Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I had the most amazing time on this Contiki!! The weather was hot and humid, but that didn't ruin my trip. Koh Samui was by far my favourite island, coming close behind was Koh Panghan. The vibe was incredible and the Thai people were so friendly and helpful. I have never experienced so much culture in 9 days than i did on this tour. i fell in love with Thailand and you will too! I'd go back there any day.
Definitely on my top ten places to go to again
When I booked my tour I was so nervous I had no idea what to expect, all I knew is I wanted to see Europe in a quick time as I couldn't take too long off work! I guess because I felt like the tour was an amazing price there would be things that were missing. Boy was I wrong, I am still shocked at how amazing this two weeks was, best of my life and way to short meaning I could've done this tour for months on end it was so good. Everything was so perfectly planned & nothing isn't thought of.. you don't have to think about a thing or worry about missing anything as the tour guides & whoever else plans these trips have it all done for you, perfect for me. Every place you visit the important things you need to see are all worked out for you :)
Breakfast is there for you every morning & most of the time dinner as well, the food is good. Almost every night has something fun planned & there is a night or two where its free time which is so good if you want to recover a bit. The accommodation I loved personally because I love the whole cabin thing, all your mates are close by there's always a pub or something on site and you can just hang and walk back to your room later, its not luxury & its usually small but its a place to sleep and that's the only time you spend in your cabin or sometimes hotel room. We did have a few nights in hotels some pretty nice actually. Laundry is available at some places along the way too. The optional extras are great and not expensive at all & sooo worth it, do them all! The bus is a lot of fun, and a good place to take a nap if you have had a hard night, some days you travel a fair bit but its a load of fun with 50 other travellers right there with you, I enjoyed it heaps, I got to know everyone really quickly! The bus driver and tour guide go out of their way to ensure you have an amazing time & I was so amazed by how awesome they were they truly make it the best experience. I cannot rave enough about contiki, two solid weeks of constant fun and laughter and just generally being on a huge high from the amazing places you visit. Id do another in a heartbeat, either solo again or with a friend.
BEST TWO WEEKS EVER!
When I booked this trip, I was looking for two things: a relaxing holiday in the sun and sailing. The Greek Sailing trip delivered just that. What I didn't know was... well... everything else. On the morning of the trip, I knew exactly three things. 1. The ports that we would stop at, 2. where to go for the meetup and 3. the day that we would get back. Even with the message board, those of us on there really had zero idea what to expect. How many people? What are the sleeping arrangements? What are the optionals? It was a complete mystery.
That said, it couldn't have been better. I've done Contiki before Winter European Escapade and this was so different. There were only 8 (plus the one skipper) of us sharing a 5 cabin sailboat (roughly 50'). Two of the rooms have (very small) bunkbeds and the other 3 have a queen sized bed. I, however, made the wise decision of sleeping on the deck every night as it's just that much nicer to sleep under the stars. Everyday, we woke up around 8, as the sun made it very hard to sleep in, where we went swimming, then had breakfast, sailed (or used the engine if the wind was poor) for a few hours, swam again, had lunch, sailed to port, walked around, had dinner, then hung out.
This is nothing like my other contiki tour of clubbing and drinking every night. We went out once and it was a lot of fun, but our tight knit group hung around with a few beers and chatted most nights. It was very relaxing and a very Greek experience.
