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The Southwestern United States is a very unique place. A rich and diverse
mosaic blends together ancient Native American traditions, the spirit of the
Old West, Hispanic and Spanish influences and more contemporary traditions. The
blend is a culture that is truly “southwestern,” unlike any other area of
Encircled by haunting desert landscapes, mountains and red rock canyons
blooming with brilliant cacti flowers, the city of Phoenix sits among some of
the most amazing scenery in the world. Sedona is so dramatic that Native Americans considered it a sacred place. At
277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is the granddaddy of all red rock formations.
The unique desert geography which has created a close connection between the
land and the people also plays a part in the distinct southwestern lifestyle,
much of it with an outdoor focus.
And so it goes with culture in the Southwest. In addition to being heavily influenced by the land, the culture also incorporates Native American aspects, Spanish influence, Mexican influence, European and Western elements all blended together into a cohesive whole. The visual arts especially intermingle these influences into a style and beauty that belongs to the region alone.
Prices are based on off-peak season. Please call for your preferred date of departure.
Best time to visit: Year-round. Expect snow in the winter months around the Grand Canyon area as this has a higher elevation.
Start in style and put the finishing touches to a memorable holiday with our Chauffeur Drive Service. Your smart, uniformed driver will meet you at your door and whisk you to and from the airport terminal so you are guaranteed a stress-free and relaxing journey. You’ll travel in a showroom condition Mercedes E Class for two people or a sumptuous Viano for families or groups up to six. Please call for further details and prices
Welcome to the Valley of the Sun. By the time you reach Phoenix, you may want to put your feet up and relax. This evening it’s time to enjoy the “whoppin’ taste of Phoenix at one of the top five places to dine in the city.
You’ll love the work of pizza master Chris Bianco at Pizzeria Bianco (623 E. Adams Street) where even the mozzarella is made fresh every morning. Other top notch ingredients like wood roasted onions and fennel sausage are used to create exceptional wood-fired pies. The location in Heritage Square puts you in the middle of Phoenix’s oldest neighborhood. Legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper filled Alice Cooper’stown Restaurant (101 E. Jackson Street) with huge TV screens and rock and roll memorabilia as well as good food. Dine on such casual favorites as Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Tom Brady Bacon Cheddar Burgers.
Nearby, the Compass Arizona Grill has the only rooftop-revolving restaurant in town. Located atop the Hyatt Regency (122 N. Second Street), you can get a 360-degree view as you dine 24 stories up. Also in downtown Phoenix, Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill (401 E. Jefferson Street) overlooks the interior of Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. A private entrance at Gate L lets you eat here even if you’re not attending a game.
Accommodation: In Phoenix, Valley of the Sun- - The Pointe Hilton or the Hyatt Regency or similiar.
Should you prefer to start your holiday in Scottsdale, Valley of the Sun, Arizona.
Accommodation - The Westin Kierland Resort or The Phoenician or similiar. Please call Bon Voyage to discuss which area of The Valley of The Sun suits your holiday needs
This morning it’s time to get your bearings in Phoenix on a half day City Tour with Detours Arizona. Because the city has grown so quickly during the last century, there is a tremendous diversity of culture, heritage and scenery on display. The tour will take you to South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the world, Camelback Mountain, Old Town Scottsdale and the Scottsdale area, the Arizona State Capital, the Paradise Valley area and the central core of Phoenix. Lunch will be at a unique and authentic Arizona restaurant, such as the Sugar Bowl in Old Town Scottsdale or the Farm at South Mountain, a real working farm dating back to the 1920s where lunch is served under the pecan trees.
Once you’re familiar with Phoenix, you can start your own exploration at the beginning, at Pueblo Grande, the location of the 1,500 year old Hohokam village that preceded Phoenix. The central three-acre portion of the village and the 800 year old platform mound used by the Hohokam for ceremonies was first preserved in 1924. Since then, archeologists have continued to excavate here, revealing a continuing stream of new treasures.
