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Intrepid Travel vs Gap Adventures – Review

by Globetrooper Todd | 68 Responses
Intrepid Travel vs Gap Adventures - Review

It’s easy to get carried away with customer reviews on the world wide web. I’m one of the worst culprits; I pore incessantly over reviews before I commit to anything. And although conducting these silent surveys is oddly empowering, they become debilitating as you find conflicting opinions.

So, I’ll do something a little different. Rather than post reviews based on personal opinions, I want to look at Intrepid Travel and Gap Adventures from an objective perspective. For example, who travels where, what type of travel does each specialise in, what are the typical trip lengths, how do costs compare, etc.

Intrepid Travel

History - In 1988, Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester traveled with a group of friends across the Sahara in a converted tipper truck. It was during this trip that the two university friends developed the idea for a style of travel that would take small groups of people to travel at the grassroots level, meeting local people, trying local food, staying anywhere and everywhere and traveling predominantly by local transport. [from Wikipedia]

Where – Intrepid runs almost 250 trips to Asia, which supports anecdotes that Intrepid is an Asia specialist. They also run 80-130 trips each to Oceania, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Compared to Gap, Intrepid more evenly covers the continents of the globe.

Thailand Markets

Local family eating local produce from the local markets - Thailand

Type – At its core, Intrepid is a grass roots tour operator. What does that mean? Well, it means experiencing a new location through the eyes of a local. You’ll travel on public transport, eat traditional foods and talk with native people. Additionally, Intrepid places a lot of focus on sustainability: everything from carbon-neutral offices, to carbon offsets for trips, to an explicit policy on responsible travel. On top of this, Intrepid operates tours specifically for families, gays & lesbians and private groups. It also has a branch called Urban Adventures, which focuses on shorter city-based tours.

Length – Intrepid’s new Urban Adventures can be as short as a few hours, whereas their Short Breaks start at two days. Intrepid’s most epic tour is 150 days from Istanbul to Cape Town. From browsing their website, the majority of the 700+ trips are between 8 and 28 days. This is a few days longer than the average Gap Adventures tour.

Cost – Intrepid’s adventure tours (excluding Urban Adventures) range from USD100 for their 2-day Short Breaks and go up to USD12,000 (including the trip kitty) for their mammoth 150-day Istanbul to Cape Town tour. Kilimanjaro climbs start at about USD2,400 and a 12-day Egypt tour is about USD1,900.

Gap Adventures

History – In 1990, Bruce Poon Tip founded Gap Adventures with nothing more than two credit cards and a burning desire to create an authentic, sustainable travel experience like nothing the world had ever seen. By offering adventure-craving travelers an alternative to the resorts, cruises and motorcoach tours they were accustomed to, he not only changed the way people looked at their holiday time, but changed the face of travel forever. [from Website]

Where – Gap has more than 450 trips to Latin America. That’s three times as many trips as to any of their other continental destinations. Anecdotal evidence seems to correctly suggest that Gap Adventures are the Latin America specialists. They are a little less widespread than Intrepid, with very few trips through Oceania and North America. However, they have 80-140 trips each in Asia, Africa and Europe. I also like that they have a separate category for Arctic trips.

Brazil Celebration

Brazilian children, jumping for joy... and bubbles

Type – On paper, the Gap philosophy seems very similar to Intrepid’s. Both companies extol the virtues of adventure and cultural travel, and they both place focus on sustainability. The notable differences are that Gap doesn’t have a dedicated gays & lesbians product and Intrepid doesn’t have dedicated winter tours (Gap has a range of winter trips they call Canadian Goose).

Length – Gap adventures start at 2 days and go to 80+ days for epic journeys through South America and along the north coast of Africa. Of Gap’s almost 900 trips, the majority seem between 5 and 20 days. This is somewhat shorter than Intrepid’s average length of trip.

Cost - Tours start at about USD100 for 3-day trips in Central America and go to USD12,000+ for their epic 80+ day trips and Antarctica expeditions. Kilimanjaro climbs start at USD1,800 and 12-day Egypt tours range USD800 to USD 2,700 (Shoestring to Comfort). This is a little cheaper than Intrepid, but remember itineraries and inclusions vary greatly, so don’t expect to compare apples with apples across tour companies.

Conclusion

I hear people say, “If you’re going to Asia, go Intrepid; going to Latin America, go Gap.” They also say, “if you prefer travelling with Australians, go Intrepid, or with Canadians, go Gap.”

I don’t think it’s that simple. In my opinion, your experience will depend on the following (in order of importance):

  1. Relationships with others in the group (impossible to gauge beforehand)
  2. The quality of the tour guide (difficult to know beforehand)
  3. The various cultural inclusions (difficult to compare beforehand)
  4. The variety of the itinerary (more easily comparable on paper)
  5. The organisation of the trip (customer reviews start to matter)

As you can see, it’s pot luck for the most important factors because they can’t be compared until after you travel. So for me, it comes down to picking an interesting itinerary that’s available when I’m available. I know I’m taking a gamble on the group and guide regardless of which company I choose, but that goes with the territory of packaged group travel.

Posted in Adventure Travel, Featured | September 14th, 2010

68 Responses to Intrepid Travel vs Gap Adventures – Review

  1. Really enjoyed your comparison article. Naturally, they are both excellent companies, and I think they would both offer as good an experience as you could expect on an organized tour. But the tour leader is still an unknown factor, and so important to the success of any group tour. That’s why I started Breathedreamgo Tours — so that people would know exactly who would be leading them in India — me! Obviously I can’t compete with these big, well-organized companies, but I am going to try and see if a highly personal tour led by a passionate and knowledgeable — and known! — person is a good idea or not. Let’s see, time will tell …

    Mariellen
    Breathedreamgo.com

    • Hey Mariellen, hope all is going well. We can’t wait for India next year, I think we may even stay for 3 months or so, living wherever seems right. Good luck with the tours; I’m sure they’ll be an amazing success.

  2. Hi Todd,

    Thanks for this comparison – this is actually something I’ve actually looked for before in the past. As you mentioned, there’s so many factors to consider in the quality of a tour, many of which you won’t be able to judge before you pick it.

    My first ‘real’ travel experience in 2007 was with Gap Adventures to Ecuador, and the trip was so amazing that I ended up taking another trip with them just another month after to Peru. I’ve recommended them to many friends, and everyone who has gone on a Gap tour have gone back to take a second one (literally).

    I wanted to try an Intrepid tour for my time in India this month, but there weren’t many trips that fit my timing and had a free spot, so I’m doing another one with Gap starting in a few days. Honestly, when I booked this recent trip with Gap, I didn’t even bother trying to find reviews because I had such a great time on the other 2! So, we’ll see how this one goes :)

    Thanks again for the review, I’ve booked it because I know other friends will be looking for this in the future.

