G Adventures vs Amtrak Vacations - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
Overall — 3
Value — 3.0
Guide — 3.3
Activities — 3.1
Lodging — 3.6
Transportation — 2.7
Meals — 3.1
5.0 December 2018
This tour is for those who can deal with a fast pace, early morning starts and staying in a different place each night (except for the 2 nights in Cuenca at the end). A very well thought out - and packed! - itinerary that went off without a hitch, thanks to our very competent, knowledgeable and friendly guide, Franklin, who was also indispensable in organizing side trips/excursions and negotiating a reasonable price for them. Highlights for us were the included morning trip to just below base camp in the Cotopaxi National Park, and the optional excursion to Cajas National Park. The two travel segments by public bus (Quito-Otavalo 2.5 hours; Alausi-Cuenca 4 hours), while interesting, would have been much more enjoyable and comfortable by private transportation. Accommodation was always clean, functional and friendly, but variable in quality from one stop to the next - the highlight being the quaint and comfortable Hacienda El Porvenir at over 3600 metres in a pastoral landscape near the treeline. The high altitude of parts of this tour (Cotopaxi stop at over 4600m and optional Cajas hike 4200m, and even the start-end point of Quito (2800m) is something that prospective travellers should be aware of and plan for (altitude sickness pills, lots of water, good sunscreen)so as to fully enjoy every moment of this memorable trip. As for food, only breakfasts were included, but in most places there were very good food choices in the restaurants and interesting local dishes to try.Read more
Tour Highlands of Ecuador
5.0 December 2018
A stunning and unforgettable experience in landscapes and amidst wildlife every bit as wondrous as we had anticipated! This itinerary packed in numerous landings/hikes and snorkeling opportunities and enabled close-up observation of some of the birds and iguanas for which the islands are famous. The Yolita is considered to be one of the best boats used by G Adventures: the cabins were comfortable and the common areas spacious and pleasant. The 8-person crew was outstandingly efficient, helpful and good-humoured as well as being safety-conscious. They were perfectly trained to help with the sometimes wavy and choppy transfers between boat and panga (dinghy) or boat and rocky shore! They also cooked up very good meals every day. Our guide, Alberto, was very well-organized and knowledgeable, though it took him a while to become willing to engage with questions from the guests. G Adventures has many itineraries in the Galapagos on 4 different boats, though the details of daily shore excursions can change according to the Park authorities' micromanagement to ensure that places are not crowded. If prospective travellers have the money and time to take one of the longest cruises as to visit the geologically newer western and northern islands as well, which we could not do, then you should go for it as you will see different birds and animals than in the South and East. Wildlife viewing also varies with the seasons (warm & wetter versus cool & dry. We would have appreciated having the option to extend our trip by one more night, on land (Santa Cruz) so as to have had a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild instead of having to fly back to Quito mid-morning after an interesting but rushed visit to the Darwin research station. We wish that G Adventures had offered this as an option.Read more
Footnote: G Adventures begins and ends all its Galapagos trips at the Hilton Colon hotel, which we liked very much - very friendly for a big hotel, heated outdoor pool and an amazing buffet breakfast if you have time to enjoy it - our tour left for Galapagos at 4:30AM...
5.0 November 2018
Discover Patagonia Fan
This was our first G Adventures trip and it was a comfort (vs classic) tour. Overall we loved the tour and all it had to offer. The glaciers, National Parks, hikes, scenery, local travel options including ferry/boats all exceeded our expectations. We chose to participate in all the included activities and many optional ones including a boat ride to Perito Moreno Glacier, Teatro Colon Tour, Osorno Volcano Day hike, Tierra del Fuego NP visit, and a helicopter landing on the Andes in Ushuaia. We enjoyed all the included adventures including the Penguin experience, tango lesson, travel via catamaran, Torres del Paine NP, Glacier NP, and the lecture by the glacier expert.Read more
We had a diverse group with ages ranging from 25-88. Everyone was very respectful of each other and we all got along well. Our CEO (tour guide) Gino did an exceptional job of tending to everyone's needs and ensuring each of us was included in as much as we wished. He made it all seem easy and always had a great temperament. He was very skilled at keeping us moving and ensuring we all had fun. When unexpected things occurred such as illness, baggage issues, special needs he handled them well.
