Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
A life changing experience which I would recommend to anybody wanting to see the amazing islands of Thailand. Being my first Contiki trip and traveling alone, the group of people on our tour made it feel like we'd known each other for years and have made some life-long friends because of it. Partying on Koh Phi Phi and swimming on Maya Beach were amongst some of the greatest things i've experienced in my lifetime. This may have been my first Contiki Tour, but definitely will not be my last!
This was the most amazing experience of my life. Matt was the best tour guide in the world. There was never a dull moment and I couldn't have asked for a more life changing experience. Between elephant riding and hanging out with tiger's my life has been forever changed. This tour is worth every penny and more. I wish it never ended.
Had a wonderful time in NY. Unfortunately the description and itinerary is a bit deceiving. Thought we were going to see a lot more than we did. It was more of a drive by than actually stopping, which was disappointing. Would have liked to see more of the touristy places. However it was still a good tour!
Optional tours were fantastic though!!
I went on this trip alone, straight out of high school, knowing no one and never having travelled overseas by myself before. And I have to say, it was the best decision I've ever made!!
Not only was the tour manager (Enzo - a local Italian) AMAZING and beyond funny, but the places we went, the food we ate, and the benefits we got as Contiki travelers, were just incredible. Contiki really does go the extra mile to make sure every part of your trip is well taken care of and that you have the time of your life, without having to worry about the finer details.
Most importantly, however, were the friends I made. I was 18 years old - one of the youngest on the trip - and I found myself forming my closest friendships with 28 and 29 year olds. I was able to have mature, intellectual, emotional and deep conversations; connecting with people on a level I have never been able to do with people my own age. I grew up tremendously on Contiki, and I have made life-long friends from all over the world.
That was my first Contiki trip and I am already planning my next trip for 2015. Without a doubt one of the best experiences ever!
And just a note on going alone (for those of you who are concerned about that): I asked two people to come with me and was let down by both of them. I didn't let that stop me though, and I went by myself anyway. And as I said earlier: BEST DECISION I've made! So if you're looking for advice, I say: Leave your friends behind and GO ALONE. I promise you it will be worth while. You will be forced out of your comfort zone and you will make friends that you may never have considered if you had had the safety net of a friend. Also, being alone means you have no one to consider and no one to please - you go where you want, with whoever you want, and that's that.
Thanks again Contiki, you'll be seeing more of me! :)
This tour is absolutely amazing and exceeded all my expectations in terms of accommodation, food, tour manager, local guides, sightseeing and every thing else.
Our tour manager was Alex and his knowledge of everything China made the trip even better.
I booked this tour at the last possible minute and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. I was in a group of 16 and we all got along really well. I know that the people I met on tour will be friends for life.
The tour includes all the essentials but it doesn't feel rushed at any point. Each city you visit has its own highlights whether it's the Great Wall or Forbidden City in Beijing, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an, the nightlife and shopping in Shanghai, the karsts and beautiful sights in Yangshuo or Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. My personal highlights were the Great Wall, the Shanghai nightlife and two days of unwinding in Yangshuo.
I can't recommend this tour enough and I will be encouraging all my friends to do it. China is an amazing country, the people are so friendly and the culture is fascinating. If you're considering doing this tour just book it. You won't be disappointed.
This trip for me is what urged me to want to travel more. It was my first ever overseas trip. And to say it was amazing would be an understatement. This trip has it all. Whether your a party animal, culture seeker, adrenaline junkie or there to meet new people.
From the day my tour started the people were wonderful. From all around the world friendships were formed. The entire energy throughout the whole trip was awesome.
Id say the two greatest things I enjoyed most was the Waitomo caves and OGO Ranges. And most definitely cram as much of the optional activities in. You will not be disappointed.
It was also so great to have a really great tour guide and driver. Sarah, our tour guide and Ricky, our driver. We're so full of life, great humor and knowledge. They really made the trip.
All in all, I had a wonderful time. And am now eager to follow my contiki adventures. Next stop Asia !!
This tour was FULL ON. In a good way and with some hiccups. Definitely make sure you're up for constantly being on the move because this tour is nothing short of fast paced. I found myself sick when I arrived to start the tour and honestly I got worse as time went on. I ended up having to see a doctor in Cusco, Peru and was diagnosed with bronchitis, a throat and sinus infection, YAY ME. Haha. First things first, TRAVEL INSURANCE. Get it.
