04 Jan 2012 - 06 Jan 2012
I stopped here on the way to Hawaii...some things I feel people should know.
1) LA is HUGE. The airport is super far from the hotel in downtown and cab rides not cheap. If you do take public transit, it takes awhile with multiple stops/getting off and on. Getting around, even on double decker bus tours, is long and slow. The downtown double decker that is supposed to loop to hollywood was either not operating that day and we spent valuable time waiting for it and it never came. We ended up waiting for 2 hours before finally grabbing a subway to hollywood.
I would recommend renting a car (if I ever go back, I will definitely do this so I can see more). Because it takes so much time, we didn't get to see as much as we'd liked to. For a stopover, the hotel was too far from the airport in my opinion.
2) The hotel is downtown...so most of the main attractions (hollywood, venice beach, santa monica, etc.) are again, FAR. Downtown is a definitely a seedier area but the hotel was nice, safe, clean and comfortable. Just at night I felt uncomfortable walking around down there, it was hard to find a nice place to eat...but we did get some great sushi as we (the hotel) was in the Japanese village.
3) Disneyland/City walk were super far away too. We went to citywalk on a wednesday and it was totally dead. All that travel for nothing really...Just felt like we spent a lot of time getting places for not much of a payoff.
4) Just a tip - so hot during the day, freezing at night in January :) bring a sweater if not a full change of clothes for nighttime.
Overall it was nice to see LA for the first time and we had a great time at the Chinese theatre comparing hand and foot sizes to the celebrities. We saw a few things at a glimpse/distance that were memorable (i.e. beverly hills) but I feel I need to go back and do it a little differently next time so I can truly get the LA experience I was hoping for.'
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
04 Dec 2011 - 06 Dec 2011
While LA explorer got you a hop on- hop off bus tour (which was a really great way to see a lot of the city and Santa Monica), there was not much else, and the Kyoto Hotel was a bit far away from everything. I would recommend exploring LA on your own.
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
28 Aug 2011 - 31 Aug 2011
I did this tour last summer in the last week of August. I absolutely loved it! I met a lot of people from different parts of the world and cities from where I'm from (Canada).
The tour itself was structured well. The first day you do a lot of walking with the tour manager, and then get on a coach bus and go to the different parts of L.A. In the night you have free time. This goes the same for the next two days where you have the freedom to do what you like and the tour manager will give advice when you want it. In all I loved this trip, but the downside was that the tour manager never asked the group if we wanted a group photo the first day. Personally, I would've wanted one but he completely skipped over that and I think it was a loss for all the tour members. Other than that, it was a great trip, my first time going alone and I loved it! I definitely recommend it :D
Review written Mar 2012event 0.3
25 Sep 2010 - 28 Sep 2010
My LA explorer trip experience wasn't the best. It was a convenient way to see parts of LA without having to figure out public transport, but it wasn't well organized or run efficiently. Our tour manager couldn't find the restaurant where we were supposed to have our welcome dinner, so we spent a ridiculous amount of time walking the streets at night trying to find it. On the day we went to Disneyland, our tour manager got us there at 7:30am, dropped us off and left. We then soon found out that Disneyland didn't open until 10am. Fair to say that we were all pretty annoyed. Having to wait 2.5hrs for it to open was not good.
Kind of felt that the tour manager should have known a bit more about the tour and should have known a bit more basic information.
Our day of sight seeing in LA was probably the best day. It was an easy way to see parts of LA as the contiki bus drove us everywhere. But, we weren't given much time in each place we stopped.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend the tour. It was an easy way to see LA, but it was unorganized and not run well.
Review written Dec 2011event 0.3
17 Jul 2011 - 20 Jul 2011
Landed into LAX airport walked to the super shuttle bus stop to get to the fabulous Kyoto Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Dropped my luggage off in the room and found my roommate and other tour mates, It was like we already knew each other and it was like old friends catching up.
7pm Pre departure meeting met Kelly our Tour Manager. Signed up for our fun optional's and chose our dinner meal. After wards some of us took the Hotel shuttle (very handy by the way) to LA Live (Staple Center), 10 minutes from the hotel by shuttle, probably a 15-20 minute walk (but i wouldn't recommend on walking). Went to Wolfgang puck bar & grill for supper.
Day 1. 7am, walking tour with "Mike the Poet" - very entertaining tour guide and very passionate about his city. Arrived back at the hotel 10am, climbed onto the Contiki coach and drove around Los Angeles.
Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills., Hollywood Blvd, Drove down Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kodak Theatre., Chinese Theatre., Santa Monica., Sunset Blvd., Venice Beach.
Venice Beach, you either like or you don't. It was a very dirty part of Los Angeles.
Had our Dinner included then onwards with the Hollywood Pub Crawl. Went to four bars, One of the four bars is a book bar… or is it a library? No it’s a bar, with books! Oh and did you know they sold candy in the womens washroom, No Lie! Seriously they do!
The last nightclub we went to was on a rooftop overlooking Los Angeles. It was truly HOLLYWOOD STYLE! Drai's Hollywood.
Day2. Tour of the star homes and Hop on Hop off was on the agenda for this day. Tour star homes, SAVE YOUR MONEY. I do not recommend it. Driving through Beverly Hills, the homes might have been fabulous looking but you couldn’t see anything. The Bus tour guide would point out – oh that is Jennifer Aniston’s Roof (like seriously? i paid to see this!), or that chimney over that's Beckham’s.
After that tour, great place to eat is, Johnny Rockets… An old style diner!
Next, Hop on hop off - an easy way to see the city. Taxis are not CHEAP in LA.
Day3. Universal Studios
Tip: Get there right when it opens and buy the 72$ Front of the Line Pass. Because by Noon the line ups will be insanely huge and take forever to get on one ride, so bare the hassle and spend the extra cash on the Front of the Line Pass. WELL WORTH YOUR MONEY. Studio Lot Tour - Fabulous, My favorite part!
Day4. Time to say good bye to your new friends but not to the Holiday.
Picked up my rental car. Picked up my other Contiki friend (Contiki Reunion).
Driving in Los Angeles is not what people say it is. Downtown yes, horrible. But the freeways are nice!
Places I went to after LA Explorer Tour: Griffith Observatory, Burbank to NBC studios to attend a taping of Jay Leno show (tickets are free, based on a lottery system), and Piano Piano in Glendora, Newport Beach, Anaheim, and Six Flags.
Good Bye Los Angeles... And Thanks Contiki for making it a Memorable, Amazing Birthday Celebration
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3