After traveling over to Catalina Island and getting off the boat, I immediately went to the tours desk to pick something to do for the day. Since it was my first time to Catalina Island, and since I had not done very much research before visiting, I decided the best approach was to pick out a tour. There are two tour companies on Catalina, with booths right next to each other so you can compare options and prices, and there are a variety of things offered. Originally we saw an open air hummer tour driving down the road and decided we wanted to go on that tour, but it was already booked so we instead went for the Safari Island Adventure Tour instead, which we enjoyed anyways.
Things To Know About the Catalina Island Safari Adventure Tour:
- There are two towns on Catalina Island and this tour is specifically of Avalon, not the town of Two Harbors.
- As mentioned before, there are two tour companies and this tour is run by the Catalina Adventure Tours company.
- The tour leaves right next to the Catalina Adventure Tours company booth and first takes a quick tour of the main shopping area in Avalon. Then you begin your descent up the mountains in Avalon, with great views from the top of the island. An interesting thing about Catalina Island is that there are bison that roam the island, and it is pretty much guaranteed that you will see some on this tour. We saw one lone bison, and then later in the tour we saw a small group of bison including a few calves. Halfway on the trip, the tour stopped at the Catalina Island Airport in the Sky, where you can get snacks, stretch your legs, watch small planes land and takeoff, and shop for some souvenirs. Then the last part of the tour is spent driving back down to where to starting point.
- The tour is two and a half hours long, and it honestly feels longer than that. I think the main reason that it felt so long was due to the route of the tour. The tour goes in a loop, so on the way up everything is exciting and new, but on the way down you are seeing the same scenery you just took pictures of an hour ago. The fact that it was hot, and that the seats in the vehicle are not the most comfortable, also made the last hour of the tour feel extra long.
- The tour takes place in a type of safari jeep(see photo below). It is covered on the top, which really helps on a sunny and hot California day. As I already mentioned, one of the downsides is the uncomfortable seats. Also, from what I observed the only way to get into the vehicle is through a set of stairs, and there is not much room on board the vehicle which may make accessibility difficult for some.
The photos below include a map of Avalon, the safari jeep, a pair of binoculars they give you to look out for bison, some bison we saw on our tour, the Catalina Airport, and the inside of the little restaurant next to the airport.