Intrepid Travel vs Southern Explorations - 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 — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
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

Torres del Paine

5.0 January 2017
D
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
A last minute decision to travel to Torres del Paine, I found Southern Explorations via a google search. Very professional and organized company. Eric assisted me with getting things organized in a short time frame. My experience there was magical! The hotel, the staff, the excursions, the airport transfers- everything was taken care of all I had to do was show up. I highly recommend Southern Explorations and will use them again for my upcoming travels.
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Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

Fantastic!

5.0 January 2017
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Fantastic service! The team at SE went above and beyond to create the perfect itinerary for our family. The most amazing guides and personalized service. Highly recommend!!

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

Great Trip!

5.0 January 2017
M
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Southern Explorations did a fantastic job of putting together a really special trip for us to Ecuador. As we started the initial planning, the Southern Explorations rep really listened and put together a customized itinerary that included Quito, the Amazon, the Andes and the Galapagos. She was patient with all our questions and concerns, and offered up countless options and alternatives. When we arrived, the staff took incredibly good care of us. Despite all the moving parts in our itinerary -- the planes, boats, canoes and buses -- the trip was flawless. No hitches. No unexpected surprises. We had a ball. Thank you! Thank you!
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Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

Tours 1,071 Trips 3 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 343
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Mixed Land & Cruise
Size Global Operator Regional Expert
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
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
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Scuba Diving
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Seattle, Washington, USA
Year Established 1989 2006
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
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 Southern Explorations

    Seattle-based Southern Explorations is a leading purveyor of adventure-oriented small group and customized tours to Latin American destinations. Wide ranging activities may include trekking and hiking, camping, kayaking, whitewater rafting, snorkeling and Scuba diving, sailing, skiing and snowshoeing – or wine tasting and wildlife viewing. 

    What Makes Them Stand Out? 

    They have a commitment to expending resources in the local communities they visit, hiring local guides and support staff, using locally owned lodgings, and making donations to local conservation organizations. 

    Who Travels With Them?

    Southern Explorations Tours tend to attract adventurous travelers in their 30s and 40s as well as fit older travelers. 

    Where Do They Operate?

    Primarily South America, including Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia, as well as Central America (Costa Rica and Panama). They also offer small ship adventure cruises in the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica. 

    How Does It Work?

    You can choose between pre-set land or sea itineraries or they will arrange tours customized to your specifications. Accommodations are locally owned and range from three to five star quality, including haciendas, refugios, and lodges as well as hotels and cruise ships. 

    Why Travel With Them? 

    Staff members are experienced adventure travel experts who each travel to Latin America every year, inspecting accommodations and sites and keeping up to date with field offices. Guides are local, know the territory intimately, and are fluent in both English and Spanish.

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