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Price Fr. €3215
Selected departures from March to September 2018
Visit the sophisticated metropolis of San Francisco and the iconic Grand Canyon on our outstanding escorted tour to California
|Departure Date:||21 May 2018|
There are few places in the world that generate more iconic imagery than California and the western USA, with even fewer living up to reality! The sights and amazing natural wonders just roll off the tongue, with probably nothing more aptly named than the Grand Canyon. Then there’s Monument Valley, whose towering sandstone pillars are immortalised in countless Westerns, the Painted Desert, Yosemite, the astonishing national parks of Bryce Canyon and Zion and the lofty snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Combine these with the allure of such genuinely unique cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas and you have a destination that simply cannot be matched!
You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Los Angeles. After our afternoon arrival, we transfer to the nearby four-star Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel for one night.
Day 2 - Los Angeles, Santa Monica & San Diego
LA, the city of glitz, glamour, the stars and miles of pristine beaches – it’s all here! This morning we see the best it has to offer – the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Sunset Strip and Santa Monica. During the afternoon we head south, following the coast, to charming San Diego, staying two nights at the three-star Best Western Plus Bayside Inn, close to the waterfront and the city’s ‘Little Italy’ quarter with its many restaurants and cafés.
Day 3 - San Diego
With over 260 days of sunshine a year, San Diego is the classic Southern California city, set around a sweeping bay and numerous sparkling white sand beaches with its beautifully restored Gaslamp Quarter. After an included morning city tour, you are free to experience San Diego’s numerous attractions. A great favourite is the Maritime Museum with its many historical ships, including the Star of India, the HMS Surprise, a replica of an 18th-century frigate which was used in the film Master & Commander’ as well as a Soviet-era submarine. A visit to the USS Midway Museum is particularly fascinating and includes a tour of three decks, 35 types of aircraft and even the option of trying out your own flying skills in a high-tech flight simulator!
During the afternoon, why not dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean? Take the ferry across the bay to Coronado and the Victorian Del Coronado Hotel, used in the film ‘Some Like It Hot’ and host to a multitude of famous names such as Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart and even Edward VIII. Whale watching cruises (February to March is the best time of year) or Harbour cruises to view the US Pacific Fleet are also very popular. Next to the world-famous San Diego Zoo are the 1,200 acres of Balboa Park, the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi with 15 museums and numerous other attractions, all set amidst wonderful sub-tropical gardens and fountains.
Day 4 - Mojave Desert, Yuma & Pheonix
Today we leave the coast driving towards Kingman in Arizona, climbing to 4000 ft passing through the Cleveland National forest, descending towards the wide plains of the lower Mojave Desert. Heading north we cross the Colorado River through Moabi regional Park into Arizona. Then onto the Oatman Highway part of the original USA Route 66 to Kingman staying at the Best Western Plus King’s Inn with breakfast.
Day 5 - Sedona & Grand Canyon
Today our journey continues along a section of the original USA Route 66 on our way to the Grand Canyon. When you first experience this great chasm. When you first experience this great chasm, the grandeur is truly overwhelming, almost beyond the grasp of human imagination and one of the few sights in the world that mere words can never, ever describe! Photographs or mere statistics just cannot prepare you for such gigantean scale: over a mile deep, with rocks as old as the earth itself. Its mind-boggling series of shapes, colours and glaring desert light; contrast with jet black shadows, formed by pinnacles of rock interspersed by stark promontories. The south rim extends for 14 miles and we visit some of the best viewing points, each one providing a different perspective over the constantly changing panorama. Our hotel is the three-star Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn, just outside the National Park.
