smarTours Reviews

We are proud to have escorted over 200,000 travelers on once-in-a-lifetime trips since 1996. In fact, some of our travelers have taken 5, 10, 15 and even 20 trips with us! But don’t take our word for it. See what smarTours travelers have to say about their recent experiences. They’ll tell you why smarTours is the smarter way to see the world!

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Danette

This was my first "SMARTOUR" ever and it was truely AMAZING!!!! We did "Amazing Thailand" and it was the best trip ever!!!! Great group with a wonderful tour guide group, Ketsara, Wat, Max and Nok. Highly recommend this tour!!!!!!

Jennifer

First time using Smartours or any tour company. Not normally a fan of large group tours. Our tour guide Ketsara was amazing, can't say enough good things about her and she made all the difference on the trip. Got lucky and our group was only 10 people so made it a nice intimate experience. Have to admit if the group was as large as they normally are, not sure I would have had such a good time. Amazing Thailand was a fantastic trip though and anyone who goes is lucky to be led by Ketsara!

Mitchell

This was my third Smartour trip and it was mostly good though more of a mixed bag than my two previous trips. We loved Thailand! It's rich history, warm people and beautiful scenery and delicious food were amazing. Our guide Tan did a good job and displayed great knowledge though we would have benefitted from some local guides as on previous trips. The bus, which we had several long days in was not up to smart ours usual standards. The back tv display wasn't working and presentations on the front could not be seen in the rear. Tours didn't include the whisper system usually used so you could only hear information if you were next to Tan. Water and wet naps were readily available from our friendly bus assistant. I was surprised to see an Elephant camp included since last year Smartours informed us they were no longer using them because of the mistreatment. We passed on that day and booked our own trip to an ethical Elephant Sanctuary. All in all a mixed bag with the good outweighing the bad but has us reconsidering if we want to do any more Smartours or long drive motor coach trips.

Amelia

Our tour of Thailand was fabulous. We saw so much and had such a wide variety of experiences. Our tour guide, Nok, was the best!

Diane

Our tours of Thailand and Cambodia were amazing, from the hustle & bustle of Bangkok, to the rice paddies on the way North and the many Temples & UNESCO sites we visited along the way. Angkor Wat in Cambodia was a true highlight! Tan, our tour guide in Thailand was very knowledgeable and provided many stories about each area we visited. Narun, out Cambodia guide was also outstanding & knew so much about his country & all the history dating back to the Khmer Rouge era. I wanted to add a photo, but wasn’t able to with the choices provided to add one.

Karen

Ketsara, our guide for our group of 14, was the best guide we have ever experienced in our many travels. There were trips to the hospital to oversee two travelers, all with the greatest care shown. She maintained her humor, shared her expertise regarding Thailand, and made each day special. As group leader, I was pleased that such an amazing woman was assigned to our group of friends. Please commend her. Karen Snow, organizer for our trip to Amazing Thailand, starting Nov. 7.

Li-Chen

I would rate smarTours 4.5 stars. In terms of hotel quality, tour guides chosen, itinerary design, and transportation provided, smarTours has done a magnificent job. The only improvement is to cut down some optional tours and possibly to include them in the basic tours like done before. Too many optional tours- for example in my recent Thailand and Phuket tour.

Aurora F

Our Tour Director, Sergio Lucato, made our trip to Italy this summer of 2018 a very wonderful memorable experience. Sergio made it his mission to take care of our group like we were family. This was my first trip with smarTours and will definitely not be my last.

Beth a

We were on the same Amazing Thailand tour that Barbara Burke wrote about. She is 100% and more correct when she wrote about how wonderful and amazing Ketsara is. While Ketsara’s official title is tour director, she is that but so much more. She infuses her love and pride of Thailand in such a remarkable way leaving every person with a deep, fulfilling and spiritual experience every day of the trip. Ketsara shares with you her deep knowledge of Thai culture and history, her love of people, and Buddhism and leaves one wanting more. We are forever grateful to Ketsara for allowing us to love Thailand (and her) and to think of our trip daily as a life changing journey we will carry in our hearts always.

Mercedes S

We took your Thailand tour on April 2018. It was an excellent trip, and we enjoy your beautiful Thailand and, it´s beautiful people. Noc, our tour guide took excellent care of us. She added her personal touch to all the attractions and places we went. Everybody in our group, became very fond for her. We think that you should know, that professionals Noc, are an asset to your operations. Cordially, Hector Hernandez and Mercedes Solano

Ann H

Nook was an amazing guide. She went out of her way to guide us to where to dine, which markets to attend, and many additional sites to visit. She handled a few difficult travelers to keep our program very positive. I would recommend this to anyone planning to visit Thailand.

Tony

Thailand was amazing (April 18 -May 1 2018), but our tour guide Nok (aka Kanokwan Taewattana) was fantastic. She is caring, knowledgeable, fun, and just a pleasure to be around. The best tour guide of all my travels. The food was incredible, the people super nice, and the temples out of this world. Can't wait to go back! Thank you Nok!

Barbara’s B

After reading other reviews on the Amazing Thailand trip, I feel the trip should be renamed the Amazing Ketsara trip, When I think of words to describe my experience so many words comes to mind, outstanding, spectacular, remarkable, exciting and unblemished. I have been on many tours but I can say that by far this is the most remarkable trip to date. Thanks to Ketsara our tour was not only special it was also very spiritual.. Thank you Smartours for hiring Ketsara, by the time our trip was over we was more than people that met on a trip, we became a part of Ketsara’s family.

Nancy S

We just returned from the "Amazing Thailand" trip. It was beyond amazing for so many reasons: Ketsara, our guide was absolutely extraordinary. She is passionate about her job. She shared her incredible knowledge about the history, culture, and customs no matter where we went to. On the last day that was a free day, she even volunteered willingly to accompany 5 of us on a tut tut ride to further explore Chang Mai and do last minute shopping. We loved all the places we visited. The Thai people were so welcoming and friendly. The group of people in the tour was great. We all got along very well. All the hotels were fantastic. We loved the bus driver and his wife assistant who also took care of our every need. It was a very memorable trip and I look forward to traveling again with Smartours. This is my second trip with them. I highly recommend them for the low costs, expert guide, well rounded tour, accommodations and adventures/educational experiences with them.

Paul D

By Paul Dayton I preface my remarks confessing that I am grumpy and hypercritical, but you could not chisel the smile of my face every minute of this tour. This was by far the best tour I have ever taken. As with the others praising Ketsara, I assert that on a scale of 1-10, she is a full 20! She is proud of her country and her culture and she went into this business from a background in education because she wants to teach visitors about the really big perspective of the history of Thailand as well as the cultural and natural history aspects that she presented so well. But she also taught us about all sorts of interesting crafts and let us to many fascinating markets. She is an absolute gem! We enjoyed several boat rides and a wonderful introduction to elephants. I urge readers to take advantage of all the extra opportunities because Ketsara orchestrates and oversees all of those as well. In addition to Ketsara, I am anxious to praise the bus driver and attendant. One worries about safety and simply getting lost, but our driver was truly an excellent professional and very safe driver and the attendant was always there with a huge smile, a cold drink and wash cloth. We were truly babied on every stop. Our group ranged from old grumps like me to very active and enthusiastic kids; some of us wandered off and lagged behind, yet the guides never lost track of us and somehow managed to keep to a schedule. Finally, past groups as well as our group had problems with Air China and we found that Smartours was perfectly willing to let us book our own flights which in our case anyway were about the same price as Air China.

Natasha

Ketsara is the reason this trip was 10/10. She went above and beyond constantly. This tour was both educational and fun with a little downtime (there is downtime if you decide not to go on the optional tours, which I highly suggest you shouldn't miss many of them). Katsara gave an us a wonderful adventure of incredible people and beautiful places. The only issue was Air China. Horrible. They wouldn't even sit me next to my family. Smart Tours, can you help fix that problem? Anyway...already looking forward to another Smart Tours trip!

Violet R

The trip to Thailand was awesome! What a wonderful Experience. Ketsara our tour guide is so caring and made us feel Ike family. Ketsara was very knowledgeable and loves her country. It was so educatonal and interesting. The tours were also great. We had a wonderful time!

Mandy S

This trip was a trip of a lifetime from the activities planned, to the people we met, and the landscape we traversed. There is so much beauty to see in each town we visited and so much culture to take in. Our guide Katsarah is a treasure and has a heart for the land and her people and we could not ask for more.

Beth C

My husband and I spent two of the most wonderful weeks (April 5-18, 2017) touring Thailand with a very nice group of American tourists headed by our terrific tour guide Nok (aka Kanokwan Taewattana). She was really fantastic in taking care of everyone and planning exciting and enchanting excursions and sightseeing spots throughout the journey. We rode on elephants which had to be booked in advance, got us first row seats for the dinner show, visited a Buddha cave, the monkey temple, tiger photo shoots, the Panang Karen long-neck tribe village and helped with great places to shop along the long drives around the country. We were thoroughly amused being there for the Thai New Years celebrations driving through the water splashing/throwing celebrations around Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. Don't miss going to Thailand if you have the opportunity as it can change your life.

Sandra G

Recently returned from Best of Spain, my 4th trip with Smartours. There were 14 in our group and we were there during Semana Santa, Easter Week in Spain., and our guide made sure we had many opportunities to observe the processions. It was a wonderful week! Great hotels in excellent locations and a comfortable A/C bus that moved us from town to town, always stopping every 2 hours. Our tour guide Pao was SUPERB...truly the best tour guide I've ever had! I can't possibly say enough good things about him. We recommend Smartours to all our friends and they have never been disappointed.

Mary H

Thailand was fantastic, above and beyond my expectations. The trip was a dream come true. Our guide, Ketsara Chocksmai, was superb. She shared a wealth of knowledge about Thailand and the places we visited. The country is beautiful, the people are friendly and the food was excellent. The hotels were first class. I can't wait for my next smarTours adventure.

Suzy S

Outstanding value for our trip to Thailand! We had an excellent tour guide that took care of all the details. He was attentive and kind to everyone in the group. Chianne was also very knowledgable and a great ambassador for his country. We fell in love with Thailand!! We had a full intineary that over and above what we expected. The quality of this tour was excellent. We will take another SmarTour in the near future!

John n

I was part of a group of 20 that booked a 2 week trip to Thailand through SmarTour (we all know each other from Pennsylvania, USA). We landed in Bangkok and traveled north. Without a doubt the trip was AWESOME! I can say that SmarTours puts a fantastic package together, all I needed to do was show up (our Pennsylvania group leader Ling, organized the trip with the SmarTour contact). Chaiyan our tour guide, was excellent: engaging, organized, easy, knowledgeable and funny. After being tethered together with Chaiyan for 2 weeks, it was hard to say goodbye to him at the airport in Chiang Mai. As for Thailand itself, WOW! if you have any hesitations about Thailand, fear not. Thai people understand English and want to help you get around, most signage is in English, the food is off the charts delicious, its safe to walk around, there is a ton of Asian culture that's fascinating and you'll meet plenty of American and Europeans. Thailand is on my list to visit again next year. Next time, I will hang in Bangkok longer and head south to the beaches. People, add Thailand to your travels and book through SmarTours.

Alexander J

Thank you Smartours for such an interesting, memorable and well organized tour. Our tour guide was courteous and professional. His knowledge of the history and culture of Thailand was very extensive. He had a great sense of humor that made his talks humorous and most interesting. Tan was very attentive to everyone in the group. It was so nice of him to escort us to a store to buy a camera because we had lost ours. I would be amiss if I didn't mention the excellent and helpful bus driver and his assistant. It was also very enjoyable to travel with a such a friendly group of people that were very helpful. In Cambodia our guide Sith Ross was also very knowledgeable about the history and culture of Cambodia. Our only concern about the trip was having an hour and a half to make a transfer in Beijing which has a huge international airport. We arrived from New York and we had to transfer for a flight to Bangkok. We almost missed our flight. Fortunately we received transportation to our gate in an electric airport vehicle. Other people on our tour had a similar experience. We realize it was out of Smartours control because of flight changes and airline schedules. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. We can't wait to take another trip with Smartours. We highly recommend a tour with Smartours.

