G Adventures vs Caravan Tours - 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 — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.6
5.0 October 2018
The tour was very busy and very upbeat! The best part was the people I shared the tour with as I was able to make great friends! There are areas of the tour where it gets very cold ( because we are in the mountains) there is plenty spare time for you to roam the area! I even made a Youtube Video about my experience https://youtu.be/atUxVgfKiD4 (an actual review of tour) and https://youtu.be/bDvo7hziaPA ( highlights of the tour).Read more
5.0 September 2018
I can’t say enough good things about the National Geographic Moroccan Journeys tour! I’ll get to the parts everyone cares about. Lodging was great and better than expected, the SMALL SIZE of the tour was perfect. Our tour was limited to 12 and trust me.. you want that. Other tours had upwards of 30-40 people and a large bus. 12 was perfect because we got to know our tour mates pretty well and it had such. Good vibe. The tour: our guide, Aziz was fantastic and I could not have asked for a more knowledgeable expert in both the locations we went to but also Moroccan culture. We also had local guides in addition to our main guide Aziz and they were just as informative and interesting.Read more
I can’t recommend this tour enough. It was just overall such an incredible experience.! The food was great everywhere and the accomodatiins were definitely more upscale than I thought we would have. Also the desert accommodations FEEL like authentic Moroccan kasbah style hotel and it was perfect for for the Saharan experience. My only change I’d make was that we didn’t hve much time to ride camels when the option presented itself. But definitely was a option if anyone wanted to take it. Also your guide is super useful in helping you negotiate deals in the Medina. If you want pottery though, buy it at the first stop in Fez, the pottery coop that you tour- definitely the best variety and highest quality.
This was my first tour so if you have never taken a tour and are wondering if you would like it I’d say just make sure it’s a smaller size tour like this one from G adventures. The National Geographic branding gave me extra confidence that it would be interesting and informative. Thanks guys!
Tour Morocco Journey
5.0 June 2018
Great group tour experience. I was glad that I packed light! It was a small surprise to take so much public transportation everywhere. But our guide was amazing, and we saw a nice combination of classic sights and local gems.Read more
Tour Iconic Japan
5.0 August 2018
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.Read more
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.
5.0 March 2018
Panama Tour with Pedro and David
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.Read more
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!
3.0 February 2018
Does Not Recommend
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!Read more
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.
|Tours||424 Trips||10 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 222||$ 142|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Toronto, Canada||Chicago, Illinois|
|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.
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.
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.