Read on to learn how this company:
1. Grossly misrepresented what was included in the tour
2. Failed to pre-arrange for part of the tour (local Navajo guide never contacted)
3. Is nothing more than a booking service - They are not the tour operator.
4. Charges you at least $120 to $140 per person more than you would spend if you booked it yourself.
1. GROSS MISREPRESENTATION
a. We were told that we would leave Williams, AZ at 6:30 am and return to Williams, AZ at 5:30 pm. This is not true. The earliest we could have expected to get back (we learned later) to Williams was 7:00 pm but for us we did not get back until 8:30 pm because they forgot to book part two of the tour with the local tour guide. More on that later.
b. We were told that it was "a couple hours'" drive to the marina where we would start our tour. This was wrong. It was almost four hours drive each way.
c. We were told that the boat tour portion would include a ride through marble canyon. Not true. We did get a boat tour but it barely left the marina and it only took us through Antelope Canyon, which was pretty in its own right but was not the same stunning beauty as was represented in the photo we were shown of Marble Canyon.
d. We were told that we would be having lunch in the world's largest floating restaurant. Not true. We were given a box lunch that consisted of a sandwich on white bread, an apple and a bag of chips.
2. FAILED TO PRE-ARRANGE PART OF THE TOUR
a. We were told that the second part of our tour would be led by a local Navajo Indian guide. The agent told us how great this guide is and that he would be playing his pan flute for us as part of that section of the tour. Apparently The Grand Canyon Store forgot to book the time with the Navajo guide and so when we all got off the boat and up the ramp to meet the guide, he was no where to be found.
b. After an hour of sitting around and waiting, our bus driver announced that he was going to cancel part two and take us back to Flagstaff. We all piled into the van and started the drive back. Twenty minutes in to the drive, someone from the Grand Canyon Store called our driver and told him to turn around. They had apparently managed to secure a different guide for the walk through Antelope Slot Canyon. No flute playing though.
3. BOOKING SERVICE - NOT A TOUR OPERATOR
a. The boat tour is not operated by The Grand Canyon Store. We got off the van and boarded a vessel wholly operated by a separate company. The ten or so people that rode in our van were joined by other tourists who drove to the marina on their own and who booked passage on the boat tour separately.
b. The walking tour through Antelope Slot Canyon is not operated by The Grand Canyon Store. This tour and access to this canyon is wholly operated by local Navajo and Sazi tribes.
4. SAVE AT LEAST $120 OR MORE PER PERSON - BOOK IT YOURSELF
a. The savings you can achieve increase with more people because you will share in total gasoline expenses. Also, access fees to the marina and to the Slot Canyon location are "per vehicle" so the more people you have in your car the less you spend per person.
b. The Grand Canyon Store charges $229 + tax per person for this combo tour to Antelope Canyon on the water and Antelope Slot Canyon on land (these two sites are roughly ten minutes apart by car). The cost to do the boat tour alone is $49. The cost to do the Antelope Slot Canyon walking tour is $30. So, for roughly $80 each you get both the experiences but you would need to drive yourself. OK factor in $40 to $80 in gas depending on what you drive and an additional $40 in access fees per vehicle. For us, we figured if we drove ourselves and booked these mini tours by ourselves, we could have done it for $120 each including fees and gasoline for a total of $240 for two. We paid The Grand Canyon Store $480 including taxes for two and the experience was not what was promised.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Had we known then what we know now we would never have booked this trip with The Grand Canyon Store. Especially now since despite ALL these problems the company has refused to refund any portion of what we paid. We will never do business with them again and we hope you rely on this review to make an informed decision about whether you want to do business with The Grand Canyon Store when traveling and exploring Flagstaff, Williams, Sedona or The Grand Canyon.
Here is the link to the boat tour we were taken on. It appears as though if you book online, the cost is only $41.77 each (the pricing on the sign inside the office was $49.95)
Here is the link to the Antelope Slot Canyon walking tour we went on. The price varies from $36 each to $50 each depending on how long you want your tour to last and what time of day you go. http://www.antelopeslotcanyon.com/tours/antelope.html