Sandra H

Ketsara was an outstanding guide for our trip Nov 17-29. She worked to make sure that each individual had the experience heshe was looking for. When we expressed an interest in going to Jim Thompson House in Bangkok, she asked if anyone else was interested and took us on the ferry and skytrain on her time off. In Chiang Mai, she arranged for a minivan to take us and several others to a hilltribe village nearby. She went above and beyond in her attention to all members of the tour.

Matt

We were nervous due to the low cost, but the tour was a fun, safe, and organized experience. The tour guide was amazing and very helpful.

Peter F

During the tour I knew it was one of the best tours I'd taken. And I simply adored Ketsara from the moment she greeted us at the airport. But it wasn't until I began to relive the trip through my pictures that I realize how amazing, educational, and fun the tour was. I am seriously considering doing it again.

Jeanne

I had such a great time. Ketsara the tour guide was one of the best I've ever had. She went out of her way to be sure the group tried everything and had options to have the most full experience possible.

Dr. B

Amazing Thailand was made phenomenal because of our guide Ketsara who attended to all our personal needs and request and interacted with each of us individually; Ketsara is profoundly knowledgeable about her beloved Thailand and willingly shared her love and knowledge.

Jim H

Our tour 19-27 April, 2016 was a fantastic "Enchanting Peru" experience. We started in Cuzco with rain showers during our shaman blessing, but the weather was unbeatable the rest of our stay. Dagmar was our tour guide with Abel assisting at Lake Titicaca. Both were extraordinarily good with historical and site information, restaurant recommendations, free time suggestions and shopping ideas. We could have not been more blessed with our hosts, our accommodations and our itinerary. Truly a great experience for all.

Merlyn N

This was another great trip with smarTours. Hotel accommodations were excellent in all locations. Included and optional tours were informative and interesting. Jenny, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, helpful and accommodating as were the bus driver and his helper. I have not decided where I will be going next, but I will definitely be traveling with smarTours again!

Abba

Thailand was truly amazing. Our fabulous tour guide, Nok was beyond exceptional. Her love for Thailand, its people and culture was contagious. She sets such a high bar for excellence, which may be extremely difficult for all other guides to match.

John E

This was a fantastic tour. Our guide, Mark, having over 20 years as a guide, gave great insight to everything China. His excellent commentary on history, culture, the sights, cities, etc. was overwhelming. The local guides were very also good. They were able to expand on general local information. This was the first time, for us, to tour as a group. As this had advantages and dis advantages but overall it worked. You may wish to spend more or less time in a location but you have a limited time to see everything. For the price of the tour I found it hard to beat considering we took 4 flights, a four night cruise, a high speed rail trip, a couple boat tours, hotels and most food was provided. I would consider a future tour with SmarTours!!

Leslie B

Air China was very good. The only complaint was the layover in Beijing on the way home. The hotels and tours in Bangkok, Chaing Rai and Chaing Mai were excellent. In Phitsanulok and Lampang the tours and hotels were good. Our tour escort, Ketsara was outstanding. She is very knowledgeable and accommodating. This was our 11th Smartour and we always have had great tour escorts, but Ketsara was the best

Murray S

Really enjoyed the tour. Ketsara was an outstanding guide and most helpful in times of need. We made a lot of great memories.

Cheryl S

Cannot say enough about our tour guide Chai. He went above and beyond expectations. Overall a very good first experience with your company

Chuck a

Absolutely wonderful trip. Our tour director Chai and the city guides were great. Accomodations were just as super as all our previous Smartour trips have been.

Patricia D

Mrs. Kecerat, our Tour Guide was most informative, and made the tour fun and interesting. I felt safe and secure in following her judgment about suggestions for food, local travel and exercising caution in dealing with specific things relevant to the culture. She demonstrated caring and concern for all tour participants and I would gladly schedule another tour under her leadership.

Liz a

To begin with loved,loved our tour guide Nok she was incredible. This trip to Thailand was great really got to experience the people, place and food and again our guide made sure to that, so would recommend to anyone great adventure ask for Nok!!!

Leigh

recently returned from SmarTours Amazing Thailand and had a wonderful trip! We did venture out on our own for much of the trip, we found our guide, Nok to be wonderful, informative, flexible and very knowledgeable! ( and a delight to be around!) She make sure the group had the opportunity to see and experience as much of Thailand as possible. One example was on our drive north to Chang Rai, the driver spotted a rice farm being planted and stopped the bus. We all got out and learned first hand about the planting, talked with the workers and owner before continuing our trip (and them, their tasks) You have a gem in Nok! She made the trip~~
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SUSANA G

My first trip with smarTours and I had such a great time. I had read some reviews about certain guides but you never know how you will get. Nok our guide was so good and out of the ordinary, she made the trip so friendly, funny and got the hole group involved we really connected with each other. Nok gave us so much information and always buying local food so we can try and she took us to a local market to try Dancing Shrimp (ceviche like) you eat the fish while still jumping it was delicious. The trip was very well organizes on time no pressure and we saw many places not in the itinerary. Smartours deserves a 5 star review but Nok our guide gets a 12 star rating, taking care of her group with anything we needed, remedies for mosquito bites, headache, colds, coughs, acid stomach she also helped us with reservations for those that wanted to do extra activities and took us to the launder-mat. Highly recommend Smartour for your next vacation. Susa

James F

This was a fantastic trip, our guide Mr. Boeing was the reason everything went so well. His knowledge, personality and attention to details was awesome. Our driver and helper kept us on time keeping the tour bus clean and well stocked with supplies. There was plenty of time for our group to explore or relax and enjoy the sites on our own. While most of the accommodations were very good the hotel in Lampang should be changed. The rest of the accommodations were great. We recommend this trip to everyone, you have to do this once in your life time.

gene a

What an amazing Trip. Mr Chai and rest of the drivers, helpers were quite excellent in keeping our vacation excellent.This is our first SMART Tour experience and everything is wonderful.....

Emilia G

I had a wonderful time. The tour guide (Sue B & crew) kept an excellent schedule. I hope to redo this tour at another time.

Linda G

We've actually done this trip three (3) times. Why? We just love Thailand, its' people, the food, the tour is amazing, as is the price. Considering doing it again soon. The Tour Directors have been super amazing. Thank you, smarTours, for keeping this on your list of available trips!
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SUSANA G

My first trip with smarTours and I had such a great time. I had read some reviews about certain guides but you never know how you will get. Nok our guide was so good and out of the ordinary, she made the trip so friendly, funny and got the hole group involved we really connected with each other. Nok gave us so much information and always buying local food so we can try and she took us to a local market to try Dancing Shrimp (ceviche like) you eat the fish while still jumping it was delicious. The trip was very well organizes on time no pressure and we saw many places not in the itinerary. Smartours deserves a 5 star review but Nok our guide gets a 12 star rating, taking care of her group with anything we needed, remedies for mosquito bites, headache, colds, coughs, acid stomach she also helped us with reservations for those that wanted to do extra activities and took us to the launder-mat. Highly recommend Smartour for your next vacation. Susa

James F

This was a fantastic trip, our guide Mr. Boeing was the reason everything went so well. His knowledge, personality and attention to details was awesome. Our driver and helper kept us on time keeping the tour bus clean and well stocked with supplies. There was plenty of time for our group to explore or relax and enjoy the sites on our own. While most of the accommodations were very good the hotel in Lampang should be changed. The rest of the accommodations were great. We recommend this trip to everyone, you have to do this once in your life time.

gene a

What an amazing Trip. Mr Chai and rest of the drivers, helpers were quite excellent in keeping our vacation excellent.This is our first SMART Tour experience and everything is wonderful.....

Emilia G

I had a wonderful time. The tour guide (Sue B & crew) kept an excellent schedule. I hope to redo this tour at another time.

Linda G

We've actually done this trip three (3) times. Why? We just love Thailand, its' people, the food, the tour is amazing, as is the price. Considering doing it again soon. The Tour Directors have been super amazing. Thank you, smarTours, for keeping this on your list of available trips!
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Kenneth

Going to Antarctica was the best trip I have ever taken. Smartours arranged a perfect tour. There is not a single thing that went wrong. Everything about it was excellent ! I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Great job Smartours !!! - Ken Jackson

Anonymous

Everything went very well on my trip to Antarctica. The ship was and crew were exceptional. Transportation was well arranged. The best was our guide, Nickolas Patti. He did a wonderful job! He was helpful, informative and kind. He took great care of us and made us feel safe and secure. Our group was small and friendly. We had no problems at all. The trip was well organized and I recommend Nickolas highly as a tour guide. We have taken over 10 trips with Smartours and he was the BEST.
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Lorna

Attention to detail outstanding. Accommodations outstanding as well. Optional tours very good although we added a trip to the opera since a great opera showing while we were in Sydney. Something management might consider in the future and skip farm stay in NZ. Overall it was a great tour!!! Highly recommend to all.

E

Certainly a whirlwind trip and happy memories. NZ landscape is stunning and people we met were so welcoming. The farm stay in Fairlie was a high point. Stays in Australia also gave us new experiences. Betty's role was adequate but not outstanding. A number of us felt that she was condescending a few times. I have toured with other companies so I do have a comparison to guides. Due to weather, we were unable to go on the Kuranda Skyrail. We paid $172 for the the days activities so I understand that we would receive only a partial refund to compensate for the skyrail. However, I did expect that it would be more than $45. As you may be aware, we had some travel challenges with Qantas. I am not sure I would elect individually to ever travel with them again. Of course, SmarTours is not responsible for that. Finally, I would suggest that the tour start in Australia then go to New Zealand. It would be better to do the busy cities and activities at the beginning then, as one's energy level wanes, go to NZ which was more relaxing.

Cornelia

The trip to New Zealand and Australia were amazing! I would suggest adding a day to each location to be able to explore more. Going that distance from the USA and all the different places to see in country there is just not enough time. So instead of 19 days it would be 25 or so!

Anonymous

There were many airport delays with Qantas. At one point they gave all our seats away. We lost 1/2 day in Auckland. They landed in Townsville instead of Cairns. We had to sit there 8 hours and lost another 1/2 day. Our tour director was unpleasant. She spoke rudely to many people on the tour. She was unhelpful and confusing. She couldn't be reached in an emergency as she didn't share contact information. We enjoyed both countries and the people on our tour.

Deborah

The tour of New Zealand and Australia were enlightening. Betty, our tour director, was excellent with directions and keeping us all informed about each days events and times. Betty even arranged scuba diving for me in Cairns and Ziplining in Queenstown, New Zealand. The homestay in New Zealand was a bonus to this trip. I could have stayed longer. Our hotels were excellent and in central locations for easy walking. This was my 11th Smartours trip and I have already booked two more.

Sally

I was surprised the transportation to the optional tours was not included in the cost of that tour. I also would’ve liked to of had a guide from Australia or New Zealand instead of an American.

Michael

I enjoyed the tour very much. Liz, our guide, was professional and gave excellent advice. New Zealand and Australia were new to me and it seemed that the itinerary touched on a pleasing variety of sights, experiences, and locations within the time we had. We also were fortunate to have great travelling companions and good weather. I'm very satisfied with our experience.

Suzanne

This tour was my first with SmarTours. I liked the tour and was very happy with Liz Moran as our guide. I didn’t see any reason to go to Auckland, just a city. Our “farm experience” was a bed and breakfast, not a working farm as expected. I loved the four wheel drive in Queenstown on the Wakatipu river. It was a great add on tour. I’m sure you’ve heard how unsatisfactory the hotel in Cairns was. Construction dust everywhere and mold in the air vents. Bad choice of accommodations on your part.

Anonymous

This was our 5th Smartours and my rating is "good". The trip was exceptional. New Zealand was a wonderful revelation and Australia was fantastic. The tour group was close and friendly. The Tour Escort (note-not "guide") certainly got the group efficiently from place to place but was not a resident and therefore provided extremely little insight into the land, the people, the customs, culture, history or society. All this has been provided on previous tours and took my rating down a notch. The escort seemed to be a bit detached from the group and therefore made some of us feel as though we were a bit of a distraction rather than a focus. I urge Smartours to only use residents of the country as tour guides. We travel to learn about other places and cultures and, in my opinion, this was not provided in this instance

Anonymous

Amazing trip. Everything was organized and thought out. Only downfalls were staying in Dunedin and our tour guide should have been a native Australian. The bus driver in New Zealand was knowledagble about everywhere we went including history and current events. We missed out is Australia not having someone who was extremely familiar with where we visited and knowing the local culture.

