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“Loved it! Wish we stayed overnight!”

California Overland Desert Excursions
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Exciting Day and Overnight Excursions in the amazing Anza-Borrego Desert aboard authentic, open-air military vehicle and vintage Jeep CJ7. There are also climate-controlled options to adventure with our Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and Off-Road Excursion Van. We are a contracted concessionaire of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a state-licensed passenger carrier.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Our family of 5 took the 5 hour North Font Point tour and it was a blast! Joe couldn't have been nicer and more knowledgeable about every aspect of the desert. The picnic lunch was delicious and the location was perfect. It took us 2 hours to drive from SD but it was so worth it. I just wish we camped out overnight to see this beautiful part of our country under the stars. I can't recommend California Overland enough -- it should be part of every trip to San Diego.

1  Thank mkreisberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"off road"
in 21 reviews
"slot canyon"
in 24 reviews
"anza borrego"
in 34 reviews
"hour tour"
in 22 reviews
"flora and fauna"
in 12 reviews
"dry lake bed"
in 11 reviews
"overnight camping trip"
in 7 reviews
"private tour"
in 15 reviews
"lemon water"
in 6 reviews
"joe knows"
in 5 reviews
"desert experience"
in 3 reviews
"wheel drive"
in 5 reviews
"climb a ladder"
in 2 reviews
"amazing information"
in 2 reviews
"plant and animal life"
in 2 reviews
"desert terrain"
in 2 reviews
"great adventure"
in 8 reviews
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122 - 126 of 209 reviews

Reviewed January 5, 2014

In a word - Wow!
We arranged in advance a 5 hour Fonts Point area tour with the owner- Joe. He asked us several questions on the phone and helped us dial in the tour best for us. We wanted a private tour for 5 (a family with college/teen children). Within minutes we were all locked in and booked.
Since it was the slow season (January), Joe ended up being our tour guide. We loaded up in a Vietnam era ex-marine truck, and off we went after some orientation and introductions.
We started with a tour of a dry lake bed, then went to a slot canyon and did an amazing hike up into it (where we ate the great lunch that they provided), followed by a thrilling off road drive through the badlands to Fonts Point, where we were blown away by the late afternoon view.
There is too much to detail here - the sites are all unique and fantastic (and some you can only get to by permitted four wheel drive vehicles). Joe was SO knowledgeable - flora, geology, history, all of it.
You definitely need to have some sense of adventure to chose this particular tour, it is a very jam packed and active day (in the end it was closer to 6 hours door to door). But the only truly physically demanding part is the slot canyon. However you can go only part way in and then head back (it is in and out) so that can be easily adjusted to your ability. We were lucky enough that our group could do the entire canyon length which was so worth it.
Joe and his group are amazing, don't hesitate - do it!

1  Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

We had originally planned to visit Joshua Tree (on a $600 tour for family of 4), but decided it was too expensive and started reading about Anza Borrego. Seemed more things we want to see in AB - and our mini-van wasn't up to the task. Decided to book a tour with Joe for half the price of what Joshua Tree was running.

WOW. That's it. Truly amazing. The desert was gorgeous. We went (our total group had 14 people in it) in a big truck all through the desert. First stop was a dry lake bed and Joe had all kinds of interesting facts and history to share - way better than visiting on your own and not knowing what you are seeing. Rumbled through the sand! Then on to the slot canyons which were truly awesome, The kids climbed around on the rocks, and we hiked through little tiny areas, so fun. Lunch was provided and was very good! A little desert picnic with no work on our part. As the mom, I loved not having to figure out the lunch! That was worth it right there.

Next a bumpy ride in places most people can't go through the badlands (I can only imagine how beautiful if you come in the spring). Joe even (while driving) spotted a tarantula and stopped so we could take a look. And another fascinating story about the tarantula hawk (which is more like a wasp!) - eeeewww.

Then the grand finale, a gorgeous view from Font's point. It is so awesome how the land looks like that.

We made a quick stop at the Anza Borrego visitor's center on the way in - I recommend arriving there early with time to look around before heading back to meet up with Joe - we wanted more time there before our tour.

All in all, I don't think you can visit this part of the country and NOT take a tour with Joe. You just can't miss this. He is awesome and the scenery is amazing. Please just book your trip now.

1  Thank KiF1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2013 via mobile

I met up with owner Joe Raffetto at the Cal Overland office. Met the rest of the group and into the desert we went for a three hour tour. I was scouting for a great provider for a trip I wanted to plan for the Oakland Museum of California. I can only echo my 19 hiker/camper/naturalist buddies who loved Joe, the Desert washes, the Badlands. We learned stars from the astronomer at the campout on the old homestead/gunnery range/ chuck wagon meals and the modern day, Annie Oakley's fast draw and roping tricks!
At the same time he is a great guide and interpreter- we are a tough group to impress ( even our Chief Curator of Natural Sciences) and also love to have Fun! This company really delivers a great desert experience.

Thank AlamedaEllen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 8, 2013

We had just a great time on this tour. We took the 4.5 hour day tour and we were lucky to have a great day weatherwise. We went out to a dry lake bed, we went to the slats and took this amazing hike and we then went through the Borrego badlands and had this incredible view. We also had a very good lunch as well. My photos are amazing. Joe is a really great tour guide and this is a fantastic way to spend a day.

Thank Sally B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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