O.A.R.S vs Discover Corps - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Recent Reviews

Awesome Experience!

5.0 January 2017
T
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our tour guide Yeti was amazing! He was very knowledgeable and made our adventure such an awesome experience! I recommend anyone doing a rafting adventure out of Vernal, UT for Dinosaur National Monument to request him as a guide because he will make it a trip you won't forget. We did the Green River- Split Mountain Canyon adventure and the scenery was so breathtaking. Next time we will be booking the 4 day trip to soak it all in. O.A.R.S. you all are rockstars! From the booking process to the actual trip, I'd recommend you guys 100 times over to anyone! Thank you for the great memory!
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Tour O.A.R.S. Company Reviews

Amazing river rafting experience!

5.0 January 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I had several adventure tours with OARS and every time is was unforgettable experience! Guides are very knowledgeable, trips are well thought through, food is delicious and you have as much adrenaline rush as you wish. My river rafting was on Sept 2015 Middle Fork American River. Jimbo and Jim were river guides and they were terrific!!! Thank you guys!!!!
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Tour O.A.R.S. Company Reviews

Unforgettable experience!

5.0 January 2017
NHB
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Just returned from Cataract Canyon 4 day rafting trip with Christian, Dasia, Ben and Garth - and our experience was unforgettable and full of fun - as well as education. When I stepped off the raft for the last time I knew I had gained some much needed perspective about our beautiful country, the value of our natural resources and also had shed some of my day-to-day "uptightness" and replaced it with a sense of adventure and fun. The guides made us feel safe, they were always upbeat and pleasant, we were fed extremely well, and they had the process down to a relaxed science.
Extra big shout out to Garth who kept his cool and made a tricky drop where he and I got a little caught up just a great story to retell instead of a less pleasant one. Would definitely go again!
Pro Tip: don't over pack. Trust me. You will wear the same stuff for 4 days pretty much. Just be cool with that. Quick dry washable sportswear- a couple long sleeve shirts and a couple pairs of shorts - and a couple swim suits and or cotton sari, big brimmed hat, quick dry camping towels, wipes, Camp Suds/Dr. Bronners biodegradable wash, plastic zip locks (so much sand!) warm layers for evening, a great big water bottle, more sunscreen and Chapstick than you think you will need and some quality flow through water shoes, and your "just in case" waterproof outer gear. And maybe waterproof camera/binoculars. It all gets moved to their bags before you take off. No need to bring a big backpack rig. A portable telescope would have been my only luxury addition if I could do it over again, as Christian was incredible knowledgeable about the night skies and we had some spectacular star gazing.
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Tour O.A.R.S. Company Reviews

Fun in Japan

5.0 November 2018
JCO
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We really enjoyed our Discover Corps tour and can't wait to return to Japan. My wife and I took the Discover Corps cultural trip to Japan (Started in Tokyo-then a bullet train to Kyoto & more local trains to Osaka). The transportation system works well and no cars were ever needed. We were completely taken care of from booking and then thru the process. Adrienne did a great job of informing us of all the details-no planning required. Our guides in Japan, Aki and Miwa, were very knowledgeable local people & made sure we were having a unforgettable time! The cultural experience in Japan was terrific. Great mix of excitement; watching Sumo and participating in Kendo. The food was wonderful plus we were able to participate in sushi making!
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Tour Discover Corps Company Reviews

Excellent

5.0 July 2018
B
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We lived in the African bush for 10 days. Accommodations were wonderful - tents with nice furniture and attached bathrooms. Plenty of hot water! Food was delicious and quite sophisticated. But the best were the wildlife experiences led by an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide. All the staff were kind and professional.
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Really superb trip--highly recommended!

5.0 July 2017
TT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This trip was really superb, starting with the folks like Alex in the San Diego office to our tour guide in Havana, Orelvis (a perfect gentleman if there ever was one--and he seemed to know absolutely EVERYTHING about Havana), and our driver, Boris (who was an extremely safe driver, and the SUV that was our transportation was a practically new Honda), and our friendly hostess at the casa particular (B&B).