The one area I felt was lacking was in the accommodations and in particular in Puerto Varras. The original hotel utilized Radison Park Inn was considerily below our expectations and making the situation worse was that they had a party right next to our assigned rooms until 3:00 a.m. on the second night of our stay. We were able to arrange an upgrade to a sister property that was much nicer and quieter for our second night. The Radison Park Inn was an alternative hotel due to lack of space at the primary hotel but it quality does not match the description of a comfort tour and in my opinion should not be utilized even as a back up option.
Tour Discover Patagonia
1.0 December 2018
Does Not Recommend
The cars were last rehabbed in the 1980s. The rooms are dirty, the facilities filthy. Forget the "chef inspired" cuisine. It no longer exists. Instead, you get vending machine microwaved food not fit for humans. The restrooms and showers are indescribably filthy. I've seen prisons that were cleaner. They go through the Rockies at night (can't see anything) and remove the observation car when you hit the Cascades at daylight. Don't waste your money. For what Amtrak charges for a room and how they describe the food, etc, you'd think it's a cruise ship on rails. It most definitely is not. It’s ridiculous to suggest a “wine paring” with vending machine food haphazardly microwaved and served on plastic plates. Google “Amtrak cardboard” and read the story where Amtrak handed passengers a cardboard box to poop in. You can’t make this stuff up.Read more
I read many of the other reviews that rated it higher. In many cases, the review was older—in some cases 10 years old. In other cases, the review was for a short trip or people who sat/slept in coach which is much cheaper. I get that a short trip or paying only for coach and bringing your own food could be fun. What isn’t fun is the brochures that tout “chef inspired cuisine” which no longer exists, the conditions of the cars, the filthy bathrooms and showers, etc. compared to the description of what you’ll get on an Amtrak Vacation and the price which is about what you’d pay for a cruise. There is no comparison. Amtrak is a terrible vacation experience.
While still aboard the train, I wondered why Amtrak was still selling the trip as a Vacation Package yet the cars were is such bad shape, there were no cleaners on board, the food looked like it used to be good but was now terrible. Why? The answer is Acela. That’s the high speed modern train service between Washington and NYC. Because Acela is frequented by politicians, lawyers, finance types and the media, Acela gets all the gravy. There’s no money left for the rest of the system. Fine. But they shouldn’t keep selling a service they haven’t been able to deliver in years.
Tour Amtrak Vacations Company Reviews
3.0 November 2018
Will never book with Amtrak Vacations ever again....
Didn't give me the right information from the get-go. I had to call several times with issues with my vouchers and tickets. Didn't get a break down of the cost of what I was paying for when I booked my trip, and I think they cheated me more money than the trip was worth. The last hotel they booked for me was ghetto as hell and I got BED BUGS!!!Read more
Tour Amtrak Vacations Company Reviews
3.0 September 2018
Does Not Recommend
Avoid Amtrak VacationsAmtrak Vacations, Inc. let me tell you what a deplorable vacation we had on Amtrak. We scheduled a National Park Amtrak vacation June 2017 to travel July 2018. We were very excited to take this trip. Everyone knows that when you travel with Amtrak there will be delays because Amtrak does not own the tracks. The first part of the trip from Chicago to Salt Lake and the visit to Yellowstone were wonderful. From Salt Lake to Emeryville, CA they ran out of food and we only had a choice of hamburger or hot dog. Certainly not a deal breaker but at least poor planning on Amtrak's part. When we arrived in San Francisco and tried to check into our hotel we were told our reservation had been cancelled by Amtrak Vacations. The next day I was able to correct this after spending almost an hour on the phone with Amtrak Vacations. We waited for the bus to pick us up for our Yosemite tour and were told that the tour bus had already left even though we were where Amtrak Vacations told us where to pick up the bus and we were at this correct spot 35 minutes early. No trip to Yosemite for us. When we left Glacier National Park we had a two hour delay. The conductor made an announcement that several passingers needed to be put up in a hotel in Milwaukee because of the delay . These passengers were traveling on the same connecting train that we were. We questioned the conductor as to why were we not included with those passengers since we're were on the same connecting train. He assured us that we would make our connection. . . . ? How is that possible, of course it was not possible. We received no help from the customer service agent in Chicago. That particular day Chicago had two concerts,the Alzeheimers Conference, 50 years of Special Olympics and a Cubs vs. Card ball game. Needless to say there were no rental cars at either airport and the least expensive hotel cost $378 plus cab fare. We paid $799 for travel interruption insurance and were told today they would pay us $214 for the claim that we filed for $640. What a scam. Moral of the story AVOID Amtrak Vacations.Read more
|Tours||807 Trips||2 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 197||$ 304|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Local Specialist|
|Headquarters||Toronto, Canada||Beverly, Massachusetts, United States|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||N/A|
Specializing in small-group, multi-day adventure tours and expeditions, Toronto-based G Adventures has been a pioneer in the field since 1990.
