Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more

Caravan Tours

4.7 | Excellent
  • 96% Recommend
Service Level
  • Budget
Type
  • Regional Expert
Established
  • 1952
Headquarters
  • Chicago, Illinois
Trips
  • 9

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26
Caravan Tours Reviews & Ratings 96% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 18 Great 7 Average 1 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0
Value:
4.6 Guide:
4.6 Activities:
4.7 Lodging:
4.6 Transportation:
4.7 Meals:
4.6

Tour Reviews

V

Recommends

Caravan goes above and beyond April 2019

5.0
  • 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
Read more

PF

Recommends

Great trip March 2019

5.0
  • 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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X

Recommends

Excellent, with a few minor exceptions. August 2018

5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
We just returned from a Caravan tour of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and Grand Tetons. Although there were just a couple of things we did not like, overall it was a very enjoyable seven days. The tour director was superb, very helpful, always available, friendly, and a pleasant person. The driver was very good at his job, extremely experienced and knowledgable. The trip was well planned, most of the hotels were above average in quality, the bus was comfortable, the included meals were good.

Financially, it was a good buy overall. However, it did cost somewhat more than expected based on the advertisements. Although Caravan advertises that "most or all" meals are included, in this particular tour only nine of the twenty meals were included, and of these, only one of the seven dinners. In addition, there was heavy emphasis on gratuities, with too-frequent reminders. Suggested amounts were given, and even the minimum suggested amounts seemed rather high to me. We were given to feel obligated, rather than left to decide on our own based on the quality of the service. Caravan stated that the only gratuities not included in the price were those to the tour director and driver. However, gratuities to hotel maids and local guides, and shuttle drivers were also not included, and suggested amounts for these were given by the tour director. Overall we spent about $150 on gratuities, even though staying in the lower range of the suggested amounts.

But we are glad we went, and will consider Caravan again when planning another trip.
Read more

PTwPaD

Recommends

Really Amazing tour, we were well cared for! March 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
We went on the tour with Pedro the tour director and David, our driver. We departed on the 15th and were there for a week. We toured the canal top to bottom. I'll be honest- if you're looking for lots of nature time, this isn't your tour. HOWEVER, we knew that going in AND we still picked up over 80 species of birds, lots of monkeys, etc. We toured Panama City for a day and a half, spent two days in Gamboa, 2 days at the beach and then one last day in Panama City.

The entire trip we were well cared for. The food was really good (though if you're bringing kids on the trip, the Gamboa Resort is the only one that has more typical kid fare) David and Pedro kept us well hydrated, educated on all things Panama (historical, ecological, etc). Pedro also went out of his way to be sure our 5 year old was well cared for including time in the captain's cabin during the canal transit, telling them jokes, etc. He says he doesn't get to see many kids on this tour, so he seemed as excited as our son!

The accomodations are great with the exception of the Intercontinental Miramar. The food there is average and the rooms need updated. However, The Westin was an all inclusive day and amazing. The Gamboa resort is something out of a magazine - and the pool there is fabulous (though their bartenders need a little extra motivation it seems).

On our free day, Pedro even helped us organize a tour out to the Pipeline so we could get some extra birding in. He called a few different locals that were trustworthy and affordable so we could get more time in the rainforest.

Overall, it was worth every penny and we're excited to take other Caravan Tours!
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PT

Does Not Recommend

Money Hungry Tour Director February 2018

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
My husband and I just returned from the guided tour of Panama with Caravan. This was the first time and the last time we have travelled with Caravan. We go away twice a year and like to take guided tours and have travelled with many tour companies including very large and prestigious travel company such as Trafalgar. Many companies we travelled with have a Tour Director/Bus Driver tipping recommendations - but those are only recommendations and not the expectations of a tour director. Pedro - our Caravan Tour Director expected to get $8/day/person - so for the bus of 41 people (this was the number of people on our tour), for 8 days he should get $2,624 - well if you make this kind of tax-free cash in one week - please go ahead and give him his $64/person for one week. My husband and I do not know anyone who makes this kind of tax-free cash, hence we decided to give him less generous tip. Pedro was so cheeky that he opened the envelope (that he himself provided to each couple on the bus) as he received it and checked the amount of money given to him by each couple. It become quite clear to us that Pedro did not appreciate our tip as he returned the envelope with cash to us. SHAME ON YOU PEDRO! SHAME ON YOU CARAVAN FOR HAVING PEDRO WORKING FOR YOU!!!! I wonder if Pedro did this because both my husband and I are of Polish descent and have an accent? I guess to Pedro having an accent is equal to being stupid and English language illiterate, hence being unable to complain and/or write a review. Well - Pedro - we just proved you wrong!
Throughout entire trip Pedro was hinting how great he is and how he made very special arrangements for us and how this trip would have been a totally insignificant without him. He made a point of telling us that Caravan build stairs and washroom facilities , so that Embera Village can be visited, he also claimed that because of Caravan, there is now ramp to access Kuna Indian Marketplace. Yet, Caravan was not powerful enough to ensure that we get take-out breakfast on the last day when we were being transferred to the airport at 5:00 a.m.! Interesting!!! No matter where we travelled to, if we had to leave early to the airport - every hotel has provided us with a "take-out" breakfast - after all we paid for this. But not at the Intercontinental Miramar - no breakfast, no apology, no explanation! Well - having travelled with many travel companies the hotels, food, services provided by Caravan and Pedro were average. We certainly had better Tour Directors, better hotels, better food and much better experience with other tour companies then with Caravan. We had much better caliber of Tour Directors then Pedro but no one was ever so cheeky as Pedro and did not return his/her tip to us - this was a hit below the belt - disgusting!!!
Maybe inexperienced travelers find Caravan and Pedro great - but we did not.
Read more