Ian

Our recent trip was great. The itinerary was thorough in providing us an up close experience of both New Zealand and Australia. Our guide Jeremy was fantastic. He was knowledgeable, organized and gave us many little tips to make our experience even better. Thanks for making our experience terrific.

Danielle S

This was my best trip to date. Jeremy Elsasser was the most Professional, patient, informative and kind Tour Guide that I have ever traveled with. I would gladly recommend Smartours because of the excellent guide and the wonderful tour. It was everything I had hoped for. Thanks to all.

Curtis M

Everything about this trip was amazing, from the itinerary to the cost. Our guide Jeremy made the trip interesting and kept things on track. He was very knowledgeable, having lived in Australia for 7 years. This was our 4th. trip with Smartours and there will be more. Smartours is a real class operation!

Deborah V

April 4-24 2017 - This itinerary was such a great one - and for the cost: outstanding and the local people all so very nice. The hotels were nice, all in good locations, always great buffet breakfasts, always good and reasonable restaurants nearby with stunning views everywhere we went otherwise. We saw the best of both New Zealand and Australia - everything we have ever read about we saw and did and more. In New Zealand - both North and South Island - the highlights for me were the beautiful scenery and interesting Maori culture and every stop had plenty of time to shop, eat and see something unique. The Shotover River Jet Boat ride, Gold Rush Safari through the canyons and the beautiful Remarkables mountain range, evening steamboat ride to a riverfront farm estate for an incredible chefs' buffet dinner party were one of a kind experiences. The drive to Milford Sound and then ferry ride amongst the towering mountains and waterfalls - absolutely breathtaking. Australia was another stunning destination. For me being able to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef and see the colorful giant clams opening and closing, the sea turtles and beautiful fish swimming just feet below in the amazing underwater landscape was well worth the ride to Michaelmas Cay just outside of Cairns. The Great Ocean Road near Melbourne offered beautiful scenery the whole way, with its final destination ending with the surreal view of the 12 Apostles rock formations in the pounding surf against bright blue sky - spectacular! Sydney? One of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen! Dining the first night at a small Italian restaurant on Sydney Harbor with the Sydney Bridge and the Opera House in the background is indescribable - I'll never forget it, and I also did the Bridge Climb the next day, although there are many ways to get an unforgettable view from the Bridge of all of Sydney Harbor. A dinner cruise around Darling Harbor to Sydney Harbor, and also a tour of The Rocks area was yet another wonderful "not to be missed" and historical part of what I would call a trip of a lifetime!!!

Judy G

First I want to say I loved this trip it was 21 days of amazement. I loved our tour guide Elizabeth Moran who was one of the reasons why I loved this trip. This guide was not only knowledgeable but also took care of every single detail on this trip to taking us to the locations and taking us on walking tours to understand the dynamics of the area. One of the highlights that normally you don't get is having the tour guide with you even on the plane and that was such a blessing especially with the confusion some airports have when transferring over to another plane from one layover to another country. Elizabeth stayed with us until every person was accounted for and that again is not something you experience most of the time once the tour is over the guides leave you at the airport and you have to figure it out yourself, not her she was there guiding, telling us and making sure we were all accounted for the whole time. I would recommend if making this trip to request her as your guide you won't regret it. This trip you will be busy and will find yourself with so much to do and every minute loving it. The hotels are in great locations and you will be eating pretty much all the time. This trip is what I would call a life time trip, I experienced New Zealand and Australia in manners that I will always hold dear. My highs on this trip were The canyon runs in New Zealand, the mountains surrounded by the pristine clear waters, Milford Cruise, Fairlie farm stay and the gardens at Christchurch. As for Australia, Starting with the Twelve Apostles, Apollo Bay, Cairns and getting to swim the Great Barrier, to Climbing the Sydney Bridge and getting up close to the Sydney Opera House just made this trip go to the top best trips I have done in my life.

Maureen H

What a fabulous trip this was to Australia and New Zealand. Everything was perfect from the flights, the tours, bus drivers and our tour guide Alex. We never felt rushed and had plenty of time to explore on our own if we wished. I would recommend this trip and will look forward to another Smartours trip in my future!

Betty

We left LA on March 1, 2016. The only negative thing about the entire 3 weeks was the flight on Qantas from LA was 3 hours late leaving. We still made our flight from Sydney to Auckland, so it was not a big deal. We just waited 3 hours in LA instead of Sydney. Stevyn Polk was an awesome Tour Escort. He was friendly, efficient, organized, helpful and fun to be around. All of our hotels were excellent, our tours were wonderful, including the optional tours that we did. The Skyline dinner in Auckland was delicious and the views of the city and the Gondola Ride was great. The cruise on the TSSEnslow was fun, especially since we could see the working engine. The meal at Walter Peak Farm was excellent and the sheep dog and sheep shearing was fun. The Skipper's Canyon drive was beautiful and breathtaking at times. The Larnach Castle was interesting although the tour was a little rushed. The wildlife tour was great. We saw 4 different types of albatross on that afternoon cruise. The tour to see the Fairy Penguins was so much fun. We had special seats which gave us great viewing. The drive on the Great Ocean Road was wonderful. At our morning stop our bus driver set up a table, fixed us tea and set out treats. We saw two koalas on the way and lots of wallabies. The walks along the trails near the ocean were wonderful. Our day on the Great Barrier Reef was fantastic. We took the Michaelmas Cay upgrade and the trip out and back were wonderful. The ship was not crowded, they had all the details worked out for all the needs of the passengers. The trip to Kuranda was very informative. The aboriginal demonstrations were fun, the duck ride was great even in the rain. We would have liked even more time in Kuranda so we could walk the trail and have time to shop. The Skyrail ride was amazing. In Sydney we did the Harbour Story Cruise and the Sunset Dinner Cruise. The dinner cruise was great. Unfortunately it rained for our story cruise so we could not see much. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I would encourage anyone to do it. It was a fabulous view and an exciting adventure. Of course, I also did the Bungee Jump over the Karawau River near Queenstown, NZ, and that was also an exciting adventure with some pure terror thrown in, but I am very glad I did it. Featherdale Wildlife Park was great but I wish we had more time there. There were so many animals to see and photograph that we felt a bit rushed. The Rocks Walking Tour was very informative and we enjoyed our guide's descriptions and stories. This was our 5th trip with smarTours and every time we have had an excellent experience. The choice of hotels is always good and in most cases way above what we would ever book on our own. Every guide that we have had has been absolutely awesome. We look forward to our next adventure with the company. (We don't have it booked yet but we know you will send us an e-mail about a trip to somewhere that we want to visit, with a price and itinerary that we just can not refuse.

Betty B

If you are considering a tour to Australia and New Zealand Smartours can't be beat. I just returned from a trip of a lifetime and highly recommend this tour. Alex, our tour director, was outstanding! He knew the perfect mix of what we needed and when we wanted to explore on our own. From the beautiful lakes, mountains and waterfalls in New Zealand to the magnificent cities of Melbourne and Sydney each day was filled with wonders!! I also couldn't have had better tourmates on this trip!!

Shirley M

Betty Levin, our tour guide, was outstanding. The accommodations, excursions,& food was great. Could not have ask for a better trip.

Michael S

Gail and I had a great trip thru New Zealand and Australia. The director was very good, the coach drivers were informative and very good. Loved the farm stay in New Zealand, Milford Sound and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns. Only downside was lack of free time and a chance to sleep-in more often. We took advantage of most side tours which were well done.

Barbara M

Fantastic tour, hitting all the 'must do' areas of Down Under! Highlights in New Zealand include the Queenstown cable car,the boat tour Walter Peak farm, and Milford Sound and the safari ride through Skippers canyon. The farm tour was good, but did not help with the care of animals on the farm as some others had a chance to do. Also loved the history of Dunedin, and the wildlife cruise. In Australia, the penguins were a delight coming out of the sea on Phillip Island and the ocean ride was spectacular. Enjoyed the Great barrier reef snorkelling and the Kuranda village tour and the magical ride across the rainforest. Sydney had lots to offer, including the harbour and bus tours, the market,and the wildlife park was an enjoyable experience getting up close with native animals. Our tour guide was excellent as well as all the local guides from each country!

Ted P

The New Zealand portion of the trip was very good with the varied scenery from the coasts to the Southern Alps. The farm stay was a very nice touch and greatly enjoyed. In Australia, the best part of the trip was to Cairns with the Great Barrier Reef and the rain forest expedition. We would have like to gone to the Outback rather than spend as much time in big cities. Our guide, Ms. Lally, was very congenial and helpful. She took care of getting lost luggage to some people, helped another couple get home early due to an accident and dealt with a couple of people that had mobility problems. I thought there were too many optional tours. Many of the optional tours were quite expensive for the product received.
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Carl

Our recent trip to the Baltics + Berlin was our first with SmarTours. We've done several with other groups. We took the land package only because we wanted to go to Vilnius, Lithuania early and stay in Berlin longer so we can't comment on the travel part of the trip. The two tour guides, one in the Baltics and one in Berlin, were both very knowledgable, able organizers, quite accessible and helpful with information on sights not covered in depth by the tour but possible to see during free afternoons. The small size of the group was a real plus - not having listening devices would not have worked had the group been larger. The hotels were just fine and very well located in all four cities - that was a very big plus. We would have liked more time in all the towns, but particularly in Tellinn, Estonia, because there's much to see and do beyond the 1 day stay. We liked that there was ample free time in each place to explore on your own and go to museums and galleries that a tour can't include. Two of the four dinners provided on the tour were very good, the other two were mediocre. On the whole, we'd definitely recommend SmarTours and hope to take another tour with them.
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Anonymous

We had a fabulous time on our recent trip to Asia with Smartours. Wonderful value and experience.

Teri

Well priced, qualified local guides, smaller group.

Carol

In general this was an excellent tour. It would have been better if there had been a Smartours guide for the entire tour in addition to the local guides as I have had on every other Smartours trip I have been on. That said, the choice of sites for the city tours and the optional tours was excellent. The pace was pretty intense, but it helped to take a spa day in Bali. We had a great time.

Karen

The best of the Orient was fantastic. The tour guides were all knowledgeable and personable. The hotels were great. The optional tours made the trip so memorable for our family. Our grown sons came with us making it even more special.

Mary

Best of the Orient exceeded my expectations. Each country’s Tour Director was friendly, accommodating, and had a great sense of humor. That said, Ketsara Chocksmai and Nok Teawattana are by far the best! Both share their passion and love for their country, treat their tourists like family, and spend their free time exploring more sites with their tourists. I’ve been blessed to have Ketsara twice in the past two years and she never disappoints! The optional tours were money well spent!

Mr. I

Excellent TRIPS!!!

OLGA E

WE JUST CAME BACK FROM OUR TOUR "BEST OF ORIENT", EXCELLENT ACCOMMODATIONS, FLIGHTS, LAND TRANSPORTATION, AND SITES WERE ALL EXCELLENT. IN BANGKOK OUR GUIDE NUK WAS A VERY TALENTED, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND FRIENDLY PERSON, CONGRATULATIONS. WE REALLY ENJOYED OUR TOUR IN ALL ASPECTS. THIS WAS OUR THIRD TRIP WITH YOU, THANKS AGAIN AND WE HOPE TO CONTINUE OUR TRIPS WITH YOU. OLGA AND CONSTANZA ESCOBAR, PIEDAD NARANJO COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA

Karen B

Enjoyed all aspects. Cathay Pacific good. Guides excellent. Hotels excellent. No wifi in rooms in Bali, had to sit on balcony over reception desk. Tours excellent.

Joshua O

Just returned from this trip with my wife. Very impressed with Smartours and all of the accommodations, tours and how organized everything was. The guides were amazing especially our Bangkok guide Nuk. She is a saint and made Thailand so special. I recommend this trip immensely. I still don't know how they did it for the price. This is a deal and a huge bargain. Thank you for the best trip of our lives.