Day 6 - Grand Canyon & Monument Valley
This morning you have the option of taking a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight for the ultimate panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, a truly magical display of natural beauty! As the light gradually grows ever stronger, the crisp shadows rapidly shorten and the greys and blues change to reds, yellows and ochres in a kaleidoscope of intensive colour. It is at moments such as these that you truly feel the might of Mother Nature! From the Desert View Watchtower we have our final, lingering look over the canyon with the meandering Colorado River visible in the distance, before crossing the Painted Desert, through the vast 16 million-acre Navajo Indian Reservation, towards Monument Valley. Arriving a few hours before sunset, this is the best time to view the incredible flat-topped towers of red sandstone that rise so dramatically from the surrounding barren desert, with the softer light affording ideal photographic conditions. Here, the bustle of civilization seems so far away and as the sun sets there is an amazing and almost magical stillness in the air. For those wishing to see the Valley from a different perspective and gain a greater understanding of its historical significance we have the option of a guided 4x4 tour by a local Navajo Indian. Tonight we stay at the three-star Monument Valley Inn in the nearby small community of Kayenta.
Day 7 - Glen Canyon Dam & Bryce Canyon National Park
After an early start we arrive at the town of Page just next to the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River and whose building created the vast Lake Powell. We then cross into the Mormon state of Utah and climb to almost 8,000ft as we arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park. Created by thousands of years of erosion, Bryce Canyon presents an almost surreal landscape of multi-hued and delicate rock pinnacles – a quite exceptional, strange and exotic topography with a uniquely fragile quality.
We stay in the three-star Best Western Ruby’s Inn, just a mile outside the park.
Day 8 - Zion National Park & Las Vegas
This morning we continue to Zion National Park where the scenery is made up of layers of petrified sand dunes, hundreds of feet thick as well as huge sheer cliffs and gorges. Unlike the Grand Canyon and Bryce, we reach the bottom of the main canyon experiencing a completely new perspective. Leaving Zion in the afternoon we drive towards the glittering bright lights of Las Vegas, the glow of which can be seen from thirty miles.
Our hotel for two nights is the stylish four–star Tropicana Resort & Casino superbly situated in the vibrant heart of the Vegas ‘strip’. Tonight we have the option of a ‘Vegas by Night’ tour, probably the best time to appreciate its unique atmosphere with everything bathed in a glow of all-encapsulating neon, so brash it’s almost an art form.
Day 9 - Free Day, Las Vegas
Today we have a full day at leisure to explore the self-styled ‘entertainment capital of the world’ which really is everything you expect it to be. It’s an almost surreal apparition growing out of the desert! It’s where the world’s most renowned sights and cities such as Venice, Paris, New York and even the Pyramids have been recreated in such detail. You can even take a trip on a gondola on a canal on the 1st floor of one of the hotels! Whatever your opinion and taste, shocked or captivated, you cannot fail to be impressed! Tours by helicopter are also available to the west rim of the Grand Canyon. This is the only section of the canyon where helicopters are permitted to actually fly and even land on the canyon floor itself. This evening why not take in a show? Always amongst the most impressive in the world, you are assured of a memorable night whichever one you choose.
Day 10 - Sierra Nevada & Yosemite National Park
Today we leave Las Vegas driving through the barren Mojave Desert. Our route skirts the famous Edwards Air Force base, before climbing even higher through the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. On reaching the peak, literally from one minute to the next the climate changes from the burning heat of the desert to temperate grasslands and forest as we cross the Tehachapi Pass and travel through the vast fertile plains of the San Joaquin Valley. This evening, we stay at the three-star Yosemite Southgate Hotel in Oakhurst just outside Yosemite National Park.
Day 11 - Yosemite National Park & San Francisco
This morning we enter the park and drive through incredible scenery to Yosemite Valley itself where we are confronted by one of the most staggering views in the USA: a deep, lushly forested valley encircled by the steely grey vastness of sheer granite cliffs and domes rising by over 4,000ft on all sides, bisected by some of the highest waterfalls in North America. Dominated by the granite monolith of El Capitan on one side and the instantly recognisable Half Dome on the other, it is impossible not to find your heart touched by this overwhelming natural grandeur. We then continue to Sonora and stay at the Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks for one night.