Now onto selling the idea of this trip for you. When I say that we had swim stops, that encompasses every aspect of swimming that you can imagine. We were rock climbing in small caves, jumping off 40' cliffs, diving to the bottom of the med, swimming with schools of fishes, playing on the beach, relaxing on a paddleboard and simply just swimming. Every stop was uniquely different and every stop had absolutely stunning views. While we did spend a lot of time commuting from port to port (sometimes roughly 4 hours), the sun was amazing and it was very relaxing just lying on the front of the boat. I tried to read a book, but I couldn't bear looking at text when the views were so amazing (we even saw dolphins). The breakfasts were authentic (best Greek yoghurt I've ever had) and the lunches were delicious. Our skipper was a great cook and knew some amazing recipes. Meals were in no way handicapped by having a vegetarian on board (the warm summers usually steer Greek cuisine away from meat). We each got to try our hand at sailing the boat and picked up some amazing speed. It was such a good experience. While this trip does not have any optional experiences, each port is filled with unique things to do. We did some sightseeing, went to an art gallery, climbed 1000 steps to a fortress, rode donkeys, rode bicycles, went shopping and - most importantly - watched the sunset nearly every night. That was definitely a highlight for me. We went out for dinner every night, but there is the option of cooking dinner as well. The places recommended by our skipper were excellent. He never led us astray. Meals were cheap and delicious and the fish and vegetables were always amazingly fresh! Every night was truly unique
I really can't say enough about how great this trip was. It was a truly authentic Greek experience and I felt like I had really soaked up the culture and Greek lifestyle, but didn't feel like a tourist at all. I got to relax in the sun and swim in the Med. I really think you'll enjoy this trip. My one piece of advice is to leave yourself a day or two for Athens as well, as the trip doesn't truly include athens. Ours started at 2:30pm on the first say and ended at 9:30am on the 8th day. So make sure you get some time to see Athens (and maybe book a trip from the harbour out to a few other ports as well!)
I loved this tour. The Wild Western truely has it all. A great mixture of nature and cities. So you can have time to relax and time to Party on. Our tourmanager Jack Larsen was great. This tour has many 2 nightstops what holds back the fast pace contiki is usually traveling with. Vegas was a blast... The surprise is so funny. Do it. The Grand Canyon... Wow, best National Park I've ever seen. You can't stop being astonished. Highlights: Grand Canyon, Vegas, Yosemite.
This tour is very nice but also a bit stressful. It's City after City. Nightclubs, bars and Programme until 11pm. It can be exhausting and it was for me. After the 4th City you don't really see the difference anymore. It's just again, another City. The tour is great... but as I experienced not my biggest favourite as I prefer nature (Now I know... didn't know it then) If your into big cities and nightlife, this is your Thing. But I prefer a mixture of nature and cities in my Holidays... Strong tour, with a big night Programme...Clubs, bars and drinking oppurtunities. Highlight: Quebec, Niagara Falls. Cool, but not my favourite.
This tour truely has it all. It is one of my favourite tours I've ever done with Contiki. I'm a Person that likes to be impressed by nature, and truely that happened. We had a small Group (26 people) and although Contiki is traveling fast paced you have enough time time to relax during this trip. I appreciated it not to have big traffic, Clubs or Pubs in the outback. It's silent, breath-taking but NOT boring. It's a tour, also relaxing. The ideal combination for me. I'm looking forward to do more scenic Contiki tours. This nature touches your heart. ;-) I love it. Rebecca the tourmanager was very kind and funny. Australia forever.
This was my first Contiki and the first travel that I actually count as travel. I went alone which was a big deal for me, but everything was worth the worry I had. We started in Lima, then to Arequipa, Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Puno, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, back to Cusco, then to the jungle.
I didn't realize how amazing all of the cities would be. Before I left all my focus was on the Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu (which WAS probably one of the best days of my life), but Peru has so much more to offer than that. There were so many beautiful churches/cathedrals, monastaries/convents, archeological sites, even the streets were beautiful.
The scenery is beautiful, the food is amazing, and all of the crafting you come across is beautiful.
I got to go horseback riding for the first time in Cusco and saw the temple of the moon, I went Whitewater rafting in th Sacred Valley, went Ziplining/did a ropes course in the jungle plus went swimming in El Gato falls, and of course hiked up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu.
I met great people on my tour, my tour manager Clarisa was such a happy, enthusiastic, and passionate person, and everyone we came into contact with for our backstage passes, our MeTime, and our "special surprises" were great.
I'm already saving up for my second Contiki, it won't come soon enough.
