Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Didn't know you could cram so many awesome experiences into 9 days. What a great time with an awesome tour guide and amazing people!
Mexico Grande is a fantastic tour. This was my first contiki and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I loved every second of it!
Saw so many beautiful places from the colored buildings and churches to Chichen Itza and gorgeous beaches.
The optional tours were great, I highly recommend going on the Eco Discover and Pirate Boat in Puerto Vallarta. Every place we ate at the food was fantastic and we got to try a huge variety of traditional Mexican dishes.
The tour guide "Ish" is one of the greatest blokes I've ever met, he's so knowledgeable. Not only with the culture and the history of the places we visited but he knows all the little sweet spots to go for something to eat or visit. If you had any sort of problem Ish would sort it out for you straight away. Fantastic guy.
I highly recommend this tour and the rest of Mexico.
...because of a terrorist attack at the Temple of Kanaak. And my flight was cancelled... so things came together. I can still write a review here. Nice. Maybe another time. When the middle east becomes calmer. CU folks
First, I must recognize the most important aspect of this trip was our guide Sherif; he has such a love for Egypt and the history of Egypt without him it would been a diminished experience. We (my husband, brother and I) were skeptical about proceeding with this trip given the country's unrest, however the previous reviews of Sherif only gave us the confidence we needed to go. And we sure are happy we did! The most amazing adventure we have been on...and we travel quite a bit ;) We felt safe as we had a armed guard while we were in Cairo and armed escort to and from Hurghada. Egypt is most certainly feeling the repercussion of a loss of tourism and Contiki took appropriate and warranted measure to ensure we were safe during our trip.
The museum in Cairo has countless wonders and Sherif did a wonderful job explaining his highlights while also allowing us to explore on our own for a bit. The pyramids and camel ride was something out of this world! As cliche as it sounds it truly is a highlight and is not meant to be missed. Now to the overnight train...not fun...not fun at all. However we just had to suck it up, its small and uncomfortable and hot. The train did however make us appreciate the cruise ship, which was fabulous!! There is nothing I would have changed regarding the rooms, meals, service team, deck and pool, all great! The cruise took us along from Aswan to Edfu to Luxor, seeing beautiful temples along the way. We opted out of the sound and light show in Luxor based on the previous reviews and we were happy with that choice. They offer a hot air balloon ride over Luxor that we also opted out for (that just doesn't excite us) however the ones who did participate enjoyed that excursion.
Hurghada is beautiful, we were only there about one day, just enough time for a yacht ride out to the Red Sea. This you can not miss, the water is aqua blue with great coral life! I know times now are sketchy for traveling and especially to the Middle East but we (speaking for all three of us) are so happy we were not bullied out of going. If your thinking about going, do your homework, choose to go and enjoy!
A year ago I was inspired to follow in a friend's footsteps and book a Contiki trip to the West Islands of Thailand. I now understand the meaning of a "life changing experience" , as the 9 day journey is one that simply cannot be put into words or have pictures do it justice. We kayaked in caves, played with tigers, rode elephants, snorkeled with sharks, learned and lived a new culture , took in some of the most breath taking views that exist on this planet and so much more. We are forever indebted with thank you's to our AMAZING tour manager Lee- without her we wouldn't be left revived spirits, renewed souls, or inspired to keep traveling, keep learning and always spread love. We can't fathom how any trip will ever top this, but we look forward to our next Contiki experience!
I went on the Southern Adventure in November 2015 as I'd always wanted to travel in the States and this trip allowed me to do that in a couple of weeks whilst still having a full time job at home, it allowed me to travel with people as I went on my own, and Contiki organise everything on the trip which takes a lot of hassle out of it all. I joined up halfway through the Grand Southern Trip so some people had been there for a couple of weeks already and about 15 of us joined and did the two weeks. I'm from the UK and although the trip was about 80% Aussies our group was completely mixed nationality, gender and age wise and everyone got on really well. You'll have some couples, some friends, some people travelling on their own, and everyone was really liked minded so we all got on really well. If you want to go out every night and drink the night away then there is definitely the opportunity to do so but if you want a quiet one then there was never any pressure at all.