Day 12 - San Francisco
We travel to San Francisco this morning and stay at the four-star Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel for two nights. For many, San Francisco will be one of the highlights of the tour. From its beginnings as a 19th century mining boomtown to the sophisticated metropolis you see today, it is simply one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world. Nestling on a bay astride the blue Pacific Ocean, dominated by the instantly recognisable Golden Gate Bridge, the city spreads out over forty-three steep hills on one side and a vibrant green carpet of forests on the other.
This afternoon we have a guided tour of the city, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Park and enjoy splendid city views from Twin Peaks. The rest of the afternoon is at leaisure.
Day 13 - Free Day, San Francisco
Our final full day and there’s still so much to do! You can amble through Chinatown, the largest outside Asia, and wonder at the pagodas and oriental markets. Or perhaps take a stroll down to the renovated Ferry Plaza Building on the waterfront, converted into a huge alfresco Farmers’ Market every Saturday. Try the once predominantly Italian North Beach, still home to innumerable bistros, delis and bakeries, which during the 50’s attracted the bohemian writers and avant-garde artists of the Beatnik movement. And don’t forget the Haight-Ashbury district and the ‘Summer of Love’ for which San Francisco is still famous today. Alternatively, there’s an optional trip to visit Muir Woods, a US National Monument, which contains a unique 560-acre stand of giant 300-foot high Coast Redwoods. The trip also visits the quaint artists’ colony of Sausalito.
Our flights depart in the late afternoon, so why not use your final morning for some last minute shopping – Macy’s department store is always popular and is located very centrally on nearby Union Square.
We arrive back after a very special tour, the memories of which will last a lifetime.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room with single rooms available at the relevant supplement. Price includes scheduled direct flights to Los Angeles and returning from San Francisco; all transfers; thirteen nights’ accommodation on room only basis in three and four-star hotels and four continental breakfasts; all tours and National Park entrance fees as mentioned; hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person; the services of a Rivera Travel tour manager.
Included excursions are: guided city tours of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Visits to Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion Park and Yosemite National Park and Las Vegas.
Not included: There are several optional excursions available during this tour which are to be arranged with the tour manager in resort. You will be advised of these and the relevant prices within your final travel documents.
Los Angeles - four-star Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel(www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/hilton-los-angeles-airportl). The property is just a couple minutes’ drive outside the airport, ideal after a long flight. There’s a large free-form outdoor pool, jacuzzi and fitness room. Dining options include an all-day Bistro restaurant with Starbucks coffee, a sports bar and Andiamo, specialising in northern Italian cuisine. The 1,234 rooms are all spacious, comfortably furnished and feature Hilton’s Serenity bedding, with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, iron/iron board, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge) and tea/coffee-maker.
San Diego - the three-star Best Western Bayside Inn (www.baysideinn.com) is in downtown San Diego, three blocks, or a 10 minute stroll, from the bay and the famous Maritime Museum. The city’s Little Italy quarter starts just opposite the hotel and is full of plenty of interesting places to eat. The hotel has small outdoor heated pool and the Bayside bar & grill (closed weekends). All the well-appointed 122 rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathroom & hairdryer, iron/iron board, free wireless internet, cable TV, writing desk, microwave & fridge, coffee-maker and a small balcony with bay or city views. A complimentary breakfast buffet and newspapers are available each morning.
Phoenix - the three-star Hampton Inn Phoenix North/Happy Valley(http://hamptoninn.hilton.com), located in Happy Valley, a suburb north of central Phoenix. It’s within easy walking distance of the Happy Valley Town centre . There is a comfortable lobby with free wireless internet and complimentary tea/coffee all day, a snack shop, breakfast room, outdoor pool and fitness room on the premises, plus plenty of varied dining choices and shopping within walking distance. There are 125 comfortable rooms with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom & hairdryer, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, free wireless internet, iron/iron board and coffee-maker. A complimentary breakfast buffet is available daily - 2017 departures only
Phoenix - the three-star Best Western Plus King's Inn & Suites - Kingman(http://kingmanazhotels.h.bestwestern.com) located on the historic Route 66. There is an outdoor pool (heated seasonally), undercover hot tub, fitness room and spa. For evening dining there is a choice of restaurants within walking distance from the hotel to choose from. The 100 comfortable rooms with shower or bath, iron/board, hairdryer, TV, coffee/tea making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi - 2018 departures only
Grand Canyon, Tusayan - the three-star superior Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn(www.grandcanyonsquire.com) is situated near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon National Park. The hotel benefits from having a couple of restaurants offering local and international cuisine, a coffee shop and Fireside lounge, there is also an outdoor pool (seasonal) and a spa tub. The 250 newly refurbished spacious rooms have air conditioning, TV, coffee maker, hairdryer and safe.