    - Lily

    • Great to hear more positive reviews Lily. Though hopefully you’ll get a chance to travel with Intrepid sometime soon. We’re similar in that we’ve only travelled with Intrepid and not Gap, mostly due to timing and destinations.

  3. Last summer when I was 54, I took my 16 year old son to Costa Rica on a tour. My biggest complaint was that most of the people were in their early 20′s so I felt very left out even though I tried to reach out to them. I got tired of them always telling me to let my son drink alcohol. Excuse me, but I am the mom. The tour guide was not very friendly. The tour itself was good, although I would not advise going to Costa Rica during the rainy season in July.

    • Hi H.

      From what we’ve heard, that’s a typical Costa Rican tour (not just GAP). I’m sure there are many other parts to the country, but seems like it’s one of those places where the well trodden path is well lubricated (with alcohol) too.

      Try Peregrine tours if you want people more your age. I’m almost half your age, but often prefer to travel with older people. Would much rather get up to mischief that doesn’t just involve drinking. :)

      We don’t usually stay at hostels, but we did in Bolivia. Even we (25 & 30 yrs old) were amazed at the antics that went on. Partying until the sun came up, sleeping all day, then partying again.

      Try Egypt, Thailand, Japan, etc., if you want something less ‘all-inclusive’ than Costa Rica.

      All the best.

      • Peregrine and Intrepid have merged, they’re under the same parent company now.

  4. Good comparison Todd,

    you are right, its hard to compare these companies from the outside, you kinda to do all the tours to get a definitive impression and even then it will be subjective. I have traveled with both and found Gap to be the better of the 2. Perhaps you can look at professional industry accomplishments, awards and such for a more true picture of how they compare?

  5. Hey!!! Thanks for the information. I really appreciate it. Now I have the problem that I wanna go to Norway this summer and both companies (which I travelled with and I am really fond of both) don´t offer convenient tours. Could you – by any chance – recommend other similar good tour providers? Would be a great help for me. Thx!!!

  6. Great article, Todd.

    I took Intrepid’s Active Morocco tour last year and loved it. I’d been warned by a friend who took their tour to Thailand and had an experience similar to H’s. I think my experience in Morocco worked out so well because it was a very active tour (loads of hiking, biking) and our itinerary sort of self-selected folks who were more interested in outdoorsy activities than partying. That, and it’s a mostly dry country. End result was that the people on my tour were all very like-minded and half of us were in our 30′s and 40′s.

    I’m currently researching a trip to Nepal for September and will likely go with Gap since Intrepid’s trips aren’t quite the right length (I need something in the 8-12 days range). I’ve also seen a great itinerary with Imaginative Traveler. Please do let me know if you’ve heard anything about them.

    Thanks!
    Marni

    • That’s an excellent point Marni… to join active tours because party animals wouldn’t be as attracted to physical exertion. :) We just spent a couple of days in a dry area of India and it was interesting watching some tourists completely lost for thought and action because they couldn’t drink.

  7. Hi Todd,

    This is just the article I was looking for. I joined a Contiki tour years ago and absolutely hated the party vibe. I don’t travel halfway across the world to party when I can do so in my own backyard.

    I’m looking at Eastern Europe or Scandinavia for about 2 weeks and want a fair amount of activity. Intrepid has a good tour for the latter which covers St Petersburg as well. Both Intrepid and GAP have seemingly similar 15 day Eastern Europe tours. I’m quite keen on the itinerary for the Scandinavian + St Petersburg 17 day tour with Intrepid but am just concerned that the group might be younger ie 20s than GAP? Would it be fair to say GAP tours generally attract people in their 30s more than teenagers/early 20s?

    Any advice/alternative tour companies would be appreciated!

    charmaine

    • Hi Charmaine

      No, not at all. I think Intrepid and Gap would be on par when it comes to age. But either way, you can call them and ask the ages of the other people for the departure date you’re considering. We’ve done that many times before.

      If you want a much older crowd, check out Peregrine. I believe their trips tend to be 40-50+, but there’s no set rule, it’s just by virtue of higher prices and more luxurious accommodation and transport.

      I guess it depends where you’re visiting too. When we’ve travelled through the Middle East, we found fewer party people on trips (naturally). You may find the same in Scandinavia due to higher prices. I’m not so sure about Eastern Europe though.

      Either way, just give them a call and ask about the ages. I’m not sure if all tour operators volunteer that info, but Intrepid has in the past. Our last Intrepid trip was 23 to about 60 years old. We enjoyed a few glasses of wine together, but the young ones were the most timid of the lot.

      Hope the trip goes well.

  8. ——————————————————————————–
    GAp, are not worth the money. They make you eat at expensive restaurants so the guides get free meals, and change your accomodtion then belittle you in front of the group for questioning it. We were on a tight budget and were made to feel like scroungers for complaining that the indivated m,eals were not included, and the hotels changed to camping. Our tour guide had 3 ppl crying, and almost everyone vowing to complain upon return. Will I hear from GAP at all after complaining? it reamins to be seen. Here is my letter-

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing in regard to a recent ‘South America Overland – La Paz to Rio’ trip that my girlfriend Rachel Mullaney and I took part in dating from the 8th of June till the 6th July 2009. We feel that various aspects of the trip did not live up to the itineray as sold by Gap Adventure and as such would like to make a complaint concerning the areas we felt we were miss sold, and request a refund for the unsatisfactory aspects of the tour. The areas we are concerned with include transportation, provision for meals and accomodation, all of which at points along the journey did not live up to what was advertised.

    Firstly the tour is advertised as an ‘overland tour’ in an overland truck. However we were actually given two 4×4 vehicles. Every other gap tour group we met had been given a different story as to why an overland truck was not available and the reason we were given that the truck could not get a permit to leave peru is not believable, as if this is the case why advertise this form of transport?
    The 4×4′s broke down constantly (to the point where their road safety was questionable), allowed in copious amounts of dust, and more importantly one car actually only had space for four people, not five. This meant that if you were at either side you were sitting on both heightened plastic ledge and the lower seat. Given also that the suspension on this 4×4 went halfway through the trip, it was terribly uncomfortable. The journeys were often 10-16 hours long and to be barely able to walk for the next day after such a journey is entirely unacceptable. When booking a tour such as this you expect to be very comfortable, when in fact public transport would have been far more comfortable and a lot cheaper.

    The constant theme of the tour appeared to be that whilst the itinary never changed, GAP(or our tour guide, it was uncertain as to which) had cut a lot of costs. The accomodation was an issue here, where in Iguassu falls we were made to camp instead of being in a hotel room for three nights. Our tour leader told us that the hotel we were meant to stay in was 90 reais a night, whereas our camping was only 15. Therefore I would like to be refunded the difference for those 3 nights for myself and Rachel as we had in fact paid for those nights in the cost of the trip. What was also massively hypotrical was the tour guides response to our questioning as to why the accomodation had been changed. He was very rude and abrupt and upset my girlfriend. He also declared that if he had it his way the whole trip would be camping, and then upon arrival at Foz de Iguassu he promptly upgraded himself into a room and left us to camp. The fact that we were offered an upgrade to a room for a fee was even more insulting, as it was clear there were plenty of rooms for everyone that GAP just did not want to pay for.