But at breakfast at the casa particular, keep in mind the CDC guidelines for healthy travel: cook it, boil it, peel it (yourself) or FORGET IT. So the bowl of fruit and the fruit juices? Pass them up in favor of coffee and toast. I know that sounds boring, but after I got home, I ended up in the hospital emergency room for dehydration due to e-coli--my fault for not following the CDC guidelines.

Also, to get up to my room at the casa particular, I had to climb a narrow, curved marble staircase--I took extra care not to fall either on the way up or on the way down.

The activities and attractions were first rate (but you must keep in mind that you're on "Cuban time," and not everything runs like a Swiss train). From the Hemingway house to the canon ceremony (which I loved even though it was a substitution for another event that was unexpectedly closed) to the jazz club (again, we went to one jazz club that for some reason didn't work out, but no problem--Orelvis took us to another jazz club recommended by his supervisor in Havana) to the art museum to the Malecon to the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Nacional and more, it was amazing how much we saw of Havana in about 72 hours.

There were only four people on the trip, and that was both a good thing and a bad thing--good because each of us received a great deal of attention from Orelvis and bad because two of the four didn't want to follow the itinerary and often went off on their own and then kept the rest of us waiting for them to return (highly frustrating--finally Boris said, "the schedule is the schedule," and we stopped catering to them). One of them spoke fluent Spanish--good for her--but I did wish that Orelvis had curtailed the lengthy conversations that she initiated with him, which the rest of us could not understand.

Two of my favorite activities were ones that I arranged myself: attending the world-class ballet at the gorgeously restored el Gran Teatro and then taking a yellow 1950 Chevrolet convertible with an Italian driver, who was an absolute hoot, back to the casa particular.

And the food at the private restaurants known as paladars was first rate. We even had lunch at one that Anthony Bourdain recently featured on his CNN travel show "Parts Unknown."

Just a small word of caution: sometimes there wasn't enough bottled water in the SUV in which we were riding, especially when we were dropped off at the casa particular at night. Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water with you at all times. (The CDC even recommends that you brush your teeth with bottled water.)

I also wish I had brought another pair of shoes with me because with all of the walking in the heat of the Cuban sun, my feet swelled. Fortunately, I had brought some Band-Aids with me, which helped cushion the sore spots.

I highly recommend this trip--to my way of thinking, it's much better than taking a cruise ship that only docks in Havana for one or two nights--and the "Havana Weekend Getaway" is the most popular trip to Cuba that is offered by Discover Corps, as I learned from Orelvis.
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Tours 2 Trips 28 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 479 $ 399
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Photography
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Volunteering
Headquarters Angels Camp, California, United States San Diego, California
Year Established 1969 2004
Solo Friendly N/A No single supplement
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
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    About O.A.R.S

    Founded in 1969, O.A.R.S. was the first exclusively oar-powered rafting company permitted to operate trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Now California-based O.A.R.S. has expanded its operations to include locations around the western U.S. and the world, and has ventured beyond rafting to include sea kayaking and hiking trips as well. Still family-owned, O.A.R.S. has as company president the same man who founded it, George Wendt, who makes sure everything runs smoothly. 

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Start with its guides, which are the keys to any successful rafting or adventure trip. O.A.R.S. trains all its guides for its U.S. trips – including  training in CPR , first aid, water rescue, wilderness first responder techniques, and Leave No Trace Principles -- and works with top local operators on its international trips. Next, O.A.R.S. provides many comforts on most of its camping-based trips that other outfitters don’t – including three-person tents (for two people), camp chairs, sleeping bags with sheets and pillows, and thick ground pads to go under the sleeping bags. Third, O.A.R.S. tries to accommodate as wide a range of people as possible on its adventure trips, from young children to seniors and the physically disabled, conditions permitting.

    Who Travels With Them?