In regards to accommodation our hotels were standard but all good quality and the location of the Vegas hotel especially is great. I'm not too much of a foodie but you'll really get a chance to try a lot of the local specialities, be prepared for a lot of carbs and not much veg! Chicken fried steak with a cream sauce was definitely a highlight example of how American's take things to the next level.
In regards to optionals I had the mindset of 'while I'm out there I want to do as much as I can', so in two weeks managed to: go on a helicopter ride over the grand canyon; feel like a rockstar with a champagne limo ride down the Vegas strip; go to Elvis' house (which was a big surprise but a great experience); listen to some of the best blues music I've probably every heard live in Memphis; go in a morning hot air balloon ride followed by some bubbly in Durango; see the aligators in the swamp in New Orleans; and of course visit where good ol' Forest Gump finished his run in Monument Valley. And I could go on...
This trip was my first Contiki and having read all the reviews I hoped it would be good but genuinely the trip massively surpassed all my expectations. Our tour manager Braden and coach driver Marquis did everything to make the trip as good as possible constantly getting involved and it really felt like we were all one big Contiki family rather than 'us' and 'them' and I can't talk positively enough. They both always went the extra mile and were so knowledgable about everything.
If you're considering doing a Contiki it's definitely worth it, you'll see so much and meet so many great people in such a short period of time you won't regret it. The whole experience inspired me to travel more and I having enjoyed this one so much I'll be doing another Contiki or two along the way.
What an amazing, exhilarating week in a stunning country. Mexico has it all: lush jungles, pristine beaches, glitzy nightclubs, delicious food and drinks, friendly locals, beautiful architecture... I could go on and on. I truly fell in love with this country. Thank you to Ish, my amazing trip manager, and Contiki for an EPIC week!
Doing this adventure with Contiki has been the best decision that I have ever made and I'm glad that I choose for my very first time leaving Australia to do it with Contiki. My tour manager did everything in his power to make sure we got to places on time and to make sure we had such a good time. My bus driver was very cautious and a very nice person, couldn't have asked for a better bus driver. Made so many great friends and memories that I will cherish forever. I will definatly travel with contiki in the near future.
We saw many things that I can not count. We only had a short amount of time in some places but it was enough time to see the main attractions. The optionals were very good and very well priced.
This trip was amazing!!!! So worth the extra time and money to see both the North & South Island, you will not regret it. I thought I'd write a review on what to expect and do etc. However I recommend you DO EVERYTHING! Don't go home with any regrets or should've dones.
First up I went in the middle of January and it was f**king freezing!!! Most days were around 13 degrees, so make sure you pack warm clothes. Secondly NZ will only except passports for photo ID in regards to getting into clubs and purchasing alcohol. Don't bother bringing your drivers licenses because you'll never need to use them. When you jump off the plane at your destination grab a shuttle, cabs are soooooo expensive here!
I recommend getting into Christchurch about two days before the tour starts as it gives you enough time to get over jet-lag, get settled and time to look around (warning: there is next to nothing to see in Christchurch besides their botanical gardens, so don't waste your money by getting in a week early) and try and stay at least two days in Auckland (there is plenty to see and do here!). Incase you didn't know, no matter where you start (whether it be Christchurch or Auckland) you will not be given the opportunity to explore that city with Contiki!!! The moment you hop on that bus you set off to your next location (e.g. Lake Ohau. or Waitomo).
I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND staying in the hotel where you will be meeting the next day. Although it can be pricey it is well worth it and you don't have to stress over catching a cab in time.
Now as to the ME Time optionals, here is what I recommend and what I don't etc.:
- Air Safaris: wasn't available due to weather. But apparently it was really worth it!!
- Speight's Ale House Dinner: SO WORTH IT.....unlimited alcohol for an hour!!!!
- Death Rattle Ghost Walk: wasn't available due to time of year, however we heard it was pretty average.
- Kawarau Bridge Bungy: ABSOLUTELY EPIC!!! The sight of the first ever bungy jump. A MUST DO!!!
