Las Vegas, NV, October 11, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- As the U.S. federal government enters the second week of the shutdown, all National Parks remain closed, including the Grand Canyon. Despite the situation, more than 95 percent of guided canyon trips are running on schedule.
"There are only a handful of tours affected by the shutdown," said Keith Kravitz, owner of Grand Canyon 123, the leader in canyon trip information. "The ones suspended are bus and airplane tours from Las Vegas and Phoenix, AZ."
The cancelled trips Kravitz is referring to are the Las Vegas bus tours to the South Rim; Phoenix bus tours to the South Rim; and Las Vegas airplane tours to the South Rim. "The reason why these tours are cancelled," Kravitz said, "is because they include a ground tour inside the National Park, which, unfortunately, is closed until further notice."
Travelers who are visiting the South Rim, however, do have options. "Helicopter and airplane tours are departing from Grand Canyon National Park Airport on the hour," Kravitz reported. "This is due to the fact that the airport is located outside Park boundaries."
South Rim helicopter tours include a 30-minute and 50-minute flight. "The shorter one goes from the South Rim to the North Rim and back and includes the Dragoon Corridor, the widest, deepest section of the canyon,” Kravitz said. “It should also be noted that there's a basic version of this trip and it's the cheapest option."
Kravitz, however, said the 50-minute South Rim flight is the best value: "This one does everything the shorter flight does as well as everything up to the eastern border. By the time this flight is completed, a traveler will have seen up to 75 percent of the Park."
At the West Rim, it's business as usual.
"This rim is not part of the National Park so it's unaffected by the shutdown," said Kravitz. "This means that Las Vegas travelers can purchase all West Rim bus tours, helicopter rides and airplane tours. The bus tour that’s getting lots of business is the one that includes tickets to the Grand Canyon Skywalk."
“Helicopter and airplane air-only and landing tours are also available,” he continued. “If an air tour is being considered, go with a landing tour. In the case of helicopters, there's one that lands at the bottom with a Champagne picnic. For airplanes, try the one that comes with Skywalk tickets."
Kravitz recommends that travelers book canyon tours in advance. "Air tours in particular are selling out, especially at the South Rim because they are the only way to see the National Park," he said. "My suggestion is to book your trip at least a week or more in advance."
To get the best deal on tours, book online. "Great prices are on the Web," he said. "However, make sure to complete the entire transaction online in order to qualify for the Internet discount. Travelers who do this ensure that the promotional rate is locked in."
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