This sailing trip was really awesome! we had a fantastic time, the skipper was very friendly yet knowledgeable. We enjoyed authentic Greek meals on the boat, and got help out with sailing which was really fun. The ports/islands are beautiful! It was a good mix, of scenery, adventure, swimming, and good fun!!
I want to start this review saying I had a great trip, but that's because I was determined to have a great trip. If you like to get totally drunk every night then maybe you will not have to work so hard to have a great time like I did. This tour was the perfect way for me to check some sights off of my bucket list and refine my future travel list, but it was definitely a BUDGET tour. I have gone camping more times than I can count so I knew from the beginning that I can handle basic accommodations, but what I dislike are dirty accommodations. Many of the sites were overrun with bed bugs as well as many other dead bugs all over the rooms and even in the beds. At one sight in particular the cabins reeked of mold and sewage, but when this was brought up to the tour manager they brushed us off as just being whiny. I did not appreciate our tour manager's attitude at all as she constantly asked us to voice our complaints and then did nothing about any of them. If I had it to do over I would not go with Contiki, but since I can't go back in time I have to just focus on the fact that I have seen a lot more of the world now than I had before this trip. As for the "me time optionals" I think they are a total rip off. The only ones I would truly recommend are the gondola ride in Venice, the Ionian dinner in Corfu, George's Boat in Corfu and the Parisian dinner simply because that was a good time to get to know people since it was the beginning of the trip. All of the other dinners gave a lot of food, but none of it was very good so if you can convince a group of people to skip it then I would.
Ireland was amazing! It was my 1st Contiki trip and 1st time in Europe. I went in mid-May and experienced great weather and little rain. Unfortunately though, the day we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher there was the most unbelievable fog I've ever seen in my life. We saw no Cliffs. I wanted to cry. Unpredictable weather is just something you have to deal with in Ireland and the UK. Pack a poncho!
Our tour managers Sophie was so sweet and fantastic and very well-organized. Our group was a bit too large for my taste (a full bus of about 65 people) but the positive about it was meeting lots of great people.
All the included activities were great. My favorites were the Blarney Stone, the Rock of Cashel, the Belfast Peace Wall tour, and the Kilkenny walking tour.
I HIGHLY recommend doing *ALL* the optional activities as well (most people on the tour did all of them, as I did too). You'll experience Ireland in many ways, from cultural and historic to fun and fiesty. My favorites were the Aran Islands, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Giant's Causeway, and the Jameson Brewery. And definitely do the optional farewell dinner at the Merry Ploughboy. Our entire group went to it and it was the perfect way to end our trip with traditional food, drink, music and dance!
Dublin is a fantastically metropolitan and multi-cultural city. It was so much fun! The Peace Wall in Belfast was fascinating. The cobblestone streets in Kilkenny were beautiful. The GREEN countryside is the brightest green you'll ever see. And SHEEP! There are sheep are everywhere.
This tour was fast-paced so be prepared to get up and go early every morning. The only downside was the limited time we had for some of the activities, such as the Rock of Cashel. We had less than an hour there, which is far too short considering how beautiful it is. But for the most part we had an adequate time to enjoy the activity/destination/excursion.
The hotel accomodations were mostly good. I'd say 2 of the 6 hotels we stayed at were sub-par but nothing intolerable. Our tour bus was surprisingly awesome... new and clean and very comfortable with huge windows so you can get a panoramic view of all the landscapes.
So all in all, this trip was an amazing mix of culture, history, sightseeing, and fun (we had numerous group outings to local pubs). As the Irish say, SLAINTE!
This tour was awesome - the perfect mix of ancient history, partying, relaxing and spectacular sights. Doing a cruise for the second half made it interesting too. Our tour guide Caro was great - she is so passionate about Greece! Would go to Greece again in a heartbeat & definitely recommend this trip to get a taste of what Greece has to offer.
While you had the ability to see many different countries and places, "manage your expectations". This saying was repeated to us over and over by our tour guide, in relation to all types of things.
There is NO free internet. The tour guide discouraged us from purchasing the internet package on the bus, saying that we should only buy it if we "need" internet, not "want" internet, and that there was a difference. If we had purchased it, it was somewhere around 30 euros for 450mb.
