LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I MIGLIORI ALBERGHI DOVE ALLOGGIARE

Guida ai Migliori Alberghi del Mondo

Le mie recensioni ragionate sugli alberghi più belli da prenotare in viaggio, non necessariamente gli hotels più lussuosi ma quelli meglio situati e con il miglior rapporto qualità/prezzo. Con la descrizione dettagliata e tutti i pro ed i contro di ogni albergo, per stare bene cercando di contenere il più possibile i costi.

I POSTI DA URLO

Posti da Urlo: i Posti Più Belli del Mondo

Quali sono i posti più eccezionali del pianeta? Quei posti da urlo assolutamente da non perdere? Una serie di articoli, sintetici e veloci da leggere, con la descrizione delle attrazioni più belle, quei posti speciali che non devi mancare durante il tuo viaggio. Con le cose da sapere ed i miei consigli su perché andare a visitarle, dove si trovano, come arrivare e quanto tempo dedicare a ciascuna attrazione.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The 4 Best Grand Canyon Airplane Tours from Las Vegas (with Pros and Cons)

The Best Airplane Tours to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas (with Pros and Cons)

What are the best airplane tours to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas? Your super detailed guide to the 4 very best airplane day-tours to the Grand Canyon departing from Las Vegas with my reviews and all pros and cons of each tour. Flight over Grand Canyon West: the shortest and cheapest of all Grand Canyon scenic flights from Las Vegas. Grand Canyon West airplane, heli and bus tour: one of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping of all the air tours to the Grand Canyon. South Rim Grand Canyon airplane tour: a scenic flight plus a bus tour to the impressive South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, the most beautiful and spectacular part of the Grand Canyon. Remote North Rim Grand Canyon airplane and 4WD/ATV tour: an adventure reserved for a few, and a destination that makes the difference, the North Rim, the least visited of all areas of the Grand Canyon. A comparison and detailed description of the 4 best tours you can book in Las Vegas to go to the Grand Canyon by airplane, with my considerations, some suggestions, all the important things you need to know before choosing and direct links to book online by credit card.

Maverick Airlines Beechcraft 1900D Flying Over The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

Maverick Airlines Beechcraft 1900D Flying Over The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

Photo Credit: Maverick Airlines

What are the Best Airplane Tours to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?

The 4 Best Grand Canyon Airplane Tours from Las Vegas

Are you in Las Vegas and want to book an airplane tour to the Grand Canyon? Do you have doubts whether to choose a tour to Grand Canyon West, the South Rim at the Grand Canyon National Park or the remote and unspoiled North Rim of the Grand Canyon?

  • I have selected tens of airplane tours to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas and have chosen 4 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete airplane tours to the Grand Canyon available on the market and departing from Vegas.
  • All the tours described below include the journey from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back by plane instead of by bus, saving several hours on the road. The first tour is cheap and involves only flying over the Grand Canyon, without landing and immediately returning to Las Vegas. The other tours instead include – once arrived – a visit to the Grand Canyon with a shuttle bus and on foot, or by helicopter, or even by ATV or 4WD off-road vehicle.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Viator and Get Your Guide, for the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
  • Please take into consideration that all scenic flights to the Grand Canyon do NOT depart from McCarran International Airport, Vegas’s main airport. Depending on which airline you use, you take off from two secondary airports: Henderson Executive Airport located about 11 miles South of Downtown Las Vegas or the more distant Boulder City Municipal Airport, 26 miles East of the Strip. However, all companies include complimentary transfers with their own transport to and from your Vegas hotel.
Flight Over Grand Canyon West Tour: Great View of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Arizona and Nevada

Flight Over Grand Canyon West Airplane Tour: Great View of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Arizona and Nevada

Photo Credit: Christian Lendl

Flight Over Grand Canyon West Airplane Tour

It is the least expensive of all Grand Canyon scenic flights from Las Vegas, not because it is the ugliest but for the very simple reason that it involves the one and pure overflight of the Grand Canyon aboard the plane, without landing anywhere but the same airport where you originally took off.

As there are no entrance tickets to the Grand Canyon to pay, no lunch, no on-site visits by bus and other optional activities, the price remains extremely low.

Your scenic flight has as its destination Grand Canyon West, the lowest (downstream) section of the Grand Canyon and the closest one to Las Vegas. During the flight you get stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The airline for this tour is Grand Canyon Airlines.

