Tours in Review

From our initial contact with Get to Costa Rica Tours (624 Pecan Blvd., McAllen, TX 78501; 877/877-8666 or 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,...


I do not recommend the “Italy-Austria: Cultures and Landscapes” biking tour to anyone who is a strong biker or who wants to experience some adventure. The 14-day tour, offered by Elderhostel (11 Ave. de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111; phone 877/426-8056, e-mail, placed great emphasis on biking safety. However, in my opinion, this emphasis was quite extreme and created a very rigid, boring biking experience.

In Italy, clunky 3-speed bikes were used; for the Austrian portion of the trip, 5-speeds were used. The average distance we covered in an hour (with...


My husband and I went on a magnificent 16-day trip to Quito, Ecuador, and the Galápagos Islands, Jan. 6-21, ’03, with Galapagos Travel (783 Rio del Mar Blvd., Ste. 49, Aptos, CA 95003; phone 800/969-9014, e-mail

I chose Galapagos Travel because it is one of the few tour companies that offers more than seven nights in the Galápagos. Many companies offer a 10-day trip, which means seven nights in the Galápagos and three nights in Quito. I wanted to see more of the Galápagos on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. I am only sorry that I did not take one of their 14-...


On June 6, ’03, we left on the 13-day “Real Affordable Costa Rica” trip with Overseas Adventure Travel (One Broadway, Ste. 600, Cambridge, MA 02142; phone 800/955-1925). We paid $4,235 for two persons, including air from Las Vegas. The price also included $368 in trip insurance.

The trip was advertised as an adventure trip, and adventure we got aplenty. We had never taken this kind of trip before. We really did not know what we were getting into but have to admit that we enjoyed it tremendously.

We were a group of 15 people (they never book more than 16 per trip) and we...


We went on a wonderful trip to Australia, Dec. 19, ’02-Jan. 13, ’03, with Overseas Adventure Travel (Cambridge, MA), adding on their New Zealand extension.

Our tour leader, Colin Jones, was articulate and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of life in both countries. We learned so much about the Aboriginal and Maori cultures as well as the general history, ecology, etc.

Our flights on Qantas were excellent, and we did quite a bit of flying in Australia as well as between countries. We took the 19-hour train trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs on the Ghan as well. Other...

The Amalfi Coast — southern Italy.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed a tour of Sicily and southern ITALY with Perillo Tours (577 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677; phone 800/431-1515).

Our 14-day tour, Feb. 26-March 11, ’03, began in Palermo and ended in Rome. The total cost for two, including airfare from Seattle, was $5,685. This did not include travel insurance or three optional tours which I would highly recommend ($40-$80 each).

Our group of 32 traveled in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus that could have seated 50. The weather was spring-like — a bonus. Dante, our guide, was a native of...


We read readers’ comments in ITN about ChinaPlus, Inc. (320 Decker Dr., Ste. 100, Las Colinas/Irving, TX 75062; phone 888/868-8811, e-mail, and found that on our tour, the 20-day “Best of China & Yangtze Cruise plus Hong Kong,” Oct. 6-25, ’03, everything was as advertised or better. The price was $3,798 less a $100 early booking discount.

Our group of 11 had Jeff Li as the tour director and we considered ourselves most fortunate. Jeff was thorough, thoughtful, patient and accommodating and his English was excellent. He was with us for the entire tour...


Great itinerary, outstanding guides, superior accommodations and a reasonable price: what more could one ask for?

Thanks to the ITN readers who answered my inquiry in “Person to Person,” I enjoyed the trip of a lifetime in November ’03 with Diethelm Travel (140 Wireless Rd., 14th Floor, Bangkok, Thailand; e-mail We made all our arrangements with Diethelm by e-mail. Our 18-day trip cost $8,745 for two, not including airfare.

We would certainly go again with Diethelm to Southeast Asia.