Some of the campsites had free wifi that was very slow, most of them had slow wifi available only at reception, and some you had to pay around 5 euros to get access.
We camp in the middle of nowhere. On average, most campsites where about 40 min from the city centre. Yes, they drive you into town most days at designated times for designated activities, usually the "me time optionals", but sometimes these activities are not in the centre of town, and so then you are stuck not seeing what you wanted, and not having an easy or convenient way to get into town on your own.
3) Health & Cleanliness
You will get sick. You will feel like death warmed over. You will get the contiki cough and have a sore throat. When you are sick, you will either be in a hot location where being in your burning hot tent feels like torture, or you will be in a cold location where it is raining and your tent has been flooded and is damp and just makes you more sick. This stinks, but if you bring enough good medicine from home may be managed.
Showers at some campsites cost extra. Usually under 2 euros for 5 minutes of hot water. Not a big deal if you know ahead of time, but frustrating when you haven't saved any cash to buy shower tokens. We had to pay extra in Amsterdam, and a few other locations.
4) Travel time & Early mornings
You don't realize it when you book, but the hours actually spent in the locations are quite limited. Take into account that between locations you usually spend 8 hours on the bus as a "travel day", and that you need to be driven about an hour into town and an hour out of town. This means that at each location you spend maybe 5 hours max in town.
Expect to be up before 6am on every morning of this trip. Bags to coach is usually 5:45am, breakfast at 6:30am, leaving the campsite at 8am. You usually can't get to bed before 10am, if you decide to be anti social and sleep while everyone else parties.
5) The people
The people on this vacation where amazing. No, I'm not talking about the tour manager, bus driver, or cook. I'm talking about the other tourists. They were out to have a good time, were friendly, welcoming, and awesome.
6) A few extras
You are expected to wash your own dishes, help out washing the cooking dishes, help out setting up and taking down the cook tent, and make and take down your own tent in each location.
Before I head into it take this into account before booking this tour: if you have never skied or boarded before, this tour probably isn't great. You more than likely wont enjoy it as much, but still you can have a lot of fun. Lessons arn't organised for you though, but gear is if you haven't got you own.
BUT this tour was pretty bloody good!! I was lucky when I was there, the people on my tour were awesome and we all got along really well. Being a pretty good skier I loved it and the weather was perfect. Blue sky's and heaps of powder, what more can you ask for!! 4 days skiing and with day in the middle to jump off cliffs, bridges, boat rides and all that good stuff was awesome and went out for dinner and drinks every night, and you don't have to head out for a late one if you don't want to. But the nightlife does go off!
Also there is some time to explore which I loved, you do get a bit of freedom. And the scenery is unreal, I got some awesome photos of mountains and the lake at Queenstown. Absolutely stunning trust me. So if you can ski or board at all, I recommend it. I'd go again for sure!!
My European tour was bloody amazing!! It was by far the best experience in my life. I met the most amazing people who i still talk to this day. I have just bought another contiki for over christmas. My Tour guide Lilly, was just brilliant she went well out of her way for each person. Everything we seen was thrilling and the nights out turned in to not sleeping at all and exploring each town the following day. The Transport was great, the food was mostly okay and the hotels were amazing for a budget hotel. I would Highly recommend this tour for everyone, and it will become the best experience of a life time. #Noregrets #yolo #contikisrock
I have to say i had the best time in Thailand.Our tour manager Cassie Cullen was sweet and she knew her way around..The food was very nice..especially the food at eat 24 in phuket I enjoyed theier smoothies and Thai food.The nighlife in bangla road was something out of this world.I enjoyed the ping pong show was diffrent and my first time to see something like that.I loved the Fireshow and the water festival Sunkran..Theier new years celebration was very much fun..the transport was good i cannot complain about anything really..My tour mates were just amazing and they were all having fun..I would recommend this tour to anyone and everyone..I might even do it again with a few extra friends...
