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Monterey & Carmel Explorer℠

Monterey & Carmel Explorer℠

Semi-Private Monterey & Carmel Tour

  • What do I need to bring?

    • Money for lunch
    • Snack
    • Bottle water
    • Camera
    • Money for shopping at small boutiques
  • Does the tour run daily?

    The Monterey Explorer Tour operates daily with a minimum number of 5 passengers.

  • Do you offer that tour in different languages?

    Usually we offer that tour just in English. If needed we can organize a privat tour in sevaral languages though.

  • Is it a guided tour?

    Yes, the tour is guided though you will have time on your own without the guide during your stops.

  • Is there a guarantee that the Monterey Explorer Tour will be on small vehicle?

    Yes, there is a guarantee of a small, semi-private vehicle.

  • What kind of vehicle will take us on the Monterey Explorer Tour?

    We use a 13-passenger van or a 36 pax minibus for this tour.

  • Do we have time on our own in Monterey and Carmel?

    Yes, there will be about an hour each in both Monterey and Carmel.

  • Do we have time to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium?

    We do not recommend to use your time in Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can choose to; however the entrance fee for the Monterey Bay Aquarium is not included.

  • What does optional stop in Santa Cruz & Half Moon Bay mean?

    There will be scenic photo opportunities in Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. The stops will also allow you time to shop or grab snacks for as long as time will allow. It is optional because your group can decide to make this additional stop.

  • What is the difference between the Monterey/Carmel Tour by bus and Monterey Explorer Tour?

    The Monterey Explorer Tour is on a smaller vehicle with maximum capacity of 13 passengers. It is a semi-private tour that allows more flexibility to alter the itinerary and request specific stops. The Monterey/Carmel Tour by bus is on a large motor coach, holding up to 50 passengers.

Our Monterey & Carmel Explorer Tour will take you along California's Pacific Coast on your way to historic Monterey & picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea along with a drive through Pacific Grove in between.

Monterey Bay has great geologic and biological significance: it has an incredible abundance of sea life just offshore in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which borders 276 miles of California’s spectacular coastline. Several waves of industrial scale whaling and fishing exploited the bounty of the huge undersea trench offshore. John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath) grew up in Salinas and spent much of his creative effort writing about the Monterey area. 

You’ll start the day traveling south on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway 1 (fog permitting). You will set foot in Monterey for about two hours, which gives you plenty of time to visit the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium (optional; please select your option on the right). Or opt to stroll among the shops along historic Cannery Row, grab a fresh seafood lunch or just wander along Ocean View Boulevard all the way to Lover's Point Beach. 

After, you will follow the coast through the beautiful little town of Pacific Grove on the way to the 17-Mile Drive. This famous road winds its way between magnificent homes and the spectacular coastline, between the greens and tees of world famous golf courses like Spyglass Hill, and among the last remaining forest of a rare species of trees, the Monterey Cypress, which is sculpted by relentless pacific breezes into fanciful shapes. The Lone Cypress is a very poignant example of one of these hardy trees hanging on to life (with the help of human engineering) in a seemingly impossible location.

Upon arrival in the enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can explore the boutique shops on Ocean Avenue or be dazzled by the white sandy beach. If there is time and interest, we can visit the historic Carmel Mission as a last stop. Come and join our  Monterey & Carmel Explorer Tour now for an exquisite experience.

Monterey & Carmel Explorer Tour - Times Approximate

Tour Length - 11 hours approximately

8:00 - 8:45 AM
Pick up for the Monterey & Carmel Explorer Tour at most hotels in San Francisco - downtown or Fisherman's Wharf area.
8:45 - 4:30 PM


Begin the tour to Monterey, driving along Highway 1 viewing California's rugged coastline with a rest-stop in Davenport. You will set foot in Monterey for about two hours, which gives you plenty of time to visit the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium (optional; select option at check out). Or opt to stroll among the shops along historic Cannery Row, grab a fresh seafood lunch or just wander along Ocean View Boulevard all the way to Lover's Point Beach. Drive through Pacific Grove, known for its Monarch butterflies and turn-of-the century Victorian homes. Then follow the scenic 17-Mile Drive through Del Monte Forest, seeing the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Course and the Lone Cypress Tree. The last portion of this tour will be held at the beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can shop in small boutiques and visit quaint art and photography galleries.


4:30 - 7:30 PM
Head back to San Francisco and enjoy a drop off at most San Francisco Downtown and Fisherman's Wharf hotels. 

Customer Reviews

Monterey & Carmel Explorer℠
– Janet B. on 11/14/2017

Steve was a wonderful tour guide Steve was a wonderful tour guide. The trip was well structured and designed. It covered all the key highlights and also gave the time to explore the area on one's own time.
– Carolyn G. on 10/14/2016

Wonderful day trip! Don was a fabulous guide , very knowledgeable and easy going. Highly recommend him!
– David W. on 09/24/2016

We had a great day and enjoyed the scenery.
– Sue K. on 09/19/2016

John was extremely knowledgeable about the areas in which we traveled. Also, he has a very casual, down to earth personality that makes the tour relaxing.
– Michael C. on 09/18/2016

Truly enjoyed our tour with Frank who was very knowledgeable and entertaining. A great day with great weather to explore Monterrey and Carmel. A memorable addition to our weeklong visit to San Francisco.
– Bill F. on 09/06/2016

we had a wonderful time. Frank was engaging and very informative, along with being funny and personable. And though he did not have control over these two items, the weather and traffic could not have been better.
– Linda P. on 09/05/2016

Don was so accommodating and knowledgeable Brought us to Pigeon Point awesome I live in SF area and I never heard of this place.
– Katie R. on 08/01/2016

My parents and I had a really great tour and were fortunate to share the experience with a really nice group of people. We took this tour about 6 years ago (I think with another company). The drive down was a little different and included a beautiful stop at the lighthouse which we did not do with the last company. Don provided just the right amount of narration and played a great California music mix on the drive back to the city. The music was a really nice touch. There was a small bump in the road when the entrance to 17-mile drive was closed and we had to find another way in. It took a little while but in the end I realized that was because Don was trying valiantly to still have us experience 17-mile drive and I appreciated that. Pick up and drop off at our hotel was a great convenience. Thank you for a nice day!
– Miss Julie K. on 07/24/2016

Excellent - Small group - well informed - highly recommend this tour company.
Monterey & Carmel Explorer
Tour Prices*Adults (12+)Children
Regular Price:$109$89
Internet Special:$89$83
Monterey & Carmel Explorer with Aquarium
Tour Prices*Adults (12+)Children
Regular Price:$159$119
Internet Special:$139$113


  • Complimentary SF hotel pickup & drop off
  • Explore Monterey's renowned Cannery Row
  • Visit the beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea
  • Enjoy great views on the 17-Mile Drive
  • Famous Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1)
  • See the Pebble Beach golf course
  • Expert guide & live commentary in English
  • Semi-private tour in a minibus or 13-pax van
  • Tour Operator: Extranomical
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