Tours in Review

From our initial contact with Get to Costa Rica Tours (624 Pecan Blvd., McAllen, TX 78501; 877/877-8666 or www.gettocostarica.com) to arrange a 9-day/8-night customized tour of the country, I was impressed with the company. Scheduling concerns limited the dates we could travel, and Get to Costa Rica worked within our “set” dates when most other companies would not.

Our group consisted of four adults (two sisters and their partners). We were met at the San José airport by our guide, Felipe Chacón, who spoke perfect English and accompanied us throughout most of our tour,...

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Our trip was arranged by JMG Tibet Tours (6001 Falls Circle Dr., Ste. 301, Lauderhill, FL 33319; phone 866/548-4238, e-mail jeff@jmgtibettours.com).

My wife, daughter and I were escorted on our 18-day tour of Tibet and Xi’an, China, by Jeff Garrett, JMG’s owner. Our tour cost $2,495 for the Tibet portion and $630 for the three of us to take the side trip to Xi’an. The April ’04 tour started and ended in Beijing, and our international air from Detroit to Bejing was $893 per person from Wholesale-Fares.com.

Mr. Garrett accompanies all tours and has extensive knowledge of...

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I took a group of my college students on the 9-day/7-night “Braveheart” tour of Scotland with Passports Educational Travel Institute (389 Main St., Spencer, MA 01562-1908; phone 508/885-4600), visiting Edinburgh, the Highlands and Glasgow. The $2,300 price (May ’04) included airfare on USAir from Denver, 3-star hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and dinner, transfers, tour and admission fees and travel insurance.

Although this company’s target market is student travelers, I feel that it is worth sharing our experiences with ITN readers who may be planning to conduct a student...

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Europe My husband and I, along with another couple, took the 16-day river cruise “Castles Along the Rhine and Danube” aboard the ms River Odyssey, Sept. 26-Oct. 11, 2007, with Vantage Deluxe World Travel (90 Canal St., Boston, MA 02114-2031; 800/322-6677)

Including airfare, fuel surcharge, fees and taxes but excluding insurance, the cost per person was $5,310 per person for an “A” category room; add-on airfare from Cincinnati was another $100.

We flew on United Airlines from Cincinnati to Washington, D.C., and on Lufthansa to Budapest, where we were met and transferred to...

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Scotland We took a 3-day/2-night tour of the Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye in May ’04 with Rabbies Trail Burners (207 High St., Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland; phone 011-44-131-226-3133). We had a great trip.

The cost was £99 (about $182) per person for their transportation. Rabbies will arrange accommodations on Skye according to how much you want to spend. Meals are additional.

The scenery and stories were made all the better by our guide, Alexander Beaton (Ally), and this side trip became the highlight of our 10-day stay in Scotland.

The 16-passenger...

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At Mt. Ebenezer Roadside, one can ride a camel for five minutes for US$4.

When the company with which we had scheduled our November ’03 tour to Australia went bankrupt, we contacted AAT Kings Tours, Inc. (U.S. office, 801 East Katella Ave., Third Floor, Anaheim, CA 92805; phone 866/240-1659, e-mail info@aatkings.com). They had a 16-day tour called “Australian Outback Wonders,” which was quite a different itinerary but in the end much more satisfying. The land cost was US$2,740.

(We had paid for our first tour with a Visa card and our money was refunded. We were told that had we paid with a check, we probably wouldn’t have seen a refund. An important...

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A tour of China I took Nov. 8-20, ’03, which included a Yangtze River cruise with Victoria Cruises, was booked with Sharon Carr Tours & Cruises (14580 East Beltwood Pkwy., Ste. 108, Dallas, TX 75244; phone 800/648-4856, e-mail info@sharoncarrtravel.com).

I refer to another reader’s comments concerning the Yangtze River cruise (Feb. ’04, pg. 33). We too, due to low-water conditions, had to take a 4-hour bus ride to Fengdu on the first part of the trip and another 4-hour trip into Wuhan at the end. However, I thought the bus rides were very interesting. There were 40 or so of us,...

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In August ’03 I joined a 15-day Iceland and Greenland tour with Explore Worldwide, the arrangements made through their U.S. contact, Adventure Center (1311 63rd St., Ste. 200, Emeryville, CA 94608; phone 800/227-8747, e-mail ex@adventurecenter.com).

This was a very interesting tour. The weather was warmer and drier than I’d expected, and the guide, whose name was Pietro, was well informed.

We started in Reykjavik, ICELAND. Our group of 22 bused around the island stopping at points of interest. The driver was excellent and the bus had plenty of room in which to spread out. We...

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