Kirsten

This was a great tour with great local tour guides everyone was so friendly and eager to get help when needed. This was my first tour and I would definitely do it again

ken P

Amazing trip...highly recomended.Great tour guides
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Dorna

The trip was wonderful. Renata our guide was excellent The Hotels in some countries could have been a little closer to the "action. The trip home from Prague to Helsinki and then to New York was complicated. The flight from New York to Baltimore did not give us enough time to catch our flight to Baltimore so we had to take a cab into the city and take a train home, an extra added expense. D. Remenick

Anonymous

Mostly, competent, interesting guides. We covered a lot of territory in 13 days, and always had support when anything untoward happened. It was also fun having time on our own. We go over our photographs with fond memories.

Anne

I recently participated in the Great Cities of Eastern Europe SmarTours. The scheduled tour as is planned is well done with a tour guide in each city. Our tour director, Renata, enhanced our experience with her first hand knowledge of each area as well as the historical background she shared. Renata made the trip exceptional. We enjoyed the SmarTours Optional Excursions that gave us an additional experience in the countryside around the Cities. We enjoyed a very compatible group of travelers which made the motorcoach travel and our meals together very enjoyable. The hotels in Warsaw, Krakow, and Budapest were great hotels and were all within walking distance of the Old Towns. It was disappointing in Vienna and especially Prague that the hotels were both long distances from the City Center. There was an underground line relatively close to both hotels. Overall this was a fantastic glimpse of Eastern Europe. I look forward to returning to this area as well as experiencing another part of our world with SmarTours!

Jacqueline O

We throughly enjoyed our Sept. 15 tour with Renata. It was like walking through the pages of a history book. One of the best tours we have taken and Renata and the local were wonderful. Anyone who loves history will enjoy this tour especially.

Laurel P

What a wonderful experience this was. Renata, our tour director, was exceptional, she is a knowledgeable, PATIENT, kind, funny and passionate lady who made this trip great! I can only hope that future smarTours trips I plan to take will be this good. We had a large group, 44 people, but everything ran smoothly. The local guides and our bus driver, Irek, were fantastic as well. I heard about smarTours from a friend and I'm glad we chose this company. The hotels were top-notch, food was great and they accommodated vegetarian guests as well. Only recommendation I would make is that they provide name badges for guests, it would be so helpful. Other than that it was a great tour visiting great places!

john s

Renata, our guide, was outstanding. She went beyond what guides normaly do to make this tour unforgettable.

Rose N

I just returned from this trip a few days ago. The food, guides, history and scenery was wonderful throughout the tour. What a lovely surprise Poland was with its beautiful buildings and interesting history. I took all the optional tours which added greatly to the overall tour and they were a good value for the money. Overall it was a great trip.

Kay K

Thank you for organizing such a variety of experiences for the great cities tour. Renata, our guide, was brilliant, organized, interesting, and made our journey memorable. She gave us many tips to elevate our enjoyment and keep us safe. This is my second trip with Smartours and I'll continue to use your company....a great value, thoroughly educational, and a quality adventure!

janet r

What a fabulous tour...great tour guide(s), great accommodations, wonderful food and lovely people on the tour!

Allan Z

The tour was great as usual, guide was excellent, group was all wonderful and we made some new friends. What more would you want?

Howard C

This trip was excellent. The cities visited, while different, had much history in common. Our tour guide was outstanding. She had a great amount of knowledge and, on a daily basis, really showed she cared about each tour member. Money exchange was a snap and I came home with no foreign currency, a task rarely achieved.

HelliTaskila

Renata our tour guide was exceptional and very attentive. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip which was quite fast paced encompassing so many sites and considerable history

Dale M

This was our fifth trip (and definitely not our last) with Smartours. The hotels and local tour operators were great. Only wish we had more time in Vienna.

Jacqueline g

Excellent tour guide was extremely knowledgable and kind

Steve a

We had a wonderful time on this tour! It's a must for anyone who chooses to visit these beautiful places of history.

Diane y

Great trip. Tour guide,Renata,was so well informed no matter what questions were asked. Step on guides in each of the cities also were extremely interesting and well prepared for almost any question. Each city visited presented a new experience. The trip was one of the best we have been on.

Gisela D

The trip was fabulous, but if possible don't travel during July, it was blistering hot. Besides the cities the additional stops chosen by the tour company were wonderful, interesting and a worthy addition. The hotels were comfortable and clean, breakfast was great in some and not so great in others but adequate. Last but not least our guide Renata was fantastic, one of the best ever. The only thing I will complain about is the seating on the bus. The seats were so close together that even I at 4'10 felt like a sardine jammed in a can. It must have been horrible for an average sized person and I highly recommend to make some changes.

Victor C

The smarTours trip to Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague was fantastic. Our tour director Pavel C. was incredible and even surpassed excellent when in Prague. He offered us an extra free guided tour which gave us even more of the history of this great city. The bus driver Henrique (Warsaw to Vienna) was a superior driver who drove extremely smoothly and safely.

Ed

Enjoyed a wonderful trip to Eastern Europe; nice hotels w/breakfast, nice bus & great itinerary. Sights were wonderful and everything went off without a hitch. Pavo our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and always there to answer your questions & help out. He was very organized and kept things moving at a steady pace. (And you are on the move...) Always felt safe in each city; just need to use caution like you would when visiting any big city in the world. Agree with review below of the different Optional Tours to take... Things to know: Bring along a 220V to 110V convertor to be able to charge your electronic devices. Still a charge to use a restroom in Europe. Our tour guide had us near a restroom at least every 2 hours. Don't forget to let your credit card & debit/atm card company know you are going overseas. As AAA members we preordered the different currencies ($75-$100 U.S.) needed using a link to off AAA's webpage to Travelex. Our tour guide pointed out best ATM or Money Exchange kiosk to use if you want to get funds when you arrive. A lot of walking is involved on cobblestone roads/pathways; bring comfortable walking shoes. You can check in with Finnair 24 hours in advance; we did this and were able to get 2 seats together by aisle/window for overseas flight. Seat configuration on plane was 2-4-2.

Dave G

Interested to hear more from Janice and Art Baer (Jul 5) about the Krakow segment of the tour and the comment "only complaint...more leg room.".

Patty

Just returned home yesterday from the 15 day Eastern European trip and it was amazing. We had Renata as our guide and we all thought she went above and beyond to make sure we had what we needed and knew where to go and how to get there. She could not have done more to make us welcome and comfortable. Each day we were given a history of where we were going and she was very knowledgeable and kept us interested. We were always handed a city map at each new location and she marked the hotel locaton . Be sure not to miss the folk dance excursion in Budapest. It was amazing. Our driver Henrique, the females fell in love with. He always gave us his hand when stepping off the bus. We used the front entrance more than the back to see him... Recommend this tour highly. A++++++... Would use smart tours again....

Debi B

Just returned from the 15 day Great Cities of Eastern Europe. Have taken many tour groups in the past and have to say this one was right up there as one of the best!!! So enjoyed the itinerary, great hotels, sightseeing, beautiful brand new bus. Very well planned!. The trip was really made by the exceptional tour guide Ranalta. She was amazing!! Because of her expertise and experience the trip went very smooth. She was very knowledgable and shared so much history of all our destinations. Everyone loved her!! Great job! Look forward to using Smartours again!!

Denise W

Just returned from the 15 day tour. Travelled with my husband and two children, (ages 16 and 20). We all enjoyed this trip. So much history and beautiful architecture to explore. The accommodations were clean and comfortable. The breakfast buffets were very good. There was a variety of foods to pick from so that all palates were satisfied. Our tour director, Renata was exceptional!!!! She is well organized, helpful, knowledgeable, energetic, friendly and fun to travel with. Renata shared with us what it was like to grow up and live under communist rule. Very interesting! If you are going to take this tour, be ready for a lot of walking. Take some comfortable walking shoes. Many of the surfaces are uneven as they are cobble stone. We would definitely travel with smart tours again.

Janice a

Hotels were all great. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, organized,patient and had an excellent command of the English language. He gave us an extra tour in Prague! Overall he was excellent; only critique was that he was not more involved in welcoming and closing dinners...did not facilitate group members introduction/getting to know one another nor stayed at the farewell dinner. Tour guides were good to excellent...the best being the guide who took us to the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. Some guides talked non stop and was too much to digest. Warsaw-Disappointed that the Warsaw Ghetto wall was just a drive by and a 1 1/2 hr tour of the Jews of Poland Museum was not enough. Krakow-Salt Mines...good not great. Need to make people aware BEFORE the tour that there are many steps to traverse and a great deal of walking. Jewish Quarter by Night-Tour was skimpy at best and restaurant food was terrible. If you continue this tour, consider another restaurant and allow more time to walk around the area..get there when you can see the synagogue and walk to the Holocaust memorial. We saw the memorial as my husband and I took a walk after we ordered our food. This tour was a waste of money and could have easily done it on our own. Budapest-Danube River cruise-fantastic and beautiful Schoenbrunn Palance was excellent and the best guide Prague- tours were excellent with our tour director and gave us an extra tour of places we would not have seen. Lunch cruise-excellent..beyond our expectations..Very nice. Helsinki-enjoyed it...beautiful great restaurant. Would have preferred going to hotel after arriving instead of driving around even though the guide was great...very sweet. Hotel was in great area to explore by ourselves. Comments about Finnair- Great service, ran smoothly and on time and friendly...only complaint...more leg room. We would definitely travel with smarTours again. It is a well run program, excellent hotels and financially competitive. The trip met our expectations and had a great time.

Boris S

We just returned from this tour (Helsinki, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Helsinki). Our main tour guide (with us for almost all of the trip), Renata, was terrific. She was knowledgeable, friendly, very helpful and accommodating, energetic....just great!). In each city we had expert guides and each was absolutely wonderful! Overall it was an excellent tour, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough overview of the history and culture of the cities visited. The food, entertainment, optional tours, tour guides in each city, bus drivers were all wonderful. Cant say enough about the breakfasts!!!! And, some of the scheduled dinner meals included wine or beer - I definitely did NOT feel "nickeled and dimed" on this tour.

mike r

Very interesting tour of Poland-Hungary-Austria-Czech Republic-Finland.. Tour guide Ms Renata Mikulowska was extremely informative & available for questions.. Hotels in Warsaw-Vienna & Helsinki outstanding ---Krakow Hotel-fair--Budapest & Prague good..

Marie A

Outstanding historical visit to six amazing cities. We traveled with delightful people who were interested in being inclusive and gaining from rich cultural experiences. The tour went exceedingly smooth with transitions between all cities and sites to be seen. The value of the trip was a splendid deal.

judy l

Just returned from the first tour of the season. Very busy, packed schedule to 5 amazing cities. Hotels were consistently good to great, breakfasts also excellent. Renata was a wonderful guide. Very experienced and full of knowledge and humor. Local tours were better than expected. The cities are all unique and worth a visit. Very new bus for comfortable travel. Only complaint was too much of a hard sell for optional tours. We were a small group and it was difficult to get the minimum number for many of them. Would recommend this tour, but best if you are able to walk a few miles over various surfaces without difficulty. Hope you get Renata as she adds so much to this trip!