    People who love the outdoors and enjoy getting wet and camping out, without having to do the heavy lifting on the trip, should like O.A.R.S. About 70 percent of their customers are repeats or referrals from past customers. O.A.R.S. accepts children as young as four years, seniors up into their 80s, and all ages in between. In short, you don’t have to be young and highly athletic -- but rafting and other adventure activities do require some level of physical fitness to provide a rewarding experience. Weight restrictions may apply for rafters, for instance, and pregnant women and anyone with certain medical conditions need a physician’s approval. 

    Where Do They Operate?

    O.A.R.S. runs rafting trips throughout the western U.S., in Colorado, Utah, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, and Oregon. A number of domestic trips are offered in U.S. national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches and the Grand Canyon. Their international trips range from Bhutan to Fiji, Chile to Croatia, India to Zambia. 

    How Does It Work?

    On rafting trips, O.A.R.S. provides all the needed equipment, including rafts, life jackets, dry bags, roomy tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, portable toilet facilities, and more; offers up three hearty meals each full day of a multi-day trip; highly experienced guides; and more. You bring only clothing, cameras, and other items of a personal nature. Rafting trips range from placid Class II floats to exciting Class IV and V whitewater, but much of each day is spent off the water, walking, hiking, viewing wildlife, birding, or relaxing. Some U.S. trips and most international trips feature lodge stays with camping mixed in. Hiking or sea kayaking are the central focus of some trips. 

    Why Travel With Them?  

    With more than four decades’ experience, O.A.R.S. knows how to run a successful and safe rafting trip. Guides are trained professionals and there’s an emphasis on comfort and flexibility that you may not find with some other rafting and adventure travel companies. 

    About Discover Corps

    San Diego based tour company Discover Corps is a leader in the rapidly growing field of volunteer vacations. Operating since 2004, Discovery Corps trips average one to two weeks and focus on volunteering either with children and schools or with animals and wildlife conservation.

    What Makes Discover Corps Stand Out?

    They are focused on providing travel experiences with a wider humanitarian purpose - and help you put your tourism dollars to good use on the ground. The world of “voluntourism” is a sticky area, and has been met with some criticism over the years, so traveling with a reputable and transparent company has become super important.

    With Discover Corps, volunteering, responsible tourism, and giving back to local communities is their entire brand - not just a buzzword on the “about us” page. So for those travelers who truly want to make their vacation about volunteering first and tourism second, Discover Corps is a great choice.

    Discover Corps trips are all inclusive, and while volunteering is the primary focus, sightseeing and cultural activities are also included. Their trips are very popular among families, friend groups, and solo travelers.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Discover Corps?

    These tours are best suited to travelers who want to have a humanitarian focus on their next trip. And if this idea is new to you, but you are interested in getting involved, Discover Corp is a great way to start.

    The average age on a Discover Corps trip is 45-65 except in summer, when families with children as young as 10 are welcome on “family friendly” trips.

    Wildlife lovers as well will love the opportunities available on Discover Corps Nature & Wildlife conservation tours. You’ll have a chance to get up close to some amazing species, learn about their habitats, and get to participate in various initiatives designed to protect these habitats.

    Top Destinations

    Discover Corp travels around the world, in rural villages, beach locations, and rainforests. Popular destinations are primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

    Discover Corps Travel Style

    Their all-inclusive trips combine light volunteer projects with sightseeing and cultural immersion. They also offer support while you’re on site – from building classrooms to improving water systems to creating eco-friendly homes. The ideas come from the local communities themselves, and local staff plan everything in advance.

    Why Choose a Tour With Discover Corps?

    If you’re the kind of person who likes being actionable and getting involved with protecting threatened cultures, wildlife, and contributing to growing communities in need of schools and homes, then Discover Corps would be a great choice.

    Volunteer vacations are one of the best ways to get to know the local people on a different level than many tour companies provide. Rather than simply enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, you’re out in the neighborhoods meeting everyday people.

    “Traveling with a purpose” might seem like a thrown around phrase these days, but it is the entire philosophy around every Discovery Corps trips. So when you join one of their tours, you’ll be surrounded by guides and other travelers for whom this isn’t a buzzword - it’s an important and meaningful mission.

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