Grand Canyon helicopter rides are offered by plenty of tour operators. However, you can make your choice easy if you want to pick a fantastic tour, just choose a flight on a Maverick helicopter. There just isn't a better choice.
The Grand Canyon helicopters that tour the South Rim lift off from an airport in the tiny town of Tusayan, Arizona. The company's West Rim tours fly out of Las Vegas. There are no helicopters that fly from Vegas to the South Rim. However, you can book a tour package with Maverick that includes an airplane flight from Las Vegas to the South Rim where you can then transfer to a helicopter to tour the rim.
It only takes an airplane a little more than 45 minutes to fly from Vegas to the South Rim. Compare that to a package that includes a 5-hour bus ride just to get to the South Rim! For that reason alone, I think Maverick's plane package is by far the best option for Las Vegas-South Rim travelers.
The helicopters used for West Rim tours depart from a couple of locations in Vegas. The Maverick tour helicopters lift off from the Henderson Executive Airport or from a helipad on the Vegas Strip, which is very convenient. The airport in Henderson is farther away, but you can still get there in about 15 minutes, so it is a quick ride. In any case, it is much better than flying out of the Boulder City Municipal Airport, which is where a lot of tour companies operate from. It's a 40-minute shuttle ride just to get to that airfield.
Maverick is also the tour operator with the most EcoStar 130 choppers. These helicopters are designed for the purpose of sightseeing, so they offer the ultimate experience for your tour. The huge wraparound window offers amazing views and the cabin offers plenty of comfy legroom. The seats are arranged stadium style, so every passenger has a great view.
When you book a helicopter tour out of Vegas, you can choose an air-only tour or one that lands at the canyon. The good thing about booking a tour with Maverick, is all the fun activities they pack in their tours. For instance, you can add on an aerial tour of the Vegas Strip, a view of the Valley of Fire, and a fun champagne picnic at the bottom of the canyon (choppers can fly down to the canyon floor at the West Rim but not at the South Rim).
Maverick tours of the South Rim give you 30 or 50 minutes of air time depending on the tour you choose. Although the shorter flight is great if you don't have much time, I always suggest taking the longer version whenever that's possible. You'll get to cover a lot more ground when you book the longer tour and that means you'll see a lot more beautiful sights.
All Maverick helicopter tours include complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off (a nice perk because Vegas traffic can be hard to deal with), lunch (except for air-only flights), the services of a professional tour guide, and all applicable park fees and taxes. You won't have to worry about anything because it's all included in your tour.
Maverick isn't the cheapest choice you could make, but I think it's the best. You'll have a superior experience, so the money is well spent. Also, if you book your tour on the company's website, you'll get the best price available. The Internet rate is usually much lower than the usual retail price.
You should book your Grand Canyon tour in advance. Many travelers prefer the 5-star tours offered by Maverick, so they sell out pretty fast. By all means, stay away from same-day bookings. You may not be able to find a seat, and if you do, it will cost much more than you'd have to pay if you book at least a week or so in advance.
Tips from the Author
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