Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Esotouric shut down our tour operations on 3/11/2020, and will resume in-person tours when it is safe to do so. But we invite you to join us from the comfort of home for our new series of online webinars, live presentations that are a virtual time travel trip into the secret heart of the city we love. You’ll find webinars inspired by our sightseeing tours, and some brand new programs, too. To see what’s on the calendar, click here or subscribe to our newsletter to get regular updates.
Esotouric charters buses from licensed charter party carriers. The buses used for tours are enclosed, air-conditioned and seat 50 passengers. There are video monitors to show historic photos and film clips, and a microphone so you will not have trouble hearing our tour guides. Restrooms are available during the tour.
Most tours are 4 hours long, but special events are sometimes longer. Please check our online schedule 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.
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 take a tour with us.
They do. As all of our tours include some walking, please be sure to dress for the weather. You may leave bulky items on your seat if they are not needed.
You may bring your (not too stinky, please) food or non-alcoholic beverages on the tour, but please, no booze. We reserve the right to dismiss drunken and disruptive guests from a tour in progress at a bus stop or metro station.
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 tour is leaving will be able to sit together.
Some tours have more walking than others. The tours with walking sections require each guest to be able to cover ground in a reasonable amount of time in order for us to remain on schedule, but you may opt out of these walking sections if you wish. Please email us to discuss the specific tour that interests you if you have mobility issues.
Actually our rates are on the low end for guided half-day L.A. sightseeing tours. But we understand that you may be on a budget, 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 $45. We also give out discount coupons to our guests on tour day, so even though the first tour costs $64, your second tour will be just $46—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.
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.
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 on tour day. Call 213-915-8687 on the morning of the tour if you’d like us to hold a spot for you.
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 guest information email (sent a couple days before the tour) 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).
Definitely, but please, no videotaping or audio recording without the tour guides’ permission.
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.
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, a Tony Millionaire Charles Bukowski Bukbird T-shirt or poster, etc.
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?
Esotouric offers private versions of most of our regularly scheduled four-hour sightseeing tours for groups of up to 54 people. The base cost is $2400 for up to 40 guests, $2800 for up to 54, which includes coffee and a snack. Shorter walking tours are also available. To book a private tour, or discuss options for customization, please contact us.
That’s not what we do.
Because Esotouric finds its audience through good press and word-of-mouth, you’ll find that your fellow guests 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 tours, and recommend them for anyone looking to spend an interesting day out in good company.
The Real Black Dahlia is our most popular tour, and an excellent introduction to what we do.
When and if he feels like it. The best way to join any future tour if he does is to subscribe to our occasional newsletter, which is also a good place to find discounts, special event announcements and interesting links.