    Another issue throughout the trip was the lack of included meals. We did not recieve half of them, particularly in Brazil. The GAP website advises to bring $400 for food, and we easily spent double that. When we would question our tour guide as to why the meals that were indicated as being included on the itinary were not included he was again very rude, stating that GAP do not give him a budget that would cover all the meals meant to be included in Brazil. If we were travelling for a whole day and arrived at the campsite at night he would also say it was simply too late to cook, again getting out of giving us the food we paid for. In Bolivia on a long journey we were once given a packed lunch, this would have been a satisfactory solution in Brazil also, however the guide said that there simply was not a budget for a packed lunch in Brazil.

    The meals that the tour guide did include were often questionable. For example one dinner in Chochis was a plate of horsemeat to be passed around and eaten, the next night a plate of beef. Whilst we were grateful to actually be getting a meal that we were entitled to, many of the group were not keen on just eating ‘finger food’ meat for every meal. Another example would be the one included meal in Paraty (out of 3 nights where all meals were meant to be included) when he asked us all to be back at 3pm for lunch, but did not cook it until 5pm therefore wasting our day and also avoiding cooking any dinner. It was at this point where everyone in our group had given up asking the guide why things were not included as doing so invited no useful response and generally illicted both rude and confrontational behaviour from the guide.

    Even more irritating was the fact that because we did not know which meals would or would not be included it meant that we would sometimes be left with no choice other than to miss meals and go to bed hungry. On journeys we would be left with no choice but to pay for food in expensive service stations/ roadside restaurants or wait until our destination where potentially no food would be offered. If David had been honest and said ‘there are no meals included in Brazil’ we could have purchased our own food from the supermarket as we would usually do when travelling instead of always eating out.

    Myself and Rachel were sold the trip as including a lot of meals, and the itinary indicated every camping meal included and many of the travelling days had meals included too. This is why paying £1150 and a $600 local payment each in total for the trip seemed worth it as we knew we could have a smaller budget as most food was included. However given that half the food was not included and we spent double the $400 estimated food cost, we would both like to be refunded for the food we had to buy.

    It is clear that we recieved a cut cost version of the trip that we paid full price for, and this is simply unacceptable.GAPs cost cutting measures for no other reason than to save the company money at the expense of the tour group
    ——————————————————————————–

  9. I agree. Fuck Gap. Sorry to hear about your trip, worse than mine so I wont bother typing something that pales. Only go on a tour group if you really need to.

  10. I have gone on one trip with Explore (Spain), one with Imaginative Traveller (India), and four with GAP (Vietname/Cambodia), Costa Rica, Peru, and Patagonia. the Patagonia trip was the only really disappointing trip, but due in part to a strike in Chile. Gap hs been very unresponsive about some issues I (and others) had. I would recommend all of the companies, but I am going to skip Gap for a while.

  11. GAP WAS DOING GOOD IN INDIA .AS MOST OF TOUR LEADERS IN INDIA ENGAGE NY GAP ARE TOUTS AND THEY DONT HAVE A PROPER LICENCE SO WOULD SUGGEST CHECKING THE LICENCES OF TOUR LEADERS .THE TOUR LEADERS RECOMENDS EXPENSIVE RESTRARENT WHERE THEY GET A CUT .
    THE TRANSPORTATION THEY USE IS VERY RISKY AND UNCOMFERTABLE

  12. I have travelled with GAP in Vietnam and China. Having read the comments of Rachael I am getting somewhat concerned that I have booked to go to Peru/Bolivia in 2012.
    In both China and Vietnam the CEO (chief experince officer) clearly admits they are not a guide and provide little information, and like all guides/CEO’s gets free meals for taking groups to restaurants. The English spoken by both CEO’s was somewhat less than I would have expected, leading to confusion for much of the group constantly.

    In China the sleeper trains were much worse than in Vietnam, and you loose 12-16 hours at a time three times. Take somone elses tour that flies is my tip if you can afford it. Worse you are made to fight through HUGE super crowded subways and stations with heavy bags and somehow keep together, then get separate cabs to some vague destination as a dock that none of the cabs could find even with a written address in Chinese. We all got lost seperately – very disturbing and lugged bags 1km up/down stairs to the dock. Three day Cruise on Yangtze – no entertainment, same terrible food – exactly the same for 3 meals day for 3 days.

    I sent some pretty poor ratings in – no response from GAP. I have travelled with companies like Trafalgar, Cosmos who were infinitely better though better but also much dearer.

    Im also going Gecko in Mexico in 2012, and Cosmos in USA, and hope they will be OK.

  13. By way of introduction, my name is Lyndon File, and I am the manager of Customer Satisfaction with Gap Adventures. I wanted to chime in here in reply to the negative post in regard to Gap Adventures.

    To provide some perspective on this matter, the travel took place in 2009, and on the 24th of August of that year, we sent the below reply on the matter. I have stripped out some information out of respect for privacy of the individuals concerned.

    At Gap Adventures, we understand customer feedback is the best tool we have to improve our services for future travellers. Thank you for your efforts in this regard.

    Unfortunately, the overland truck that was scheduled for this departure experienced mechanical problems and at short notice, we had to provide an alternative mode of transportation. The 4X4 vehicles provided was the only viable alternative available to us as we could not secure a permit with a bus or another overland truck at such short notice. Due to the last minute nature of this change, we could not sent out a proper notification. We regret to learn of their disappointment with the alternative transportation provided, and apologize for any inconvenience they experienced.

    The service level of this SLLR tour is basic, and therefore the type of accommodation provided is either simple hotels or camping. As xxx’s group experienced, the accommodations in Iguassu Falls were changed from hotel to camping. Although our terms and conditions allow us the flexibility to make such changes, we regret to learn that a proper notification of the change was not sent. The trip details for the SLLR tour have since been updated and this change is reflected.

    We have addressed xxx’s concerns regarding the meals provided with his Tour Leader, David. David has advised that he informed the group during the briefing that there would be long travel days and meals included on these days would be replaced by others, which they were. David has also advised that at times when the group arrived at a destination late, he would ask the group if they were hungry. If they were, he would cook a meal, however at times the group was too tired to eat and he therefore didn”t. Please note, we have reviewed all the feedback received and this concern is not shared by all the participants. This is not mentioned to minimize Mr Wakeling”s concerns, however trust puts matters into perspective.

