Covering about 1.2 million acres, Grand Canyon National Park is a huge expanse of untouched wilderness. Part of this 270-mile gash in the Earth’s surface is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, while another portion is located in Kaibab National Forest. It’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and every Las Vegas visitor should see it. I recommend booking a bus tour if a day trip like this sounds appealing, but you might want to read the following tips first.
Grand Canyon bus tours are all-day events. Most of them are all-inclusive, meaning the price includes a continental breakfast (coffee, juice and a pastry) and a simple lunch. Dinner isn’t included, but you’ll be able to duck into a restaurant, snack bar or convenience store for that. If you’re choosy about your food, bring something that will satisfy your taste buds. Bring some of your favorite snacks, too.
How old the motor coaches used by a tour company is important. You’ll be on the bus for a long time, and you’ll want to make sure it’s safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, some tour companies cut corners, and one of the first places they try to save money involves the quality of their buses. Look for buses that have tinted windows, comfortable seats, individual air conditioning units, and pull-down window blinds. You’ll also want clean restrooms, plenty of personal space and big windows for sightseeing.
Be sure to pick one of the Grand Canyon bus deals that stops at Hoover Dam to let you take photos. Don’t book one of the bus tours that drive over the Hoover Dam Bypass and continue on straight to the Grand Canyon. The best tours drive over the bridge and then double back to the dam on the Arizona side, because that particular view is best for photos. Your bus will stop there in the morning because you’ll be heading back to your Vegas Strip hotel late in the day.
Most Grand Canyon bus tours give you more than 3 hours at the canyon itself. Anything less than two just isn’t enough because there’s so much to see and do. You’ll be happier with your tour if you book one that gives you the longest possible time at the canyon. Some of the points of interest you’ll want to see at the West Rim are the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Eagle Point, Guano Point, the Indian Cultural Center and Hualapai Ranch. Grand Canyon Village, Yaki Point and Mather Point are must-sees at the South Rim.
If possible, reserve your bus tour before you arrive in Sin City and at least 3 days in advance. There are a few reasons for doing this. First and foremost, these tours are very popular and tickets sell out fast. Also, you probably don’t want to be arranging things while you’re on holiday- book ahead so you can enjoy yourself instead. Plus, you’ll pay more if you buy your tickets in Las Vegas, especially if you buy them through your hotel tour desk or at a booth along the Strip.
Keep a watchful eye on fees. Some of the more common ones I see are ones related to fuel and park fees, as well as the most ridiculous one wherein the company requires travelers to pay for their meals. You should also remember the old saying: “All that glitters is not gold.” If you see any unbelievably cheap Grand Canyon bus deals, they’re probably too good to be true. Avoid them because they’re probably loaded with extra fees. They may also have onerous cancellation policies that require you to notify the tour company you’re cancelling a full day before your tour in order to receive all your money back.