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Caravan Tours vs Lost World Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.7
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

Excellent, with a few minor exceptions.

5.0 August 2018
X
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
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.

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.
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Really Amazing tour, we were well cared for!

5.0 March 2018
PTwPaD
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
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.

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!
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Money Hungry Tour Director

3.0 February 2018
PT
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
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!
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.
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Their service was outstanding.

5.0 July 2017
C
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
"This Peru travel agency planned and booked a custom trip for me and my wife to Peru in October 2015. The trip included a short stay in Lima, and almost a week in the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco. Their service was outstanding. The planning for the trip was perfect, and we relied entirely on them as we had not been to Peru before. They also went beyond the call of duty by getting a reservation at a good hotel in Lima even though there was a huge convention of the world bank in town at the time. They persisted until they found a cancellation. they even booked two good restaurants for us in Lima. The guides they provided were also excellent, including one who was truly outstanding.

I never would have located this company except through Zicasso. Two years ago we made a trip to Brazil and we looked and looked for a travel agency of this kind and never did find one. I would highly recommend using Zicasso to find the appropriate agency if you are traveling somewhere that you have not previously been to, or if you do not have an agency you are satisfied with."
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Our trip to Peru was planned perfectly, thanks to our travel agent! 

5.0 July 2017
K
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our trip to Peru was planned perfectly, thanks to our travel agent! He was quick to respond to all of my needs & was very flexible. The hotels and the guides he arranged were great! We couldn't have asked for or imagined a better experience in this magical country!
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Our travel designers did a fantastic job keeping our herd together and entertained - all of the accommodations were excellent, guides were great, tours were interesting.

5.0 December 2016
P
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Hiking the Inca Trail (and learning that it is "an" Inca Trail, not "the" Inca Trail)
Tours 10 Trips 55 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 142 $ 444
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Custom/Private Tour Operator
Size Regional Expert Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Budget Luxury
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Luxury
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois Decatur, Georgia
Year Established 1952 1987
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
    Countries
    About Caravan Tours

    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.

    Top Destinations

    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.

    About Lost World Adventures

    Founded in 1987, Lost World Adventures offers private and customized trips to South and Central America and Antarctica.

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Your guide will get to know you before beginning to plan your customized experience. If you want to have a relaxing beach vacation, they can arrange that. Or if you’d rather hike up the adrenaline, they are able to offer that as well.

    Who Travels With Them?

    They accommodate anyone from honeymooners to large groups. Trips are generally in middle price range - you won’t find tremendously budget items here, but they do their best to craft a trip based on all factors, price included.

    Where Do They Operate?

    They are focused in South and Central America, with a variety of trips from beach vacations to Costa Rica, food tours in Argentina, or Machu Picchu adventures. They are also among the few small companies providing cruises to Antarctica.

    Why Travel With Them?

    For the variety of trip type and theme you can choose from. They have food and wine tours, adventure tours, beach getaways, and cruises - all of which are customizable to your likes and dislikes. If you’d prefer not to overly customize, they have pre-set itineraries as well.

    Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by:

    • National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure
    • Outside, The New York Times