Take lots of meds with you, cold and flu, altitude sickness, normal panadol etc, gastro, everything. Apparently our group was the least sick any group has been, but I'll tell you what, you're pushing your body to the limits with lots of walking and exploring and weather changing at every destination. We had sunny weather in Miraflores, pouring rain, thunderstorms, snow slush in Puno. See what I mean? So I recommend taking a jacket and warm clothes, or if you're up for buying alpaca jumpers and crazy pants like I did, do that.
In South America, you'll rarely see an elevator, so if you have a suitcase, prepare to be dragging that thing up staircases, which is what I did, didn't really bother me, but just for the heads up.
SPANISH! Oh gosh, how could I forget. Okay, if you're going to SA, I HIGHLY recommend learning some simple phrases or if you're like super talented, learn more than that. The language barrier was much more intense than I thought. I couldn't flip through my language book fast enough to understand what they were saying. You'll be playing charades, a lot. But for your own sake and for fun, learn some things. It's actually rewarding when you smash out a full sentence AND they understand what you said.
I was never let down by the food in SA. Churros, chocolate, empanadas, you name it. Oh and for the Guinea Pig, well, that tasted like chicken, and it was 'meh'. But alpaca was definitely nice, try that. Just be open to everything. Especially pisco sours, be very open to them, mwuahaha.
Money wise, I think I spent a good $2000-$3000. Including optionals and food, gifts etc...I can't remember, but I came home with money. It's very cheap over there apart from the major cities. Peru, cheap cheap cheap. Argentina, a bit more expensive…and Brazil, relatively cheap!
Okay so skipping along, Machu Picchu, was just far better than anything I could have imagined. Really. Like a dream. We luckily had amazing weather so we were very lucky. I dipped out on the Inca Trail as something was stuffed up in my booking but me and one of the boys ended up climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, and that was INCREDIBLE. Take photos, LOTS of photos. If you love photography like I do, definitely take an DSLR with you. You'll capture some crazy moments.
Places I LOVED. Colca Canyon was definintely a favourite. very remote, but beautiful views. The little cabin-like hotel you stay in is gorgeous. A warm fire to laze around, board games, it's just cosy. There's also a crazy pet alpaca that roams the halls like a ghost in the middle of the night and you don't want to get on his bad side. But when waking up there was the snowy mountains in the distance, gorgeous. If you get the chance, do the zip lining. That was a rush for sure!!
Honestly just driving around on the bus, you get to see so many beautiful views…Peru is just landscape heaven. Make sure you do take good shoes to walk in, runners etc…
GIRLS YOU WILL NEVER NEED HEELS. DON'T BRING THEM.
I loved Puno/Lake Titicaca - seeing the floating markets, having lunch on the island and playing soccer with the locals was a great experience.
I must say you don't get a lot of rest time on this tour. I found it very exhausting in the sense that you will some days be up at 4am. Yep, 4am. Haha, but the early bird gets the worm right? I guess every tour is like that, 5-6-7am wake ups. But be prepared for that. This wasn't a huge party tour. We went out some nights, karaoke, played drinking games, had a few big nights, but it wasn't 'that' kind of tour. Which was fine.
Argentina, Buenos Aires was actually a little daunting for me. I didn't really like it there. Just a lot of men harassing you on the streets, so make sure you cover up ladies - if you don't want that attention. But we didn't have a lot of time there anyways, so I'm sure there would have been more to see?
Iguassu Falls was amazing. DEFINITELY recommend doing the speedboat tour. As you go right in and under those waterfalls. Waterproof camera, check.
Brazil, brazil, brazil. So Buzios, was a time to relax. Pool time, go for some walks, do a bit of shopping, definitely go to the crepe place for food. Oh so yum. But yeah this is the chill out time.
And then onto Rio, Rio was reeeeally cool. Saw a lot here. Christ the Redeemer was amazing! Again, perfect weather, so we saw him in all his glory. Haha. We went to Sugarloaf mountain, a huge view of Brazil, that was awesome. Ended up getting to go to a soccer game in maracana stadium - EPIIIICCCC. If you get the chance, do it. The crowd is so insane, you think your country is sport crazy - go there.
Okay so things I wouldn't recommend in Brazil. The Favela Party - hit or miss. We ALL had to go together to this party which was in a huge club in the Favelas. Lots of seedy men and locals, we had our own sectioned off area upstairs, but It just wasn't that good. it's good for a few hours and then a few of us wanted to go home, but in that, EVERYBODY has to want to leave because you all came together.
