Antelope Canyon, Arizona

While in the Southwest, a lot of our recommendations came from family and friends. We heard about Antelope Canyon from Andrea and Eric, two of our Amster-fam :) Andrea and Eric were also planning a trip to the Grand Canyon area (we overlapped by approximately 10 minutes in which we drank a beer together in the MGM Grand Hotel lobby!!) and they told us that they were really excited for their tour of Antelope Canyon, which they had booked well in advance.So Kai and I looked at some photos of the canyon on Pinterest, were immediately smitten, and booked a tour as well!Antelope Canyon is a stunning, winging sandstone slot canyon just east of Page, Arizona.If you had a desktop computer in the 1990’s, you may recognize the canyon – there was photograph of Lower Antelope Canyon in the old-school Microsoft wallpaper library!!Due to its popularity and its location on Navajo land, Antelope Canyon is only accessible via a licensed tour operator. As it’s not possible to visit the canyon independently, make sure you book a tour in advance if you’d like to visit. We booked our Navajo guide a month ahead of time, and already there were limited time slots available for the day we were interested in!Also note that there are two areas of the canyon open to visitors – Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Both canyons are in Page, Arizona, both have fantastic views of the famous sandstone waves, and they cost about the same to visit. However, Upper Canyon is more accessible, and is famous for its stunning rays of sunlight that beam through the top of the canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon is a bit harder to access, as a series of ladders must be taken to get into the canyon. This means that the crowds are often thinner at Lower Antelope Canyon – so take your pick! Both are beautiful, and worthwhile to visit!Kai and I booked a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon on the website here. It was $136 for two tickets, including transport to and from the canyon in a 4×4 with our guide and 8 other visitors. I do think it was vastly overpriced for a one hour tour. That said, this was the only tour Kai and I booked while in the Southwest, so we didn’t mind shelling out a bit of cash on one special activity. Was it fun to see? Yes! Do we plan on going again for this price? Probably not.Winding through the waving sandstone was a captivating experience, however the sun was nowhere to be seen and the skies were overcast, so we missed out on the famous sunbeams that often pour into the cave. The darker day also meant that photos were a bit tricky to capture in the dim light.Most of my photos came out like this. Lovely, but very unintentionally blurry!I wont bore you with a thousand rock photos, but here are a few of my favorites :)The cave was dark and moody, with glimpses of sunlight peaking through every now and again.

And finally, a non blurry one of Kai and me!Towards the end of our tour, the sun did make a brief appearance. Although not as dramatic as some of the sunbeam photos we had seen online, we were happy to be able to take a non-blurry photo in the canyon thanks to the addition of some sunlight!
After an hour of wandering through the sandstone, our guide surprised us by playing a beautiful song on his flute at the mouth of the canyon, which echoed around our group in a melancholy wave. Crazy enough, that experience has stuck with me more than how the cave looked or felt – being immersed in both beauty and sound at the end of our tour was a very memorable experience.  Afterwards, we all clambered back into the 4×4, and drove back to the tour’s ticket office – which just so happened to be next to an awesome BBQ joint that I will tell you about in my next post!

xo Ali

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