We booked a vacation package for 5 nights with Yellowstone Vacations which included 2 tours with Buffalo Bus (and 2 days snowmobiling). The first tour was the Canyon tour. This did the north loop and it was spectacular. Our guide was Old Tim and he was super entertaining and informative and really did a great covering of the park, history, geology and animals in an interactive fun manner and from the perspective of a true "native" of West Yellowstone. Bus picked us up at the hotel each time promptly at 8AM and dropped us off each evening. If you need shoes, they will go to the office so you can get some.
The Canyon tour included a walk in the Norris gyser basin where Tim would gather us close, have us close our eyes and "liste" to yellowstone, which was a great experience and one we tried to emulate throughout our trip as it really is a different point of view. We bought the lunch which was filling enough and had a great day.
The second trip was the Old Faithful tour. Again, we had Old Tim (usually they try to have a different guide so you have a different experience, but scheduling did not permit)... but he tried to touch on new information and we learned new things. The tour included of course Old Faithful (again we brought lunch which REALLY saves on the hassles of buying when we compared it to other pax who did not)... They have warming huts there to eat, which was perfect. Then we did a geyser walk at Lower basin which was wonderful. Of course both tours included many wildlife stops and photo ops as well.
The tours are great but a lot depends on the van mates. We had a small snowcoach on the first trip, and they were really fun and energetic. The second trip was the super large coach and there were a few "pains" (not dressed warm enough so someone was always saying they were "cold" even though half the bus was sweating to death)... Anyway, Not the fault of the company, but if you have the luxury, I think I would have loved a private tour with a small group. But overall, it was a wonderful way to visit Yellowstone in comfort and warmth with info all along the way.
As far as Yellowstone in winter, it was everything I imagined and more. White wonderlands, animals, steaming geysers, colors against stark white, no crowds, silence... in a word, breathtaking. Definetly a trip of a lifetime. Yellowstone Vacations and Buffalo bus were a joy to deal with, delivered everything promised in the package at a great price and handeled everything efficiently, affordably and with a smile. Special thanks to Teri who put everything together for us! The Floridians LOVED the trip! Many Thanks, we'll be back.
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