LA

Recommends

Fantastic trip! This is such a great value and wonderful experience. August 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We just spent 10 days exploring Guatemala with Caravan tours. The hotels were amazing, the food was delicious, our driver was fantastic and our guide was so knowledgeable and kind. We had two families and 6 kids from the ages of 18-10 and we all learned so much. The guide was wonderful and really had great knowledge of the country. I came back with such a great appreciation for the Mayan culture and people. Thank you, Caravan for a wonderful adventure.
Read more

Stride Review

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.

Visit Caravan Tours site >

From Caravan Tours

History

Caravan Tours began selling fully escorted tours in 1952. We have been under the same management and ownership ever since. In 1965, Roger Mudd hosted a two hours CBS TV special on Caravan Tours. This TV production took about one month to make and was so successful it inspired the 1968 romantic comedy movie “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” In the early 50’s the Mayor of Dublin presented Caravan with the Key to Dublin for bringing the first American tour to the city after WWII. Since then Caravan has been recognized as a pioneer in travel.

Great Value, Book Early

Caravan’s strong buying power gives you great vacations at prices much lower than you can find anywhere. Last year many of our tours sold out quickly. Book early for the date you prefer and the best airfare.

How does Caravan Tours sell these tours for such a low cost?

Caravan delivers volume to our suppliers, who in turn reward us with their very best prices we, in turn, pass these savings on to you, and you reward us by buying our tours. 
As volume continues to rise, we then receive even better prices from our suppliers, and we pass even greater savings on to you. This year our tours are better than ever.

How satisfied are Caravan clients?

The short answer is “very.” Our surveys are uniformly very positive. However we 
continually strive to improve our tours, (they are often updated several times in the course of one year), we study all client surveys and suggestions for improvement very carefully.

Pitch-Free Travel:

Caravan includes all activities listed in the tour itinerary page. Caravan does not sell any optional activities which can add hundreds of dollars to your tour price. Your free time is scheduled in great settings where there is no need to buy additional expensive activities.

Associations:

National Tour Association, Cruise Lines International Association

10 days
Group Tour
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,395

Highlights

  • Enjoy the fabulous Cape Breton Island dives.
  • Opportunity to watch a thrilling whale watching cruise.
  • Explore Halifax and visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
  • Visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum
  • Visit the Anne of Green Gables House in Cavendish
  • Enjoy a relaxing two night stay at this French-speaking Acadian fishing village
  • Visit the Flowerpot Rocks at Hopewell Cape
  • Explore Halifax
  • Discover Nova Scotia
More
9 days
Group Tour
Value - 3 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,695

Highlights

  • Visit to world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, a natural habitat for the white face Monkey
  • Experience hike through the rainforest and along the spectacular beach coves
  • Opportunity to cruise on the Tarcoles River, adjacent to the Carara Biological Reserve
  • Enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Arenal
  • Discover Costa Rica
More
8 days
Group Tour
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,295

Highlights

  • Visit Mt. Rushmore National Monument
  • Visit the old western cowboy town of Sheridan.
  • Follow the Lewis and Clark Trail to Livingston, Montana film location of "A River Runs Through It" and "The Horse Whisperer."
  • Look for moose, elk, bison, bears and wolves
  • Visit Grand Teton National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch near the banks of the Snake River
  • Watch for waterfowl, beaver, osprey and eagles
  • See the Mormon Tabernacle
More
8 days
Group Tour
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,295

Highlights

  • Visit the historic whaling town of Edgartown
  • Enjoy the sailing to Rhode Island
  • Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum.
  • Visit Portland’s waterfront.
More
 

See All Caravan Tours Trips >

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