Judy A

Our cruise on the Danube was the best! Rather a no frills boat but wonderful food and everyone treated us like royalty. So interesting to go through the less than popular countries. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Steve S

We just returned from this tour (Helsinki, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Helsinki). Our main tour guide (with us for almost all of the trip), Renata, was terrific. She was knowledgeable, friendly, very helpful and accommodating, energetic....just great!). In each city we had expert guides and each was absolutely wonderful! Overall it was an excellent tour, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough overview of the history and culture of the cities visited. The food, entertainment, optional tours, tour guides in each city, bus drivers were all wonderful. Cant say enough about the breakfasts!!!! And, some of the scheduled dinner meals included wine or beer - I definitely did NOT feel "nickeled and dimed" on this tour. However, there are two itinerary issues that should be addressed as they detract from the overall comfort for individual travelers: 1. The website has an error: you do NOT arrive in Warsaw late morning; travelers arrive in Helsinki at 9 am (Helsinki time) after the overnight flight from NYC (7.5 hour flight), and must wait with an 8 hr layover until the connecting plane to Warsaw leaves (5pm Helsinki time) That means, that travelers from NYC arrive in Warsaw 16+ hours later and then are taken to the hotel. (the website itinerary states 'warsaw late morning' - not true). Smarttours solution was to offer a bus from Helsinki airport to downtown Helsinki and drop us all in front of a University building so we could aimlessly wander about for 6 of the 8 hours. - this was a waste of a day! A better use of our time would have been to schedule a bus tour with a guide on that day (of course the BEST solution would be to find a direct flight to Warsaw from some other airline). We could have seen the Hard Rock church, Sibelius statue, and a general tour that day. Lunch in the city should have been arranged and introductions to our travel mates might have been a nice touch. I must mention here, that I called Smart Tours office twice about this issue a week before the trip when I noticed the inconsistencies between my flight time info and the website - I was not impressed with the cold, unfriendly, and unsympathetic response I received from the corporate office person I spoke with - the answer was "well, others have done it and no complaints were expressed" - WELL -HERE IS YOUR WELL EARNED COMPLAINT! I am not mentioning a name here, but am not at all satisfied with that person's phone manner (I spoke with that person more than once). As this was our first Smart Tour trip it left me feeling uncertain (what other "surprises" should I expect?) - fortunately, no other difficulties were experienced. 2. Although it was clean and relatively convenient, the hotel in Budapest (NH Budapest Hotel) was not on the level of the other hotels we stayed in. It was a definite "eh" compared to the others. By the way, all our travel companions were very nice, friendly, and fun to be with. We really enjoyed this trip and despite this critique, we would go with Smart Tours again (many of the people on our tour had been on several Smart Tours, and felt they were well taken care of). Hoping Smart Tours takes this critique in the spirit in which it is offered.
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Adam a

My wife and I took their Cape Town and Safari Express tour to South Africa for our honeymoon. It was a trip of a lifetime. I really enjoyed being able to choose the optional tours in Cape Town or just doing our own thing. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. The hotels were excellent. We saw the big 5 on the safari and more! I will definitely look into traveling with SmarTours again.

Marie T

What a trip! Cape Town and Safari express trip was incredible! Being a first timer with this tour group, I was skeptical, especially with their reasonable prices. I paid $1,799.00 for a 9 day trip to Africa, where other companies are charging between 3 or 4 thousand dollars for this trip. So, I decided to make sure they were a legitimate operation, so I went to their NYC office to check it out. It was a pretty large operation in a nice office, so I decided to book the trip. We went to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. The Safari was amazing, and the prices couldn't be beat. I learned so much about South Africa. I would like to return again, next time bring my daughter, and maybe take one of the longer trips in their brochure.

Drena

Just returned from Cape Town and my family and I had a great time! We signed up for all the optional tours and were on the go the first 3-4 days but it was well worth it. Dress warm for Table Top Mountain. If you want to enjoy a little night life go down to Long Street. The African Cafe is a must if you want to try true South African cuisine and African music. If you are willing to get up really early try and watch the sun rise on Signal Hill....its so beautiful. Once you leave Cape Town the remaining of the trip slows down. Day 6 is a full day of travel. It would have been nice to drive around or visit a monument/place in Johannesburg. If you luck up to get Rufas as your tour guide at Kruger Park you are in for a great time.

Luis C

An unforgettable trip. My famiiy had an excellent time in a wonderful country. The Smartours staff is trained and they let you know the history of each city. Very grateful to our guide Charlie Sayers. He was committed, knowledgeable and funny.

Mariano M

My daughter and I just completed what has been one of the most memorable and exciting trips we’ve ever had (and we have traveled a lot...). The entire package was top notch, we enjoyed fantastic hotels (Sabi River Sun Resort is out of this world!), superb tour guides (Desmond Clark in Cape Town, Charles Sayers in Johanesburg/Hazyview/Kruger, and Rufus in Kruger), an excellent quality of the motor coaches, and had the option to select a rich and diverse variety of tours, some included and some optional. You can’t miss the optional white shark cage diving experience – will generate memories to cherish for life! I’d rate this tour package 11 out of 10 points. In fact, it was recently recognized as a great value by the New York Times. Highly recommended!

Allie

South Africa has been on my bucket list for a long time, and Smartours did not disappoint with the Cape Town and Safari Express. It was well planned, and all the optional tours were well worth it and a great value. The Safari was EXCELLENT and the park ranger Elvis was great! We saw all of the big 5 in our March 2017 tour. An exceptional value and I highly recommended. Great job, Smartours!

addison s

This was an amazing trip. smarTours did an excellent job. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable. This was my first trip with Smartours and I will use them again. This trip was well planned and seamless from beginning to end. Africa was spectacular. I will come back. Thank you for an unforgettable experience.

Joanne

This trip was a great value for what you got. We managed to accomplish everything we wanted in the time that we were there. Our guide Charles during the Safari portion was very knowledgeable. All the accommodations were satisfactory. We only did one of the side tours available to us in Cape Town (Table Mountain half day) and we had no complaints. It was a beautiful view and the time they gave us to do everything was adequate. Overall, if you are short on time but South Africa is on your Bucket List, I would highly recommend this tour.

Melissa W

I have always dreamed of going to South Africa and going to Cape Town and on a safari. This trip was unbelievable and I am so fortunate to have gone. Cape Town was stunning. The beaches, table mountain, food, locals, the wine...all AMAZING! I could go on for hours how amazing it was. David, our tour guide, was brilliant. We couldn't have asked for someone better. He was so knowledgable and lovely. Our Safari in Krueger was unreal. We saw the big 5!! What an experience. Charles was so lovely and such a pleasure to have. We fit everything into those 6 days and felt like we saw it all! The hotels were clean and fabulous. We also got lucky with a great group! Thank you and we will definitely be joining smartours again!!

Natalie R

I dreamed of going to South Africa as a little girl and to say the my experience was amazing would be an understatement. Our tour guides in Cape Town and Johannesburg were extremely knowledgeable. This trip was well planed and our experience was spectacular. This trip is a must do!

Nick A

A great tour for the money! Wife and I had a wonderful time! Loved our tours and safaris!! Our tour Guides were very Good. Saw all the big 5 on our safari in Kruger Park!

Susana H

The tour had been recommended by a friend who said it was an incredible deal. I decided to try the tour even though I prefer to travel independently. It was amazing. The tour guides were professional, informative and extremely helpful. Renier made sure to keep everyone safe and informed as well as laughing during his tour. Elaine was highly professional and informative and incredibly kind and helpful. She definitely went well out of her way to accommodate all reasonable requests. The tour and the tour guides were A+.

Caroline N

We went on the Cape Town & Safari Express and had the most amazing time. This is my third time to Africa, but my first time for leisure. Our family took my mother on this trip as a surprise for her 60th birthday. This was our DREAM trip. David, our guide in Cape Town, was so welcoming and helpful. This was my first trip with smarTours, I could not speak more highly of the professionalism and organization of this vacation. I am a world traveler and use tours only when traveling with family, I would use this company again. On the way back, we had a problem with leaving the country due to weather in the US, all inbound flights were cancelled. SmarTours made turned this lemon into lemonade and quickly compensated our extra room, food, arranged airport transport, helped with flight arrangements, and even booked an extra tour! We have memories that will last a lifetime, thank you smarTours!

Dolores H

Fantastic trip that was far more than I expected for the price and length of stay. We sure packed a lot into 8 days (we had a bonus day thanks to the snowstorm in the USA and Smartours) The hotel in Cape Town was great. The one in White River could use a bit of sprucing up but the location was lovely. Can't say enough good things about our tour hosts David in Cape Town and Elaine for the remainder of the trip. Both were so personable, knowledgeable and definitely dedicated to seeing that we were well cared for. When the storm interfered with our return flight Elaine made sure we were not left with nothing to do. Our bonus tour of Soweto was one everyone should have the opportunity to take. I will definitely consider booking future trips with Smartours.

Margo B

In a brief period of time, this trip introduced me to the beauty of South Africa as well as the current difficulties being experienced by its citizens. A bonus was the awesome opportunity to be up close with the wildlife of Africa. Never want to go to a zoo again! Need to mention that our guides David Seddon and Elaine Scholtz were knowledgeable and could not have been more accessible to answer questions or to assist with any problems.

Donald L

We enjoyed our tour immensely, our main tour guide Shawn was excellent along with the others. We enjoyed the hotels we stayed in and the food was tremendous. Great trip, would recommend it to anyone.

Susan D

Best trip ever. Best guide also

Jessica C

Everything was outstanding! We enjoyed our tour guide in Cape Town. He treated us with so much love and made our experience a memorable one. He went above and beyond! The accommodations were great and in good locations. The transportation was comfortable as well. An experience we will never forget and again our Cape Town tour guide was beyond amazing!

Michael M

Great airline and hotel accommodations as well as safety and great tour guides. Cape Town was so packed full of things to do and very comfy nice hotel (cape sun) . Breakfasts and dinners were far above standards and delish! The safari trip was fantastic and we lucked out by seeing all of the big FIVE ....truly memorable and Elaine Scholtz,was the best tour guide ever ....really made sure we had a nice time . I would travel with Smartours again .....and we travel extensively . Don't hesitate if your thinking about this trip....just do it ! Trust us you will return home happy and not broke .

Kavieta p

This trip was amazing! Cape Town was absolutely beautiful and the hotel was the same. The tours were well worth it and our tour guides Jason & Elaine were extremely helpful and accommodating. Not to mention how organized every detail of our tour was, they tried to maximize out time in South Afriva for which we were very appreciative. Kruger park was lots of excitement and our hide away hotel was just as perfect. If you're looking for an adventure that's reasonable and exciting this is the one!

Daniel B

The tour was outstanding and the tour guides Jason and Elaine were informative, friendly and witty. I loved the beauty of Cape Town and the excitement of the safari at Kruger. The hotels were good and I liked the idea of offering the optional tours in Cape Town. In short, your tour was a delight. Thanks for the good service.

Valerie

Cape Town and Kruger National Park was amazing. SmarTours made this trip an effortless journey. We loved the option to explore Cape Town at our own leisure. Your guide Charles was a wonderful wealth of knowledge. My husband and I would have never been able to see South Africa for the $1500 price if booking on our own. We wish we could have stayed longer, but this has definitely been one of our favorite trips and destinations. Thank you!

John R

My wife Carolyn and I very much enjoyed both Cape Town and Kruger. The Cape Town Sun hotel is definitely four star with great Table mountain views from hotel room and a great buffet breakfast. Only critical comment is the optional wine tour is not up price wise or quality to what is available elsewhere. Charles your tour guide in Kruger is superb, very knowledgeable and beyond patient with a few whiners in the group. The open air safari better than advertised, saw big five and much more plus spent whole day in part from before 6AM. We have traveled six continents and never have seen a better value than this at under $1500 per person including airfare, hotels, meals, and game drive. We will likely return and would appreciate a change in flight return option for a longer stay on our own. Cape Town is easily worth a two week stay.

Noelle

Thank you, thank you!! I, as well, was skeptical of the quality of trip because of the excellent price, but I could not have been more pleased. Excellent guides, amazing hotels and all of the tours we went on were wonderful. I couldn't have been more pleased.

Emily

This trip was well executed and well worth the price. In fact, I had never seen prices this low and was skeptical but I can vouch that the value was incredible in terms of the ground covered in a week! Our guides were friendly and knowledgeable. The hotels were good enough, especially for the time spent in them. I would highly recommend this tour!
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Karen

This was our first Smartour we took on the recommendation of a friend who has taken several. You did not disappoint. Mark was our tour guide for the group of 13. We were more like a family who he led us through tours, flights, hotels. We never felt cheated with any sightseeing with 4 intro China flights. No time wasted. The hidden gem and highlight for us was Guilin. Beautiful city and extraordinary hotel. The only criticism would be the location of the Shanghai Crowne Plaza. It was 30 mins. Outside of the city. Luckily we did our own air because I knew I needed time to adjust after traveling 20 hours. The daytime tours were excellent but no other guests had the opportunity to see Shanghai at night. Our next stop, Beijing hotel was 2 blocks from Tianemen Square. All 13 of us walked to experience it lite up at night. Thank you for Mark, the itinerary and beautiful hotels. You are on my list of recommended travel tours.