Another thing I didn't like was we couldn't end up hang-gliding because the weather wasn't good, so they cancelled it, but we couldn't get our money back because they were going to see if we could do it the 'next' day. But that day was meant to be our free day to explore. So we all wanted our money back but didn't get it unless the next day again was cancelled. It was, so we got our money back. But I didn't like the mess around, because we would have lost spare time in Rio. With that day we ended up going to these really good markets in the centre of the city, lots of bits and bobs, I then went and soaked up some sun on Copacabana beach, sooo nice. Had lunch at some restaurant where the waiter gave us a rose - sweet.
I left the day after our tour ended - kind of wished I had another day or two to relax because we didn't get THAT much free time. So definitely do that if you can.
The people on my tour, were awesome. We had the best mix of people, from South Africa, London, America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. PERFECT. Quite a few couples on this tour - but everyone became really good friends, like brothers and sisters. You really get to know everyone on a personal level and I loved it. I've already met up with some of these people and know I will see them all in the future!
I could keep writing but my hands are sore now. All in all, the good comes with the bad. You've honestly got to make the tour your own. If you want to do something, DO IT. If you really don't want to do something, DON'T DO IT. It's your holiday at the end of the day - and my best advice would be, listen to your body, listen to your mind, and just take each day as it comes. Soak up every opportunity.
I hope this helps! And if anyone wants more information, feel free to message me or email me, I'm happy to share my experiences :) I also have a blogging website you can check my adventures out on!
What an amazing trip! I highly recommend everyone to do this trip. What an unbelievably great Contiki crew that I had to make my trip absolutely awesome. Rachel and Ricky were so helpful the whole trip AND after the trip. I had an absolute ball. #family #noregrets
Amazing time. Excellent mix of free time and planned activities. Time for cultural things like the Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza ruins, museums, unwinding on the beach and crazy nights in Cnacun. Ish was a wonderful guide with heaps of local knowledge. Best.
This trip was the first time I had travelled solo, and I was feeling super nervous when I met my tour group that first night in London. My concerns quickly vanished within minutes of meeting my tour group, within five minutes I felt like I had known them forever. Our group was about half couples and half singles which normally would have annoyed me, but literally everyone on this tour was so wonderful and fun it didn't matter at all. Our tour manager Matt and our driver Jonny were the most UNREAL duo I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Their knowledge and passion for the job was evident from day one. If you get lucky enough to have these two as part of your team you will have the most amazing trip of your life. I honestly cannot say enough good things about them.
The trip itself was busy, we had long bus days and early mornings a lot of the time but that is the cost of getting to see all the beautiful places we got to see. The Swiss Alps and Rome were highlights for me, but every single city we went to was great.
Do ALL the optionals (especially paragliding) they make the trip a once in a lifetime experience, and most people do them all anyway so if you don't do them then you end up missing out.
The friends I have made on this trip are all amazing people, and I am so lucky to have them as part of my life. If you choose this tour be prepared to come back home a different person because this experience changes you, and in my opinion it is for the better.
There are no words to describe how absolutely amazing this tour is. The people you will meet, the places you will go are what makes this trip the best ever. Thanks to our amazing tour guide Mohawk Matt and Coach Driver Vania who made this the best trip ever… compared to all the other managers and drivers we met these two were the best they went out of their way to make sure everyone had the most amazing experience.
You will start the tour with a bus full of strangers and leave with a whole new family that you will miss everyday and will end up travelling the world just to see them. Do all the optionals minus the walking tours because hungover walking through Venice in +25 weather is a waste when you could explore it yourself. If your manager says off nights don't listen.. off nights aren't real. Skip the leather demo in Florence but do the glass work in Venice... Do everything!!!! You will not regret it… In Vienna make sure to hit up the hostel bar with its 4 for 10 euro jager bombs, do the 5 story club in Prague and spend the money to go into the ice bar.. pack your neck travel pillow the only time you get a good sleep is on the coach… eat all the european food and drink all of the wine you may gain 10 pounds but it will be completely worth it in the end.
This tour would have to be the best decision of my life. The tour was amazing, the places you go are breathtaking. Our tour manager Joe was amazing, very knowledgeable and insightful. Our bus driver Jonny was incredible if you ever get these two together on a tour you won't be disappointed.
The me time options are great. I would have to say Amsterdam is a night you won't forget. The group of people on the tour were fantastic and was very hard to leave. It's surprising on how close we got and the bonds we made within a short amount of time.
