For those of us in the Northern US, an easy getaway to a warmer clime comes in the form of the Sonoran Splendor trip in AZ. We leave snow and drifts behind to bike along the southern US border and enjoy fascinating vistas of saguaro cactus and desert flowers. My goal was to find a cactus with the most “arms” and I think my prize specimen had l9. Biking through both Saguaro National Park East and Saguaro National Park West were highlights. From the historic mining town of Bisbee to the artist colony at Tubac, the vineyards in Sonoita, and the luxurious Hacienda del Sol, this trip was magical. Just the right amount of cycling, fabulous food, and unique accomodations—-all the hallmarks of another perfect VBT experience.
Arizona: Saguaro National Park & the Sonoran Desert Reviews
A Fabulous Winter trip
Karen, Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Fabulous all around
Incredible accommodations………….all different with their own charm. Great food. Knowledgeable, hard working, fun, LOCAL guides who were a wealth of information about the flora, fauna, etc. Loved the rides in the Saguaro National Parks. Having never been to the desert southwest it was a real treat. Be sure to visit the Pima Air and Space Museum, Kartchner Caverns and the Poca Cosa Mexican restaurant in Tucson.
mary924, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
RIDING WITH THE BLUE
The places that you will stay at on this trip are unsurpassed. They are knock down exceptional with very excellent food. You are in the dessert, don’t forget, and the sights that you see (Indian old habitats, incredible inclusive versions of cactus, unending blue sky) are very much part of the southwest. Bike riding is good with very little highway riding. And no humidity. I would highly recommend this tour.
JOAN77, EAST MEADOW, NEW YORK
Three excellent and unique hotels/inns with challenging riding. Each location offered a different perspective of Southern Arizona. No wonder this is one of your most popular tours.
stevencj, Fallbrook, CA
awesome last ride!
incredible scenery, great lodging, terrific tour leaders. What more could you ask for?
Lauren, Washington DC area
The people, food, and scenery were wonderful!
The accommodations and food at each property was great, especially at the bed and breakfast at Heresford. My husband is 6’5″ tall, and having a good, king size bed is mandatory for his comfort and was available at each property on this vacation. The bike guides were accomplished riders with exceptional professional expertise, that was invaluable to beginner cyclists. They developed personal relationships with all of the guests, meeting each individuals needs, making the week a fun experience. One of the guests had an emergency medical need, recognized by one of the guides, and immediate, life saving action was taken.
Patti52, Calgary, AB, Canada
This tour was a wonderful adventure through the old west. My wife and I truly enjoyed it.
Being from the east coast made this tour a totally different experince. We truly enjoyed the “riding in the dessert” aspect of the tour. The beauty and sometimes simple silence of the dessert was worth the trip, as well as the history surrounding the entire area. It was also obvious that biking in this area was an accepted practice to motorist as bike lanes and wide shoulders were almost standard procedure. I strongly recommend this trip to others.
Stan, Vienna, VA, USA
Exceptional scenery, great riding and wonderfully different places to stay
The tour started with exceptioanlly bad (cold/snow) weather but the leaders made sure everyone was safe, warm and well cared for. (including bringing warm clothes from their own homes to clothe those who were not as well prepared) The weather improved and we were off on a great adventure.The routes were well planned and the highlighted places had excellent experts who helped us really understand the history and meaning of each place . Excellent trip with lots to learn and do as well as good biking and great food.
Randolph, Northern NH
Biking with amazing accommodations
This bike trip is set in southern Arizona. It is varied with its daily featured focuses: mining town, vineyard, three national parks. Great bike riding to each of these destinations with wonderful information at each location. However, the bonus is that two nights are spent at three different accommodations. All are indigenous of the area but each is different and a delightful surprise. It was hard to balance the desire to bike and the desire to spend more time at each of these resorts.
PatS, Chicago, IL, USA
Overall an interesting trip
The Arizona desert was quite different from what we had expected but nevertheless was still an experience that we would not have wanted to miss. The scenery closer to Tucson with the cactii is particularly stunning. Highlights of the trip included the visit to Tumacacori Mission and the Desert Museum. Our favourite ride was the Saguaro West National Park and the challenge of Gates Pass!
Harold29, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Great views and fine new friends.
We were met at Tucson airport by a van and driven to the first Bed and Breakfast style motel which was “out of the way” like only Arizona can say out of the way, nice place! The owner operators who prepared and served the meals were friendly and proficient with variety of southwest dining experiences served family style! We got a professional naturalist tour of the “legacy” parkland adjacent to the property in the morning (pretty special treatment.) As I had slept deeply I was ready for the first of many bicycling adventures on this trip.
JWTwinCities, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Tour guides were very accomodating as well as in tune with your needs and safety. Looking forward to our next VBT bike trip. Postpone the cruise, do this trip NOW!
Cleo, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Enjoyed the scenic desert parks and rural roads. There were a couple days where some of the cycling was on the shoulder of a busy roadway, but the destinations were worthwhile. Guides were excellent, and the inns where we stayed were very nice. Our trip was in February, and I had not cycled for a couple months prior due to winter weather at home so I was tired at the end of each day’s riding…something to consider for next time!
Amazing guides, scenery and fellow riders.
The tone of the trip was perfect from the start.
Everyone on the trip, there were 20 of us, was all friendly
and upbeat the whole time. Age range was 24 to 77yo.
The guides could not have been better. It seemed that they never
stopped moving or thinking. They ate meals with us and shared
stories. It was fun to talk to the other riders about the VBT trips they
had been on.
