Back In June 2015, I embarked on my first international solo travel experience. I had done a lot of research to work out which type of experience would suit me best, but eventually settled on a Contiki Tour! I looked extensively into which specific tour I wanted to do based on the cities I hoped to visit. Eventually, I settled on the Best of USA! If you’re unfamiliar with Contiki, essentially they’re a tour company for people all over the world, aged between 18 and 35 years old. So as long as you’re within that age bracket, you can enjoy everything that Contiki has to offer!
Related: Read about my Best of USA Contiki experience here!
The aspect that stood out to me with this tour, was the fact that New York City and Las Vegas were included in the itinerary. Visiting New York City had been a childhood dream of mine, and I wanted to return to Las Vegas because the last time I had visited, I wasn’t 21 yet! That obviously meant I couldn’t fully enjoy what Las Vegas was all about. So I was definitely ready to head back and party Vegas style!
Contiki Tours offer a wide range of extras that are available for an added cost. One of those extras, was the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour. This is an incredible helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, with a champagne lunch at the bottom! As soon as I saw the tour listed on our available extras, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. The Grand Canyon is incredible, and I definitely think it’s one of those must-see-before-you-die landmarks. It’s difficult to explain just how surreal it feels to be there, so you’ll just have to book a tour for yourself!
The Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour: Exploring the Grand Canyon From the Sky!
On our second full day in Las Vegas, a few of us woke up bright and early and caught a 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 onto the tarmac, from the air-conditioned terminal. That being said, once I saw our awesome, bright red helicopter, I forgot about the almost unbearable heat.The Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour is THE best way to experience the Grand Canyon!… Click To Tweet
Our pilot (who’s name I cannot remember, sorry!) was very friendly and explained the tour in great detail. We were handed noise cancellation headphones, and weren’t shy in taking selfies 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 the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, before finally seeing the Grand Canyon in all of its glory. It’s pretty hard to describe just how impressive the Grand Canyon is. I’m sure you’ve seen tons of photos, from every angle possible. But you can’t fully imagine or appreciate just how insanely large and incredible it is, until you’ve seen it in person.
In my opinion, the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour is the best way to experience the Grand Canyon. It’s definitely worth the extra money, as you’ll have an unforgettable experience.
After some incredible photo opportunities of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, the helicopter began to descend and we landed 4,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon! Once everyone had stepped out of the helicopter, we began snapping photos on our phones and cameras. I definitely took advantage of the incredible scenery, to steal some unbeatable selfie opportunities.
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. How many people can say they’ve eaten lunch and had a glass of champagne at the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, even though I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Once lunch was over, we had one last look around the Canyon and snuck in some last minute photos, including selfies with our awesome, bright red helicopter.
The Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour is, in my opinion, the best way to experience the Grand Canyon. It may be a little pricey for some, but if you can manage the cost, I highly recommend booking your own tour. If seeing the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, this is definitely the most incredible way to do so.
The pilots are super friendly, highly knowledgable and will answer any and all of your questions. I am so thankful that Contiki gave me this opportunity, as I probably would have never considered it myself.
Basic information about the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour
Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour by Papillon
Cost: starting at $314
Approximate duration: 4-4.5 hours
Departure: shuttle pick up from (most) major Las Vegas hotels
- Make sure to bring your ID – when checking in at the terminal, you’ll be asked to show ID. Make sure to bring along a valid form of ID (passport if you’re not from the USA, drivers license if you’re a US resident/citizen)
- Book your tickets in advance – 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 – like I’ve mentioned many times within this article, the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour is absolutely incredible, and you will definitely regret not bringing your camera. Charge up those batteries and bring an extra memory card just incase!
- Wear sunscreen and a hat – this is especially important if you’re visiting during summer. Nevada is a desert state, which means summer days are scorching hot. There isn’t much shade at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, so it’s important to wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat!
For more information about the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour, click here!
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