Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Contiki the explorer review September 2015
This tour is amazing I don't know where to begin - yes you probably look at the this tour and say it's expensive I thought the same but believe me for what you get is good value for money yes you could probably do it cheaper if you organised it yourself taking overnight buses & staying in hostels but this tour you get it all accommodation, transport (a few short flights but better then 12hours on a bus), breakfast everyday Peru was basic food but Argentina & Brazil a hot breakfast every morning (just no bacon if that's a priority to you) great tour manager, local guides and the best thing is they will help you communicate unless your fluent in Spanish & Portuguese you will struggle so they help also the best thing is you feel safe. I never felt unsafe while with the group they tell where to go & which areas to avoid.
This tour you will join the adventure tour which has already been traveling together for a week, there is multiple Peru trips and people will go in Cusco before the jungle lodge & then in Lima after the jungle lodge then you will head to Argentina where you will and the rest of your group will meet the people traveling on the Argentina & Brazil tour.
If you can do the inca trek I'm glad I did it it took a while but I finished and I'm no means fit but it's just an amazing feeling when you get to the top. Be sure to pack bug spray and put lots on as there are these little midgy insects and they make you itchy as anything so stop itch cream would also help.
Tips: currency bring lots of US dollars as you will get a better exchange rate over there rather than in Australia and it's easier to exchange money rather then having to find an atm that will accept your card or as many of the Americans on tour found out the bank but a hold on their card even though they had notified the bank prior to leaving the US thus resulting in high phone bills having to call their bank multiple times & no money and you don't risk your card being skimmed. Also it's easier to pay optionals in US dollars as the local rates change so much.
Altitude sickness: I joined in Cusco and had 2 days before I joined the group I drank lots of water & that is the key and water is really cheap depending on where you buy it but you could get 2.5 litres for 5 Peruvian souls and eat light, some people on tour did take altitude sickness tablets and I found these were the people who got sick needing the doctor to come this may have just been a coincidence but definitely take it easy drink lots of water & avoid alcohol. The altitude affects everyone differently and they have hot water & coco tea & leaves in all the hotels in Peru.
Take gastro stop (lots) you will need it at some point on the tour or someone else will this is guaranteed and a basic first aid kit. Now let's talk about the toilet paper situation in South America this can seem a bit odd but you are not allowed to flush toilet paper so you have to put it in a bun next to the toilet so my tip to avoid the awkwardness of sharing with a stranger and dealing with the toilet situation - take little plastic bags such as doggy bags and put the paper in there.
Just be aware that in South America they eat late so buy some snacks and by late I mean you usually don't meet for dinner until 8/8:30
this tour was mid September so end of the winter some people found it cold but I thought the weather was quite warm even got sunburnt in Cusco.
But in saying that this tour was absolutely AMAZING the people, the sites and the experience go with an open mind.
This was one hell of a trip! Such a whirlwind, I can hardly believe all of the incredible things I got to experience. If you're looking for a way to sample a variety of what Europe has to offer, but don't have 2 months to take off from life, this is the perfect trip. They aren't kidding when they say "high energy" though, so I hope you plan on sleeping when you're dead! But it was absolutely worth it. Would do this trip again in a heart beat. So well organized too! I was surprised and impressed with how smooth it all went down, in regards to the travel, accommodations, meals, and excursions - I was never left waiting around which was shocking travelling with 39 other people!
All in all, an amazing and exciting adventure. And felt 100% safe as a female travelling by herself.
I had the time of my life on the Peru Uncovered Trip. My only complaint is that I didn't continue on to do the full Argentina and Brazil extension (not that I didn't try to join - visa problems). Overall the trip was a great way to dive into Peru and the rich history it holds. My trip manager, Clarisa, is one of the main reasons the trip was so incredible. She was so energetic and passionate about her country, it helped immerse us and see the most from every place. My group was also absolutely amazing. We had people from all over, the States, Australia, Britain and all of us became one big family. I came as a solo traveler and had the best time!! I definitely recommend this trip to anyone wanting to take a dive into Peru (and make sure to hike the Inca trail - it's breathtaking!)
