in a good location. Budget would hopefully be <$200USD night.

And, finally, can anyone advise how far the airport is from LV itself, and the best way to get to and from it? Taxi/Shuttle/Bus etc

Many thanks!
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 09:40 PM
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We booked Grand Canyon Deluxe (fly to South Rim and return) from Las Vegas with Scenic Airlines (which is partnered with or the same as Papillon and Grand Canyon Airlines). Everything was as promised, they were well organized, and we were very pleased.

The Las Vegas Airport is only a 15-20 minute drive from the Strip. Our fare to the hotel was $15.40, return $11.20 (there's a $3.XX charge leaving the airport).

For a wealth of information on hotels in Las Vegas, recommend the forum on TripAdvisor.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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The airport (McCarran) is the airport you will fly in and out of. I think it is best to take a taxi. It is a short distance to the strip.

The airport almost all tour companies use to fly to the Grand Canyon is located in North Las Vegas, and I can't think of the name of it. It is a long way, most of the companies provide a shuttle pickup at all the hotels. On most of these trips you will see the Western Side of the Canyon. It is very spectacular, but I still think the North Rim and South Rim is better, but not by a huge margin.

I would recommend flying out on a small plane, then taking a helicopter to the bottom. You will take a short float thru the canyon on a boat. This will not include any whitewater action. They will then helicopter you back to the top for lunch and return flight back to Vegas. Most of these trips leave at 5 or 6 in the morning and return in the afternoon. Another option is to take a helicopter the entire way. I believe those land at the bottom, as well. All of the tour companies offer a little different versions of the above I have mentioned.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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The first thing to know about trips to The Canyon is that there is more than one place to visit. The National Park Service administers two areas: the South Rim and the North Rim. The Hualapai Tribe owns the part know as the West Rim. The scenery at the latter is quite spectacular, but pales in comparision to that of the first two. If your tour mentions a helicopter ride to the bottom, a boat ride of less than three days, or the Skywalk; then that tour takes you to the West Rim. Be certain of where you are going BEFORE you put your money down.

The best and cheapest way to see the Canyon from Vegas is to reserve lodging within the National Park or at Tusayan, rent a car for two days, then drive the five hours (each way) between the two on successive days. You'll spend more time seeing the best of the Canyon, and also spend less money.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 07:52 PM
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The version I listed was for flying out of Las Vegas. Almost all of these flights will be on the West Rim. Most of the 3 and 4 day raft trips are on the western side as well. Most of those start at Bar 10 Ranch. PaulRabe is correct,If you can come up with 2 or 3 days to drive to the South or North rim, it is well worth it. You could still take a helicopter tour and/or hike part of the way down. The lodges are worth checking out and eating at as well. I find them ever bit as interesting as any hotel in Vegas. South rim is what most of the people see when driving or taking the train in. West rim is what most people see when doing an excursion from Vegas. North rim sees only about 10% of annual visitors. I think the north rim closes mid-october, so it would probably be a really good time to see the north rim then. Probably not many people then.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 08:35 PM
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The airport Scenic, Papillon, Grand Canyon airlines, use is in Boulder (southeast of Las Vegas) - about a 30 minute drive. The "Grand Canyon Deluxe" tour I booked was described in detail on the web site and was exactly as promised.

There are any number of excursions and dozens of web sites, and they leave throughout the day (not just early in the morning). Recommend doing a search on the TripAdvisor forum (saved us from booking with the "wrong" one), as many of these companies have dreadful ratings with the BBB (and it would appear that they change their names on a regular basis).

I thought the best "themed" hotels (also with the best locations) were Venetian/Venezia/Palazzo and Paris.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:26 PM
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Thanks everyone for your ideas! I have been doing lots of research on tripadvisor and various websites. I think we will prefer to fly to the Canyon, I don't really fancy the 5 hour bus trip each way!!

I've been reading about the skywalk too - not exactly sure which rim this is on - but has anyone done this, and is it worth it?

Cheers!
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