  • Duration: panoramic flight lasts between 60 and 70 minutes, the entire tour with departure and return to the center of Las Vegas takes about 4 hours.
  • Your airplane: Grand Canyon Airlines operates its tours with the De Havilland Twin Otter Vistaliner, twin-engine, 19 seats, 3 seats per row, one on the left side and two on the right side, unpressurized cabin. You have two out of three possibilities to sit directly next to the window. One very imporant thing: Vistaliner offers the largest and most generous windows of any other aircrafts actually used for Grand Canyon airplane tours.
  • Price includes: return airport transportation in Las Vegas + scenic flight over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Grand Canyon West including all taxes.
  • Pros: the very affordable price.
  • Cons: there are two. The first one is that you fly over a beautiful part of the Grand Canyon but not its most grandiose section, which is located at the South Rim instead. The second is that unlike other more expensive tours you do NOT land at the Grand Canyon, so you can only see the canyon from the window of the plane.
  • Recommended: if you want to take the pleasure out of flying a small plane over the Grand Canyon for as little money as possible.
Grand Canyon West Airplane, Helicopter and Bus Tour: the Colorado River from the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon West Airplane, Helicopter and Bus Tour: the Colorado River from the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: Maverick Airlines

Grand Canyon West Airplane + Helicopter + Bus Tour

It’s known as the Ultimate 3-in-1 Grand Canyon Tour. And if budget isn’t an issue then this tour has its spectacularity. Indeed it is one of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping of all the tours presented in this short guide.

From Las Vegas with a first scenic flight by plane you reach Grand Canyon West, here you board a helicopter to descend and land on the bottom of the Grand Canyon. About 15 minutes to enjoy the magic of the place and a second helicopter flight to go up to the edge of the canyon. Now start the land portion of the tour. Board a shuttle bus to the two only viewpoints of this area of the Grand Canyon: Eagle Point and the most beautiful Guano Point, if time permits and there have been no delays you can walk up to the rocky spur that overlooks the edge of the Grand Canyon. With the shuttle bus you return to the Grand Canyon West Airport for your second scenic flight back to Vegas.

In Grand Canyon West if you wish you can add the infamous Skywalk option, it comes at a cost and it’s not necessarily a good idea, see below my considerations. The airline for this tour is Maverick Airlines.

  • Duration: about 7 hours; of which 35-40 minutes each way is the flight time to reach the Grand Canyon West Airport by plane and return to Las Vegas; 5 minutes per way is the helicopter flight time to the bottom of the canyon where you spend about 15/20 minutes near the Colorado River; the rest is absorbed by the shuttle bus land tour to the viewpoints, in the (sometimes relatively long) waits before embarking and in the transfers from and to your Vegas hotel.
  • Your airplane: Maverick generally uses pressurized twin-engine Beechcraft 1900D with 19 seats, all side by side; for flights to Grand Canyon West sometimes Maverick prefers the smaller and slower single-engined 9-seat Cessna Grand Caravan 208; the helicopters used in Grand Canyon West are usually Ecostar. 
  • Price includes: return transfers in Vegas + scenic flights to and from Grand Canyon West Airport + helicopter flights to the bottom of Grand Canyon + Indian managed shuttle bus land tour to Guano Point and Eagle Point lookouts + picnic lunch. Admission to the Skywalk are excluded, unless you select it.
  • Pros: you admire the Grand Canyon from three different perspectives. First from a small plane, then with the helicopter you enter the canyon and land on the bottom, lastly you see it again from the top of the two viewpoints. A complete experience.
  • Cons: there are three. One is the cost, certainly high and beyond the reach of many. The second aspect to consider is that at Grand Canyon West the environment is less cared for than at the South Rim inside the Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon West is very commercial and super touristy. There are markets and souvenir shops, an arena for shows and Indian tents, all recreated in a so-so way, the prices are high and not a few find it a little sad. And the last one: the canyon at Grand Canyon West is certainly spectacular but it doesn’t quite reach the extraordinary beauty and grandeur of the South Rim. 
  • The Skywalk option: if you want you can add the Skywalk option but frankly I don’t know whether to recommend it: the two plane flights from and to Vegas, and above all the helicopter descent to the bottom of the Grand Canyon reserve far more exciting views than those of the Skywalk. Other thing to consider is that the Skywalk also takes away precious time, there are often queues, time you can dedicate instead to Guano Point, the most scenic and exciting of the two Grand Canyon West overlooks.
  • Recommended: if you can afford it, the experience of the helicopter descent with landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is worth the cost of the tour.
  • If you want to flight to Grand Canyon West at a lower price: two other tours allow you to reach Grand Canyon West by plane and then visit Guano Point and Eagle Point by shuttle bus; if you want both tours still allow you to make the heli and Skywalk additions, even if it is not necessarily advisable, at least adding both. The first tour is Viator | Grand Canyon West Rim Air and Ground Day Trip from Las Vegas operated with Maverick Airlines aircraft, the second one is Viator | Grand Canyon West Rim Flightseeing Tour with Optional Heli, Boat and Skywalk with Grand Canyon Airlines. Beware that if you buy both the heli option and the Skywalk, the time you have available on the spot is drastically reduced: as long as there is a queue at the entrance to the Skywalk or a wait that extends longer than usual to board the helicopter, you risk to skip Guano Point; remember that in high season and in the central hours of the day there are also lines to board the shuttle buses. 
South Rim Grand Canyon National Park Airplane and Bus Tour: View from the Rim Trail between Mother Point and Yavapai Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