- Group Photograph: don't bother, someone in the group will get it and post it on your facebook page.
- Skydiving Queenstown: I didn't do it as I have skydived before, apparently it is really good but the one in Lake Taupo is better. If you are going to do it, do 15000ft.
- Milford Sound: Soooo worth the 5 hour trip to get there and back!!!! A MUST DO!!!!
- Bungy Thrillogy: I believe this is really worth it (I did this one!), you can do a small bungy and then an even bigger one, as well as a swing.
- Nevis Bungy: This was scary as hell, you free fall for 8 seconds!!! So worth it.
- Kawarau or Shotover Rafting: don't bother, you get an included shotover jet ride while in Queenstown.
Heliraft - I didn't do this as I had to many other activities I was doing at the time but apparently it was a really good time.
- Walter Peak Horse Riding: I didn't do this as I do not like horses, however we were told it is a pretty average horse ride.
- Minus 5 Ice Bar: this is awesome!!! Do it!!!
- Funyaks: i didn't do this, but apparently this is super epic!!!
- Skyline Restaurant: MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! Views are 100/10
- Canyon Swing: awesome thing to do, recommend it if you aren't doing the Nevis swing
- Franz Josef: when here the best one to do is the Ice Explorer (the weather was bad so we weren't able to do it), if you can't do it pay $75 and do a hike to the base of the glacier.
I didn't do the following because they were either not available or were not worth doing: Glacier Country Kayaks, Kapiti Quad Bikes, Across Country Quad Bikes, Seal Coast Safaris, Wairarapa Wine Escape, Rock'n Ropes Adventure Course, Nomad Safaris: Safari of the Scenes, ziptrek encounters
- Lord of the Rings Tour(s): I didn't do this but wished I had!!!!
- Dinner / Party Cruise: THIS IS A MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! p.s. bring your bathers!!!
- Hukafalls Jet: i didn't do this but apparently its really good
- Ogo: THIS IS A MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
- Skyline Gondola and Luge Rides: this is pretty average (the one in Queenstown is better) but for the price I had a really good time.
- Hobbiton: MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!
- Whakarewarewa Thermal Village: don't bother, your days in Rotorua are jam packed of better optionals.
- Te Puia (Maori Arts & Crafts Institute): we were made to this and to be honest it wasn't for me, I like culture and histroy, but this was really boring.
Kaitiaki Rafting - I didn't do this
Skydiving Lake Taupo: thsi was the best skydiving in NZ!!! If you are going to do it you must do 15000ft.
- Rotorua Canopy Tours: I didn't do this
- Mt. Tarawera Trek: THIS WAS EPIC! Full on, but had the most amazing panoramic views. Make sure you wear hiking gear though.
- Waitomo Caves Tour: if you want to do a dry tour this is the one.
- Black Water Rafting: THIS IS A MUST DO!!!
- Ruakuri Caves Tour: don't bother!!! The Waitomo caves tour is way better.
- Kiwi Parasail: This is epic and you should do it if you have the money!
- Carino Day Sailing: while in paihai, there is only two day optionals you should do, this is one of them, The rest are crap!
- Cape Reinga: while in paihai, there is only two day optionals you should do, this is one of them, The rest are crap!
So honesty. November 2015 was a VERY warm November for the USA, so while this is true for my time, it is probably not true for a usual November tour!!!
The Grand Southern is a combination of two tours (LA-NOLA) Southern Adventure and (NOLA-NYC) Eastern Discovery.
The first half of my trip is a fantastic mix of party, history and natural wonder. The second half is a lot more party. History and culture is more focused on DC on this half.
My guide Rachael Bushner was freaking amazing! Info, playlists, local insights always on point. She made it a really fantastic trip. Really approachable. More than earned her tip! The driver, less amazing.
This tour can be super fun. Relax and let everything else go. I held on to work pressures for a while, but after a while (particularly Vegas) you bond and end up with new friends.
We missed seeing Little Rock, which left a bad taste in my mouth. But I still had a great time on tour.
