Intrepid Travel vs O.A.R.S - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Recent Reviews

Loved camping with Intrepid

5.0 June 2018
LR
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved this trip. Camping in very nice places - usually had hot water and nice showers. Great itinerary - LOVED Namibia and the variety of the tour from the desert to the delta to the parks.

Intrepid did an incredible job

5.0 December 2017
ATFT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thailand Cambodia Trip. Nov 2017. For my 60th birthday I decided I wanted to take my family of 6 to Thailand and Cambodia. After my initial conversation with the Intrepid office, they pulled together a perfect 24 day custom itinerary for us. My Intrepid coordinator really listened. We set up a incredibly diverse trip, ranging from ocean front resorts to a primitive hillside village trek. From the minute we landed in Bangkok, to the day we flew home, all transfers went off with out a hitch. What really made our trip memorable was our local guides. Every single one of them were warm, professional, humorous but most importantly, had a deep knowledge of the geography, the plant life, dining, the history and government. We felt by the end of the trip, these guides had become a part of our family. The entire trip was amazing and we will definitely use Intrepid for our next adventure travel. Thanks so much.
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great tour

5.0 October 2017
k
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
the guide was very knowledgeable - friendly - great sense of humour - looking out for the safety of the tour members - organised - thoroughly nice guy

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 1,071 Trips 2 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 479
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • 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
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Photography
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Angels Camp, California, United States
Year Established 1989 1969
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
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    About Intrepid Travel

    Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.

    Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts

    Founded in 1989

    No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)

    Small Groups - max 16 on most trips

    Typical Age Range - 18 - 45

    Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland

    Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels

    Average Tour Price - $2,377

    Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

    Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos

    Commonly compared with G Adventures »

    Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

    What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

    Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.

    Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?

    Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.

    Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.

    The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.

    Top Destinations

    Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

    Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.

    Intrepid Travel Style

    Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.

    There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:

    1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.

    2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.

    3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.

    Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?

    Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

    Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.

    It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.

    For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.

    Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.

    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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