Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
During this trip we got to see the best of Costa Rica. You really see and do a lot in the 12 days. The accomodation was better than expected with some nice hotels. Our group was a blast!
This trip was absolutely incredible. I had so much fun, and only wish I could have stayed longer!!! I myself chose to travel with two other friends which was great, but it's definitely not necessary. I made a ton of new friends on this trip, and would even go alone next time if I had no one to go with. Contiki made this trip the great experience it was, and without them I don't think that would have been possible.
They do a really great job making sure everyone is happy and this trip had a little something for everyone. Travelling with Contiki was a great way to get around, the tour guides know a ton of spots for great eats, they know secrets on skipping some of the queue's at some of the attractions you may choose to visit, and also know all the hot clubs to party at ! They take you to most of the main attractions for each city, and our tour guide Laura (who was AMAZING) by the way gave us metro maps, and maps of the city with basically all the tourist attractions marked on it. From my experience I found The Contiki staff to be very knowledgeable, and if there was a question they didn't have the answer to they would get it for you no problem. I loved meeting all the different Contiki staff members at each Contiki Resort we stayed at they're a great bunch, who love to have fun! On this tour you stay at at least 5 "Contiki Resorts" - (Chateau in France, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Corfu), which usually had at least one or two other Contiki tours there at a time, along with some of the hotels you stay in, which is also great because you can meet even more people who you will most likely bump into later on on your tour as well. For the most part I found the rooms we stayed in to be average, this is a budget tour so I mean they aren't the fanciest of places but they were decent. We didn't spend a lot of time in our rooms, for the most part we were just there to sleep anyway so they did their job. The party nights the Contiki onsite crews plan were a blast! On our tour we had 4 Contiki planned parties and they were all tons of fun, so if you're on a budget and stay in on some nights, I would suggest to at least attend the parties they plan for you. These parties are on site where you're staying so there's no paying for taxis, the other Contiki groups staying at the resort also attend, and drinks for the most part are reasonably priced! You can also pre drink in your rooms which is another option to save money, it's quite easy to buy a bottle of wine or mickey of vodka in town during the day and just bring it back for later. My friends and I did this most nights, you can find HUGE bottles of wine (1.5 Litres) in Europe for 5 Euros, which for most people will last 2-3 nights.
For those planning on doing this tour I think it's a great investment for your time and money, this trip honestly opened my eyes to travel, and I can't wait to go on my next trip ... which may be with Contiki again. Although you could backpack through Europe, which I may do eventually, this was great way to learn about the Continent, and the particular countries we visited for the first time. I liked not having to worry about where I was going to go/stay next. Having everything already taken care of was a huge relief and just made it that much more enjoyable. A few tips for those going on this or any other European tours check the weather first ! That was one thing I didn't do London was a little chilly and so was Paris, but that was expected at the time we were visiting, so just making sure you have the appropriate clothing is a good idea. One more tip DO George's Boat if your tour offers it ! That was the most fun I've ever had. George is a cheeky old man, and it just makes all the more fun !!! As long as you love the water, and you like fun then it should be an amazing time ! I myself did most of the ME Time optionals, they were all pretty well done, the only ones I didn't do was the Cabaret Night in Paris, and the dinner in Florence. Those were just personal choices, based on reading some of the previous reviews on this tour. I suggest reading as many reviews as possible, just so you're aware of what different people thought of it, but overall I found it to be a lot of fun, and would recommend it to everyone! Also if you have the time and it's available to you, do the Greek Island hopping! Unfortunately I could not, I didn't know it was possible to pair a Contiki with a Contiki, had I have known before I left home I definitely would have done it. Trust me once you get to Greece you won't want to leave, and it's extremely hard saying goodbye, especially when you know some of your fellow tourists are going on to have fun without you. I also learned for next time, which I suggest to think about doing if you're planning on going to Europe on this tour or another to not book your flight home. I myself would have loved to fly back to some of the places we visited on the tour to go back and explore a bit, and also would've loved to extend my stay in Greece where the tour ended. So if it's available to you it's a good idea in case your plans change.
Overall it was an amazing trip, I would do another Contiki in a heart beat no questions asked. On this trip not only did I meet new people from all around the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada) I made friends for life, and I can't wait to go visit them! I think using Contiki to travel is a great idea. and I know my trip would've been nearly as fun as it was without the Contiki family I was with! And one last tip take HEAPS of pictures, there's never a dull moment on these types of trips, and being able to show your friends all the pictures when you get home and telling the stories behind them is like reliving all the good time!
