FAQ

What kind of bus are the tours given on?

How long is the tour?

How can I be sure that I get a “good” tour guide on the date I book?

Do your tours occur rain or shine?

Can I bring food, sodas or alcohol on the bus?

Is there assigned seating on the bus?

Are your tours handicap accessible?

Why are your tours are so expensive? Do you have any
discounts?

My kids are 9 and 11. Are their tickets discounted?

What forms of payment do you accept?

Where should I park?

Are still cameras allowed on the bus?

What is your cancellation policy?

Do you offer gift certificates?

I’d like to book a private tour, on a weekday or a weekend when you don’t already have a tour scheduled. How does that work?

What if I just want an Esotouric guide to hop in my minivan and show my family around town?

What kind of people take your tours? Will I be stuck on a bus with a bunch of squares?

If I can take just one Esotouric tour, which one do you recommend?

When is James Ellroy going to host another tour?

My friends and I are developing a television pilot about offbeat Los Angeles history, true crime, Raymond Chandler, or another topic covered on Esotouric’s tours. Can I get on the bus with a film crew?

Q: What kind of bus are the tours given on?

A: Our bus is a luxury air-conditioned coach class bus seating 50 passengers in soft, roomy seats. We have video monitors to show historic photos and film clips, and a microphone so you will not have trouble hearing our tour guides. There is a bathroom in the back of the bus, and we also stop at one or two places during most of our tours where there are bathrooms available.

Q: How long is the tour?

A: Most tours are 3 1/2 hours long, 4 hours if we run into traffic. Some architecture tours are 4 1/2 hours long. Please check our online schedule (right sidebar) for exact tour lengths. While we usually arrive back on time or early, due to the unpredictability of traffic, we recommend you don’t plan to be at another event immediately after your tour concludes.

Q: How can I be sure that I get a “good” tour guide on the date I book?

A: With the exception of our occasional guest-hosted special events, every tour is hosted by Esotouric’s owners, Richard Schave and his wife Kim Cooper. We research, write and lead the tours, so you’ll always get the true Esotouric experience when you ride with us.

Q: Do your tours occur rain or shine?

A: They do. As all of our tours have some off-bus exploring, please be sure to dress for the weather. You may leave coats, umbrellas and other possessions on the bus if they are not needed.

Q: Can I bring food, sodas or alcohol on the bus?

A: You may bring your (not too stinky, please) food or non-alcoholic beverages on board the bus, but please, no booze. We reserve the right to drop drunken and disruptive passengers off at a bus stop or metro station.

Q: Is there assigned seating on the bus?

A: No, so if you are with a group that wants to sit together we suggest you arrive on time (check in is always 30 minutes before the tour starts) and stake out your seats right away. We can’t guarantee that parties who show up as the bus is leaving will be able to sit together.

Q: Are your tours handicap accessible?

A: We can’t accommodate wheelchairs on the bus, and some tours have more walking than others. The tours with walking sections require each passenger to be able to cover ground in a reasonable amount of time in order for us to remain on schedule, but you may stay on the bus during these walking sections if you wish. Please email us to discuss the specific tour that interests you if you have mobility issues.

Q: Why are your tours are so expensive? Do you have any discounts?

A: Actually our rates are on the low end for guided half-day L.A. bus tours. But we understand that $58 is not cheap, and we have various options for lowering your ticket price. If you are an active supporter of KCRW‘s public radio station, we give 15% off. We offer a solo 6-Pack or shareable 12-Pack ticket, which brings the cost per tour down to about $40. We also give out discount coupons to our passengers when they board the bus, so even though the first tour costs $58, your second tour will be just $40—we want you to come back. Please note that only one discount can be applied to your purchase, and 6-packs and 12-packs are already discounted. Our Richard Schave also hosts occasional free walking tours under the umbrella of LAVAThe Los Angeles Visionaries Association

Q: My kids are 9 and 11—are their tickets discounted?

A: No, and our tours are not suitable for any but the most exceptional children. Please email us before buying tickets for anyone under sixteen to discuss the suitability of a young person taking the tour you have in mind.

Q: What forms of payment do you accept?

A: You can pay online using our secure payment system. We also accept checks sent in advance of a tour, and as long as we haven’t sold out, you may bring cash or check to the bus. Call 213-915-8687 on the morning of the tour if you’d like us to hold a spot for you.

Q: Where should I park?

A: There are paid public parking lots or free street parking available near each tour’s starting point, but as every tour is different, be sure to read your passenger information email (sent a couple days before we roll) and the tour’s online information page. Many tours also start near metro stations, and we encourage you to take public transportation (but check weekend schedules closely to ensure you arrive on time).

Q: Are still cameras allowed on the bus?

A: Definitely, but please, no videotaping or audio recording without the tour guides’ permission.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

A: If you discover you cannot join us, we can refund or reschedule your ticket up to 72 hours before the tour departs. If you contact us less than 72 hours before a tour, we cannot refund or reschedule, sorry.

Q: Do you offer gift certificates?

A: We certainly do, in various denominations. You can give a certificate good for 1, 2, or 3, a solo 6-Pack or shareable 12-Pack. We can print these out and mail them to you or someone else with some information about Esotouric tours, or if you’re in a hurry we can email you a printable PDF. We can also add one of our exclusive related gift items like a Raymond Chandler Mystery Map, a Bob Waldmire Route 66 Map or Postcard Set, a Tony Millionaire Charles Bukowski Bukbird T-shirt or poster, etc.

Q: I’d like to book a private tour, on a weekday or a weekend when you don’t already have a tour scheduled. How does that work?

A: Esotouric offers private versions of most of our regularly scheduled four-hour bus tours for groups of up to 50 people. The base cost is $2200 for up to 40 passengers, $2700 for up to 50, which includes downtown pick up, coffee and a snack, and driver’s tip. To book a private tour, or discuss options for customization, please contact us.

Q: What if I just want an Esotouric guide to hop in my minivan and show my family around town?

A: That’s not what we do.

Q: What kind of people take your tours? Will I be stuck on a bus with a bunch of squares?

A: Because Esotouric doesn’t advertise and finds its audience through good press and word-of-mouth, you’ll find that your fellow passengers are an inquisitive and adventurous lot. Mainly Los Angeles locals, they are passionate about their city and curious to discover its hidden history. We’ve seen many friendships start on our bus, and recommend these tours for anyone looking to spend an interesting day out in good company.

Q: If I can take just one Esotouric tour, which one do you recommend?

A: The Real Black Dahlia is our most popular tour, and an excellent introduction to what we do.

Q: When is James Ellroy going to host another tour?

A: When and if he feels like it. The best way to get a seat if he does is to subscribe to our weekly email list, which is also a good place to find discounts, special event announcements and interesting links.

Q: My friends and I are developing a television pilot about offbeat Los Angeles history, true crime, Raymond Chandler, or another topic covered on Esotouric’s tours. Can I get on the bus with a film crew?

A: No.