Had the best time of my life! Met so many amazing people who will become life time friends. This is something you will never regret doing!!
This was easily the best 14 days of my life. We had Rammel as our tour manager and he was so knowledgeable. I learnt stuff about USA I never knew and fell in love with places I didn't even think I would. It's definitely the best of USA and I would recommend this trip for anyone to get a taste of the states. Currently planning to go back!
Now.. 20 year old new to travelling with out parents goes on a trip to Europe. What could go wrong!?!? Contiki definitely are excellent to lead a novice traveller in the right direction. This trip changed my entire world. I swear by Contiki because of this trip and sell it to all of my friends followed by the comment "MAKE SURE YOUR TRIP INCLUDES PRAGUE! DO THE PUB CRAWL!" Such a decent trip!
Mainly booked this trip for convenience. The fact that it was flying instead of being on a bus really appealed to me as America is A LOT bigger than Europe and thought being on a bus would be average. Although comparing USA to Europe Contiki (they are chalk and cheese but if I had to) I definitely think they do Europe a lot better. If you are keen for a lot of free time its definitely the trip for you! I mean.. Contiki in Vegas, can you go wrong?!?!!?
This trip was seriously great. We had an amazing tour guide and a great bunch of people on our tour, which I've learnt is very important. Loved the combination of big nights out in places like Vegas and Miami and the more relaxed places like the Grand Canyon.
Explored the North and South Islands in 18 days. Met incredible people and made great friends. Tour manager and bus driver were great and a lot of fun. Highly recommend this tour, great value for money. Optional activities are endless and there is plenty to see and do.
It was a great trip, great people I meet over the trip!
The optionals are good to do! You learn and see lots!
I recommend to do this trip if you want to explore the UK and Ireland!
This trip was a great way to see the 3 countries. Starting in the capital of Spain, Madrid then seeing the breath taking Alhambra in Granada to the Fez Medina, embracing their culture and their way of life to fast pace city of Marrakesh then seeing the amazing Alcázar in Seville and outrageous night life and fantastic food in Lisbon. One word Fantastic. The optionals were great, with excellent choices of food, to make the trip that much better. The accommodation in Spain and Portugal was fantastic. Great hotels. The Moroccan hotels were good, but not amazing. But that didn't bother me as it was a place to rest. The trip manager and coach driver (Feddo and Jojo) were amazing. Full of history and information to make the trip that much better. I would recommend this trip to anyone having any interest in going to these countries. It is a fantastic trip for a first Contiki.
The tour is great for a first time traveller, you get to see a lot throughout Scotland, it's beautiful and worth every second. Tour guide and driver were great made everyone comfortable. Was only a short trip so you have to expect a lot of coach time. Some days we were on the coach all day excluding the required stops.
Because it's the uk some of the hotels were old and didn't have elevators so make sure you are okay to carry your suitcase up the stairs. Sometimes it's the best option as some of the elevators are slow and slightly terrifying. All accomodation was nice though, no complaints.
This trip was great for giving me a look at the UK defiantly makes me wants to go back for more.
I have to say this tour wouldn't have been half as good if it wasn't for our amazing tour guide Ellie and our amazing driver Matt. They were extremely informative, knew everything about every site we visited, and were incredibly funny, nice and overall great people to spend 10 days with. Our group was a fun bunch, and the pace of the trip was perfect. Every activity we did was fantastic. The only problem with the trip was literally having to leave. If I could leave for the same tour tomorrow, I wouldn't skip a beat in booking. Overall, the most amazing experience with some of the most amazing people!!!!
No words to describe how amazing this trip was. It was honestly the experience of a lifetime; exceeded my expectations BY FAR!
I went on this trip solo, and I have to say this was the way to do it in my opinion. I met so many incredible people, and made connections and friendships that will truly last a lifetime.