Was a really hectic, fast paced and awesome trip. Definitely a great tour for those wanting to see lots in a short period of time. Not much down time on this tour, it's all go go go. I was a first time traveler and found this tour no problems at all. Just be prepared to be tired and spend a bit of time on the bus. If you can handle that, you'll love it. Scenery on the drives is amazing anyway.
Had a really knowledgeable tour manager (Kristen) who was very well organized, and had a Guru of a driver - Johnny "No Problem". Crazy fella and really first class service. Couldn't have asked for better people to run the tour.
Everything was well organized and the accommodation and food was great. You always knew where to go and what to do.
Definitely recommend doing ALL of the optional extras.
The Good: All of your hostels and travel in between cities is arranged. At least a third of your meals are covered. You get to see some of the best cities in Europe and you have the flexibility to explore them your own way.
The Bad: The quality of the places we stayed at were very low, lower than I originally thought even for a 'budget' tour. Three people got bed bugs in one place and two others had their cameras stolen from their locked rooms at another. Also, the add on tours and those already included ranged from average quality to poor.
Bottom Line: If you want a cheap tour that has your transportation, hostels, and some meals and tours included, this might be for you, just realize this is a cheap tour for a reason.
If you are a very nervous solo traveler, than this might be the tour for you. Everything is already arranged and paid for.
with that said, if you're comfortable making the arrangements to see London yourself, I suggest you do that instead. The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour is a great, easy way to get an intro to the city, but you can easy book it yourself. The options for the West End musical were poor and I would have rather paid a little more, done it myself, and have gotten a better experience. Similarly, with the 'hotel' included in the tour, the Royal National. I am aware that hotels in London are expensive, but I would have never chosen Royal National for myself after staying there two nights.
Bottom line: I was a solo traveler and I wish I had arranged my London visit on my own terms.
Had the best time on this tour, I couldn't of asked for anything else! Its a very full on contiki and you are always doing something and always on the go. So if you are keen to fit in as much as you can in as little time as possible, then this is the tour for you!
My tour manager was absolutely amazing and totally went above and beyond then what we expected, she always made sure we had an amazing time. I met so many awesome people and we all had fun partying and exploring all the different countries together.
I did all the optionals, which I think made it so much fun. You are on the coach a bit when you are going from country to country (but trust me this isn't a bad thing, as you use this time to catch up on sleep and get some energy for the next country)
I travelled solo and instantly made sooo many friends, so weather you are going solo or with friends you will fit right in!
I highly recommend this tour to everyone, just be prepared for the craziest time of your life. Cant wait to do another contiki :D
My second contiki did not disappoint. We had the best tour guide Petula. We saw and did so much. Probably wouldn't do the walking tours again but would do all the other activities again. Loved the perfumery in Paris! It was magic seeing all the places I'd seen so many times in photos. Best food was definitely through Italy. Highly recommended tour to anyone thinking about Europe.
This European experience contiki tour was the best time of my life. Saw the breathtaking beauty of Europe and am now apart of an amazing, multinational family of fellow contiki travellers. Loved it I want to do it all over again!!!!!!!
A terrific trip!!!! we saw the main historical sights such as the great wall, forbidden city (palace museum), summer palace and terracotta warriors. the tour was a great mix of historical and modern china. tour guide and local guides were amazing and knowledgeable, plenty of activities and extras with free time available. hotels were a mix all comfortable. transport between cities by plane with a fun overnight train mixed in and buses in between sites. highly recommended!
This tour was absolutely incredible. My mum did a similar tour with Intrepid a couple of years ago and always went on about how amazing it was over there, so I knew I had to go. I did this tour in January of 2013 with one of my friends who I met on my Europe Contiki tour. We had such an amazing time and the tour just made us even better and closer friends. The other travellers were all so amazing. One thing that is certain when you travel on a big tour like this, is that you will meet some really great, interesting and entertaining people. We made some friends who (as I said about my last tour) I know we will be friends for a lifetime.
A lot of people joined the Contiki meet up online for our tour, so we got to talk to a few other travellers before the tour actually started. My friend started up a Facebook group so that we could talk and get to know each other even more easily, which I found was really good. For the first couple of days that we were there before the tour started we were able to get in touch and meet up with some people early.
Our tour manager, Rory, was a little seedy to be honest. He never made a move on me (he wouldn't dare!) but I know that he did on a couple of the other girls, and they found it really uncomfortable... which obviously sucked. He did however give us a 'Rory's Tips' page in each of the more major destinations we went which I did find to be fairly helpful and all the local drivers and tour guides we got in each location were very knowledgeable and friendly.
South East Asia is so cheap, so it's really easy to find nicer accommodation at reasonably cheap prices. All the hotels we stayed at were in excellent locations, clean and comfortable (some were actually really fancy! - Chiang Rai for example).