This is a tour that everyone should do if you want a taste of Europe. :) #NOREGRETS
This is an amazing way to see so much in a short space of time. From biking around the Grand Canyon to pool parties in Vegas to boat rides in Miami, there was so much to see and do. The optionals were fantastic, great variety of activities. I went on my own and it was my first time travelling out of Europe but I met so many great people, there was a fantastic atmosphere between everyone. The accommodation was good, some lovely hotels and some basic but we were so busy that we hardly spent much time in the hotel rooms. Our tour manager and bus driver were amazing, they were always there to help, give advice and just have a chat. It takes the hassle out of planning and organising and allows you to make the most of travelling and having fun!
I would highly recommend doing a contiki tour, it is one of the best things I've ever done. I'm doing another contiki next year in Australia!
I have a few suggestions for Contiki..
Boston; The motel was in Dorchester, which is South of South Boston (Southie area) Opposite the hotel is a clothing liquidator, a sure sign that it's hardly a great neighbourhood. Getting a taxi was expensive. All the Uber drivers I had told me I was lucky to get an Uber out there as it was a seriously unfriendly area after dark. The wifi was limited in the motel...
Again the hotel was a 15-20min drive out of the centre of Quebec. The wifi was atrocious. The second night we stayed in at the motel which had a bar. There were people doing meth in the toilets of the bar and there were drugs being exchanged, witnessed this with my own eyes.
Again, out of town but near a subway stop. You can stay one street away from the Anglo area of Montreal for under $100 per night yet we were out in the white lower class (read into that how you like) area of 'Longueuil' (I know a few people in Montreal) We should have stayed on the Montreal Island, not on the other side of the bridge. Taxi's again very expensive.
Single beds. I am 6ft3 I couldn't fit on the beds. I had to upgrade the room at my own cost of $38 per night after tax so I could get a double bed and my room mate could have two singles... This was one of the better located hotels for access to amenity and sight seeing. I know this area well (was born here) pity about the rooms.... Oh and they didn't have free wifi.... In 2014....
Kenab, Utah: That motel was disgusting. The carpets, I only wish I took a photo, with a black light I hate to think what I would have found there!!!!
Harrah's Las Vegas: Again no wifi... in 2014..... Hard to believe.
I will give credit for the hotels in Chicago and Harrah's in regards to their locations, which were really good!
Lastly, I made some awesome friends, and Vegas was a trip. I'm glad I met some cool people and had a good room mate. I only wish I had the option to pay more for better located accommodation. All the money I saved by being in fringe areas was wasted on taxi and Uber rides....
Cities I recommend: Montreal (Anglo Area), Toronto, Chicago, Madison (Wisconsin), Las Vegas
Feel free to contact me with any feedback or questions....
This trip was everything I had ever dreamt of and more what I had bargained for. All my dreams started coming true as I boarded my plane in Auckland, New Zealand bound for London, Heathrow. On the way to London I planned what I would like to see and a little anxious as to how this Contiki was going to work. It was a joyful experience. My Contiki team were AMAZING! Jesse, our tour manager is very knowledgable of the destinations, helpful and highly entertaining to say the least. Our driver Magic was a genius. Driving us through some very tight spots as we journeyed for three weeks through Europe, through Italy and brave as he went around the Arc de Triomphe twice to my delight. I had never experienced anything like it before.
Our tour were joined and left by a few other smaller tours – it added to our fun and the bus changed every seven days. When we had to say goodbye it was sad – but not something a few drinks could not fix and a night out that some were struggling to remember and others did not want to remember.
We saw Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, Rome, Vatican, Florence, Lauterbrunnen and Paris – with a few stops along the way. Lake Bled, Dresden, Lucerne, Auschwitz are now just a distant memory.
I made so many friends from around the globe on my tour. Individuals and couples joined the tour hailing from the far end of the world and they each brought their own individuality into the group. From New Zealand and their close rivals Australia, across the Pacific Ocean to the United States of America and Canada, individuals from Japan and South Africa to those from the United Kingdom – we became a close knit group, and a crazy bunch of people.
Pick a tour or several because one won’t be enough. Prepare yourself for little sleep, nights out, singing the day song wherever in the world you are – living for the moment and having no regrets.
The trip home was another thirty hours on the plane to Wellington, New Zealand. My time was taken up with looking through photos and how happy I was for taking the plunge and travelling solo. It was the most amazing trip I have done, so plan it, do it and travel.
I am already planning my next one - and besides my family now have to listen to my adventures.....
This contiki was amazing! Such a great experience! I met some incredible people and saw so many beautiful parts of Australia. Definitely the best time of my life!