Kayenta, Monument Valley – the three-star Monument Valley Inn(www.kayentamonumentvalleyinn.com/) is a motel-style property located in the small community of Kayenta, within the largest Indian Reservation in the USA and just a few miles from Monument Valley. The hotel has a small outdoor pool, a restaurant and fitness room. The 164 spacious rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, iron/iron board and coffee-maker.
Bryce Canyon – the three-star Best Western Ruby’s Inn (www.rubysinn.com) is located just a mile from the park entrance. There’s an impressive wood-panelled lobby, an indoor heated pool & Jacuzzi, a popular buffet restaurant and a separate fast-food outlet as well as an indoor dining & entertainment venue with a wild-west dinner show (summer months). There’s a large general store on the premises and several shops across the road, as well as a small evening rodeo (Wed-Sat) in the summer months. The 370 comfortable rooms are in motel-style blocks and all have air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, free wireless internet, writing desk, iron/iron board, fridge, microwave and tea/coffee-maker.
Las Vegas – the recently-renovated four-star Tropicana Resort & Casino (www.troplv.com) is perfectly located right on the famous Las Vegas ‘strip’. The hotel has a casino, three dining venues, evening entertainment, a nightclub and four acres of tropical landscaped gardens including one of the best pools in Vegas, plus a fitness centre & spa. The 1,375 spacious well-appointed rooms all have air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom with hairdryer, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge), iron/iron board and tea/coffee-maker.
Oakhurst, Yosemite National Park – the three-star Yosemite Southgate Hotel is located in the small town of Oakhurst in the hills a few miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. There’s a small outdoor pool, fitness room and breakfast room. There’re several local restaurants within walking distance. The 80 spacious rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, iron/iron board and coffee-maker. A complimentary simple continental breakfast is available daily.
Sonora – the three-star Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks (www.bwsonoraoaks.com) is a short distance to Yosemite National Park, located in the heart of Gold Country and nestled under a grove of ancient oaks in the Columbia Historic Park area of the Sierra Foothills Is the Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks hotel. There is an outdoor pool (heated seasonally), spa and a restaurant and lounge offering international food options. The 101 rooms of the hotel are comfortable, and well-appointed with coffee/tea maker, hairdryer and safe
San Francisco - The four-star Marriott Marquis is a modern hotel overlooking the open space of the Yerba Buena Garden, close to Union Square and in the trendy ‘South of Market’ district. The hotel is famous for ‘The View Lounge’ on the property’s 39th floor, with huge picture-windows offering panoramic city-wide views, pictured above. There’s also the Mission Street Pantry, ideal for on-the-go meals, snacks and coffee, as well as the hotel’s main restaurant at lobby level. One of San Francisco’s larger properties, its 1,500 comfortable and air-conditioned rooms have bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, iron/board, mini-fridge, cable TV and tea/coffee-maker - 2017 departures only
San Francisco - The four star Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf (http://www.sheratonatthewharf.com/) centrally located in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco near to Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square and Alcatraz Island. The hotel’s Sol Breakfast Café with an outdoor living room is an ideal spot for a traditional American breakfast. The open-air lobby features The Link@Sheraton Café perfect for a coffee or light snack of American cuisine with complimentary wifi. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, fitness room and spa. The 531 very comfortable rooms have a bath/shower, hairdryer, a/c, iron/board, safe, TV, coffee/tea making facilities and wifi connection (chargeable) - 2018 departures only
Swimming pools in the USA: outdoor pools may be closed early or late in the season.