Marge G

The China & Yangtze River Cruise w/ Hong Kong was truly amazing! Smartours had all arrangements down to a science, with all tours and transfers running like clockwork. Our tour director, Jason Hu, was a wonderful, caring young man who went the extra mile to take care of our group of 19....always with a smile. Our tour guides, Jennifer, Tom, Alun, Kenny, Linda and Kelly were very knowledgeable and smoothed the way for some interesting tours, as well as being very attentive. The Yangtze River cruise was wonderful and the scenery magnificent. We could not have asked for better accommodations or meals in China....all places were truly the best, as was the Hong Kong hotel. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone seeking a top notch tour to see the highlights of China!

Martha

Julian and I are still talking and telling everyone we meet about the surprisingly wonderful trip we recently took. Our guide, Mr. Li Bo, Oscar, was our mother, father, savior, historian, bathroom locator and best friend throughout the entire trip. He seemed to have a second sense and was there when we needed him, either for a pharmacy, help with our luggage or credit cards and the ATM's. The local guides, especially Allie, in Shanghai were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. The hotels and Yangtze River rooms were excellent. All the shows, parks and extras and river cruises were wonderful. The food was pretty good but the hot pots and dim sum that we had when we ventured out on our own was sensational. It's an amazing country with beautiful and unusual sites. I look forward to more trips with SmarTours and I can only hope that they are as great as this trip was for us. Thank you Oscar.

Robert K

We were a group of 34 seniors departing from JFK on 12 Oct 2017. The itinerary was the same as the standard 17-day tour and it was well-paced for our group. Mark Ma was our Tour Director, and he was very helpful, friendly and made sure that everyone was safe and enjoying the trip. My group has been on several guided international tours, and this was one of the best. smarTours helped us set up the tour, get our visas and got us first-class hotels throughout the trip. I recommend that you consider them for your travel group. Ms. Suzanne Anderson at their NYC office was specially helpful. Thanks to everyone at smarTours for this excellent experience.

Sheryl

We just returned from our 4th SmarTour. Our guide Sun Harry made our China trip outstanding. He spoke perfect English, was knowledgeable, kind, friendly,fun and was able to keep our large group of 34 with different needs and wants very happy. He taught us so much about the chinese culture. He always informed us in advance of what we needed for the next adventure. The trip was very active and diversified and we visited cities, villages, and enjoyed lunch in a family home. We interacted and had many opportunities to join local welcoming people in their different recreational activities like exercising in the parks and listening to music. The food was outstanding with many choices. The 4-day Yangtze River was spectacular. The beautiful hotel accommodations were places we would not be able to stay at if not on this tour. We were taken to many cultural performances that we will always remember. Thank you Sun for making our trip so special and teaching us so much. We also enjoyed the other local guides knowledge.

Risa m

From start to finish this trip was packed with amazing historical, cultural, and contemporary China. Our guide Harry, whose pleasure it was to share his passion for his country's history was always helpful and ready to answer our questions. Harry was the best guide ever, and I highly recommend touring with him. The itinerary is not to be believed! The accommodations are deluxe. Pack light, as it is very informal, and wear good shoes. Do not miss this trip. You won't be sorry. I cannot wait to experience another trip with SmarTours!

Helena

We had a excellent trip in China! That was already our 6s tour with SmarTours and the tour met all our expectations. The itinerary and the hotels were very good. Especially thanks to our terrific tour guide Oscar for all of his help and attention. The photos are below: China - https://flic.kr/s/aHskW8CZ85 Hong Kong - https://flic.kr/s/aHskUShhvU

Alvin F

Great trip from the start. China Eastern Airline treats its customers better than a lot of U.S. airlines. Seats had enough room, 3 sufficient meals were served on the 15 hour flight. Our guide, Li Bo, was absolutely exceptional from start to finish of the tour. The hotels were all 5 star. The sites along the trip were all unbelievable, even without the optional tours. We had enough free time to do the little extra things that we wanted to do. The local guide were all very good, friendly and knowledgeable. China surprised us with its absolute beauty, size, opulence of the tourist sites. Even the factories that were visited proved to be eye opening and not just tourist traps. The trip left us extremely happy that we had taken it and was an absolute bargain.

Sharon K

On October 13, 2016, we left for our trip to China & the Yangtze River Cruise. 27 people who couldn't wait to meet each other and most of all our tour guide, Mark Ma. To say that he's the best would be an understatement. Our trip was fabulous from the moment we met him til we boarded the plane, homeward bound. His knowledge of China is vast and his English is perfect. This is my 3rd trip with Smart Tours and I love traveling with them. The price is unbeatable for what we always get. From hotels, to transportation, tours and food Smart Tours can't be beat. The trip is physically demanding but the upside is I lost 6 pounds from so much walking. I can't wait for my next trip. Thanks!!

Bonnie K

We hit the road running, flight from LA to Shanghai...our guide Mark was waiting for us and we set off for the hotel. Mark Ma spent the entire time with us. For most of us that have travelled a lot, we all felt he was one of the best ever. He was patient, intelligent, knowledeable, and informative. There were 26 in our group of varying ages and abilities. At the end of the day, we saw so much and were ready for bed at night. There is so much to see, but the crowds of people for us proved very tiring. China proved to be a remarkable country, we were all blown away how they have advanced mainly since Tienamen and then of course where they are going from here. The cities were all new and amazing, and very, very clean. We were hard pressed to find any litter anywhere. All of the major attractions were amazing....The Terra Cotta Warriors were almost beyond belief...no one should miss seeing this piece of history. At every place we went, Mark and smarTours had arranged for a tour guide for us for that area....they were able to give us great insight to that days activities from a local perspective.For your information, we saw tours from much more expensive tour companies all along the way...they were seeing most of the same sights, staying at many of the same hotels...be sure to realize the value of this trip

Ray M

My second smarTour trip was simply amazing. The value for money incredible, Harry our tour director just perfect and China mind blowing. I just can't say enough about this amazing experience, except to say "just do it". You won't have any regrets.

Ellis

Overall the tour was great. Harry was quite knowledgeable and a great tour leader who assisted with every needs. He saw that as Vegetarians we were accorded enough choices for our diet. Individual guides in the cities were also quite knowledgeable and provided a wealth of information.

Marlene T

This tour with Sun (Harry) was the best tour I have ever taken! He was an excellent tour guide and now friend to all of us that were on the tour together. Not only did we see most of the spectacular sites in China, crisscrossing the country, but Sun provided a lot of information regarding China, was always careful to meet everyone's needs and was a total support throughout the trip. His calm manner of navigating all the details for our group of 23 and for all the airports, buses, cruise boats and trains was amazing. His command of the English language and his sense of humor kept us very engaged! I have great memories of China, learned a lot and made a friend forever with Sun (Harry)! I would like to go on other Smartours and would welcome him as my guide anywhere in the World.

Marianne M

Had a great trip from 4/28 to 5/17.The guide( Mark L) was fantastic and the local guides were also great.The accommodations were good and so was the transportation. I will recommend Smartours for future travels.

Neelakshi

We did the tour "China & Yantze river cruise with Hong Kong" May 5 to may 21. Thanks to our fabulous Tour director Mr. Sun Qingjun we had one of the best experiences ever !! He interacted with each of us individually and attended to all our personal requests and needs and also shared his knowledge on China's history and culture. His overall service was beyond exceptional and set a high bar for excellence. " Thank You Sun

Kalyani W

We enjoyed the tour. It was well organised & we were satisfied with Accomodation & the itinerary. Our tour guide Sun was excellent & he is a credit to SmarTours.

Manfred R

My wife and I are back from the China, Yangtze and Hongkong tour which started on April 28, 2016. What a great experience it was! Thanks to you tour director's Mark Ma's guidance, our earlier concerns did not materialize. We had no difficulties finding the hotel in Beijing and the assigned ship cabin was quite adequate. Mark made the journey a pleasure. He guided as with calm and competence. He made itinerary changes that benefitted us, i.e. visiting the pandas in the zoo of Chongqing instead of Beijing . This allowed us to see 8 months old Tin-Tin. What a pleasure! Mark's decision to collect a fixed amount from the group to pay the tips for the local guides and drivers made our life easier. Him taking care of the checking-in process for hotels, flights, trains etc. was also very much appreciated. Speaking of easy - we really enjoyed the included porterage. How nice not to have to lug the suitcases ourselves. Getting them delivered to the room was great One suggestion: please provide the headsets throughout the tour. It was so nice to hear Mark's and the local guides explanations while we had them. Later on it was difficult to hear, especially in the din of crowded places. All in all, were are pleased and will consider your company for future trips.

Linda T

Our group of 25 went on this trip in April. We had substituted Tibet for Hong Kong and we were all so glad we did! To begin with, we were blessed to have the very best tour person in existence, Sun Qingjun. He went way overboard to be helpful and to make our trip go as smoothly as possible. Weatherwise, it was a great time to go. The hotels we stayed at were all very comfortable and upscale. Due to the amount of destinations on our itinerary, we were required to travel a lot within the 18 days we were there. But if you want to see everything on the itinerary, it is unavoidable. Inter-china flight schedules are really just a "suggestion", as we found out when flights were constantly delayed. But our buses were always there waiting for us when we arrived. The one fault I found with Smartours, is they did not warn people when booking the trip, how physically demanding it was going to be. China is mountainous and climbing many steps to get where you are going is frequent. Several people in our group were unable to climb the 700 steps to enter the Potala Palace in Lhasa (which was incredible), nor were they able to cross the extension bridge to enter the Shibaozhai Pagoda on the Yangtze cruise. Once inside the Pagoda, you had to climb 12 stories of steep wooden steps. The Great Wall required an enormous amount of steep step climbing as well. Many did not go to the top. This should definitely have been stressed when booking the tour. Fortunately for my husband and myself, it was great exercise and we actually lost weight on the trip. It was a life changing and eye opening trip. Every stop was amazing and/or beautiful. This would be 5 stars except for the aforementioned issues. I still miss Sun our guide!

Gisela C

Our tour guide, Mr. Qingjun was wonderful and took care of all of the details.So were the assistants he had in every city. Overall, it was an excellent tour, well organised; however, the Yangtse River trip could have been a day shorter. Flying from one city to another was an excellent experience; however, the best was the bullet train to Guangzhou and the catamaran to Hong Kong. I would have liked to see some rice planting fields.

J.L.

Amazing tour, covering all the highlights of China I had hoped to see. Tour Director, Ms. Zhou "Jo" Hongju, absolutely wonderful in every way: thoughtful, helpful, informative, always taking extra steps to ensure we enjoyed our tour and we did. Thank you, Jo!

Shirley W

Hello Smart Tours, We went on the 17 day China and Yangtze River smarTours the end of March beginning of April, 2016. We had an absolutely fabulous Tour Director, Mark Ma from Beijing. He took us on the entire 17 day tour of China. He was marvelous, knowledgeable caring, organized and our entire group had the best time together because he made our stay in China the best!! We had other tour guides in each city we visited and Mark communicated and organized each city tour with the guides flawlessly! We would not have enjoyed our stay and travel in China without Mark Mark's help and guidance. He deserves an award or commendation for all of his hard work and knowledge that he brings to his tour groups! Thank you again for such a wonderful and memorable Tour of China!

Martin A

We just finished our second tour of China. We were surprised to be able to see and experience so much in such a short time. SmarTours seems to attract a fine sort of traveler. We enjoyed all our tour mates. Above all, our Tour Director, Mark Ma, is a gift. Professional, thoughtful, and warm, he was in some ways more like a companion traveler than our guide. I've always found tour directors to be good people, but he's a cut above. Thanks for an unforgettable trip.

Richard S

we had the pleasure of Jo hosting our group. She never stopped. Always looking after us, making sure we had the right food to fit our diets, finding lost travelers and lost items and providing lots of good info. SHE MADE OUR TRIP!!!

Virginia C

I believe this was one of those trips that really change the way you look at the world. We learned the history of the country, and it is easier to see why they often look at things from a different perspective. Our guides were great, all the members were terrific, and we saw wonderful sights. It is a very tiring trip because every minute seems to be planned for us, which is a good thing really. Also, try to get in shape before climbing the Wall. I had no idea they were steps that go straight up.