South Rim Grand Canyon National Park Airplane and Bus Tour: View from the Rim Trail between Mother Point and Yavapai Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Photo Credit: Michael Kirsh

South Rim Grand Canyon National Park Airplane + Bus Tour

A magnificent excursion. At a not excessive cost. Your destination is the impressive South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, the most beautiful and spectacular part of the Grand Canyon.

From Vegas you reach the Grand Canyon with a scenic flight aboard a small executive aircraft type. Saving you the necessary long hours of road travel by land. Once landed at the small Tusayan Airport inside Grand Canyon National Park, by shuttle bus you take a ground tour of the South Rim, with about 3 hours available and two stops at the historic Bright Angel Lodge and Mother Point to enjoy the view. Then return to Tusayan airport and begin the second scenic flight that takes you back to Las Vegas.

All transfers and picnic lunch are included, the latter you can eat wherever you want in any of the numerous South Rim’s rest areas equipped with tables and chairs, directly on the edge of the cliff, without having to lock yourself up (and waste time) in a restaurant. You eat and enjoy the view at the same time.

At the South Rim you have the option of adding a helicopter flight but frankly, as explained below, it’s not necessarily worth it. If you book this tour between July and September I strongly suggest you leave in the morning when the weather is more stable and there are less chances of thunderstorms.

  • Duration: 8 hours from/to the center of Las Vegas; of these the flight time is 40/45 minutes for each leg and the useful time available at the South Rim is about 3 hours; the rest goes in the transfers between the hotel in Las Vegas and Henderson Executive Airport and the waits to board at the two airports.
  • Your airplane: if you are headed to the South Rim you always fly aboard one of the super comfortable, almost luxurious and above all fast two turboprop engines Maverick Airlines Beechcraft 1900D, central aisle and 19 leather seats, all window side.
  • Price includes: airport transfers + scenic flight to Tusayan Airport located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park + Grand Canyon shuttle bus tour + Grand Canyon National Park entrance ticket + picnic lunch.
  • Pros: well, a part the exceptional beauty of the South Rim there are differen; first you save the 5 hours of travel each way of the land route required to reach the South Rim from Las Vegas; second you take a double panoramic flight both outward and return; for last, in summer if you choose the morning departure you are back to Vegas by mid-afternoon having time for a swim in the pool and calmly go out for dinner and enjoy the evening on the Strip.
  • Cons: none, this is a beautiful tour and if you avoid adding the helicopter flight it doesn’t even have an excessive price, worth every dollar you spend.
  • Tips: once you arrive at the Grand Canyon take a land tour and one of the two stops is Mather Point because this is where both the main visitor center and the largest parking lot in the South Rim are located; however, there is one place you must not miss, and it is Yavapai Point; it is located just 400 meters from Mather Point on the extreme northern point of a rocky spur that overlooks the canyon and offers even more spectacular views of Mother Point. In my opinion Yavapai Point is the most beautiful of all the overlooks of the Grand Canyon Village, you can reach it in just 10 minutes along a panoramic paved path that runs along the abyss.
  • The Heli option at the South Rim: there are pros and cons, the latter superior to the former in my opinion. The pros are 1) you have an extra experience and 2) with the helicopter you fly over a part of the Grand Canyon other than the one you fly over by plane, you practically cross the most central and deep section of all of the Grand Canyon. Regarding the cons: 1) the price, as the supplement requested is really huge and significantly changes the order of magnitude of how much you spend in total for the tour 2) here you are inside the national park area and the helicopter flights are strictly regulated, unlike what happens in Grand Canyon West here at the South Rim you do not fly below the edge of the canyon nor land on the bottom, it is strictly forbidden 3) take the heli means above all to drastically reduce the free time you have available at the South Rim and certainly miss the Mather Point stop included in the ground tour with the shuttle bus, and this is a real shame.
  • Recommended: if you want to see the real Grand Canyon by going effortlessly from Las Vegas with a pleasant scenic flight and without spending a fortune.
  • Do not forget: a fleece, even in the height of summer, it can be useful both on board the plane and on the ground at the almost 7,000 feet of altitude of the South Rim; in winter, heavy fleece and thermal/waterproof jacket required.
North Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour: ATV Tour from Bar 10 Ranch to a Remote Overlook on the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona

North Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour: ATV Tour from Bar 10 Ranch to a Remote Overlook on the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Photo Credit: Bar 10 Ranch

Remote North Rim Grand Canyon Airplane + 4WD/ATV Tour

No tourists and crowded viewpoints. No roads and no buses. No Indian junk and amusement park with commercial atmosphere. You won’t find shops here, the closest is almost 100 miles away…

This is an adventure reserved for a few, not because it’s expensive, it is not, it’s cheaper of other excursions presented here. It is the destination that makes the difference, and here is the North Rim, the least visited of all areas of the Grand Canyon.

