This is one of the most exotic experiences I have had and would totally recommend it. I knew that the Grand Canyon was close to Vegas but I was on a very short trip (two nights to be precise), so when someone told me that I could go there on a short helicopter ride, I was more than thrilled. After reading many reviews and friend’s recommendations I chose Papillon Helicopters for the tour and it was a good choice. But before you read about my adventure, just a quick go on why Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the world has been on my list forever;
- Carved out by the Colorado river, the Grand Canyon nearly 1500 metres deep is the most spectacular gorge in the world and is located in the state of Arizona, U.S. It is 277 miles long.
- It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park, which became a national park in 1919.
- The Grand Canyon National Park is a World Heritage Site and encompasses 1,218,375 acres.
- Grand Canyon National Park attracts about five million visitors per year.
The tour operators picked me directly from the hotel in a van and then we were transferred to a larger bus and then to the point where the helicopters are based which was a good 1.5 hours drive from my hotel. I was staying at Mandalay Bay. The best time to get to the Grand Canyon is sunset but since Vegas was only a two night trip for me and I had also booked the very famous ‘O’ show, so I chose to see the Canyon at 9 am, which is apparently the next best time to visit.
We were shown a short instructions video about our helicopters and it’s safety features and then 5-6 people were seated in each helicopter. I got lucky and got to sit in the front seat for which you have to pay extra, but the final decision rests with the pilot. Our pilot David was just 27 years old, but he convinced us that he had been flying for a good five years and that we were in safe hands. True to his words, David flew steadily, giving us a tour of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.
It was a short ride of 3o minutes to the Grand Canyon. Our helicopter landed and disembarked at their exclusive landing site 4,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon.
It was sweltering hot but I was mesmerised and tried drinking in all of it, remembering all the great stories that I had read about the Grand Canyon. I think maybe at sunset or 7 am in the morning in June would have been a better time to visit.
A champagne bottle along with a picnic lunch was shared and we were left to explore around the area for around 20 minutes.
We were got back to our respective hotels in the same order. The experience cost me around 380 dollars, slightly on the expensive side but totally worth it. Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world and I was glad I had managed it and in style :). You can also hike and camp there if you have more time. It’s on my mind and maybe, some day I will manage that too!!
Until then, stay tuned to read for why I loved Las Vegas, and not only for it’s casinos and partying.