Randee a

We enjoyed our trip immensely and met wonderful people on our tour. Our guide Harry was incredible. We highly recommend taking a trip with SmarTours, as we hope to take many future trips with them.

Judith E

I participated in the tour to China + Yangtze River cruise (Sept. 3-19, 2015). The tour was excellent. The success of the tour was due, first and foremost, to Mark Mo, the Tour Director, whose communicative personality, historical knowledge, cultural insights, and individual attention were indeed outstanding. smarTours is lucky to have such a tour manager. The local guides (with the exception of one) were also informative and friendly. The hotels were excellent. The only unfavorable comment (which was shared by my travel colleagues) concerns the hotel in Shanghai. Although the hotel was excellent, it was located away from the center of town. Considering the limited time we spent in each large city, I suggest that you consider a hotel at the center of Shanghai. China Aireline offers very poor information and service. I was among those who could not take off at JFK on Sept. 3, due to mechanical problems. Although I was the first to check in at JFK, the airline staff did not inform me that there was an earlier flight to Beijing, which 5 other travelers (who came to JFK hours after me) joined. As a result we missed one day of the tour. On the way back, there was hardly any time to catch the connection at Hong Kong airport to the flight to Beijing-JFK. This situation needs to be rectified.

Darrin a

We were on the same tour as Marci and Ron and agree with everything they say. Our tour guide, Harry, was absolutely excellent. He advised us on issues such as restrooms, convenience store locations near hotels and was always making sure everyone was accounted for. He was on the phone assisting us in retrieving one of our bags that was sent off to another city in China. Harry plus the local guides all have a great sense of humor. Our group of 37 were all experienced international travelers and would have appreciated more variety in the included food; a few dishes were very good but all in all much of the included meals were too mundane and this is coming from a couple of Chinese descent. The group also watched out for one another. Really enjoyed all the places on the tour, would have loved another day in Shanghai plus a more centrally located hotel in Shanghai despite how nice the Crowne Plaza Fudan Shanghai is. Only hiccup was the flight on the last day from Hong Kong to Beijing (PEK) that departed late and arrived much later in PEK such that we barely (14 of us) caught the connecting flight to SFO. Would prefer direct/non-stop flight from Hong Kong to USA even if a few $ more.

Marci a

Harry, (Sun Qing Jun) our tour leader for the 17 days was wonderful, as were the local guides. Flights, both international and within China and fast train from Guilin to Hong Kong all excellent. My only reason for the 4 rather than 5 star was that the food was ok, but not memorable, except for those meals we ate on our own.

ZZ

Outstanding trip, nice hotels, terrific itinerary, food ok. Guides Jo, Harry, knowledgable, outstanding guides, organized, cared about us, we all felt safe and comfortable with them. They spoke good English, not Chinglish. nice group of people, we were lucky all around. We became like an extended family......for 17 days Loved every minute. I highly recommend it. ZZ .

martin p

Excellent trip. Our overall tour guide was super; very attentive to all our needs. The individual tours were very good with English speaking tour guides. The meals that were provided were very good; and ample complimentary bottled water was provided at the hotels; and bus drivers usually had extra bottled water for sale which made it convenient. Had wonderful time and would recommend the trip.

Donna M

This was my fourth tour with SmarTours and it was outstanding. There were only 13 on the tour and everyone got along and enjoyed it. Mr. Chen was an outstanding guide. Hope you can tour with him. He was like a mother hen and took great care of us -- from telling us to watch our step to extra arrangements, taking pictures of us, and just being so caring. The itinerary was great -- going to Beijing before it got too cold and ending in the warmer South. There was an upgrade in rooms on the Yangtze Cruise Ship Victoria Ana and the ship was very comfortable. The shore excursions were well planned. The Li River cruise was relaxing and so beautiful. Breakfasts were buffet style with a choice of Western, Chinese, or Japanese. Outstanding. Lunches and Dinners were family style Chinese. All food was outstanding -- as were the included and optional shows. Highly recommend this trip. Only sorry that Mr. Chen could not continue with us to Hong Kong.

Arlene

I just got back from this trip and it was terrific.....Chen our tour director was wonderful, caring ,knowledgeable, funny and spoke excellent English made us feel so welcome. Every local tour guide we had was also terrific. Thank you Harry,Vivian,john , Jenny, Jean and all the others plus the bus drivers. I spent 15 of the 17 days with a lot of fun people and we were like family after a few days....SMARTOURS you rock. Arlene

Elizabeth L

We are new to SmarTours and have recently returned from the 17 day China/Yangtze River Cruise trip. We had an extraordinary trip. Our tour guide was "Harry" Sun. He is perhaps the best guide we have ever had and we have had many excellent guides. He was gracious and kind and took such good care or us. We lucked into a great group of 36 who were all (!) punctual and no complainers. I can't believe the wealth of sights that were included in the trip. We also took the two optional trips and they were fabulous. This has to be the BEST travel bargain ever. The hotels were all first rate and since we love Chinese food we really enjoyed the cuisine. We can't say enough about how much we packed in to 17 days. We will be great ambassadors for China and for SmarTours. Well done and thank you! Elizabeth Layous
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Anonymous

Our trip to Costa Rica was wonderful. Our tour guide Victor was amazing and Our bus driver was very competent. The places we stayed were great and the food was delicious. Thank you!
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Edmund

Why not offer several English speaking tables for more sharing among passengers from different countries/ Chilled fruit soups were wonderful/ Many cold cuts at breakfast, but bacon only twice, and one time it was grossly under cooked European style/ SAME TWO BREADS were in the table basket at every meal...no variety/ Croissants varied from superb the first two days to bread like and not much better after that. Several of us talked with a supervisor who had no idea about the need to sheet pastry dough for Croissants. Apparently different people made croissants each day. Not good/ Why can't you make plane reservations so couples can sit together. This is a big drawback/ Seats on plane from JFK to Frankfort had VERY little apace for knees/ Bedding was crazy...douvet style terrible/ One waitress wore long hair hanging over food/ in our cabin we killed 2 spiders and several flying creatures/ Folk show in Budapest was very good but not nearly as many performers as promised in your promotion write up. "30 dancers promised, actually about 10/

Patti C

My husband and I were recently on A Danube Discovery Cruise. Our tour Director was Dusan Kuljic. When the unimaginable happened, and my husband became ill and needed emergency surgery in Novi Sad Serbia, Dusan jumped in and stayed by our sides throughout the ordeal. Once he'd found me a place to stay, he returned to his ship but never gave up contact with us, calling frequently to see if we needed anything. When the cruise ended and we were still in Novi Sad, Dusan returned to Belgrade, came to pick us up and move us to Belgrade where we could get a flight home. This man was truly our angel and turned what could have been a real nightmare into an opportunity to develop friendships, sight see, and rest as needed. He is one in a million and thoughts of him will always be at the top of our best memories of this trip.

Virginia W

We thought the trip was excellent. The river boat was good and the people on the boat were VERY gracious. I loved the size of the river boat. Our TD, Dusan J, was excellent. Would have loved for him to stay with us the whole trip. He left after the cruise and we had another one for mountain portion of the trip. He was OK but I can't remember his name. He was very knowledgeable about the area. It would be better if you kept same one for all of the trip. I will take another river cruise with smarTours.

Prakash P

Everything was great.We had wonderful time.Tour guides,staff,crew and food was excellent.Also the group was the best ever.This was our seventh tour with smarTours.

TOM a

This vacation was one of the best we have had. Everything, including the ship, all accommodations (ship and land), tours and tour guides, cuisine was very well prepared and excellent. The personnel (ship and land) did everything possible to make everyone happy and satisfied.

Hersh R

We are now on our way home from this wonderful Danube River cruise. I would like to sum up our experience on the Little Prince as outstanding. This trip turned out to far exceed our expectations. The crew and cruise director (Duschan) were terrific. Dining room staff and food quality was excellent. Kitchen staff and our waiter Liviu went out of their way to accommodate the kosher requirements of our table. Tour guides in most locations were very knowledgeable and spoke good english. Our only criticism was the air conditioning in the cabin and dining room. The cabin was very hot and humid and nothing could be done by the staff. We will highly recommend SmarTours to our friends.

Karen Y

Great itinerary. Included excursions were OK but did not really cover a lot of things we wanted to see. Seemed like we viewed a lot of the places from the bus or a walk by but did not go into many places. Boat was older and seemed like a camping trip with the bath being very small and single beds hard. Difficult to regulate the temperature in the room too. Food was good and the staff on the boat was great, very accommodating to food allergies. Hotel in Bucharest was very nice.
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Nicholas

Mohammed, our guide, was wonderful, peronable and knowledgeable. The boat cruise was a waste of time and the food, which was supposed to be seafood, was meat that looked like it had been reheated 5x. The 4x4 in the desert was fun but a little long and required too much waiting around. The belly dancer was vey good but the rest of the entertainment was not, especially the 2 guests who sang happy birthday on the stage for 10 minutes.

Charles

Our Tour Guide Mohamed was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the country and the Muslim religion. Our bus driver was also excellent. The hotels were average and not in good locations. We were expecting more, especially in Dubai where you can stay in nice hotels very reasonably. . We have been on other Smartours and stayed in nicer hotels. The staff in the hotels were nice. The hotel in Abu Dhabi was better than the one in Dubai, even though it was a Hyatt. The rooms were tired in appearance and the hotel was far away from places one would like to visit. It was nice to have the subway close by, so you did not have to take a taxi everywhere. The trip to Sharjah was well worth it and should be included in the trip. The evening boat ride was not very good and food was poor. They swapped out overdone meat for seafood. It was a cold night so most people stayed in the boat and it was hard to see the sights outside. We did not do any of the extra excursions. So much to do in Dubai, it was worth staying in the city and taking advantage of the sights.

Sharon

Great tour and a good value. Hotels were nice, but the Hyatt in Dubai was in a poor location in old town, too far way from the mainstream of action.

Shirley

The tour itself was good however we had more free time than any tour that I have ever been on before and we had no access to the guide at that time as he was off site. We do not have International cell Service. Mohammed did not recommend the optional in Aba Dhabi. The optional in Dubai was one of the highlight and I think it should have been made inclusive of the tour. Our Cuba tour was outstanding with smart tours and we are planning on going to Ireland in July

Irene

We had a great trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful mosque and new Louvre Museum. Dinner in the Emirates Palace was good. Dubai was awesome. The city was amazing.oman trio was relaxing. My husband had a successful fly fishing trip in Dubai. He caught Queenfish. I took a side trip to Jumeriah. It was nice to see where average people lived. The museum was informative. A good trip done by Smartours.

Cleveland

I have truly enjoyed this trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It was well planned and organized with a knowledgeable tour guide, Tareq. The hotels were spacious, beautiful, comfortable, and well located in these cities. The food was delicious and there was enough for all of us. The tours and cruises were properly designed to teach our visitors about the cultural and social history of the UAE., and they were informative and full of invaluable historical facts about the people of the UAE. Thanks for a great time, and I am presently encouraging my family and friends to travel with your tours in the future.

Rachel W

Muhammed was an excellent guide.

Dorothy H

Didn't want another week to end without informing you about the absolutely wonderful vacation of a lifetime in Abu Dhabi and Dubai! I cannot express in words the extraordinary tour our group experienced. From the beginning until the actual date of our trip (April 2-10, 2018) my experience with Smartours was phenomenal. Suzanne was wonderful in working with me for my birthday celebration group! She kept us on task and on time with deadlines, And even when it seemed I wasn't going to have enough for the private group, she encouraged me, going the extra mile to make it happen! Once we arrived, our tour director (Mohammed Saleem) went above and beyond providing our group with exceptional service! He represented Smartours with skill and expertise. He shared his impressive knowledge of culture and history of the region and encouraged us to ask questions about things we didn't understand. He was patient and kept us together and made sure no one was left behind, and that was no easy task. My travel group was consisted of people of all ages, some in their 20's, 30's, 50's, 60's and 70's. Having the right tour director can make a trip fun and exciting or dull, boring and frustrating. Mohammed was outstanding in engaging everyone in our group. He was truly the best Tour Director "In the WORLD" (inside joke). I highly recommend taking a PRIVATE group on this excursion. It is truly a wonderful opportunity. We have made new friends and created memories that will last a lifetime! Don't be surprised when you receive a lot of inquiries about other groups wishing to go to Dubai! I have passed along your information to everyone who asks! Thank you Smartours!