Weather: Pack layers. Admittedly it was super warm, so I only really needed them in Grand Canyon, DC and NYC, but have options. The canyon gets super cool, particularly at night.
Group Photo: I like them, they are nice to look back on.
Cirque Show: Worth it, seeing a show in Vegas is always different.
High Roller Pass: The people on my trip that did it said it was great for views of the strip (better at night).
Canyon Helicopter: No question, do it! I did the longer one, the shorter one apparently can be a little short. We went all the way over to the North Rim (far side). I am still in awe!
Canyon Jeeping: My group went Jeeping around the canyon, a great way to cover a lot of ground and our guide was super knowledgeable and hilarious!
Durango stuff: None was in season when we were there, and there is really nothing in Durango before noon.
Ballooning: Couldn't operate, but I am told it is amazing.
Cowboy Stadium Tour: I wouldn't do it again, but it was interesting. Their guides will spend a lot of time talking about tiles and the number of TV screens. It is more a funny story later thing, particularly if everyone is relaxed and having fun.
Rock and Soul Museum: If you are hard core muso or enthusiast it is great, if you only do one in Memphis do Sun Studios. If doing both you will have virtually no free time in Memphis.
Sun Studios: A bit of fun, but between this and Graceland most of your full day in Memphis is gone. I would go to the Lorraine Motel (Civil Rights Museum) instead of either.
Taste of New Orleans: Not worth it. Pretty much everyone on my trip did it, but everyone on my table was disappointed.
School of Cooking: Fun, but the class is with the general public. Also it is watching someone else cook, not cooking yourself, just a heads up, I misunderstood.
Swamp Tour: Check if it is alligator season! The people on my tour saw some and had fun, but the warm weather really helped in that regard.
Universal Studios: Fun day. A bit of something for everyone. Some demonstration shows, meet characters, rides, etc. I liked it. Choose LA or Orlando, not both!
Party Cruise: Can be a bonding experience and a fun night. Drinks are super expensive in Miami, there are some included. I stayed at the hotel drinking on the roof top with some of the other travellers which was super fun too!
Bike Tour: You don't have to be super fit, so it can be a great way to kick of your day.
Speed boat: A bit of fun, seeing the homes of the rich and influential. Can also get you soaked!
Parasailing: Didn't run.
Speedway: If you are a serious rev-head it can be great, otherwise it is a long time at an empty race track.
NYC Pass: Great. If you are doing NY Uncovered, it is included in that.
Other NYC extras: Base on your own likes and dislikes. Note, they only run on certain days, so unless you are in NYC for over a week you can plan it, otherwise wait and see what is there on your days.
Would I recommend anything?
New Orleans, do a ghost tour.
Dallas, go to the rodeo.
Canyon, get up for the sunrise.
Pack a sense of adventure!!!
This was my first Contiki trip and it was seriously the best experience. The views are spectacular and the scenery itself is simply just breathtaking. If you're big on skiing and snowboard, this trip is for you! And if you're not too big on it, like myself, there are so many optionals to do, and I highly recommend zip-lining, dog sledding, snowmobiling, the helicopter ride...oh heck, just do them all!
The only tip I have is If you're booking post-accommodation in Calgary, I'd try to find somewhere closer to the city-centre. We booked through Contiki and ended up staying about 20 minutes away from the City. Not a big deal, just something to consider.
The food is amazing and decently priced. I ate so much Poutine, glorious. There was such a great mix of people on our tour, i met and made friends with some amazing people.
Lastly though, I simply cannot thank our tour manager, Alex, enough. He was just AMAZING. Really really made this tour something special! I highly recommend this tour!
The sites were great to see! However we had so much go wrong! Our tour manager turned up half an hour late one of the mornings because he was hungover so we missed out on half an hour extra exploration time in Rome! We got downgraded accomodation because there wasn't enough room for us. A lot of the "me time optional dinners" we're a waste of money as they were disgusting! Even had to wait an hour in the sun for our bus to turn up in Santorini. There was so much more that happened but yeah wouldn't recommend it as the organisation was terrible!