I have nothing negative to say about my first Contiki experience. This was my first time to Asia, as well, and I am so happy that I went through Contiki to get my feet wet in this new culture. I studied abroad in Europe for 6 weeks, and I would say that the culture in Europe is comparable to that of the United States. The countries are developed countries, and it was easier for an American girl to make her way around. However, Asia was a totally different story. I was actually going to plan a trip on my own, but I feel that I would not have done as much as I did having gone through Contiki. I was able to enjoy the trip and experience the culture much more. Contiki took all of the stress off when it came to hospitality, traveling, language, crossing boarders, etc.
I was a little nervous about doing a "tour group"; I didn't want it to be like a stereotypical tour group where you are sitting on a bus all day viewing sites out of the window with a guide feeding you boring facts about stuff you don't care about. However Contiki was NOTHING like this, and I was so happy. We actually were IMMERSED in the culture, doing this firsthand, and it was amazing. I have to admit, I am one of those people who does love a good history lesson and I wanted to learn about Asian culture entirely while on this trip. Between the tour guides we had in each city, to our tour manager (Margie I t go out to the bar every single night. Seriously, no one will judge you for doing your own thing.
I recommend this trip to ANYONE. This was the best experience of my life so far- between experiencing the Asian culture, to the connections I made with everyone on the trip, Contiki has something for everyone. I would do another Contiki again in a heartbeat.
Started off in Vegas, went a saw a Cirque De Soleil show went hit a nightclub that had a view over the Vegas strip at night! Next morning was tough! 10 hour bus ride to Bass lake. I recommend not going too hard before a bus ride :) Finally got to Bass lake and it was a nice holiday retreat to appreciate nature.
The next day we headed up to Yosemite National Park, and what a view!! A definite must see!! Hiking up Yosemite was great to but its a shame no everyone can get to the top. Later that night we had our Thanks Giving dinner. Being from Australia, we dont celebrate thanks giving but being a food lover, might as well!! After dinner, we did some Karaoke! Everyone was a bit shy to get on the mic so I jumped on first, singing a Backstreet Boys classic "I want it that way". Once that song was done, everyone had the courage to go up.
Next up, San Francisco!! What a great city to visit! People were friendly, the food was great, the gays were some of the nicest people I have ever met!! We had plans during the night but the days were for ourselves . Shopping there was a great experience. Definitely check out the Westfield there on Market st. Having a free day, I got to check out Alcatraz and bought a ticket on the day! Personal tip, if the tours are booked out, if you go really early in the morning before the ticket gates opens, the sell about 40 extra tickets. its first come first serve. In the day we did a bike tour of San Fransico which was the best way to see the city. We rode for hours and ferried it on a boat on the way back. Later that night, we had a ugly Christmas sweater night. Everyone buys an ugly sweater and we head out. 6 of us guys couldnt find any sweaters, so we bought Santa outfits! People loved us in our santa outfits! Even got a few photo ops with randoms. The next day was a free day to check out the city at my own pace. Got to see Lomard street then walked all the way to Lucas Arts studio. Silly of me didnt realized it was open to the public and I didnt go in. Finished off the night with a group dinner, then ventured back to our hotels.
The next day we drove off the Santa Barbara with a pitstop in a small town. I cant remember the name of the town but it had one of the best hamburgers I have ever had! I almost cried because I was looking everywhere for a great burger but didnt succeed. Finally we got to Santa Barbara, a small beach town, that had that "Californian Surfer" vibe about it. A few of us boys found a bar in the backstreet which had a wide variety of beer. The bar tender was nice to us. He thought it was funny seeing an Australian, Canadian and a French walk into bar together because thats how all jokes start :) Finished off the night by have a pub meal at a bar. Food was good the atmosphere was relaxed. Most of us were getting fatigue by this time. So we went back to the hotel for casual drinks at the bar.