The frontier era of Phoenix heritage will be revealed at Historic Heritage Square, where the Rossen House dates from 1895. This Victorian masterpiece illustrates just how far the city had come in the 15 years since its founding as an agricultural outpost. Other buildings in Heritage Square include the 1881 Forest’s Carriage House, all that is left of the Francis Marion Mognett Ranch, the 1909 neoclassical Thomas House which houses the Bar Bianco next to Pizzera Bianco and the Teeter Carriage House that now houses Artlink.
Distance: 114 miles
Right from the start when a group of very hardy souls established a frontier fort near the “water at the foot of black mountain” where Native Americans had lived for 12,000 years, Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American cultures began their timeless blending. Building frontier heritage on strong Native American traditions, by the time America’s Founding Father’s were getting ready to declare independence from the King in 1776, Tucson was home to Spanish settlers following in the footsteps of Coronado who arrived in 1540 looking for the Seven Cities of Gold. Soon all were Mexican citizens until Tucson became a part of the United States in 1854.
Nearly 240 years later, the result of the flawless multi-cultural blending is today’s authentic, integrally melded heritage which celebrates and incorporates elements from each culture into an innovative contemporary city, yet dusted with the touch of a small town. Tucson is large enough to have everything you want and small enough for you to get your arms around it, easily find your way around and understand, enjoy and live it while exploring.
The Sonoran Desert landscape in Tucson may be greener than you anticipate, yet areas of desert punctuated with Saguaro surround the city. The Arizona state symbol stands proudly in a cactus forest in Saguaro National Park. A drive up the Sky Island Scenic Byway takes you through an even larger forest of Saguaros on your way to Mt. Lemmon’s pine treetops. Throughout the Tucson region, dark mountains and bouldered landscapes surround remnants of the Old West intertwined with the New West. Tombstone and Bisbee hark back to the legends of wild west while Texas Canyon appears that it could have come in for a crash landing from the moon. Kitt Peak and the Pima Air Museum feature that cutting edge technology that has allowed man to explore the heavens and beyond. Enjoy it all, Tucson will surprise you!
Accommodation in Tucson: The Lodge on the Desert or the JW Marriott Starr Pass or similiar.
The Presidio Trail, a historical walking tour of downtown Tucson meanders through the oldest part of the city. Even though the original fort and Native American village now lying deep under the streets are under excavation, the northeast corner of the Presidio is being reconstructed on its original site at Church and Washington. Nearby, the Tucson Museum of Art has preserved five historic homes, all classic Sonoran houses that were built in the 1860s. Each has period rooms depicting frontier Tucson. Unique architecture also defines the Telles Block which is filled with Old Town Artisans in row houses surrounding an interior courtyard. You can stop for a sip before touring the shops. On the other side of Congress Street, the St. Augustine Cathedral has a magnificent sandstone façade. Thirty-two structures in all line the trail. They all tell part of the story.
Before leaving downtown, be sure to have lunch at El Charro. Established in 1922, El Charro Café’ is the oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation in the United States. Gourmet Magazine called it a true “taste explosion.” A visit to the Arizona State Museum will be a great way to learn more of the story of the entire region. The Museum itself is authentic, having been established by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1893. The world’s largest collection of whole-vessel Southwest Indian pottery is complemented by 150,000 archeological artifacts. Alongside, one of the nation’s top Navajo textile collections includes some of the earliest and most rare examples of this type of weaving in existence.
For the best of cactus forests, take the Sky Island National Scenic Byway up to the top of Mount Lemmon.
Distance: 295 miles
Lake Havasu was made dramatically more interesting when London Bridge was moved from London to the lake. The bridge, the only thread across the River Thames for nearly four centuries, witnessed phenomenal history over the years. The head of William Wallace was the first to appear on a post on the bridge in 1305. It took until 1967 for the entire bridge, which by then had been replaced in portions several times, to be declared superfluous and put on the market. The London Bridge Historical Ghost Walk reveals the ghosts, the bones and the people of London Bridge.
