Israel/Nazareth area AND Herodian
My wife and I will be in Israel in about 3 weeks. We will have a free day in Nazareth and would like to visit some of the local sites such as Cana, Mount of Beatitudes, Bethsaida, Kursi, and Mt. Tabor. We will be housed in Nazareth.
What is the best way to spend a half day visiting the sites? taxi, private tour, group tour? Do you know the approximate costs of each? Is there one you recommend?
Second, we will be in Jerusalem for several days and would like to visit Herodian, but do not want to spend all day on a tour. Is there a way to do this. Maybe combine it with a brief visit to Bethlehem.
I have checked the internet and a guidebook, but have been unable to find answers.
Thanks for your help.
First, sorry for the delay. I was away for the holidays, and ended up in the hospital for a few days. Sort of kills the routine! I'm just now getting back to all my previous mail.
I don't really know how to answer your questions. First, a half a day is not a lot of time, when you're trying to cover as much ground as you mention above, out of Nazareth. Cana is close by, but the other sites are a good ride away. A taxi is a waste, as without a guide you're just looking at hills, and have no idea what you're seeing. Actually, some of the sites you could do don't really need a guide, like Cana and Mt. of Beatitudes, but it's a MUCH better experience with one. It's hard to find a group tour that you can join for just a half day. A private tour is more reasonable (to find), but much more expensive. And you'd have to find a guide who wants to give you just half a day. That can be difficult. I can tell you that the average tour guide charges about $250 per day, and the really good ones charge $450 per day. And they'll charge more if they have to provide a car and gas for you. I know I'm not helping you very much, but this is most difficult way to see the country--just going and being there, and wanting to find "a tour". I believe the very best way to see it for the first or even first two times is with a good group tour. You'll get a fantastic introduction to the country, and after the first or second trip be able to concentrate on what you want. And you'll also know a guide or two who you can call.
As for Herodian, it's not very far out of Jerusalem, but you again need a guide there. You can go alone, but you'll miss 2/3 of what you came to see. You would never spend a whole day at Herodian, maybe 2 hours. You could then go to Bethlehem, but you should have someone with you showing you around, and giving you the best use of your time. I can share names of some guides you can contact, if you like, but I just warn you that they're not cheap (which is why I usually suggest a group tour, to, in effect, divide out the cost of the guide, bus and driver).
I don't think I've really helped you very much, but I don't really know how to do that, given what you want to do, and how difficult it is within the parameters that you are working in.
If you feel that you need more assistance, and I can be of some help, please don't hesitate to write back. I'm sorry that I don't seem to be giving you much information to go on.