Next morning we drove off the Los Angeles. There was plenty of seats left so we all just spread out and slept most of the time on the bus. Getting to L.A I got off early to check into my hostel, and meet with the team later that night to attend an ice hockey game. Everyone else did tours, some slept, but I did regret not being able to to join the others around Hollywood. I did get to see them before the game. Finishing off our night watching the L.A Kings vs the Boston Bruins was a great experience. Only watching ice hockey of tv, being there live was amazing!! once the game was done, I said my final goodbyes to my contiki buddies. Its a shame i only hanged out with these guys for 8 days but they will always be friends of mine for life!
Guys, this is a great trip but DON'T do it. I would instead do the Island & Rainforest (Start Cairns) trip... It still has everything you want but instead of two nights on a boat you get an optional day-sail, which undoubtedly would be better...
The boat (calling it a 'yacht' is technically correct but extremely misleading) is an old racing sailboat and therefore REALLY NOT MEANT to accommodate holiday-makers. The deck has nowhere to comfortably sit and is surfaced with a material similar to sandpaper. And there's very little shelter from the burning hot sun up there. The bunks are, lets say, not great if you have any inkling of claustrophobia, and it is about 45-degrees-Celsius down in the cabin so attempting to sleep was awful. You get a 1 minute shower on each of the nights. The food is good though! And, usually, on Contiki the "party people" and the "not so party people" get along really well - but they're crammed together on this boat, so the people who want to drink and chat into the next morning get annoyed because the people who want to sleep get angry at them... and the people who think midnight is a reasonable bed-time for a 5am start, get extremely peeved at the people who want to drink and make a racket at 2am.
Overall, the time on the boat was extremely uncomfortable and soured the trip, so I really wouldn't recommend it.
HOWEVER there were some really good things about this trip, which is why I think you should still do it, but do the Island/Rainforest (Start Cairns) instead -
- the Daintree is an incredibly old rainforest and you get guided through it by a hilarious, knowledgeable Indigenous guy named Skip. He's great!
- If doing the trip at NYE like I did, you get to spend the night at a huge party at the Beach House at Cape Tribulation - NYE on a beach in a rainforest?! How many people have done that?!
- White Water Rafting (optional) was the best fun! It's a level 3 rapid, perfect for people who haven't done it before, and it's just the right amount of terrifying.
- The Great Barrier Reef is a must-see of course, and it's a great day out on the water.
- Whitehaven Beach is such a beautiful, untouched, incredible place. I would go there again in a heartbeat.
Word to the wise - Summer is Stinger season in Queensland, so you can't enjoy the water as much as you otherwise would. It's also HOT and HUMID in Summer. I would recommend planning the trip for a time between March-October.
Please come and explore Australia!! Contiki are a great company, but just DON'T do this trip - do this one instead:
I hope this was helpful!
No regrets !!! Do it do it all especially the Bungy jumping in the Swiss alps ...
Ok: first of all, I want to say, this trip is NOT for everyone.
If you've not done any research about the outback, the climate, and how big and remote the Northern territory is, you really need to do that first and ask yourself:
1. Am I going to be comfortable with travelling 4000km by coach (sometimes 6 hours a day)?
2. Am I going to be able to deal with 40+ degree heat if I go in summer? (bearing in mind that even indoors, the air conditioning may not be the most efficient in the world?) You WILL sweat profusely and it won't be the least bit glamourous.
3. Am I going to expect a fantastic range of food options/special dietary provisions in the middle of the desert? (hint: you aren't gonna get them. It's just logistics, soz)
4. Do I expect 5 star accommodation? (again, you're in the middle of the desert - not gonna get it!)
5. Am I terrified of spiders and other insects/snakes/crocodiles/frogs (you're going to see a lot of them, including possibly in your bathrooms. Also bring a fly net - the flies are a massive pain in the butt.)
6. Can I deal with being off the radar in terms of phone signal and wifi (really can't stress enough how much you're in a big old remote desert here!)
If you can deal with all of the above, you have a great attitude and a sense of humour, you don't mind (and in fact appreciate) a few 'colourful characters', and you want to see something truly spectacular - GO! You won't regret it. It is the true Australia, it is unique and like nothing else on earth.
The trip can roughly be divided into two aspects: the arid red centre and the more lush region towards the north. Geographically both stunning, this trip is also great if you're interested in aboriginal art and culture.
