New Year's week holiday in Las Vegas is fast approaching and now's a great time to take a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon while seats are still available and cheap.
Las Vegas is a major hub for Grand Canyon flights and that's why you can get great prices. To get the lowest, book your tour online and in advance. Further, you must complete the booking online to qualify for the discount rate.
There are two kinds of flights you can take from Las Vegas: flyover and landing tours. Both kinds go over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, Fortification Hill and the Colorado River before reaching the Canyon.
Fast & Cheap
Flyover tours, which are the fastest way to enjoy the Canyon, go over the National Park before heading back to Las Vegas. These tours are also the least expensive and are great options for travelers on a budget.
I personally prefer the landing tours, and especially the one that goes to the bottom for a Champagne Picnic. You get up to 30 minutes to explore the base and toast the National Park. Many upgrade their package to include a Colorado River boat ride and a VIP Skywalk pass.
The Skywalk, by the way, is an all-glass bridge that lets you walk some 75 feet over the bottom, which is 4,000 feet under your feet! The views are spectacular, especially the ones of Eagle and Guano Points.
Basic & Deluxe
Vegas helicopters come in basic and deluxe. The main difference is the helicopter. On basic tours, you'll be in the smaller Bell Ranger or AStar. Deluxe tours, by contrast, use the Ecostar 130, which is 25 percent bigger than the basic helicopters, includes a 180-degree wraparound window and boasts theater-style bucket seats.
Deluxe tours also include a limousine for pick up and drop off at your Las Vegas Strip hotel. Finally, these packages also include an extended tour of the Las Vegas Strip right, from downtown in the north to Mandalay Bay in the south.
It's winter here in Las Vegas and the Canyon so please dress comfortably warm. Helicopters have excellent climate control so you won't have to worry about the cold once in the cabin. However, if you take a landing tour, will be exiting the aircraft and you should dress in layers.
Tours depart at multiple times throughout the day and the best times in my opinion are mid-morning and sunset. I recommend the former because visibility is best and the air is smooth and the later because dusk is a magical time at the bottom and on the approach to Vegas when the lights turn on.
Las Vegas is a great place for New Year's and a great place from which to take a helicopter tour. My preference is for landing tours, and most definitely the one that goes to the bottom for a Champagne picnic. Further, I recommend you book your tour online and in advance in order to get the best price. And, finally, take a deluxe package as that one includes the EcoStar 130, which is the better helicopter.