Las Vegas: Grand Canyon flight with Papillon Helicopters

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

This year I’ve been lucky enough to tick a fair few things off my extremely long bucket list. Regular readers of my blog may know it all started in November with a mammoth celebration in Las Vegas for my 40th.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Part of that trip included visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world – The Grand Canyon. It’s located 275 miles west of Las Vegas in the state of Arizona. I would have loved to have experienced the five-hour road trip, however on this trip time constraints played a major role. So what’s a girl to do but live her Airwolf dream and fly over the canyon with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters.

Papillon offer a range of airborne excursions with a variety of ways to explore the magnificent landscape and history. One in particular had my name written all over it – The Grand Celebration Tour. It takes 4.5 hours door-to-door from your hotel. The offering of a champagne lunch had me hooked. A helicopter flight and champagne on landing- could it get any more lavish?

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

We were collected from our hotel and travelled to Boulder City airport. On arrival you’re checked in and weighed. Don’t worry they don’t announce it on a tannoy and no alarms sound if you tip the scales. It’s just to ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the aircraft for safety.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Once up in the air I was surprised at the smoothness of the flight considering the lightweight aircraft I was whizzing around in. You’re immediately captivated by the stunning aerial views of the Mojave desert beneath you and that’s just the beginning.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Before long we were drinking in the most spectacular views of the world-famous Hoover Dam. The engineering marvel stretches 1,224 feet across the Black Canyon and provides electricity for a whole region. An instagram architectural geek, I was in snap happy heaven.

Our pilot kept us up to speed with all the other panoramic views such as the Grand Wash Cliffs, which mark the southwestern perimeter of the Colorado Plateau.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

The deep blue Lake Mead popped with colour against the dry Mojave desert. Formed by the Hoover Dam it’s the largest reservoir in the United States.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Finally we entered Grand Canyon West, and its sheer immensity is breathtaking. Measuring 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep, this is one hell of a big hole! Carved out by the mighty Colorado river over the past six million years or so, revealing the earth’s history layer by layer.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

We touched down and disembarked 4,000 feet below the rim of the Canyon. Completely speechless standing in the basin, looking up I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. It’s quite a humbling experience being surrounded by walls representing two billion years of the earth’s history. A stark reminder that human beings are quite small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Feeling like I was on location with both Planet Earth II and Westworld I could sense myself starting to get all philosophical. Thankfully our pilot swiftly laid out the champagne picnic which soon had me back to my giddy self. The mini hamper contained a sandwich, crisps, fruit and a sweet treat. It was just like being on a school trip but on a grand scale in a completely different league of its own with booze. OK, so nothing like a school trip at all but you catch my drift.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

We probably had around 25 minutes once we landed to eat and explore the immediate area. It all went too quickly for me. I didn’t feel like I had quite enough time to enjoy just being in the moment. Although drinking champagne surrounded by the magnificent Grand Canyon is now my best drinking spot to date. An incredible experience nonetheless.

I’d definitely recommend Papillon Helicopters especially if you’re pressed for time. Although expensive at $364 it is a once in a lifetime experience for many of us. I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary upgrade (usually $50 extra) to sit in the front with the pilot. From start to finish it was a dream come true.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Have you recently ticked anything off your bucket list? Let me know in the comments box below.



You can also read my post on Las Vegas: 7 absolute must-dos to rock your trip.


Las Vegas: Grand Canyon



  1. 1st January 2017 / 7:38 pm

    Wow, what a trip Sima. Southwest USA is definitely on my bucket list.. ️️

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      1st January 2017 / 8:00 pm

      It was amazing Aaron! The ultimate would be to do a ranch break in Utah/Montana.

  2. 1st January 2017 / 9:30 pm

    This looks absolutely incredible! I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam but my parents went last year and said it was spectacular and my hubby (who has been to over 70 countries) still says it’s the most incredible sight he’s seen anywhere in the world so it’s high high time I plan a trip and would love to do the helicopter ride there if I do. The picnic looks like such a lush touch. It is worth splurging for those once in a lifetime experiences I think. We recently did a balloon ride in Myanmar. The cost was well above anything I would normally entertain for something like that but after we did it, I had no regrets as it was so magical and no doubt, your helicopter ride was the same. Incredible views and happy belated birthday!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      1st January 2017 / 11:02 pm

      It really was worth every penny Shikha! The world is full of so many amazing experiences, most of which we’ll never witness. When the opportunity arises & if I have the means I relish those one in a lifetime experiences.
      I’d love to dona hot balloon ride. Another one for my list

  3. 4th January 2017 / 8:42 pm

    We did this but flew in from McCarren Airport, it was the trip of a lifetime we loved it so much such a surreal experience, and the views over the Hoover Dam were incredible, as was the eeriness of being inside the canyon. Thanks so much for linking up and have a great 2017 #MondayEscapes xxx

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      4th January 2017 / 10:09 pm

      Thanks Sarah. And yes definitely a trip of a lifetime. I was speechless when I landed, totally gobsmacked by the vastness.

  4. 4th January 2017 / 9:52 pm

    OMG LOVE this Sima!! The ‘Grand Celebration Tour’ no-less 😉 – you partied in style girl and I’m so pleased! What a gorgeous day for it too!! xx

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      4th January 2017 / 10:11 pm

      Maggie it was out of this world, such an amazing experience. And boy did I party in style. I chose the right place for it! x

  5. 6th January 2017 / 1:17 am

    What a fabulous bucket-list tick off! I was sold on this idea when you mentioned a champagne lunch and I agree, there is no more lavish way to travel than a helicopter door-to-door and champagne, absolutely fabulous dah-ling 🙂 As for the views and your photos – oh yes they are definitely breathtaking, wow is all I can say! I love bucket lists and I have a few things I wish to tick off this year starting with Songkran in Thailand! 2017 is going to be my year of travel as we are just at the beginning of our full-time travelling adventure around the world!! #MondayEscapes

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th January 2017 / 10:39 am

      Thank you Angie. I’m left with great memories from that trip. How fantastic for you – full time travelling around the world sounds like THE dream to me. I can’t wait to hear about what you get up x

  6. 6th January 2017 / 9:20 am

    I loved this part of my Vegas trip. What a fantastic way to celebrate your birthday!!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th January 2017 / 10:40 am

      The best bit I reckon! It was one hell of a way to celebrate a biggie x

  7. 6th January 2017 / 10:33 am

    Amazing post and pictures! I was lucky enough to visit the Grand Canyon last year and tick it off my bucketlist too!! It’s such an amazing place but it is hard to comprehend how big it actually is.

    Holly x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th January 2017 / 10:41 am

      I know what you mean Holly. Exciting as it was to be there, I found it quite a humbling experience.

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