I was very hesitant at first on booking this trip, never gone with contiki or any tour group. Let me tell you it was the best decision! I am a world traveler and been to many places. Normally with friends on our own schedule. This trip I planned alone and was so happy that there were many others like me on the bus. Our group all got along, had many late nights and just a great time. Tour guide and bus driver (Hayley and Nick) were great! I didn't have to think on what I was doing next, everything was scheduled and anything you want to do on the contiki list, the tour manager books it for you. It was stress free and fun! Accommodations were decent compared to what I had in my head. Really no complaints there. Only one room was tiny for 4 people, but other than that they were great. You make great friends, always have something to do, and go everywhere. Besides New Zealand is beautiful, its a must place to visit!
This was my first contiki trip, and ill say i was really nervous, that it would be a disaster, people wouldnt be friendly, everything wrong, but when i got there all those got dismantled and i had the time of my life, everyone was real fun, and the trip itself was dope! my only regret was only doing 8 days, when everyone else on my tour group was doing 19 so i didnt get to experience everything they did, after i left, so if you can go for as long as you can because youll become family with everyone on your trip, and our tour manager Isobel was awesome and definitely knew her stuff, dont expect a perfect trip because youll always be let down, just roll with the punches and you'll have the time of your life, Dont go expecting to see everything cultural on this trip because you might not see everything, i went for a little bit of culture but mostly for the adventurous stuff we got to do, definitely going back again!
I can't express in words how amazing this trip was. I put in a lot of time researching my options before deciding on this trip and can safely say for what you pay on this trip you would not even be able to put half of it together yourself. You get the perfect amount of time in each place (sometimes when a trip takes you to a lot of places it can feel rushed, but this trip did not feel like that at all), and the bus days aren't so long as those of Contiki's in Europe.
I highly recommend starting this tour in NYC instead of the LA to NYC option, as starting in NYC means you finish the trip in Las Vegas, which is a lot more fun with your Contiki family after getting to know them for the last twenty odd days! Also, the bar at the hotel in Washington was the perfect place for our tour group to get to know eachother that first night.
Speaking of Contiki family...it sounds like such a cliche, but you really do form such a bond with the people on your tour. This trip made me some lifelong friends (I've just booked a trip to Europe with a couple of girls I met on this tour) who made this trip everything it was. Everybody says this in the reviews but it is so true...don't be worried if you are travelling alone, you will make instant friends! Although I personally didn't travel alone the majority of our tour group were, and it didn't matter at all. We all became instant friends and did everything together...there was always somebody to hang out with.
The optional extras are another thing that made this trip! I honestly recommend doing as many of them as possible. The snowmobiling in Colorado and the Hot Air Ballooning were my top 2 optional extras, I can't even describe how amazing they both were. Unfortunately the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon did not go ahead for our tour as there was far too much fog, but this is obviously one not to miss if you can. The cowboy stadium tour was good, but if you aren't interested in American football then you may not find it that interesting, the stadium itself is very impressive and on another level to any stadium I've seen, but not being interested in football myself that's all I really got out of that tour. In Memphis the Sun Studios and Rock & Soul Museums were both good tours that most of our group participated in and quite enjoyed. The Taste of New Orleans and School of Cooking optionals in Nola didn't run for our tour because nobody signed up for them, however almost everybody signed up for the Airboat Swamp tour which was great. Universal studios in Orlando is a must do!! Especially if you are interested in Harry Potter...the Harry Potter world there is amazing! In Miami there were three optionals...do all of them! The speed boat ride was so much fun and a cool way to see the houses of the rich and famous. The bike tour was a great way to see a lot of Miami, and is fine for any fitness level. The best optional in Miami however is the party boat cruise! Warning with this one though...when they tell you to eat dinner before the boat, do it!! This is a mistake many of us (myself included) made and paid for later. It is an open bar (you do still have to tip for each drink so make sure you take some dollar bills along) and the free pour is strong! After the boat we got taken to Mansion nightclub, which is a very well known nightclub in Miami, and heaps of fun from what I can remember! There was only one optional that I was disappointed by and that was the Cirque du’ Soleil show in Vegas. Not many people on the tour were impressed by this show...I'm not sure if it was maybe just the particular show that we saw though because Cirque du' Soleil obviously have a very good name for themselves otherwise.