It is winter over there during that time of year, so the weather was perfect! It only rained once the whole time we were there, that was one morning in Hoi An. Other than that it was blue skies and perfect temperature. Bangkok was pretty humid, but where I live it's like that all the time so I'm used to it. In the more Northern regions it was a little chilly, but all you needed was a cardigan or a light hoodie.
As the weather is so nice that time of year, all you really need to pack is shorts and t-shirts (and a cardigan). Oh, and a few casual dresses for night time. It's is so casual and chilled out over there, so don't take anything fancy because chances are you won't ever wear it. For shoes, thongs or sandals are fine. I lived in my Country Road jelly sandals.
I did all the optional extras. There aren't that many and they are all pretty cheap so I recommend that you do them all. The cooking class in Vietnam was so good. We all cooked up a storm and the marinated chicken we made was to die for! The Kuang Si Waterfalls was also another must. It was so beautiful there. The water is an incredible baby blue and the waterfalls cascade down one another. The water absolutely freezing. It's like that all year round, but it's so worth going in, you'll regret it if you don't. Honestly, you can't go all that way and not go in! There is a rope swing and a higher waterfall you can jump off into the main swimming area, but you can even choose any of the other more private ones to swim in. Also, the day trip out snorkelling in Nha Trang was another great optional extra.
In Vang Vieng we did a couple of extra activities that weren't apart of Contiki's optional extras. We got Rory to organise them for us. We had one of the funnest, funniest, action packed days every. In the morning we went for an 11km kayak (not as bad as it sounds - we are beginner level kayakers), which included a little caving (which was so scary… he made me go first into a pitch black cave with water up to my armpits and just said 'Go! Walk until you reach the shore!'... Excuses me, mate, I've seen Anacondas! I know what happens next). After that we had some spare time so we went and hired scooters and cruised around doing mainies (for anyone who isn't Australian - that basically means driving up and down the main street. We're so cool, I know!). We ended the day by going hot air ballooning, but I swear our balloon driver didn't know what he was doing because we crashed into 2 trees and then crash landed in a bunch of trees! That was one of my favourite days of the whole tour.
The food everywhere was amazing. I love Thai curry! I couldn't get enough of it. Although, I am a pretty fussy eater and I think I may have gotten the whole way through Laos without eating any of the local food. All the food and drink is extremely cheap. It really hurt when I got home and tried to order a cocktail only to remember it is $18, not $2 like over there. That truly broke my heart… and because it is so cheap I came back with pretty much all my spending money I went over with.
This tour was spectacular. The only thing that was slightly annoying about the tour is in a lot of the main sights you didn't get nearly enough time for photos. However, I still would 100% recommend this tour to anyone. It is so cheap and there is so much to see and explore. With all the sights, smells, and sounds you can't help but appreciate the culture. I have gained so many fond new memories and friends and I couldn't be more grateful. I'd say this tour is ideal for anyone looking to travel, you can do it on a budget or go all out, it's up to you! I will definitely be back to South East Asia, you can count on that.
Just an awesome time with an awesome bunch of people.
Become a multi-national family!
Fantastic 12 days! Saw so much of Italy, learnt about the culture, ate some truly amazing food and met some great people from all over the world! Got to see the big cities like Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence but also the smaller places like Lake Garda and the Island of Capri. It was well organised and our tour manager (Erica!!) went out of her way to make sure we had the best time!!!
The trip was amazing – really the best time of my life. Our tour manager Blake made the stay fantastic. All dinners and transportation was arranged and organized on time. The surprise was awesome. We visited best clubs in Vegas and limo ride was amazing as well. If you have any questions about LA to the bay tour – happy to answer. Cheers.
This trip was truly amazing. Even though we passed through countries quite quickly, it was just enough to see the sights and kept everything interesting. When we were in Paris, I fell in love with the city. It is truly amazing and beautiful, so much so that when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the group, two people got engaged and it was amazing!
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone that is thinking of traveling around Europe!!! Five stars!
It was alot of fun!! Needs an extra day in Barcelona tho for sure. Do the Florence dinner and nightclub (space) it is well worth it!!! The dinner in Monacco do not do, not worth it and over priced.
I would suggest going a day earlier as the tour starts that day, sightseeing and all!
Beware the contiki cough!!!
What an amazing trip. These countries are truly different from any place I'd been before. Contiki are really good at creating these adventures that give you the opportunity to be thrown from your comfort zone, whilst still providing the support you need to make it a trouble free trip.
