G Adventures vs O.A.R.S - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Recent Reviews

Excellent, very fast-paced tour for a representative overview of the very varied Ecuadorian Andres

5.0 December 2018
M
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
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.
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Activity-packed and spectacular trip with 4 nights, visiting the older, drier islands of the Galapagos

5.0 December 2018
M
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
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.
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...
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Great Activities and Scenery

5.0 November 2018
DPF
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
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.

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.
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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

Tours 862 Trips 2 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 194 $ 479
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Photography
  • Adventure
Headquarters Toronto, Canada Angels Camp, California, United States
Year Established 1990 1969
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
    Countries
    About G Adventures

    Specializing in small-group, multi-day adventure tours and expeditions, Toronto-based G Adventures has been a pioneer in the field since 1990.

    Young traveler hiking in Iceland to Waterfall

    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.

    Iceland travel ice caves

    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?

    4wd on the beach in Australia

    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. 

    String of camels in Morocco with local guide

    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.

    Top Destinations

    Thailand longboat G Adventures tour  

    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.

    Local Living tour with G Adventures

    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?

    Bungee Jumping bridge in New Zealand G Adventures tour

    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.

    FAQ

    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.

    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. 

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