    We appreciate xxx’s comments on David”s performance. We are very much aware that the performance of our Tour Leaders is the largest influence on the success (or otherwise) of our tours. We apologize for the lack of professionalism they may have experienced. We have also reviewed David”s evaluations from all of his recent tours and they have overall been positive. Although no other complaints were received on his performance, we forwarded xxx’s comments to our Operations Department who in turn will address them with David accordingly.

    We strive to provide our travellers with a positive and rewarding travel experience and we sincerely regret to learn that we failed to meet their tour expectations. We thank him for taking the time to inform us of his concerns and allowing us the opportunity to improve our services for future travellers. As a gesture of goodwill, we have processed a refund in the amount of GBPxxx per person. The total refund of GBPxxx will be returned to your travel agent, and we kindly request that you liaise with them to arrange for the funds to be returned to him accordingly. We sincerely hope to have the opportunity to welcome xxx and xxx aboard another of our Gap Adventures and can restore their trust in our company.

  14. I like a of people have been doing the Gap vs Intrepid research for an Egypt/Jordon trip I want to take in 2012…I have read a LOT of reviews and have come to the unfortunate realization the Gap (or G tours) needs to clean house!

    Close to all the negative reviews I have read have said that they have not had any proper response from Gap regarding their concerns; even the response from Gap posted on this site (Aug 15) by Lyndon File “Manager of Customer Experience” seemed defensive and full of excuses.

    Been a high end hotel manager I know the fine balance of supporting your business/employees and validating and addressing customer concerns and been able in as many situations as possible to regain that patrons “good graces” because even if they don’t return, positive word of mouth recommendations are priceless. Gap does not seem to have learned this skill yet…

    Anyhow, even though it is more expensive and I will have to pay a single supplement (which I think is kind silly for this type of travel) it looks like Intrepid will be choice for me!

  15. I take pleasure in, lead to I found just what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  16. I feel as though I should chime in here and share some experiences I have had with both companies.

    After having done 3 trips with Gap and 4 trips with Intrepid, I am without a doubt 100% believer that Intrepid is better.

    Gap or G is not bad and the leaders were really nice people, but I left feeling like I didn’t get the value out of what I paid. I was hoping to get some explanations on what I was looking at and what it was like growing up in their respective countries. Yet, we basically got someone who sets up the day and organizes activities and meals. I could have done a couple of days research and got the same thing. The local guides were good for information but i had hoped for more from the leaders. Also, when putting this in my feedback , I never heard anything back.

    This is where I noticed the main difference with Intrepid. All four leaders were spectacular. For example our leader in Morocco was so much fun and informative and also he put so much effort into us meeting locals and going out of his way. He took us to his family’s small village and we cooked a meal and played soccer with his little brothers. It was great.

    Our leader in China was the same. She went above and beyond to make sure we experienced china rather than organizing our activities.

    Again Gap is not bad and I would say there are lots of similarities between the two, but in my experience Intrepid has stood out.

  17. I just returned from the Delhi to Kathmandu 15 day tour with G Adventures. I had an AWESOME experience.

    Our CEO was very knowledgeable, accommodating, and considerate. As a matter of fact, he went above and beyond to ensure that we had all had an exceptional experience.

    We were never steered to expensive restaurants. Our CEO was always sensitive regarding our budgets.

    I have traveled solo, with friends and family, and with other tour companies. Although my experiences have varied, the majority have been wonderful.

    This was my first trip with G Adventures, and I plan to book future tours with them.

  18. I too am having tour company dilemma. Gap does have a wide range of options however recently in Belize I came acroos several Gap tours and the tour leaders looked half cut and were clearly suffering the effects of a hard night. This party attitude has put me off somewhat. Has anyone else experienced this with Intrepid as this is now my next avenue to explore?
    With regards to Imaginative Traveller I have found them very good in Africa at least, sadly they don’t run trips to Alaska yet!

  19. So far I’ve done 3 tours (Thailand, Egypt-Jordan and South Africa) with G Adventures (GAP) and all 3 were absolutely wonderful experiences. The tour leaders were not only knowledgeable, but very outgoing and passionate about making us discover their countries.

    I’m preparing my next trip (China, Nepal, India) and I’ll probably try Intrepid because of the lenght of their tour which suits me better for now. Hopefully, this trip will be as enjoyable as my previous ones with G. I’ll let you know.

  20. Ted or anyone else with this experience,

    What were the accommodation standards in Morocco with Intrepid?

    I too, am looking for a trip but would love to find a company outside of Intrepid/Gap/Peregrine/Gecko’s/Explore, etc, etc… because everything I’ve read involve similar complaints about the accommodation quality, even paying for comfort level…

    I love the idea of Adventure trips but the ones I’ve found are too short, ideally I’d like 2 weeks traveling…

    Thanks!

    Robyn.

    • Having travelled in Morocco and various other countries with Intrepid I can say I have had absolutely no problems with the accommodation, and to be honest some of the more basic hotels etc have been preferred over the comfort ones. They use really different, locally owned hotels, and in Morocco there is no end of unique and quirky little places to stay. I would say that when using a company that specialise in adventure travel, it is essential to keep an open mind about the hotels etc used, you are only there to sleep, and hey so as long as they are clean, you get a bed for the night, and providing it isn’t a desert camp – get a shower once a day, then it’s all part of the fun! Too many people get hung up about the type of accommodation and need to just remember what they pay doesn’t just go on the hotels, it’s also the work that goes on behind the scenes in making your trip what it is. I say go with Morocco, and if the trip is too short, then just use it to start your trip and get your whereabouts, then add on accommodation of your choice and then do some travelling to suit exactly what you want, I did this in India, 2 weeks with Intrepid and 2 weeks by myself …was awesome! Have a great time! :)

  21. Hello I was just wondering what nationalities generally seem to be found on each Intrepid and GAP tours?

  22. Also, are the trucks comfortable/roomy enough and what have you found is the common age range for each?

  23. I have to share my experiences with both companies, I just called GAdventures about a hour ago and the customer service guy was incredibly rude. I had some typical questions regarding travelling and trips so i was confussed on why I was being talked to so rudely? Anyway this isn’t the first time I have called regarding trips and feel like I am being a huge inconvenience. I have been on Gadventure trips before and I have had a good time but the CEO wasn’t the helpful and was kind of a creep. I haven’t been on intrepid but I am this summer totally bc of the bad customer service from Gadventures. As soon as I called intrepid with routine questions they were more than willing to answer my questions and give a follow up call and email regarding trips I was interested in.

  24. I have never been with Intrepid so can’t comment on them. I have however been on 4 G Adventures trips and have 2 more booked.

    As for age ranges, the biggest range was on our Egypt trip (Absolute Egypt) where the age range was from 17 to 64. That group had mostly Canadians with a couple of Europeans. The last couple of trips (Costa Rica Quest and Peru Panorama had age ranges of mid twenties to mid forties. In Costa Rica it was mostly North Americans while in Peru the group came from Canada, USA, England and Australia. Despite the differences in ages we all got along. The variety also made it possible to be able to find someone who had a similar interest to you to spend free time with or do an optional activity.