Laos and Cambodia are incredible countries, places that most people don't know anything about. There were several times in Laos when I felt compelled to compare it Never Land. Best experiences of the trip include, elephant rides in Laos, visiting hill tribes in Thailand, Thai cooking classes, market tour in Phnom Penh, bike riding in Luang Prabang, and the boat ride down the Mekong.
I had a great tour group, its the best place to meet like minded people, people who enjoy traveling. There are quiet a few people who do the trips solo, so its easy to make friends. The transport and accom were all great, so long as you remember you're in Asia. Our tour guide was brilliant, her knowledge of these countries was mind boggling, and she went out of her way to assist us in everything we needed. I highly recommend this tour. :)
This trip is amazing and well worth the money. Our guide Roland was very knowledgeable and able to answer almost all of the questions we had and showed us the best places to visit in every city we went. There are a couple longer bus rides (6ish hours) but they are broken up well and the stops along the way, as well as the destinations, make the rides worth while.
There is plenty of free time to explore the larger cities you go through. The optionals are also a lot of fun (except for the "Mountain Biking" is Cusco, not worth the money). You get to check out many nice restaurants, eat local foods (alpaca, guinea pig, ceviche), and explore the nightlife in the different cities. The hotels on the trip are quite nice, especially at the Jungle Lodge. The ruins we explored were very interesting with incredible views and Machu Picchu alone makes the trip worth while.
If you have time in Lima try and go surfing. Its a short walk from the hotel and super cheap (Lessons, wet suit, and board for about $20 USD)
I highly recommend going on this trip.
El tour abarca muchos lugares diferentes de España, muchos lugares únicos, diferentes. Es una buena forma de conocer muchos pueblos en un mismo tour. Los desayunos buenos las cenas algunas un poco flojas, muchas tapas y no todo el mundo ama las tapas.
Hace mucho frío en invierno, lleven ropa adecuada. Las excursiones opcionales también estuvieron bien, las recomiendo. sobre la seguridad muy buena en toda España, el transporte también excelente, los hoteles todos muy buenos, y céntricos menos el de Barcelona un poco lejos y había que subir una gran cuesta para llegar al hotel.
Recomiendo este tour a todo aquel que desea aprender la cultura española.
El guía estuvo bien, y el chofer también. Muy buenos .
Yenny from San Juan PR
Esta ruta abarca muchas cosas interesantes para ver. Cada pueblo es una atmósfera diferente donde podrá ver y hacer muchas cosas diferentes. Los hoteles son grandiosos, principalmente las Cabañas en el gran Cañon y el Bass Lake. La comida muy buena y los desayunos, algunos variados. Las excursiones opcionales todas son muy buenas, principalmente la del globo en Sedona será una experiencia única. Las Vegas fabuloso, gran Cañon inolvidable, san Francisco único. Recomiendo este tour a todos disfrutarán mucho y aprenderán nuevas costumbres y cultura.
Mi guía Jonh Rammel excelente, el mejor guía que he tenido por mucho tiempo, responsable, organizado, fue excelente!!! 100% recomendable
El chofer Adrián O. Fue también excelente, siempre puntual, siempre todo limpio, organizado, alegre, compartía con todos, excelente chofer. Siempre llego a la hora estimada y a veces antes.
Fue un viaje inolvidable!!! Gracias Contiki.
Yenny from San Juan PR
This trip was easily one of the best weeks of my life. We had 15 people on the trip plus 3 crew members. Everyone was incredible and we bonded so well. We had a range of people from ages 24 – 32 with some who partied hard and others who were more low-key. The crewmembers were fun and joined in on all of the action with us. They even did a midnight jump into the water with us! ALL of our meals were included, and delicious, which made the trip affordable and so easy. The weather was nothing less than PERFECT. While the views from the boat were amazing, every time we dropped anchor we saw essentially the same thing.
The optional day trip to the Mud Baths and Turtle Beach and the night trip to Marmaris were SO WORTH IT. It was a full day out, but after spending so many days just hanging out on the boat, it was great to get out and see some historical sights. The nightlife in Marmaris was incredible and unexpected. Don’t forget to try some waterpipe when you are there and grab a late night Doner Kebab!
What to bring:
DON’T pack a large suitcase. There’s little room for “extras” on the boat. All you need is bathing suits and a few “going-out” outfits anyways, so you don’t need too much.
Make sure to bring a towel, sweatpants/sweatshirt (it can get cool at night, especially if you sleep up on the deck like we did), and sunscreen. A great mix on your ipod is good too – the boat has speakers!
I would recommend tacking on a few days in Istanbul before or after the trip as the city is not to be missed. I had the greatest week ever and I am already planning my next Contiki! I only wish I discovered these trips in my 20’s so I didn’t get aged-out so soon!