Best way to go relax and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and party hard by night..
Yet another unforgettable experience !! :)
This must be on your bucket list !! Been there done that ;)
This was my very first contiki trip. I absolutely loved it! You get to experience and explore a little bit of everything in each country. You start in Istanbul - you'll do a lot in the city in two days you're here . I enjoyed going to the spice market, the grand bazaar , blue mosque, Hagia Sofia , Basilica Cistern(i highly recommend this one!) and of course the Turkish bath (trust me my skin has never felt cleaner and softer !). However, if you're a female ,let your tour guide know if you prefer to get washed by women instead of the big belly Turkish men. Either way, it was very relaxing and our group of 44 had a Turkish bath bonding time.I wish I had an extra day in Istanbul to just explore the city and mingle with the locals. 2 days is just not enough to do everything. So i highly recommend getting there a day or two early. Turkey was amazing with its history and friendly people . But, what made the Turkey part of the trip very entertaining and exciting for me was our fabulous and favorite Turkish man aka our tour guide and manager Ahmet. He is full of life with quite a sense of humor. He is very knowledgeable and knows his history. He would tell us interesting facts about the sites. He loves his country and made us all fall in love with it too. The trip wouldn't have been same without Ahmet! He def is a "piece of art" as he likes to call himself. We all fell in love with him and his willingness to show us a good time in Turkey . Very well balanced trip!
Greek Island part was nice as well. But it felt like just a few hours on each island wasn't enough ..esp Santorini. I highly recommend this trip !
Two parts to this review:
1) Personal experience
2) Practical advice
1) This trip was an absolute blast. It definitely helped that the group was rather small (about 23) and we really meshed well together. The trip had an excellent mix of fun active excursions to relaxing and chillin. This was a definite departure from my first Contiki with the Thai Island Hopper but was a departure in a good way. It was a pleasant surprise to experience the activeness in the physical nature that one has the opportunity to get to experience the nature that Costa Rica has to offer. Costa Rica is an amazing country with amazing people. Each city has it's own feel and flair and it left me in awe at what we all experienced. There are definite moments I would have loved to relive. I won't spill too much so as to not ruin it for you but here are the activities and optionals I did:
- Boat excursion in Tortuguero (fantastic)
- Mud walk in Tortuguero (could've done without)
- Canyoeering (fantastic)
- White Water Rafting (group decision and it was fantastic)
- Zip lining in Monteverde (fantastic)
- Horseback riding (ok, could've done without. It's not what it's promoted to be)
- Did all the dinner outings (nice community builder)
I skipped out on ATVs and Surfing. ATVing had many restrictions and rules. Surfing i've done before so it wasn't anything new for me.
2) Ok, down to the nitty gritty.
What to pack:
I came totally not prepared for the trip. I planned for hot, humid weather. Not all of Costa Rica is hot and humid. Plan for all sorts of weather, especially rainy weather. When it rains...it RAINS!! Beware of thunder and lightning! Panchos or quality rain jackets are a must. Shorts, shirts, swimwear are great for humid weather. But don't forget about sweaters, light jackets, and pants for colder weather. Pack clothes that you won't care about for excursions...and then clothes that might be nicer for dinners and nights out. Costa Rica has microclimates depending on which city you're in, you'll get different weather. So pack smart!
If you are susceptible to mosquito bites. Repellant is a must! Mosquitoes went to town on me so be sure to get repellant. Deet is powerful and toxic stuff so beware. If you get sunburns, don't forget sunscreen.
Luggage vs backpack: I did fine with luggage but it might have been a better idea to bring a large backpack. But that's all on your preference.
As far as shoes go, you'll need a variety. Sandals for beaches, waterproof shoes for excursions and hikes, tennis / running shoes, and nicer shoes for dinners and night outings. I got Keen closed toed sandals for the waterproof shoes and those did me very well!
Costa Rica takes US dollars but its recommended that you don't bring notes over $20. It'll be harder to get change if you use large bills like $50s or $100s. You can use ATMs to get Colones or Dollars. It might be a good idea to get a good amount of both. But US dollars work just fine. Most places accept credit cards too...just make sure you notify your bank that you're traveling so that your card won't get declined.