Today, Lake Havasu is much more than its famous landmark. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Lake Havasu is ideal for water sports, golf, tennis and desert tours. A bit more than 400 miles of stunning coastline delivers exceptional water skiing, kayaking, fishing, and house boating. The lake can also be explored from its beautiful beaches and hiking trails along its perimeter.
The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge protects 30 river miles and 300 miles of shoreline, along the Colorado River from Needles, California, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Here you can see bighorn sheep, reptiles, and endangered bird species.
Accommodation: Hampton Inn or similiar
Distance: 313 miles
The Grand Canyon, a World Heritage Site that encompasses over 1.2 million acres, is a geologic wonder. The immense Canyon averages 4,000 feet deep over its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point, and 15 miles wide at its widest. The Canyon is a mosaic of five of the seven life zones found in all of North America and three of the four desert types found on the continent. In its walls is a record of three of the four eras of geological time, along with a rich variety of fossils. To the delight of visitors, the Canyon serves as an ecological refuge for more than 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammal, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian and 17 fish species.
We encourage you to take advantage of the free shuttle buses that operate throughout the South Rim; they ease congestion and impact on the park and make your visit hassle-free. You can pick up the shuttle at Grand Canyon Village and get off at the South Rim Visitor Center at Canyon View Information Plaza to begin your visit. From there, the canyon rim is only a short stroll away! The eight-mile round-trip on Hermit Road takes you to views of the Colorado River at Hopi, Mohave and Pima Points, as well as to Hermits Rest, a historic landmark with a great view of the river. Desert View Drive, a scenic 25 mile one-way self-drive, delivers sensational views of the Canyon and the Colorado River at Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Desert View.
In addition to the historic Yavapai Observation Station, with its exceptional views, visitor centers on the South Rim include the Desert View Information Center and the Tusayan Museum on Desert View Drive. A visit to the museum provides a glimpse of Pueblo Indian life near the Grand Canyon some 800 years ago. The Kolb Studio, spectacularly located in the Grand Canyon Village Historic District, was the home of the pioneering Kolb brothers who first photographed the Canyon.
Accommodation: El Tovar
While you are enjoying the beauty of the Grand Canyon, you can also enhance your visit with details about its geology, history and natural environment. It’s best to begin with the South Rim Visitor Center and Canyon View information Center. Outdoor exhibits provide good information about the park and what to do when you arrive. Other visitor centers accessible from the South Rim include the Yavapai Observation Station, with spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Information Center, and the Tusayan Museum, on Desert View Drive. A visit to the museum provides a glimpse of Pueblo Indian life near the Grand Canyon some 800 years ago.
The Kolb Studio, located in the Grand Canyon Village Historic District, was the home of the pioneering Kolb brothers who first photographed the Canyon. Verkamp’s Visitor Center has been recently established in another of the canyon’s historic buildings to illustrate the experiences of the people who pioneered settlement in the region and what it was like to work and live on the brink of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Consider also, a 30-minute flight that takes you over the South Rim and the North Rim of the Canyon to enjoy the spectacular views. The Park Service has also recently established 2 minute audio tours available from your cell phone a various points of interest on the South Rim.
Distance: 138 miles
There are times when things created out of necessity become things of great beauty. Lake Powell is one of those instances where water rushing off the desert had to be stopped to prevent flooding.
The result is a beautiful 186-mile long lake with 1,960 miles of shoreline — longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States! You will, of course, want to get out on the lake. There are 96 major canyons, most of which can only be reached by boat. Boats can be rented in Page and at each of the four marinas on Lake Powell. Or you can select from one of many tour boat cruises that range from one hour up to seven hours.
You can experience 15 miles of one of the most dramatic stretches of river in the Western United States on a smooth water float trip on the Colorado River. Departing from Page, you’ll travel through the Glen Canyon Dam access tunnel and board a pontoon raft for the down stream journey. You’ll soon find yourself immersed in soaring sandstone cliffs surrounded by crystal blue-green water and lots of wildlife. Stretch your legs viewing ancient petroglyphs.