Founded by entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip after a backpacking trip to Asia, the company fosters sustainable and environmentally sound tourism practices -- giving back to the communities they visit -- and considers its business “changig people’s lives,” not just offering a vacation.
It’s since grown to become the world’s largest independent adventure travel company, with more than 1,350 employees, many of them professionally trained guides.
What Makes G Adventures Stand Out?
Trips with G Adventures are all encompassing, adventurous, exciting, and fulfilling. Since the beginning, G Adventures has maintained a strong message of engaging with local cultures, being a responsible traveler, and contributing back to communities. Their trips are designed to be life changing.
G Adventures strives to create unique experiences for its travelers that start even before the trip itself. The company provides trip inspiration through their Looptail blog and you can connect with fellow travelers via the ‘Departure Lounge’, which is part of G’s ‘Watering Hole’ travel forum.
Once on your trip, you will meet your ‘CEO’ or ‘Chief Experience Officer’ who is “responsible for enriching your journey, offering local insight, and pursuing great experiences as they happen.” Most groups average around 12 travelers, with a maximum of 16 on most trips.
G Adventures has made a concerted effort to expand their offering beyond youth focused adventures, though this remains a core theme. Your Danube River Cruise will be imbued with the same culturally immersive and adventurous touch as your trekking journey through the Himalayas.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With G Adventures?
If you are the kind of traveler who packs running shoes before dress shoes, hiking attire before dinner attire, and a sense of adventure before playing it safe, then G Adventures is the perfect fit for you. You love engaging with locals, meeting new people, and being spontaneous. You also favor experiences over luxury accomodations.
Most G Adventures tours have an active focus - expect to be on the move, packing a lot in. That said they do allot generous free time to explore on your own. There’s a chance you may not see every major tourist attraction in the interest of a more “real” experience. But the nice thing is if a particular site is not on the itinerary, you can use your free time to visit.
If you are interested in a tour that plans every part of the itinerary down to the minute, G Adventures will probably not be the best fit for you.
While its target market has traditionally been younger travelers in the 18-39 range, G Adventures has expanded significantly, now offering a broad range of trips that appeal to adventurous-minded, culturally curious people of any age.
Groups are geographically diverse, with a higher proportion of North Americans than some other operators. G Adventures also does not charge a single supplement, so solo travelers are very welcome on their trips.
They offer numerous travel styles, some at a higher budget range, like their National Geographic Journeys. Most G Adventures trips are accessible to low to mid budgets and are ideal for travelers who like experiential small group active travel.
You can find G Adventures trips in most parts of the globe, including 32 countries in Europe, 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 21 countries in Asia, 10 countries in South America, 12 countries in Central America and the Caribbean, five countries in North Africa and the Mideast, plus the U.S., and Canada.
A number of destinations are well off the beaten track, from Sao Tome and Principe in West Africa to Borneo in east Asia to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and both polar regions.
Itineraries often focus on more off the beaten path locations; small towns, remote and rural villages, less touristy districts and sites.
G Adventures Travel Style
Pricing is competitive (cheaper), largely by using “grassroots” approaches: local transport and a mix of privately-owned accommodations, perhaps including homestays and camping. Efforts are made to focus on authenticity with both culinary choices (locally-owned restaurants) as well as transportation methods.
G Adventures truly offers something for everyone. Trip styles include Classic, Active, Rail, YOLO (You Only Live Once - for 18-39’s), National Geographic Journeys, Marine, Family, Local Living, and Private Groups.
Classic - Classic trips with G Adventures are designed for independent minded travelers who don’t want to miss anything. This is the perfect choice if you want a balanced mix of classic tourist sights and local cultural experiences.
Active - Throwing it back to one of the things G Adventures does best. Kayak, walk, hike, trek; experience your destination through the outdoors. These multi-sport trips are great if you hate standing still and enjoy being out in nature. G Adventures Active tours are ideal for those who are relatively physically fit and like a challenge.
Rail - A rail journey is a great way to dial it back. Take it slow and really savor the feeling of the journey. Take iconic routes and enjoy the ride.
YOLO - “You only live once” is the acronym, and while G Adventures provides adventurous experiences for all, these trips are specifically designed for 18-39 year olds. Get cheeky, get wild, experience life unfettered, as you explore the culture and the local nightlife. If you have the stamina, these trips are once in a lifetime. Kind of like the age range.