Your destination is Bar 10 Ranch, still a real working cattle ranch with 10,000 acres of land owned, located in a remote and wild valley along the northern edge of the Grand Canyon just downstream from the Toroweap Overlook. The whole area is completely uninhabited and can only be reached by flight or with a long and sometimes treacherous 70 miles dirt road.

It takes 45 minutes of panoramic flight from Las Vegas to arrive, once you land on the ranch’s private strip you will be greeted by a real cowboy (it is not a game for tourists, here the beast is really there, among horses and cows there are hundreds of heads). Then aboard a 4WD led by the guide or driving your own ATV you leave in the direction of the nearby North Rim following a magnificent rocky and sandy path. The destination is a solitary and secluded viewpoint high above the Colorado River.

One of the very few places in the Grand Canyon that if you want you can live as a protagonist instead of a passenger. Without a doubt the most fabulous and unusual of all the tours presented here.

  • Duration: 7 to 8 hours, departure around 8 in the morning, sometimes earlier, return by mid-afternoon.
  • Your airplane: Grand Canyon Airlines flights to Bar 10 Ranch are operated with 19-seat twin-engine De Havilland Twin Otter Vistaliner or 9-seat single-engine Cessna Caravan.
  • Price includes: both airport transfers in Vegas + panoramic flight to Bar 10 Ranch private strip + approximately 4 hours in total on site for the excursion to the edge of the North Rim followed by lunch at Bar 10 Ranch; the latter consists of a tasty BBQ beef sandwich prepared with meat from the cattle of the ranch and accompanied by potatoes, fresh salad and homemade chocolate-chip cookies; not including tips, it will be really hard for you to spend any more money, no shops here!
  • Pros: you go to a remote place, a place out of this world, far from any tourist route, completely unknown to the millions of visitors to the South Rim and Grand Canyon West. Americans included. No more than twenty external visitors are allowed to access it daily. 
  • Cons: none, not even the price, there is no other tour to the Grand Canyon that gives the opportunity to admire the spectacle of the Colorado gorge in silence, up close and in the most solemn way.
  • Good to know: if you want to drive the ATV yourself, at least 16 years old plus a compulsory driving license.
  • Recommended: if you have already seen the South Rim or Grand Canyon West and now you are looking for the most authentic Grand Canyon; if you want to experience the atmosphere of places where nature is extreme; if you want to have in front of your eyes the same Grand Canyon that appeared to the first explorers, away from buses and other tourists.
  • Video: Bar 10 Ranch and the North Rim Grand Canyon tour taking off from Boulder Municipal Airport aboard the Twin Otter Vistaliner of Grand Canyon Airlines in these images by Kevin Williamson; the passage on the Hoover Dam is at minute 1’03”, the private strip of Bar 10 Ranch appears at minute 2’12”, at minute 2’44” the ATV excursion begins on the dusty dirt road that leads to the North Rim and at 3’50” you reach the panoramic point; the film ends with images of the ranch; keep in mind that the video also features very close-up images of the much farther South Rim and even a short shot of Angels Landing in Zion, two places that you clearly do not see during this tour:

Important Things to Know About Grand Canyon Airplane Tours from Las Vegas

  • Grand Canyon airplane tours from Las Vegas depart every day, all year round, weather permitting. At the time of booking you can choose between different time slots. The tour to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only operating from April to mid-November.

  • For some tours, the first departure very early in the morning (Early Bird) has a lower cost than the departures of the rest of the day, if you travel alone it changes little but if you are with the family the difference is immediately noticeable.
  • Pilots and guides speak English, individual headsets with audio guide and narration in multiple languages are available on board planes and helicopters.
  • It is necessary to indicate the weight of each participant at the time of booking, do not cheat. The day of the tour a photo ID identification or passport is mandatory, if you forget it, no tour and no refund.

  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • The day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email of local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help.  
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Last Update: April 1st 2021

Creative CommonsFront cover photo credit: Toroweap Lookout, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, courtesy of John Fowler. Maverick Airlines and Bar 10 Ranch photos are Copyright © All Rights Reserved. All other photos in this page come from Flickr: Creative Commons Licensed Photos.