    Tour leaders have ranged from okay to excellent. In Costa Rica our leader made a point of searching out activities to enhance our experience of the country. He would also ask whether we wanted tourist food or local food and then take us to where we wanted. Our leader in Peru often steered us towards her favourite restaurants and only gave us the basic information but did make sure that all the logistics worked out. Despite her, we all had a great time and found activities to do on our own during free time.

    All the trips I have gone on have been “standard” comfort level. You may get a really nice hotel but most of the time you get a “tourist” class hotel, which means you get 2 beds and your own bathroom. As is common in third world countries the hot water and water pressure may leave something to be desired.

    Before booking it is a good idea to carefully read what is included. Often more breakfasts are included than listed but you can usually go to a bakery or grocery store and make some of your own breakfasts and lunches. When you are one their website at the trip you are interested in, click on “before you go”. You will then get a detailed description of the trip, what’s included and all kinds of other useful advise. You can also go on their travel forum “watering hole” to ask questions about a trip, read other people’s reviews, or meet people booked on your trip.

  25. Went on one GAP tour, a month long to India in 2009 and was very favorably impressed. The GAP leader explained that he was not a ‘guide’ – in fact didn’t know much more than the Lonely Planet paragraph about the sites but was a superb ‘facilitator’. The small GAP bus was very comfortable but when it broke down he conjured up another one almost by magic. Safe restaurants were pointed out but since I’m more into sightseeing than food, I bought food in markets and picnic’d in the room at night. I’m in my 60s but the 20 something kids on the trip were a wonderful bunch of British and Australian. One told me he didn’t know there would be so many old people on the trip (3 past 50) so I guess YOLO tours were created for the camp-out and disco set. Check the ‘comfort’ ratings. There were also a better ratio of boys to girls which seems to make a difference. I shared a boat ride on Lake Pichola last month with an Intrepid tour group that was all girls and the guide kept up a running flirtation with the pretty one – tasking her constantly to establish dominance. GAP/Intrepid guides are too young and not professional or licensed from what I could tell. I just came off a Wild Frontiers tour with a really good guide in his 40′s. No hanky panky and VERY knowledgeable. But the group was older and not as free spirited.

    • NH-I enjoyed your comments as I am in my 50′s and considering a Gap/Intrepid or? tour. I just did 3+ weeks in Asia by myself and am wondering-to anyone- the value of paying for a guided tour at any level? I was worried going in, but left with a confidence, self-assurance that I haven’t felt travelling in some cities of the US. Any reason to fear travelling Eastern Europe by myself?

  26. Irresponsible travel, don’t use Intrepid.
    • Trip notes are inaccurate and out of date – we appreciate that things change, however the notes didn’t include updates to the trip that were in cases more than 6 months out of date.. Do not rely on the trip notes or choose Intrepid on this basis.
    • Our group leader was inexperienced and had only been to the countries on our trip once before us, when he was simply shadowing another group leader.
    • The group leader added no value to the trip, do not be fooled by this, as we were, when deciding to do the Trans Mongolian trip through Intrepid rather than Vodka Train or other providers. They also use local agents at every destination to sort out everything so why pay extra for a group leader who does nothing?
    • Despite telling Intrepid about our dietary requirements, being vegetarian, several times prior to and during our trip, we were lied to (told by the local guide that our food had been cooked separately) and then fed meat! Simply unacceptable.
    • Intrepid try and claim that they are a “responsible” travel company, but they are far from it. One of the visits, to the Old Believer’s Village, just seemed like a big set up. The Lotus Children’s centre, cafe and Kindergarten that we were supposed to visit in Mongolia, did not happen. We were only told this by our group leader literally on the day we thought we were going to start this particularly visit.
    • The Group Leader was not aware of what we were expecting (i.e. based on the trip notes) and so we were found ourselves being surprised constantly. He struggled to communicate properly with the group.
    • We were often on parts of the trip with the GAP travel group and what they seemed to get was a much more professional service. Their group leader seemed to be on the ball, adding value to their trip – e.g. providing them information on whether there would be a food coach on the train or not, when passport checks would happen, helping them with immigration forms etc etc.
    • The local guides we had varied greatly – a few were fantastic, while others were so poor, that we wondered why they even came with us. For example our local guide for the Great Wall, had never walked up to the Great Wall and had only taken the cable car, so when we asked how long the walk would take, he could not answer us. As above, another lied to us about our meal and decided to bring his wife along for the trip and a free feed, guess she would have eaten our share.
    • Geoff Manchester, the managing director of Intrepid, is completely out of touch. He seemed to think that being vegetarian. then lied to and fed meat was just a “cultural difference”. He also refused to respond to our complaint fully and seemed to not realise that it was his staff’s duty in managing a travel company to deal with customer complaints and did not value all the valuable vacation time we had lost thanks to Intrepids failings. Instead he refused to enter into any communication about our complaint and told his staff not to communicate with us also.It wasn’t simply a case of a bad trip leader, our experience with the entire organisation found nobody wanting to take responsibility for several mistakes, a fight to try and get anything fixed and a ruined holiday as a result. Think twice before paying up for an Intrepid holiday.

  27. I’m planning to go to Combodia. SHould I take G adventure’s 7-day discover combodia?

  28. Anyone familiar with the G Adventures volunteer in Thailand trip?

  29. I am wanting to do a tour around Mexico in July, am wanting to go with 18-30s. Would anyone reccommend GAP more for this as they have the ‘YOLO’ type tours?

  30. If you use Siem Reap as your main base, I think Cambodia is very doable alone. There are lots of big tourist hotels but I found the staff at a little Boutique hotel on the edge of town helpful in day trips and beyond. Never once felt threatened, but obviously anyone could turn down the wrong street at any moment. That said, I’d go back in a moment with no concerns.

  31. Advice needed!

    I’m panninga trip to India this June and like others, i am trying to decide between the G Adventure offering ( Roam India -20 days or Rajastan Adventure – 15 days), and Intrepid’s offering (Unforgettable India – 15days or Rajastan Adventure – 22 days), and I have a ton of questions, any help would be greatly appreciated:

    1. Opinions on Gap vs. intrepid? Has anyone taken any of these tours? What are the age ranges, I’m 37 yr old female, would prefer to be traveling with 30 to 40 somethings, not 18yr olds.

    2. Do you think I can do India without a Tour Group – or is it too difficult to navigate accommodations and transfers alone as a woman? Is booking local tours on arrival better? Or even an option, or am I asking for trouble hoping to book accommodations and tour guides as i go?

    3. Do these tours give you an authentic experience or are you herded around as obvious tourists?

    Again, ant tips/advice on how to get the best experience would be welcomed!