I LOVED this trip! I want to go back and think about it every once in a while. It was the perfect amount of touring and free time, with lots of people to go out with and friends for life. Advice: even if it is warm, bring a sweater during the day...the weather can change in an instant and be very cold, even during the summer!
Wow where should I begin? What an amazing trip! A friend and I decided to do some touring on our own before meeting up with Contiki and the difference was night and day! Trying to navigate around Italy on our own was a challenge so when we joined the group it was like a breath of fresh air! Everything was planned for us! We also, of course, felt safer.
If you've never done a Contiki trip and you're still contemplating because of the price... book it! It's such a better way to travel! Every night is booked for you, every transportation is booked, and almost every meal is taken care of. You're also hanging with the same group of awesome people who have endless stories about traveling and their lives back at home. Also, some people brought their DSLRs and I totally would have brought mine if I wasn't backpacking before. I would recommend bringing yours!
The extras on this trip were amazing, especially Jungfrau mountain! DEFINITELY a must! No regrets! Bring warm clothes as it gets super chilly! And sneakers that will do well on snow. Remember to bring cash if you want to do activities on the top of the mountain. We didn't partake in the Parisian Show, there was a group of us that just grabbed some drinks instead. But we heard it was entertaining and involved the audience! The group photo had a beautiful background of a view of Florence. Worth the few bucks.
I do want to mention one thing that would have definitely played a part in my booking this trip. We joined onto an existing tour of almost 20 people. So they already had relationships, connections, inside jokes, etc. Our group meshed well together but I think it would have swayed my choice when booking.
Hope this review helps!
So what does one expect to find in the Outback? Let me tell you. ALOT of red dirt that contrast so well with the blue sky above. You'll do a lot of walking on this tour so I recommended a good pair of runners (tennis shoes) or hiking boots. It does get extremely hot out there (I went in Sept) so take a lot of sunscreen. September is Spring in Australia so it doesn't reach it's highest temp yet. I think the hottest day we had was about 36 degrees so bring sunscreen.
Bring along a travel pillow, this is handy to have for when you're sleeping under the stars and also for those long bus drives from one place to another.
I shared a room with 3 other girls for most of trip so I recommended buying a cheap power power from Kmart (I'm sure you can pick them up for about $3)
I would bring a lot more clothes you can wear during the day (not nice ones, they'll get smelly and ruined) because I felt like I was going through 2 tops a day.
If you plan to Visit the outback in Winter (June-Aug) make sure you bring something warm with you because it can get quiet cold at nights.
So many hightlights on this trip I can't just pick one!
Uluru was awesome! I did the helicopter flight over Uluru and the Olgas (did the 30min flight) as we felt that was enough time see all. Scenic flight over Kakadu was beautiful. it really does show you how small you actually are when you're up looking down at it.
The hot air balloon ride was beautiful - it was cold that morning but be sure to wear something warm and comfortable so it's easy to get into the basket :)
If you have some old clothes bring them as I went to a glow party and that paint stuff doesn't come out. we went to an op shop and bought some items there.
the Kings Canyon Rim Walk was beautiful! make sure you pack at least 1.5ltrs of water (Depending on the time of year you go) it takes about 2-3 hours to walk but it's worth it.
the walk around Uluru was long but good. it's about 10.6km around and we're given 3hrs to complete. we did it in 2hs and 40mins including stopping for photos.
keeping in mind that you can't take photos in certain areas (there are signs to tell you) bring thongs (flip flops) to use in the showers :)
Also you can't drink water in Kakadu so make sure you have bottled water with you and on that note I would buy 2 bottles and just keep filling them up when you can. cheaper than buying water all the time.
Bring at least 1 or 2 good outfits :) sunset champagne was an awesome end for the trip :) The thermal pools are really pretty. little suggestion, wear your swimmers there because the bathrooms are not close to the pools. Edith Falls was nice, but the water was cold and Litchfield national park was great! just be careful if you climb the rocks to jump off!
Accommodation wasn't that good in some places. Uluru is very small (2 lots of bunk beds) and that's it. you have to walk to the bath room.
Food is expensive and so is the alcohol. you're given plenty of chances to buy alcohol so buy a little bit more for other nights too.
I hope this helps! I can honestly say it was such a great trip and I'm glad I have seen more of my own back yard. if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them :)
Great trip, if you haven't got too much time and want to see a lot. This trip is perfect, very fast moving but so worth it. Huge bonus for our trip was that it overlapped with Oktoberfest which was unbelievable! Paris by night spectacular. Evan was a fantastic TM, his tips for every city were spot on! Just do it!!!!