National Geographic Journeys - A more premium travel experience, these G Adventures trips, as part of a partnership with National Geographic Expeditions, involve the same culturally immersive approach and knowledgeable guides with an elevated level of accommodations and service.
Marine - Love to be out on the water? Let G Adventures cruises take you to the far reaches of the globe via river and ocean. Experience incredible sights above and below the surface. Unpack once and enjoy the escape of being a part of the crew and passengers.
Family - Adventure tours aren’t always especially friendly to younger travelers. G Adventures Family Friendly tours make adventure activities accessible for you and your youngsters! Trips often have an educational element, and are designed with multiple ages in mind.
Local Living - Get to the heart of it with a homestay. These tours are designed to make you really feel at home and appreciate the feel and rhythm of living like a local.
Private Groups - If you and your family, or a group of friends want the fun all to yourself, G Adventures can plan a private group trip just for you.
Note: part of the culturally immersive experience when traveling with G Adventures is the use of public transportation. This means carrying your own luggage on buses, trains, etc - sometimes during commute hours! So pack light for your own comfort and the comfort of those around you.
Why Choose a Tour With G Adventures?
For those travelers seeking an exciting, professionally guided, and culturally immersive travel experience G Adventures is the perfect tour company to consider. Their trips are designed to be as authentic as possible - and they place much emphasis on giving back to local communities - so you’ll know your tourism dollars are going toward meaningful causes.
Trips with G Adventures are not luxury by any means. But if unique experiences and active days appeal to you over a fluffy pillow then you’re in the right place.
Departures are guaranteed once you’ve paid (barring significant weather or safety issues). And they don’t charge single supplements. In short, G Adventures wants you out there with them.
You can find something for everyone at G Adventures; whether that’s sailing down the Danube with a glass of wine in hand, or traipsing through the rainforests of Costa Rica.
1. What kind of luggage should I bring?
On many G Adventures trips it’s important to keep in mind that local public transportation is used frequently. Sometimes during commute hours! For your comfort and the comfort of those around you, it’s a good idea to pack light. Some areas will be very crowded, so take pickpocket precautions.
2. Do I need travel insurance?
Yes! Travel insurance is required for all travelers on G Adventures trips. If you don’t have your own insurance already, you can purchase a plan for the time you’ll be traveling when you book your G Adventures tour. This is an easy and budget friendly option. If you’re interested in browsing more plans, check out the top travel insurance options »
3. Is airfare included?
Unfortunately no. While G Adventures does not include international airfare in their trip prices, they can help you book flights.
4. Is there a single supplement?
No. G Adventures does not charge a single supplement for their tours. Single travelers are very welcome. You will share with a same-sex roommate during the tour. If you wish to have a single room, there is usually an option to pay an additional fee for your own room.
5. Is there an age cap?
While G Adventures trips tend to appeal largely to younger adventure travelers, all ages are welcome on the majority of trips. The exceptions include on their 18-39 tours, which are specifically designed for only travelers within that range. On most other G Adventures trips, children under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian, and are open to kids 12 and up. Some family friendly trips are open to younger kids.
6. What size are the groups?
G Adventures group tours are kept small and intimate. The max is 15, with the average hovering more around 10.
Since 1971, Amtrak has operated railway services throughout the contiguous United States, with more than 300 trains traveling on 21,300 miles of track each day.
What Makes Amtrak Vacations Stand Out?
There’s something about a rail journey that connects one to the past, while feeling distinctly futuristic.
As you explore the United States and Canada with Amtrak, the expansiveness of the landscape will awe and inspire. Especially as you relax into the pace of rail, which let’s face it, is much slower when compared to grabbing a flight. But that’s part of the fun.
Amtrak Vacations aims to show people North America, and creating lasting memories through journeys that incorporate scenic landscape views, excellent service, and inclusive packages.
They offer a lot of variety when it comes to duration, price, and destination. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or a longer more leisurely vacation, you can be sure to have an amazing journey.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Amtrak Vacations?
Rail journeys are appealing to a wide range of travelers. The ease and comfortability makes this mode of travel very popular among families, older groups, and those with limited mobility. A large part of taking a rail journey is the opportunity to sit back and relax, watching stunning scenery go by. So these trips are ideal for travelers wanting something scenic and easy, with a few options here and there to get out and explore the landscape on foot.