    Many, many thanks!

  32. I took a Gap tour of southern India last year and had an excellent experience — great guide who was very well-organized, but fun and knowledgeable, great itinerary, comfortable vehicle, ver good accommodations and good people. I’m also older, and the trip was mostly people in their 30s and 40s — an excellent time. I’d reiterate what someone else said about checking the age of other travelers before booking. Also, I think the classic and luxury tours attract a more mature age range than the YOLO tours.

  33. There’s a lot of differing opinions out there.. Let me add mine.

    My wife and I just finished a G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures) 9-day tour from Johannesburg, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zambia. We couldn’t have had a better time! A few thoughts:

    - So much depends on the tour guide. Our guide, Vladia Bajerovska, was fantastic. She was both a great organizer and a great cheerleader, making sure everybody was included and knew what was going on. She had a lot of knowledge, both natural (describing animals) and practical (navigating border crossings). She answered all of our questions, no matter how many times we asked. I can’t say enough good things about her. Our driver, Stefan, was also fantastic.

    - A lot also depends on your group. We had 20 people, mixed group from US/UK/Canada/Australia, aged from mid-20s to mid-40s. By the end of the trip we were all great friends. Our tour involved a lot of “participatory camping”, meaning everybody had to pitch in to load/unload the truck, chop veggies for dinner, etc. Everybody pitched in without even having to ask, which was great. Obviously this is one of those things where one bad apple can spoil the bunch… There was a little bit of drinking at the campsites (some had bars, others were BYOB), but everybody was pretty much in bed by 10.

    - We had the “basic” accommodation level, and believe me, it was BASIC. We spent nearly every night in tents, though there was an option to upgrade to a cabin at some sites. If you enjoy camping for multiple days, you’ll be fine. But if you’re the type to whine because there’s no hot water in the shower, or there’s a bug in your tent, or your sleeping bag smells funny after a week, you won’t have fun.

    - There was a lot of driving, sometimes 4-5 hours per day. The overland truck was pretty sweet, though spartan. Personally, I didn’t mind the long drives; I had a well-stocked Kindle, great scenery to look at, and a truck-full of people to get to know. But this might get tiresome for some people. Read the itinerary carefully.

    - A lot of the activities billed as “optional” were pretty much required, if you wanted to have fun. The focus of our tour was African game drives, and except for one, they were all “optional”, and cost between US$30-50 dollars each. My wife and I had decided ahead of time to do all of the optionals (spent approximately $250 total for each of us) and I’m glad we did, but if you’re a penny-pincher, I could see it getting annoying. Again, read the itinerary carefully.

    All in all, I feel that by taking G Adventures, we were able to see a lot more of southern Africa than if we had just gone on our own. I suppose it depends on your comfort level in the third world, but there were some situations (choosing safe markets to shop at, bribing corrupt SA police (really!), and navigating the crazy Botswana-Zambia border crossing) that I know I wouldn’t have been able to do by myself, and least not without great stress. The lodging is definitely not luxury, but I think it was more fun that way. All we had to do was spend a few nights roughing it and helping around the campsite, and we had the trip of a lifetime.

    -Evan

  34. I am seriously considering going to Machu Pichu, Peru this summer 2012 with G Adventures. But the reviews here are scaring me away. I am single, very young 50+ in age. Can any one suggest a safe & fun group to go with that doesn’t charge extra for a single? Thanks!

  35. GAP IS MUCH BETTER!

    I just did a tour with both. I traveled Egypt with Gap and the trip was amazing and my tour guide was unbelievable. As for my experiences with Intrepid, they made a mistake and they told me the wrong city to do one of my one-day additions and after I complained to them that they made a mistake, they apologized for making a mistake, admitted they were wrong but told me they cannot refund me.

    DO NOT GO with Intrepid!

  36. To the person planning on traveling to Cambodia: I went last summer and was based in Siem Reap. I traveled alone (female traveler) and, in the end, decided to deal with a tour company. The company, All About Asia, was fantastic. I was not part of a group and had a guide and a driver to myself every day. Was left to my own devices in the middle of the day (hottest time) to lounge at the pool of the boutique hotel (or wander around in the markets) and at night. Easily found fellow hotel guests to go out to dinner with. I loved it. Had several different guides and drivers and they were all wonderful. Never felt threatened or nervous in that country. Avoided the tour group deal, but still got the convenience of the tour company getting boat trips, performances, overnights in other cities, etc. together. And the guides were like having a friend to explore with. I can highly recommend All About Asia. (They also go out of their way to achieve crowd avoidance at the temples. Nothing worse than wandering around Angkor Wat Park with a group amongst hoards of other groups of people off tour buses! My guides managed to avoid all that.)

  37. I did the 30 day YOLO Indochina Discovery Tour last November with G Adventures. It was absolutley brilliant. I have travelled a lot on my own but decided to give a group trip a go for a change. The average age was about 24 and at 35 i was by far the eldest, but it really didnt matter. Our tour leader, Kris, was great and always hired superb local guides to show around local sites. The transport arrangments were very organised and accomodation was better than I expected. The group was very well behaved and responsible, not at all the boozy, 18 to30 rowdy crowd I had feared. I do think its pot luck, if you have a great leader and a good group you are going to have a good time no matter which company you go with.

    The only slight criticism I had was that the tour was too full on, we only had about a day and half in each place which was pretty exhausting and a measly 5 hours in Halong Bay on a boat. Although to see everything travelling on my own would have taken twice as long and been a lot more hassle. I will definitely be booking again with G adventures.

  38. I have booked a group tour in india with Gap. I’ll let you guys know how it goes. :)

    Very good insight about the two companies.

  39. Loved all of these reviews and it’s helped me a lot, I’m 20 and have dreamt of going to India for a long time, I can’t decide between intrepid or G adventures. I’m pulling towards intrepid because they seem to be cheaper. The reason I’m doing a group trip is because I’m traveling alone and have no experience really besides a 2 month trip all over Europe. Can anyone tell me which company would be best to travel to India with??

  40. I recently returned from an Intrepid tour in Brazil and Argentina that didn’t live up to my expectations. I am writing about my experience to help other travelers when they are making choices of tour companies.

    Our tour itinerary began in Buenos Aires, and continued to Iguassu Falls, the beach town of Paraty, and Rio de Janeiro. We traveled by road and plane, and the logistics of all the travel arrangements were excellent. Our tour guide/group leader was exceptionally helpful when there were problems clearing security at the airport and customs at the border. I thought that the itinerary was a good mix of urban and natural vistas.