There is an exit tax of $29 at the airport to depart the country. Make sure you pay that before checking in your luggage! Cash is preferred. They do take credit card but then you'll get an extra charge for foreign transactions.
The trip was an absolute blast. So come with an open mind. You'll do stuff that might freak you out but it is well worth the experience!
Our tour guide Olivier or Oli for short was very knowledgeable about pretty much everything. Costa Rican culture, history, animals and wildlife. Come with an open mind and you'll have an amazing time!
This tour was more than I could have ever expected! When you read these reviews before going on a Contiki you try to imagine yourself on it, but there is no way you can be ready for what is about to come your way. From the moment we stepped onto the bus as strangers and used "speed dating" to get to know each other, after two days everyone felt like family, including our manager and bus driver. We were so lucky that our group bonded so well and were so friendly.
The whole trip was a whirlwind you were constantly on the move but it was great as there was no time to be bored! A highlight would have to be staying in Hopftgarten with all the conitiki staff and dancing the night away covered in fluro paint. Also Paragliding off the Austrian Alps with bright blue skies, green grass and breathtaking views there was no way to pass this up as an optional.
If you are going on this tour GET A FLU SHOT OR TAKE MEDICINE, you will get sick. We could have easily made a song of coughs due to everyone having the Contiki Plague, but that didn't stop us from partying every night and still getting up at 7 am to go for a day filled of sightseeing. Huge thank you to Peps (tour manager) and Erno (bus driver) for putting up with our crazy group and joining in on our nights out. If you only have a short time to travel do not go past this tour there is no way you can be disappointed.
The memories and friends made on this tour will never be forgotten!!!
Let me explan why I am so exited about this trip. I am what you would call a Contiki veteran (done 9 contiki tours in last 6 years + 2 Haggis adventures + 3 SITA tours + 1 Cosmos). Have plenty of experience in the traveling industry and there is a reason why I keep coming back to Contiki (have another trip with them next month). And this tour surpassed all the expectations I had.
Before I start talking about this tour, it is imperative that you know that every Contiki tour has its own personality and the group you travel with can make a huge difference. Now, I won't discuss in detail the places you'll go on this tour because you can find that online, I'm going to focus on the awesome experience and the great things this tour has to offer.
Turkey: if you are planning on doing this tour, pray that your tour guide is Ahmet. Turkish guy with a lot of knowledge, great attitude and contagious enthusiasm. By far, one of the best tour guides I've ever had (if not the best). He is extremely funny, very respectful and honest. He was so helpful that I'll be forever grateful. Many people agree that he was one of the highlights of the trip.
About Istanbul, unfortunately the tour doesn't spent enough time there, so if you can arrive a day or two early, I highly recommend it. The tour doesn't include the Hagia Sophia nor the Basilica Cistern, although on your time off, Ahmet will offer to get you inside and skip the lines - using his tour guide license he will buy the ticket for you and get you in as a group. Nightlife in Turkey is way better than expected, and Ahmet will guide you safely to the best spots - and bargain the price of the drinks! There is so much to see and do in Turkey that you'll love it. The Ephesus, Pamukkale and Troy optionals that Contiki offer are not really optionals. You either go inside and see it or you stay in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. So add those to the budget (is not very expensive at all).
Greece: This part of the tour is very layback, and easy pace. Greek Islands are gorgeous. Although some of the Tours / Optionals are very early in the AM still is easy to deal with. The Optionals offered by Contiki are from the Cruise Company, so you'll be walking around with people from age 1 to 99. On the Island of Mykonos, since the vast majority of the group did the optional we were together in a bus for ourselves. Pretty sure you can find the same tours cheaper. The price is unreal. On this part of the Tour, the group splits and it's harder to stay all together.
From all the Contiki tours I've done, this is my favorite one. Highly recommended. Go, live, enjoy and see the world!