Caravan Tours vs Thai Marano Travel - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 0
Value — 0.0
Guide — 0.0
Activities — 0.0
Lodging — 0.0
Transportation — 0.0
Meals — 0.0
Recent Reviews

Costa Rica with Caravan tour.

5.0 May 2019
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
In 8 days we covered around 900 mi through various parts of the country and learned about its life, traditions and culture, about their special relation with and respect for the Mother Nature. It was a very enriching experience for us!
Please watch my videos about this trip here:
Part 1 is here:
Part 2 is here:
Part 3 is here:

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Caravan goes above and beyond

5.0 April 2019
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
After traveling around the world with a number of tour companies, my wife Fyllis and I assumed we had seen, and experienced, just about everything they have to offer. That assumption changed after we traveled with Caravan Tours to Panama.

We were attracted to that company because of the very reasonable prices of its trips. Then we quickly learned that Caravan doesn’t hold down costs by scrimping on what it provides. In fact, in some ways the company goes above and beyond what participants might expect.

We experienced that even before our trip began, when we were told that the tour which we had booked had been canceled. Our dismay turned to delight when the Caravan representative informed us that a trip following the identical itinerary would be departing the previous day and that, if our schedule allowed us to take it, there was room.

We explained that we had purchased non-refundable tickets and would lose what they had cost. No problem, came the reply. Caravan would take care of our new flight arrangements so we wouldn’t lose any money.

Then came the proverbial icing on the cake. Caravan’s customer service manager said the company would pay for an extra night at a hotel in Panama which the schedule change required, and added that we would receive a “courtesy discount” for the inconvenience we had been put through.

That very positive pre-trip introduction to Caravan Tours was followed by a number of other welcome features.

Along with the usual information about our itinerary, what to pack and the like, the material we received included an honest word-picture of what to expect (possibly mosquitoes in some areas), what not to always expect (shower water not always hot, and air conditioning not as cold, as at home), along with an honest discussion of some delicate issues related to our destination.

The choice of accommodations, which ranged from a four-star beachfront hotel to a rainforest resort, served as an introduction to the diversity of Panama.

That also applied to the itinerary, which packed into our busy days activities that immersed us in much of what the country has to offer visitors: Seeing the sights of Panama City, including its collection of high-rise buildings that create a stunning and dramatic skyline. Learning all there is to know about the incredible Panama Canal, including a cruise through part of its length and into the intricate system of locks. Getting close up and personal with members of two of the seven distinct indigenous people who live much as they have for centuries.

As with virtually all trips we have taken with group tour companies, our guide Raquel was a real treasure. Not only did she provide a wealth of interesting information during bus rides, she invited and answered questions about her country completely and honestly; interspersed periods of commentary with quiet times, and handled requests for information or assistance by individual members of the group cheerfully and efficiently.

In addition to presenting the big picture of destinations to which it travels, Caravan pays attention to little details that can help make trips as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Examples: All meals throughout the tour were included in the cost, which not all tour companies offer. Each time we reboarded the bus after a stop, our driver offered each passenger a bottle of cold water.

Speaking of the bus, Caravan follows a policy of seat rotation, which has passengers moving once or twice a day. Not only does this result in “fair and equitable seating” for members of the group, Fyllis and I – and, we observed, the other passengers as well – liked the opportunity to chat with every person on the tour.

That practice was among the many reasons why every one of our fellow trip participants whom we asked said they plan to travel with Caravan Tours again. So do Fyllis and I
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Great trip

5.0 March 2019
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
My family and I went to Panama with Caravan Tours and Pedro Palma was our host. Panama is a beautiful country and there is so much to enjoy and explore it can get overwhelming. Pedro made enjoying every part of the trip easy of us. He was so detailed about when and where to give information. He thought ahead of any challenges we would face in order to prevent any mishaps and to keep everyone organized. I could tell how hard he worked on making all of us happy.
After getting home from my trip I realized I had forgotten an item at the hotel. I contact Pedro and he took all my stress away by arranging to get my stuff back to me. Pedro is great. He stayed up around the clock for us to attend to any need and answered any question about the country we had. He definitely added to how much I enjoyed the trip and the next time I take a toured trip with Caravan I hope the next host is just as awesome as Pedro Palma.
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Tours 9 Trips 3 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 155 $ 120
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Regional Expert Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Budget Luxury
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Cycling
  • Adventure
  • Luxury
  • Budget
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois Bangkok, Thailand
Year Established 1952 2000
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English English, Mandarin, Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Italian
Top Trips
Similar Companies
    About Caravan Tours

    Caravan Tours, founded in 1952 and based in Chicago USA, provides escorted group tours to countries in the Americas.

    They are one of the oldest group tour operators and focus on value vacations with a no-frills approach to group travel.  

    What Makes Caravan Tours Stand Out?

    Caravan fills a specific niche for travelers looking to see the major sights in North and Latin America on a budget. Most of their tours focus on natural wonders, such as Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks in the US or the rainforests of Costa Rica.

    A trip with Caravan offers accessibility for travelers to experience the Western Hemisphere’s most amazing natural attractions without needing to book an active, adventure experience.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling on Caravan Tours?

    Caravan is not the most flashy or inventive tour company. Tours visit standard sites, groups are generally large - transportation in comfortable yet basic motorcoaches. If you are looking for an immersive cultural experience, you will probably won’t find what you’re looking for with Caravan.

    However if you are looking for an affordable trip to some of the most incredible natural attractions and national parks in the USA, Canada, and Latin America - this could be a great fit.

    Caravan’s tours tend to attract a slightly older crowd, primarily Americans. They are a well known budget brand for 50+ and senior travelers. Families looking for an easy, relatively comprehensive, and inclusive tour will also enjoy the Caravan experience.

    Top Destinations

    Caravan Tours operates exclusively in North and Central America, including trips to the American west, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Canada. They offer 10 tours total.

    Caravan Tours Travel Style

    Flights are not included in the price of most trips, but Caravan does provide resources to popular airlines with affordable airfare to the destinations they travel to. Accommodations are in basic lodges and hotels, often with large national chains such as Hilton.

    Meals are included on most trips although some excursions offer flexibility for dining out at restaurants of your choosing. In Latin America, Caravan includes airport transfers in the tour price.

    Why Choose a Tour with Caravan?

    Caravan has many years of perfecting their itineraries to specific destinations, such as Yosemite National Park, the California coast, and Costa Rica.

    Their escorted vacation packages truly offer great value for the money and you are assured to see the highlights in any destination you visit. You might choose Caravan if you want an all-inclusive tour experience and don’t mind traveling with a larger group.

    About Thai Marano Travel
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