Antelope Canyon: how to make the best choice and how to book a tour
Believe us: you guys don't want to miss it. You absolutely have to add it to your on the road itinerary because you'll remember it like one of the best experiences of this trip. Side Note: you must arrange the visit in advance and book a tour months before to have the chance to see it. Without a tour booked you won't be able to. Let's find out how to do that.
First step: Upper or Lower?
After collecting a lot of information and read thousands of posts, checked pics, surfed on travel blogs, we came to this conclusion: they are both amazing but a bit different. The Lower one is shallower than the Upper, while the Upper develops upwards; from the pics we have seen and the stories we have read it seemed to us that the atmosphere, the sun rays light filtered through the rift and the optical effects of the Upper Canyon were more impressive and that's why we have chosen it.
Second step: tour choice
The Antelope Canyon is located within a Navajo Protected Area and you can't visit it autonomously: Navajo agencies also allow to protect and keep the canyon safe, by organizing 1-hour tours with small groups of people entering the canyon under a guide surveillance.
It could seem not so cool like this but we grant you the tour is perfectly arranged and will allow you to live this experience in the best and safest way for you and the site. Think about this for a second: the canyon is a narrow corridor between sandstone walls eroded for ages by water and wind, if everyone could come here and enter without any supervision and control it would be a disaster for the site; the crowd would damage the fragile walls, would throw trash everywhere and wouldn't be able to keep things under control for sure. The canyon wouldn't last long.
You can book a tour on several websites, e did it on ‘Adventurous Antelope Canyon’ Navajo agency website and had a great experience; they offer 2 types of tour, the photo tour and the plain one; you can bring with you tripods and other professional photo devices during photo tours, they last longer and are a bit more expensive than the plain ones.
You can choose the preferred time slot, the best ones are between 11 and 12 in the morning for the sunlight; but hurry up: reservations end quickly. We chose the 8.30 am slot and we still found it perfect, the plain one paid $ 132/couple.
You won't have to pay in advance: you just need to select the time slot and you'll get a confirmation by email; print it and bring it with yourselves at the meeting point. Get there 1 hour before to complete reservation procedure, including payment. Remember you won't be allowed to bring any water bottles or other objects that may damage the canyon. Just your camera and smartphone, all the rest will stay in your car.
The Navajo guides will tell you their stories, show you a traditional dance and bring you at the canyon entrance on a convertible jeep through a dusty road in the middle of a red desert, with music high and a driver with a scarf covering his mouth, like the best Dakar Rally race. How often do you get the chance to sing the Queen songs loudly in a Navajo Reserve in the middle of nowhere?
You'll only see a crack in the wall once you get there but as soon as you enter the canyon you don't want to exit anymore. The guide will stop several times to give you the chance to take pics and listen to the canyon history and main characteristics, playing with light and shadows simply by adjusting your iPhone camera settings.
He will show you the most strategic points and the shots you can't miss to capture this nature beauty that will stay in your hearts forever.