Amtrak specializes in easy, inclusive travel packages - including accommodations, meals, and of course your transportation. This is a great option for travelers seeking some flexibility in each destination when it comes to sightseeing and activities, but want the stability of having some key logistics taken care of.
These journeys cover North America, and more specifically United States and Canada. Those who travel with Amtrak are largely US and Canadian Citizens on cross country trips. That said, it can also be an attractive way to cover a lot of ground for international travelers. However note that some of the time off the train will be to your own devices, without a guide, so if language barrier is an issue be sure to keep this mind.
Amtrak Vacations are available in North America on Amtrak railways, and through connections to boats, ferries, and motorways.
You can travel in many different directions and there is a large variety of durations available. Some of the most popular Amtrak Vacations are through national parks. Currently they offer rail journeys through Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Glacier National Park, the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Yosemite.
In addition, Amtrak covers all major geographical regions of the United States and Canada, including most major cities.
A journey with Amtrak Vacations can be done on a budget, or more luxury. With several dining options, and accommodation options on board, such as deluxe sleeper cars, there’s something to be found for everyone. They provide excellent customer service and a knowledgeable staff available for any and all questions throughout your trip.
Amtrak offers a few different types of rail vacation packages:
Rail Getaways - These quick jaunts are great for a weekend getaway, solo or with a few friends or family members. Get to know a specific region and enjoy taking some time off the train to explore.
Independent Journeys - Multi city vacations ideal for those who are looking for an adventure, and a lot of independent choice when it comes to activities and sightseeing.
Round Trip - Fairly self explanatory, these can be long or short trips. Different routes aren’t taken, so you will be seeing double. But for some travelers this is a great way to pass the same sites and maybe explore some in more depth than you did going the opposite direction.
National Parks - As stated above, national park visits are one of the most popular Amtrak Vacation packages available. The incredible scenery envelopes you and there are many opportunities to disembark and explore. These journeys are especially memorable for the opportunity to stay at hotels within the park itself - and feel truly a part of the incredible nature.
Rail and Sail - These trips are a unique way to make your journey to the cruise ship about more than just getting from point A to point B. Every component, land, sea, and rail becomes something special.
Coast to Coast - Really get into the landscape and enjoy the rhythm of what it means to really embrace slow travel. Coast to coast trips with Amtrak typically last between 15 and 17 days, and are a great way to feel the true spirit of rail travel.
Family Adventures - These journeys are great for family bonding, and really take into consideration activities that kids will enjoy. This definitely includes a theme park visit or two! Learning and educational excursions also take center stage, as the incredibly expansive US or Canada comes to life.
Why Choose a Trip With Amtrak Vacations?
Rail travel is like taking a ride through history. The implementation of the railroad had such an enormous effect on exploration as well as making connection between the coasts easier that ever before.
When you travel with Amtrak Vacations, the adventure begins the minute you step on board. And the train journey itself is a large part of the experience.
Amtrak offers many ways to relax, including spacious cabins and seats, spectacular views, and a unique dining experience. Amtrak aims to transform travelers’ state of mind as they pass through the natural beauty outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I have a local Amtrak station near me. Can I begin and/or end my tour there?
Yes! Tours with Amtrak vacations can be started or finished at any one of the 300 Amtrak stations covering the USA and Canada. And most itineraries can be taken in reverse order, for your convenience.
2. Do you include sightseeing in the itinerary?
Yes, sightseeing excursions are included in all of the itineraries with Amtrak vacations. You do have the option to add on additional sightseeing activities. These are available for an upgrade fee.
3. Do the sleeper cars have private facilities?
Amtrak has two levels of sleeper car: “Roomettes” and “Bedrooms”.
The Roomettes are ideal for one or two passengers, and are a good option for budget travelers - sinks and bathrooms are shared, though there are multiple to a car. They feature reclining seats that form a bed, on opposite sides of the large viewing windows.
Bedroom setups are great for couples or those wanting a more exclusive travel experience. They feature a private sink, toilet, and shower.
4. Are meals included?
Yes, all meals are included in the inclusive packages offered by Amtrak. There are varying levels of dining available, from luxurious private service to a more cafeteria level experience.
Amtrak is able to accommodate most dietary needs and restrictions if given proper notice. They recommend 72 hours notice at least.
5. How much luggage can I bring?
Amtrak requires that each passenger bring no more than 2 large pieces of luggage, not exceeding 50 lbs.
6. When should I arrive at the train station?
It is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before you train departs. If you require special assistance, Amtrak requests that you allow for more than 30 minutes to ensure you reach your departure.