In June 2015, I had my first international solo travel experience. I had done a lot of research and tried to work out what would suit me best, but eventually settled on a Contiki Tour! I looked extensively into which specific tour I wanted to do, and ended up opting for the Best of USA! If you’re unfamiliar with what Contiki is all about, essentially they’re a tour company for people from all over the world, aged between 18 and 35. So as long as you’re within that age bracket, you can enjoy everything that Contiki has to offer!
What stood out to me with this tour, was New York City and Las Vegas. I had always wanted to visit New York. It was a childhood dream of mine. And I wanted to go back to Las Vegas, since the previous time I visited, I wasn’t 21 yet! The last time I visited Las Vegas, I was with my family. I was two weeks away from turning 21, and actually got asked to move away from the casino area multiple times!
Contiki Tours offer a broad range of extras available for an added cost. One of those was the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour, which is a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, with a champagne lunch at the bottom! As soon as I saw this, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. The Grand Canyon is incredible, and I think it’s one of those must-see-before-you-die places in the world. It’s difficult to explain just how surreal it feels to be there, so you’ll either have to take my word for it, or book a tour yourself!
THE GRAND CELEBRATION HELICOPTER TOUR: A FLIGHT OVER THE GRAND CANYON
On our second full day in Las Vegas, a few of us woke up bright and early and caught the shuttle bus to the helicopter terminal in Boulder City. I remember it being a scorching hot day (that’s Nevada during summer for ya), and I was sweating up a storm from the second we walked out of the wonderfully air-conditioned terminal. Once I saw our awesome, bright red helicopter though, I forgot about the heat! Well, kind of.
Our pilot (who’s name I cannot remember, sorry!) was super friendly and explained the tour in great detail. We got given noise cancellation headphones, and weren’t shy in taking selfies with us wearing them. I was lucky enough to be given the front seat, right next to the pilot. This was awesome, except for the the burning sun that was hitting my legs the whole time! But hey, I can’t complain too much. I had un-restricted, panoramic views of the beautiful Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
Once we were in the sky, we flew over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, before finally seeing the Grand Canyon in all its glory. It’s pretty hard to describe just how impressive the Canyon is. I’m sure you’ve seen tons of photos, from every angle possible. But you can’t really imagine how insanely large and incredible it is until you’re there. In my opinion, spending some extra money to be flown over the Grand Canyon, is the best way to see it. After all, everything is even more impressive from the sky, right?
After some awesome photo opportunities of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, the helicopter began to descend and we eventually landed 4,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon! Once we were all out of the helicopter, everyone began snapping away on their phones and cameras. Photos were being taken from every direction, and I made sure to grab as many selfie opportunities as I could.
After everyone had finished taking photos, we all sat down to a champagne picnic lunch under shaded park benches. It was pretty incredible, eating lunch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It’s not really a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’, because I’m sure you could do it again and again if you want to. But I definitely think it’s something that everyone should consider when visiting Las Vegas.
Once lunch was over, we had one last look around the Canyon and snuck in some last minute photos. I made sure to not only take a photo of our bright red helicopter, but also have a selfie in front of it!
I had an awesome morning on the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour, and it was definitely worth the cost! If seeing the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, consider crossing it off in the coolest way possible! You won’t regret it. The pilots are all super friendly, and will answer any and all of your questions! I’m so glad Contiki gave me the opportunity to do this, as I probably wouldn’t have thought of it myself! So that is why I am sharing this super important information with all of you! #youarewelcome
Here are the basics about this particular Canyon tour
Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour by Papillon
Cost: starting from $314
Approximate duration: 4-4.5 hours
Departure: shuttle pick up from (most) major Las Vegas hotels
- Make sure you bring your ID (passport, drivers license etc)
- This particular tour is pretty popular, so make sure you book your tickets in advance so you don’t miss out!
- Don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Wear sunscreen if you are visiting during summer
For more information about this tour, click here!
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