    Our tour guide/group leader had not previously led this tour, and his background was in trekking, not urban travel. He was an affable young man, but I had expected that our tour guide would provide historical and cultural information about the different sites we were visiting. While our group leader was somewhat informative in Buenos Aires, because he is Argentinian, he knew very little about the other sites of interest we visited. For the most part, the only source of information we were provided about the region we were visiting was a 1-2 page handout provided by Intrepid. The low point to me occurred when we were visiting Cristo Redemptor, the iconic statue of Jesus that oversees Rio de Janeiro from the mountaintop. Before climbing to view the statue I asked our group leader about its history, and he replied “I am not a local tour guide and I don’t have that information.” This is a statue that defines Rio, and yet he had no information on its inception.

    I wrote to Intrepid about my disappointment, asking them if I had misunderstood the role of the tour guide/group leader. Perhaps this person is only meant to oversee the logistics of travel, but not to provide information about the travel venues. Intrepid responded by telling me that this guide had been adequately prepared for the trip and had always been rated highly on other trips.
    The trip we purchased was the “Comfort” level, and we were promised 3-4 star hotel accommodations. Three of the four hotels were acceptable, if one thinks of 3 stars as an average hotel. They were reasonably clean with comfortable beds. However, one of the hotels, near Iguassu Falls, was far below the standard. It was dirty, poorly maintained, and the food served for breakfast was nearly inedible. It is rated 34th of 36 hotels in Puerto Iguauzu on Trip Advisor! Several of us on the tour complained about this hotel to Intrepid. They replied to me that we had been given the hotel’s Superior level rooms, and that Intrepid continues to book their tours at this hotel because of its central location and access to an outdoor grill. Does Intrepid really think that people who have paid for a 3-4 star hotel would trade cleanliness for access to an outdoor grill? As it turned out, it was raining the entire time we were there, so could not use the grill. Future travelers, note that Intrepid does not provide the names of the hotels it uses on its website, or to individuals who inquire, in advance of booking the tour. After my experience, I felt that I should have noticed this and taken it as a warning.

    The ground transportation also did not meet my expectations. In booking the comfort level tour, I had thought we would be traveling in comfortable vehicles. Instead, we had two 5-hour trips in a van with virtually no suspension, so that we felt every bump. The van already had logged 225,000 miles! The terrain was mountainous and curvy, and the driver’s style was to speed up and then slam on the brakes when needed. For both trips I had to grip the seat in front of me the entire trip, just to keep some stability.

    On this trip my husband and I were traveling with our two daughters, aged 22 and 25. The majority of the other travelers were in their thirties, and they bonded as a group. From what I have read, these tours attract travelers in their 30s rather than 50-60’s. I didn’t anticipate that being a problem, but we felt excluded from most of the camaraderie shared by the others. I’m not sure what could have been done about that, and I don’t blame Intrepid.

    The tour cost was $2600 for 7 days. If you are planning to take a tour with a similar itinerary, I hope that reading about my experience with Intrepid is helpful.

  41. I am considering doing Buenos Aires to Rio (17 days) with G tours. Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this. I am 30 year old female and traveling alone, I just want to be safe and see the designated places in relative comfort.

    • You should be fine. The tour routes usually stay away from the “bad” areas, but just like anywhere in the world shit can happen. If you travel in a group you should be quite safe. In addition, you will usually find each group always has at least a few people who are the protecting types. As a guy I often feel like I’m hard-wired to protect those in my group, especially the ladies. I guess that’s just thousands of years of evolution playing its part. Go for it you wont regret it. And 30 is not old!
      I’m thinking of taking the same South American trip through G tours, towards the end of 2012, I’m 27 and suspect that most on tour may be around my age.

  42. I wish tour companies would let on to who the tour leaders are going to be.

    From my experience I would always choose a female tour leader as they actually focus on the experience. The males always focus on trying to sleep with the girls on tour, its a real piss off as it affects the whole chemistry of the group. Cannot stand American men, either. Most arrogant people in the world, with no idea about the world.
    I think some people on this post are just wingers, like those sooking about transport and food. When your somewhere you’ve never been before have an open mind, its all apart of the experience. If something goes wrong like a flat tyre thats normal. Heck the first day I had ever seen snow I was trying to figure out how to put on snow chains around the rear tyres of our mini bus as the tour leader had no idea how to. Just go with the flow as some things cannot be controlled.
    But providing decent tour guides who focus on the customer experience can be controlled, so i think Gap, Treck America could improve in the regard.

  43. After reading all the comments posted, I am leaning towards Intrepid Travel :) I am planning to do the 9 days North Morocco Adventure in Sept or Oct timeframe.

    I am 35 single lady and what I am worried about is being the only solo traveler and everyone else being coupled up. I am also worried aboutthe age gap of the group. Since this is not an active tour I am thinking the group might be too young or too old. Any thoughts or is this just pure luck? Has anyone here done the North Morocco Adventure?

  44. I traveled with Gap (now G) Adventures through Patagonia Oct-Nov 2010. It was by far the best two weeks of my life. I am not sure about all of these tours guides I am reading about but mine was superb. He was a Chilean who fit in right with the group, had all sorts of info, made lost items appear out of thin air (people leaving stuff in tents an 8 hour drive away), and was just plain fantastic. The make-up of the group also made the trip. Our age ranges were 19-68 but most of us in our late 20s to early 30s. We all bonded well and enjoyed almost every moment together. I am planning a trip to somewhere in Southern Africa for this October and trying to find the right itinerary. Best of luck to us all traveling this wonderful world!

  45. I am looking at booking a trip to Costa Rica at Xmas time with G tours. We are a family of 5 – we have 3 teenage boys. The family itinerary seems very interesting and the service level is Comfort. Has anyone done a family tour with Gap or Intrepid?

  46. Intreped travel is own by peak adventure in Australia. peak adventure also own sevral other company such as Sawadee Reizen ( Holland) Exodus, Paregrine travel, Geko’s adventure, adventure center, The adventure company, urban adventure, headwater, trek America and country walker.
    With their new policy they have their local travel company partner in every destination. they are trying to support one local company with all the series and at the return they are taking 50% of profit from local company . To day we talk about sustainable tourism and supporting different way to ruler poverty in poor nation. in other hand biggest operator such as intrepid travel are taking benefit from the client and from the local people of different country from different part of the world. Therefore, i will highly recommend you to travel or book your trip through local company and to support them. First thing, The trip is lot cheaper , secondly you are supporting local economy. Helping is good KARMA and Charity never goes unrewarded.

  47. Travel with local company , save money and help their economy
    Tourism is the biggest industry in the world and many travelers make
    Themselves happy with their will and wish to travel. Time has changed and
    in the context of global village the whole world is narrowing in the
    prospect of communication. At present anybody can book their trip
    inexpensively through local agent with one click from their computer but
    still due to the vague with the ideas and by the flow of people by nature
    many are still traveling with tour operators based in their own home
    country. Market segment is always important in fixing price of any things
    but things are expensive with the involvement of third parties and in
    tourism it seems must but is easy to avoid.