Our tour guide also set up a few other extra things for us as well, such as a Lakers match in Nola and a burger eating challenge.
We had a pretty great Contiki crew. Our tour guide was Ryan and our driver was Ricky. I can't speak highly enough of them both. The made the trip exceed my expectations by a mile.
Don't think twice about booking this tour...just do it. It will be one of your best decisions yet!
Having never been to Greece or its many islands before, i thought this trip would be an awesome way to see and experience the best of its different islands.
I went in September and the hot weather was just what i was hoping for after a poor summer in the UK.
I'm abit of a geek when it comes too Greek mythology and history so Athens as a starting point was perfect and it was great to see temples like the Parthenon.
Santorini was beautiful and you should ride the local Donkeys if you havnt before, its an experience.
Mykonos was great for partying and i recommend doing the trip to Delos. Ios again was great for partying and although its not recommended by the tour manager, rent a quad for the day and check out Ios. Just be safe and not an idiot!
You get a few free days to relax and do your own thing on the tour which appealed to me, beaches with clear waters and plenty to amuse yourself was spot on!
This trip has been the best idea i've ever had and the best choice I've ever taken. I have met wonderful people on the way and made friends for life! The atmosphere is special and unique, I was travelling alone and did't went into details about the destinations prior to my departure. The tour leader gave us hints of the best places to see in town and was ready to answer any question we had in mind. The time you get for your self and the time spent with the group is balanced perfectly, it gives you the chance to meet other fellow travellers and share experience and also gives you all the time on earth for you to room around. I have wonderful memories, pictures and friends I've taken back home with me. Although it was a total of 9 days I had the time to see whatever I could imagine, I have walked almost all over London and the same was in Paris but being wider the transportation was useful. The best part of this journey is that every time i think of it I just can't stop smiling :) Contiki has created such a great way to travel!
This trip was so amazing. I booked it on a whim to get to see a bit of Ireland and was not disappointed.
I was travelling solo and was worried about being on my own. Contiki is amazing as they take care of all of the details for you and help you meet some amazing people! I've never shared a room before but my roommate was so great :)
I participated in all of the Me Time activities and loved exploring all of the cities. For 8 days this is an amazing way to see the majority of the country, stay in nice places, eat good food, have fun with some awesome people, and to have a life changing experience.
I whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who is considering it! You'll want to go back again and again!
Had a good time on the Vietnam Highlights trip.
3 stars because:
- Do the tour in the warm weather months
- The incessant honking is annoying (culture!)
- Too many flights (the roads aren't great)
- and Do the tour in the warm weather months
Ha Long Bay vid:
This was my second Contiki and I had traveled to the states multiple times, the only place I had been already was Vegas. I did not expect to have as much fun as I did on my last trip, I didn't think it would be possible to top it, but it did! This trip was a part of a few other contikis, so some left us when others joined.
I landed in LA the night before and met everyone at the hotel before getting dinner with a large group. I hadn't planed on staying out, didn't get back to 2am! So that's how I started the trip! I ended in San Francisco, after being awake for almost 22 hours, and flew home that afternoon.
Our bus driver was one of the senior drivers, Richard... he always had bottles of water on the bus and vitamin c packets if needed. Our tour manager, John was so much fun... always making sure everyone was good, posting on the Facebook page if there was a change or update on something. He also partied with us most nights!
I did almost all the optionals... the zoo, two nights out in Vegas (front of the line at the nightclubs), hot air balloon ride, 1 day of snowboarding, snowmobiling, the Cirque Du Soleil show, then a $10 surprise that ended up being a wedding in one of the chapels with a singing Elvis in Vegas!
My group of people were so much fun... we were already missing each other before we even left! Thanks again everyone for making this trip so much fun!