In the red centre, the colours are incredibly vibrant, the rock formations breathtaking. It is pretty much impossible to take a bad photo here, everything looks like the colours have been saturated! The horizon stretches on, seemingly forever. There are many early starts due to needing to get things done before the heat gets too intense (sometimes 4am - again, consider if this is something you'll be able to deal with) and the desert sunrise is beautiful.
The champagne sunset at Uluru was most definitely a highlight for me - amazingly beautiful, and a childhood dream fulfilled.
The second half of the tour up by Katherine/Kakadu/Darwin is much greener, lusher and more humid but also beautiful. If you like crocodiles you're especially in for a treat! My personal favourite was the waterfalls.
In terms of optionals, I went on the outback balloon flight, the Kakadu fixed wing scenic flight and the Katherine Gorge river cruise. Of these my favourite was probably the Kakadu flight - despite the weather being a bit rubbish when we went, the views were still absolutely stunning.
There was a good mix of people on this tour so don't worry if you're expecting it to all be one type of person - it definitely isn't! We had people from the UK, Germany and other parts of Europe, North Americans and some resident Aussies, as well as a range of ages from 18-34 years old. Go in with an open mind and a friendly attitude and you're sure to find great friends to bunk up with.
You will travel 4000km by coach on this tour, but never for more than about 2.5 hours at a time. Our coach driver, Will, was amazing, a great driver and he did everything he could to make the journey as comfortable as possible - it was nowhere near as bad as I was dreading, in fact the journeys were pretty fun!
In terms of accommodation, it is basic but it is clean and it is fine (again - not a lot of options in the desert). You really need to be understanding and reasonable about what you expect on the accommodation and catering front - consider exactly how remote you are and the distances everything has to travel to get there. You won't get what you're used to at home, and surely that's why you travel in the first place - for the experience! Most people understand this, but a few didn't, and their whinging was most unwelcome.
Unless you select otherwise, you'll be in multi-sleep accommodation of 4 people. If you feel you can't manage this or you know you're a bit of a diva, perhaps a single supplement would be a better option for you.
Make sure you pack a fly net, a sun hat, sunglasses, comfortable closed-toe shoes (some good trainers at least) and a rain coat (yes, really - it can get pretty rainy up north), a travel pilliow and a torch as well as your other stuff - do a bit of reading up about what the climates in the various places you'll be visiting at the time of year you're going, as it does vary a lot. Also bring a nice set of clothes/shoes for when you go out in the evening to restaurants/bars/clubs - flip flops aren't always ok.
All in all, this tour was absolutely life-changing for me and I loved it. I took over 1000 photos and if you go you'll see why! The place is rugged, beautiful and sometimes a little crazy - and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Trip was awesome!! The Grand Southern was a blast. It exceeded my expectations by so much. I had a great guide and bus driver (Sexy Chocolate). Our guide James was so knowledgeable about the history of the places we visited. He knew all the best place to eat and drink and made recommendations that were spot on, so we didn't waste our time trying to figure things out. Also he managed to score us a dinner reservation at the famous Mrs Wilkes Dinning Room in Savannah. Obama has eaten there. By far the best southern food I've ever had. If your tour guide can't get you in there, go and line up as soon as you get into Savannah, it'll be worth it.
All the places we hit were fantastic. There wasn't a spot where I thought "Meh could have skipped this". If anything I'd wish we'd had longer in some places, especially the places we hit up for just one night.
Great people on the tour. I was worried it'll just be a bunch of people looking to get drunk but it wasn't like that at all. I think when you spend that much money, people actually want to experience the trip and not just drink through it. At least that's what I found with my group.
If you're on the fence about doing this trip...jump! Don't hesitate, you won't ever regret it.
New year in Paris was amazing! My friends and I met some amazing people who we will stay in touch with and Paris was a beautiful city!
Our tour guide Jake was hilarious and our driver Artur was brilliant.
Already booked my next trip to Amsterdam for my Birthday!