  48. I took an Intrepid trip in Egypt. Four years ago and had a wonderful time. A friend and I were by far the oldest (60 and 64 ) but got along famously with the twenty something’s on our trip. It probably helped that we could play father/protector to the girls when the Egyptian men got a bit too forward.
    I want to take a trip to India this January with Intrepid but they do not finalize their schedule until Nov 1 which is a real problem both for scheduling work and getting a decent airfare. G Adventure has a trip -Essential India – that looks very attractive but all the criticism of Gap makes me concerned.
    Anyone have a recent experience with the G Adventure India trips that they can share that might help me to decide?
    Thanks.

  49. Gap was great!

    I went to Vietnam with GAP adventures (as it was then known) in 2011. I did the 10 day classic tour and it was fantastic. It opened up my world for travelling ‘alone’ as I now realise there are so many people in the same boat with the same motivations for going on an adventurous holiday. My tour guide was absolutely amazing (i realise this could have been different), the group varied hugely, we had 7 nationalities, and ages ranged from 19 to 68. The diversity of the group was what made it so special, and we build some fantastic relationships over the 1 days we were together. I was never once lonely as we hung out a lot together but there was an opportunity every day to do things alone if i’d wanted to. Meals together were always on offer but if you wanted to do your own thing, nobody frowned upon it. However you wanted to shape your holiday, the options were there. I am now thinking about Japan and was only looking at GAP but reading this suggests that Intrepid are best for Asia…..I would happily book with GAP again but will explore intrepid too.

  50. I have taken two tours with Gap (or G) Adventures. I did Egypt and Jordan in 2010 and Peru this year.
    Both were excellent experiences, form the guides (all male), to the fellow travelers, to the itinerary. I am in my 40′s ad found there were people older and younger than me on both trips. The guides were knowledgable and very good at what they did, especially in Peru. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of these.

  51. My 17 year old daughter and I are wanting to book a tour through the Canadian Rockies. We are currently looking at the Intrepid 15 day Basix tour. Having read many feedbacks I am concerned as to who I should go with??

  52. I am planning a trip to Nepal and am struggling between these two companies and the experience they provide. I would like to trek the Annapurna circuit and as far as the two companies go it all seems much of a muchness. Has any one done a similar tour that can provide me with some feedback?

  53. Hello. I am a in my early forties and prefer to mix solo travel with group trips. Having benefited from reading other people reviews, I feel I need to contribute too. I travelled only with Intrepid in Cambodia,Vietnam, USA and India (Rajastan). I like their itineraries and prices are ok, especially if you try to grab a special offer. In November they have a birthday and usually offer discounts. Overall I had a great time, though quality of guides does vary. Sometimes we were lucky, sometimes we were not. Please note guides are not actually guides: they bring you from one place to another, do a short orientation, organize activities, but they are not obliged to give you lectures on history and culture (though the best of them will make the effort to do so). Usually ages in a group vary from 18 to 65, so it is very difficult to guess in advance. Calling Intrepid and asking makes sense. In poor countries guides do try to make some money on the side: they bring you to certain restaurants and shops where they have commission. In Vietnam in the very first restaurant with a guide a lot of extras were added to our bill, but I try to check what I pay, so eventually the bill was corrected. My last trip was to India and the shops shown by our guide were twice as expensive as the rest of them. But those shops had a real stuff and provided good info, so now I know how a tablecloth dyed with natural colours looks and how spices are “forged”. I also know I cannot tell real silk from fake (yes, burning test – viscose or mixture would burn very similar). And you would never get a precise info from a seller in India, unless it is a government shop. So I found those visits useful as long as you do not buy anything there. And I know on my own I would not manage to see to much of Rajastan in 3 weeks. Travelling with Intrepid gives you a structure, some company, it removes a hassle of organizing transport and accommodation yourself, but the rest is up to you: read about a country, study its language, traditions and history. A little bit of luck with a guide and a group and you would have a great experience! Sorry for mistakes: English is not my first language.

  54. Always looking for comments and perspective. Six of us, all 60+, are ready to sign up with G Adventures for the Inca trail trek, the Amazon, and Galapagos(a 19 day trip). We’ve done Nepal, summited Kilimanjaro, done the Chamalquari trek in Bhutan, trekked China and Europe, and most recently the Tour de Mont Blanc. This would be our first G Adventures trip. We’d like to have feedback before putting down real money. Thanks

  55. I am planning on going to Intrepid’s Annapurna Sanctuary Trek in 2013, so I looked up G adventures to compare. The description and the copy are ditto same to same. Why? Are they the same company, and if so, why are the prices different?

  56. HI,I like G adventures for some of the most exclusive tours they run on the poles. I also like their web content as it is written in a very personalized manner.

    If anyone is planning to travel to Bhutan, visit directly with us and save money on off-shore travel agent commissions. Bhutan Travel Club is a premier local travel agent based in Bhutan and continuously lauded for our quality delivery. We know that many travelers feel more secured in the hands of your homeland operators, but we have good schemes for cash backs if our visitors are not satisfied with any aspect of our trips. Come see a place on earth that is untouched by time with a culture that is unlike anywhere in the world and the nature is pristine. Bhutan is also extolled for our unique development philosophy that gives primacy to Happiness levels of the people as opposed to solely relying on GDP. Its called Gross National Happiness.

    The invitation also goes out to all those tour operators (Intrepid and G included) thinking of adding Bhutan into your portfolio. Write to us at info@bhutantravelclub.com and I’m sure together we can make more travelers appreciate Shangrila- or something close..

    visit us at http://www.bhutantravelclub.com. Thanks

  57. Argh! Who to choose! We are planning on going to Peru – we have done 2 G Adventure tours – China and Cambodia. They were both fantastic, although we had good groups and the luck of no unexpected disasters which may have made us reflect on the company differently. We are pretty laid back and go with no expectations so anything is a bonus. However…for a Peru trip who is best? There are those that say G Adventures have the longer experience there, but the reviews I have read have been pretty bad, but equally they are from previous years and things may have improved…? Any up to date info would be great!

  58. I’ve traveled with both Intrepid and GAP. Hands down I would select Intrepid over GAP. We did a GAP Africa tour and while the tour itself was fine, it was the fact that the home office messed up our accommodations at the beginning of the tour leaving us stranded and then refused to make it right or refund us our out of pocket expense to find a place to stay. The customer service was awful. Just about to book my next Intrepid tour for this summer.

  59. With Intrepid, people need to understand the different tour levels. Basic is quite basic and attracts the younger crowd who, generally, enjoy bars and noise over quiet contemplation. Original gets the ‘traveller’ types (although sometimes the whiney type because original is still fairly basic accom and travel). Comfort is usually the older types but again can sometimes get the precious princesses who think ‘comfort’ means 5 star.

    As a whole, most people who read this website will be happy with an Original style tour and probably not a basic tour

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