Recreation opportunities are also available in the Glen Canyon Recreation area which stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry, Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history. It was established to protect the Colorado Plateau, a vast landscape of colourful buttes, mesas, canyons, and cliffs. Plantsand wildlife have developed unique adaptations to the hot, arid conditions of their environment, contributing to the rich diversity of life in the area. If you do not get onto Lake Powell by boat, go to Antelope Point Marina, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area for a lovely meal on the world’s largest floating restaurant, Ja'di' Tooh.
Accommodation: Lake Powell Resort or similiar
Distance: 99 miles
Monument Valley, which straddles both Utah and Arizona, provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, adverts and holiday brochures. Because of this, the area may seem quite familiar, even on a first visit, but it is soon evident that the natural colours really are as bright and deep as those in all the pictures.
The valley is not a valley in the conventional sense, but rather a wide flat, sometimes desolate landscape, interrupted by the crumbling formations rising hundreds of feet into the air, the last remnants of the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region. Sun up and sun down is an incredible time to be in Monument Valley. During your stay here we thoroughly recemmond a guided jeep tour of the valley.
Accommodation: The View or Goulding's Lodge
Distance: 180 miles
Many say they can feel special spirits in Sedona, others say it’s just the pristine beauty of red rock country here that makes it such a special place. As one would imagine in such a vaunted location, the roots of Sedona date back to a deserted garden and healing spring used by Native Americans for millennia before Europeans arrived. The town’s contemporary roots are much younger. The rugged outposts of Oak Creek Canyon were not claimed until 1876, the same year as Custer’s Last Stand in Montana. It was a Mr. Thompson who discovered the deserted Indian garden and healing spring, but the James family, the next to arrive in the little settlement, who decided that Indian Gardens would be attractive to tourists and began giving place names to the spectacular red rock formations. If you’re up to it, you can climb Bell Rock. Exploring Red Rock State Park will let you get up close and personal with the stunning rock formations on five miles of trails.
The best way to get acquainted with Sedona is on the Sedona Trolley. A 55-minute tour takes you past all the best places in town, including the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church dedicated to art set picturesquely among the spires and pinnacles sculpted by nature on Little Horse Park Rock. The view is astounding and the chapel, a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of life. A second 55-minute Seven Canyons Tour takes in a scenic route west of Sedona, where you’ll be introduced to red rock country.
Accommodation: L' Auberge De Sedona, Poco Diablo or similiar
It may be hard to pull yourself away from your red rock surrounded accommodations, but we highly recommend getting out and about to explore. Slide Rock State Park, the 1907 homestead of the Pendley family, has a unique irrigation system still used in the park today, which enabled the planting of orchards and ultimately the development of Sedona. The park itself is named after Slide Rock, a stretch of slippery creek bottom where you can slide down a natural water chute or wade along the creek.
Verde Canyon Railroad and Verde Canyon, known as Arizona’s other Grand Canyon, west of Sedona, should not be missed. Nesting bald eagles dot the journey, which passes by a series of cliff dwellings shaped by the Sinagua Indians in the 12th century. Don’t be surprised to see deer or javalinas drinking at the edge of the Verde River as the train passes. After travelling through a 680 -foot tunnel with red rock cliffs at the end, the trip ends at the still working Perkins ranch, where the engine switches from one end to the other for the return journey. You’ll not forget the stunning beauty of the canyon on this 4-1/2 hour trip.
You can also get out into Red Rock country with Pink Jeep Tours’ Ultimate 4x4 Jeep Experience, which gets you get over and on the red rocks surrounded by magnificent canyon walls. Savour the views of Chicken Point and Submarine Rock and the thrilling Road of No Return.
Distance: 115 miles
Want to extend your desert adventure? Perhaps a few days by the pool in a sumptuous Scottsdale Spa hotel? Time in Palm Springs? Perhaps, a short flight up to Las Vegas or a few days in New Mexico? Call Bon Voyage to discuss the options available to you.
The great advantage of Bon Voyage Southampton is that they have first hand knowledge of the places you want to visit. They do not read a catalogue and pick out deals they visit and recommend the best places at your budget.
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