Picnic’s were yummy, snacks and water plentiful throughout the day and dinners 5 stars.
Accommodations were lovely. My favorite was the B&B in Hereford, our first stop. We had the whole place to ourselves, since there were only 20 rooms.
The scenery on this trip is just beautiful. My favorite days were the ones in the Saguaro National Park.
I cannot think of any negatives. The temperature swings were a surprise but that was my fault for not looking into that. We started, our first morning of riding, at 30F!!!, but it warmed up fast.
Cats, Tacoma, WA, USA
excellant in every respect....
This tour was very well organized!!!!!! The lodging was lovely, the food excellant, the rides beautiful, and the leaders were awsome.
Sydney, Portland, OR, USA
If you have never experienced the allure of the desert, this is the trip for you. There are few experiences that can match the beauty of riding through the rolling hills of a desert park amid the giant saguaros surrounded by jagged mountains. With the sun shining and a scrumptious picnic awaiting, it is some of the most exhilarating cycling I have ever done. We had the added bonus of a freak snowstorm and a few chilly mornings, and there is nothing but the word magical to describe the frost kissed vineyards and cacti that surrounded us on our morning ride. Then the sun comes out and makes you think you dreamt it all as you bask in its warmth.
Dixie13, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sure didn't seem like a VBT trip.
The experience of our 18 member private group was not typical of VBT’s normal product. The guides, although amiable, friendly and helpful, were active cyclists and did not or could not provide us with daily ride briefings (uphill during this section, watch for wildlife in the field, you’ll be riding along a highway, etc.). The entire week was wrought with disorganization, lack of preparation and some confusion (for example: shop owners, restaurants and points of interest did not expect our group’s arrival). Rest stops along our routes were few and I rode most days with an empty water bottle. Meals “on our own” were truly that – in some cases no transportation was available and once we walked a mile each way to eat at a very sketchy restaurant. Certainly not our best VBT tour out of many, but perhaps our last.
Disappointed Rider, Northern MI
Experience the beauty of the desert
My first trip to Arizona could not have been more special or memorable. I had no idea that there were so many different types of cactus. This trip included a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as well as rides through Bisbee, Tupac, Tucson and Sagauro National Park. The co-participants were fun and pleasant companions. The accommodations were wonderful. The guide leaders were extra ordinary, knowledgeable, competent, fun, and very accommodating with request. The guide leaders were local and were exceptional in reading the weather, our personal meteorologists.
Gma little, Santa Clara, CA, United States
A great way to see the West side of the country
Some of the over the road biking was a little too scarry at times due to the flow of traffic and biking on such roads was very narrow … we got a lot of angry responses
from motorists who must have considered us abusing the use of “their” road
CeCe, Tucson, Arizona
Very fun trip through the desert!
This was a great ride in south of Arizona. There is nothing quite like riding through the Saguaro National Park along side the majestic saguaro trees. Some of the rides are on main roads, and there are rolling hills but the guides always had options if we did not want to ride that particular section. The accommodations were great!
Appreciation of desert landscape
In spite of a couple of days of cold and a vicious wind, this trip was wonderful. It was a great group of friendly people. The desert is truly a beautiful landscape. This particular kind of desert is unique to Arizona and a bicycle is a perfect way to experience all that Is special to this area.
Constance, Casper, Wyoming
The bike trip Only issues was on the first day – the airport van was so late, and on the way the Van had to go get natual gas on the other side of town. (not good service) Also why did you tell us to be dress for the ride at the airport (dumn) we could have gotten dress at our first stop!
Rey63, Fort Wort Texas
Fantastic Arizona Vacation
We loved seeing the Sonoran desert and the Saguaro National Park, with all the natural and interesting beauty that they have to offer, from a bicycle. This was an exceptional way to explore this area of the country.
Nice winter break!
This was a wonderful break from the harsh winter in my area. The weather the week I went on this tour was excellent and perfect for biking. I have been on 8 VBT tours and I enjoyed this one also. The accommodations were fantastic. Two rides were my particular favorites of the week; one going over Gates Pass and the bicycling through Saguaro National park. Our guides, Marie and Jim, were such fun and handled our every need!
I would suggest an E-bike on this tour unless you are an avid biker. I was so glad I had one as the terrain is hilly. This part of Arizona is just beautiful and I enjoyed biking under the big sky with mountains in view 360 degrees around me.
Btter, North Carolina
This was my third VBT trip and I think it is my favorite one. What made the difference is that our group was very cohesive and super friendly. It was great to make so many new friends and feel comfortable with everyone. The other difference is that I opted for an E-bike this time and was really glad that I did! I didn’t feel stressed about being left behind or being the last one (as I often was on the last trips). The scenery is stunning, the desert is truly magical. The accommodations were fantastic. Our leaders Jim and Marie were a great team – always looking out for us, being super organized, enthusiastic and welcoming. My only suggestions would be to start some of the rides a little bit earlier so that we are not riding in the heat of the day. Also the shuttle service from the airport was a bit disorganized. Other than that I highly recommend this trip and now that have discovered the E-bike, I feel encouraged to do more trips!
JaneS, Boulder, Co.
This made a wonderful spring beginning. Our guides, Jim and Dan were excellent and our excursions took us from funky Bisbee to upscale Tubac. Scenery was outstanding and a special highlight was cycling through the Saguaro National Park. Accommodations and food top-of-the line. Note: it can get windy out there–might want to consider e-bikes if you are not a strong cyclist.