Roger S

I was on the Dubai/Abu Dhabi tour from April 10th though the 17th. Tareq was our guide. He was quite an educator, and the tour was very well-organized. The hotels were terrific.

Linda M

I was absolutely amazed at both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. First the Emirates flight was why they are always listed in the top 10 airlines. Great service and great plane. Shirley our tour guide was there to meet us and was exceptional during the entire tour. Always able to answer questions besides being helpful and friendly. The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi was incredibly beautiful. Dubai for a city built in the last 14 years was amazing. The optional tour to Oman was very interesting traveling through the different Emirates and through the desert. Massive buildings and then the camel market were a stark contrast!!! Everything on this tour was exactly as expected with first class hotels and food. This is my 6th tour with Smartours and plan another next year.

Shar C

Although I've yet to take my planned trip to Dubai & Abu Dhabi, I would thank Booking Agent Suzanne for her customer service and professionalism when answering my questions and booking my travel. I found her patience and the detailed information she provided both invaluable and reassuring. It can be challenging to book international travel with a tour group unknown to you so to have someone such as she to talk to and answer your questions gives one the assurance needed to proceed. If the travel is as nice as she, I look forward to a wonderful trip.

Jennifer

Took this trip on November 8,2016 had a wonderful time hotel and breakfast was absolutely amazing.our tour guide Shirley was very informative best trip ever .I will be takin another trip next august Scandinavia tour

Elizabeth M

The architecture in these cities is amazing. Going to the top of the world's highest building and seeing the world most visited site were the highlights for us. We had excellent hotels, and our guide, Tareq, was very knowledgeable. We learned about the country's development and future plans. We also learned about its customs and religion. The optional tour to the future city was very interesting.

Janice A

This was more than expected and for once I loved the tours on the bus,,,which was mainly because of our tour guide, Shirley Lee. He was wonderful, fun, thoughtful, and caring. The flight and lodging were awesome. Loved smarTours so much have to plan one to China with smarTours. It was memorable!

Samira

First of all, I want to Thank Kate Otter for the great customer service and attention during this tour reservation, also to Shirley our guide in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, he is the best, very well informed and enthusiastic tourist guide. I did selected this tour as there were some leisure days but being honest tour covered up all important things in both cities. Hotels for this trips were 5 stars with great breakfast. I highly recommend this tour .

Magaly

I would like to start by saying that the tour guide Shirley was AWESOME. He went out of his way to make sure that we were all taken care off, well informed and having fun. The tour itself is design to take you to see all the highlights of Dubai & Abu Dhabi, part of the reason I picked this tour over others was because you were given "leisure days". Interestingly enough, I had a hard time finding anything new to do because our tour guide had already taken us there or suggested it. The hotels nice and comfy and included delicious breakfast. I highly recommend it! Cross it off your bucket list!

Mei-Man H

Tour is excellent as well as hotels. The tour director is friendly and very professi0nal. I am a repeat smarTours traveler since 2002 and refer to my friends. Of course I would like to smarTours in the future. Thanks.

sharon

An amazing trip everything was perfect. Our guide Shirley was the best ever, he went out of his way to make sure we were all well taken care of. If you get a chance to go on this trip it is a must.

Patrick B

Just returned from the May 3/11 tour . Fantastic trip . Shirley, our Tour Director, is very knowledgeable in the region's history. Great personality. Excellent hotel accommodation. The 12- hour flight is well worth it. Especially, Emirates great service and comfortable legroom in economy class. Great value at an affordable price.

youville g

Excellent tour, was even better than expected. Hotels, tour guides and drivers all very pleasant and accommodating. I have already recommended smarTours to all acquaintances and will definitely book with them for future travels.

margie b

Beyond my expectations

Doris W

Shirley keys, Tour Guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful. Tour were excellent, hotel accomodations, and airline also. Great trip.

Susan A

This was my fourth trip with smarTours and just as fabulous as the rest. Our tour guide, Shirley was so informed and caring. Spoke beautiful English!!! It is so nice to have some free time if one cares to do so. I'll be taking another one within the year. thank you.

Angie R

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are architectural "Disneylands" and well worth the 12hr flight. Our tour guide and driver, were professional, helpful, accommodating and so approachable. WE got to see so much within our time frame. And it didnt hurt that both our Hotels were quite nice with lots of dining options. So if the Emirates are on your bucket list- then this is the way to go.

Peter V

Fantastic tour! The phenominal wealth and eclectic mix of cultures were on eye-opening experience. Our guided tours were excellent and the accommodations superb. I would highly recommend this trip to my friends.

RDN

Loved, loved, loved this trip!! I have no complaints...Shirley, our tour guide, was absolutely amazing. He ensured our all our needs were met and he was a wealth of information during our tour. Our driver (I think it was Mohammad) was incredibly safe. The only recommendation I would suggest to SmarTours....add one more day in Dubai to allow more time to venture on own. I will definitely be looking to book another tour with SmarTours

John N

Amazing trip. loved it.

Cindy C

This was my third Smartours trip and I was not disappointed! Our guide, Mohammed, was very friendly and accommodating. This tour provided lots of opportunities to explore on one's own in addition to the scheduled activities. Would definitely recommend taking a taxi to visit the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi. The optional boat ride along the Omani coast is really a must. It provided a nice break from the skyscrapers, malls, and city life. Bring a bathing suit on that boat ride. The desert safari on the last night was a great way to cap off the trip. Emirates is a fantastic airline as well -- the coach seats are more like "economy plus" on other airlines with extra leg room, the food is great, and the cabin crew fantastic. Recommend this trip!

Chuck P

I had such a great time and thinking about going back next year. The 125th floor of the Burj, eating camel burger, and the desert jeep ride, as well as the Gulf of Oman boat trip. Fun, exciting, loved every minute! My fourth Smartours - China, India, Turkey were great too!

Mary D

Arrived home yesterday after a wonderful trip. Flying Emirates Airline even in Economy class was a luxury. Our guide, Shirley Key, who has lived in Dubai for thirty years,was extremely competent, full of knowledge and told us sooo much about the UAE. We took the two optional tours and they were wonderful....explored some of the new developing areas of Abu Dhabi and had a lot of fun on the trip to Oman and the boat trip and swim in the Indian Ocean.Riding up and down the sand dunes in white four wheel vehicles, about twenty of them,was a wild experience followed by a huge barbecue, complete with belly dancers, camel rides,and a display of a falcon flying high up in the sky chasing a prey that was pulled along by a drone...amazing. Both cities ,Abu Dhabi and Dubai , which didn't exist 50 years ago, left us dumbfounded. The buildings are incredible;parks in Abu Dhabi are beautiful. Fountains everywhere.......in a desert country. It was a marvelous trip and great value
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Jeremy

Our Colombia tour was excellent. From Bogota to Cartagena we were enthralled by the luscious green countryside and sky scraping mountains. The history of the country was covered in detail from the period of colonization to the present. Our tour leader and local guides were very knowledgeable about all aspects of their society, history, economy, government and so on. All of them spoke English well and had great personalities. Highly recommended.

Patricia

Our tour guides were well informed, personable and truly delightful. We had a friendly group and good accommodations. Loved the coffee tour and tasting, but especially memorable was our afternoon in Comune 13 and Getsamane. The artwork was fabulous! Tour guide in Comune 13 was a bit "preachy" and repetitive. All in all- a fabulous trip- Go to Colombia!

Carman

All great except the local guide in Bogata who was not up to Smartour standard

Anonymous

review attached as photo

Sanele

Love Colombia beyond my expectations

Nancy

The tour guides in Colombia were excellent. I liked that the big cities of Bogota and Medellin alternated with the beautiful countryside of the Coffee Triangle and the beach at Cartagena.

Howard R

Forget the stories of drug cartels! Colombia is modern, beautiful and coffeelicious!! From Bogotá to Medellin to Cartagena, Colombia is a modern 21st century country with warm and engaging people, beautiful vistas and amazing modern buildings with surprising and amazing architecture. The coffee triangle is lush, tropical and aromatic. This is my 19th SmarTours trip and I highly recommend this tour. Accommodations are first rate and the meals were sumptuous. Kudos to our guide Elsa for her expertise and engaging manner.

Emma

Just returned from this trip in June 2016. It was an amazing tour and it really portrayed the country as it truly is. The people were great and let me say the service at the hotels and everywhere was awesome. The accommodations were excellent. The scenery of the country was unbelievable. Kudos to our Tour Director, Leon as well as the local guides Carlitos (Coffee Triangle/Medellin) and Eusevio (Cartagena) for making this trip so much fun. They are friendly, fun, knowledgeable and their English was great. Our drivers were very experienced and always concerned about safety first which was very good. Our group was very small but we had a great time. Thank you to all for the wonderful vacation. I recommend this trip highly.

Sheryl C

This May we returned from a wonderful and interesting trip to Colombia where we visited Bogota, Coffee Triangle, Medellin, and Cartagena. We felt safe and enjoyed the diversified landscapes, history, friendly people, delicious food, and very knowledgeable and caring guides. Leon and Alejandro went out of their way to share and teach us about their culture. We visited flower, fruit and vegetable markets, sugar cane factories, coffee plantations, in which we had many tastings and watched local people working. The coffee was extremely good. The underground salt cathedral was amazing along with the Emerald, Botero and Gold museums. There were many quaint colorful villages to meander thru witnessing rural life in and around the town squares. The hotels were all high end with gr8 breakfasts. The cities were exciting and easy to get around. Leon would always take or direct us to a delicious authentic Colombian restaurant for lunch and dinner. The sea in Cartagena was delightful to swim in. We cannot thank Leon and Alejandro for making our experience so special, comfortable, informative, and fun. We are well seasoned travelers and feel Colombia is a must visit.

Marta H

As my husband and I prepared for our travel to Colombia, our friends and family asked "Why Colombia", aren't you afraid of being kidnapped? Or,"I've heard they drug people and sell the parts on e-bay". What my husband and I experienced in Colombia was far from either of these! Colombia is a proud welcoming country, excited to share their amazing history and culture. It is a country working extremely hard to overcome and endure their past and provide a good future for their people. Our tour guide "Leon Pardo", was excellent, as was his counter part "Carlito", in the coffee region. Colombia was an amazing place to travel and enjoy and just as they claim, the hardest part was never wanting to leave!

Bonnie

We recently discovered Columbia with our terrific guide Leon and 10 members of our group. Columbia is a beautiful country with magnificent scenery, and diverse cities. I can't stop telling people about our fabulous experience.

Martin F

My wife Jackie and I just finished a truely exceptional trip to Colombia. We visited Bogota, the Coffee Triangle, Medellin, Cartagena and many points in between. Everything about Colombia was new to us and the trip exceeded our expectations. Our tour director Leon Pardo was close to perfect, as was the driver (Julian)-local guide (Omar) combination in the Coffee Triangle and Medellin. The hotels were great. The scenery was quite varied and uniformly beautiful.The city of Cartagena was a wonderful place to end this trip.

Ellen

We truly enjoyed this tour...our tour guide David was excellent as were the local guides. I would make a few changes to the itinerary..... one more day is needed in Bogata and Medillin. You could cut one day off the coffee triangle. Add one day to the entire trip....leave on a Friday instead of Sat. Finally, try to switch airlines to Avianca which have direct flights from Medillin to Cartegena. THe hotels were fine ..... Overall we loved the tour and will continue to choose SMARTOURS for future travel. This was our 4th tour on smartours!! THANK YOU.....Ellen and Henry Cohen

Sharon

My friend and I visited Colimbia in August with SmarTours and we had a wonderful trip. Leo was out trip leader and we all loved him. He made the trip fun as well as informative. We never felt unsafe the entire trip. It is a beautiful and interesting country. I have traveled many times with SmarTours and will continue to do so.

Alvin a

Had a great trip to Colombia. We just returned and our hotels were excellent;tours and our guide, David, all the local guides were outstanding. This was our first trip with smarTours and we already have 2 more booked.The scenery was beautiful and we got to see so many different parts of Colombia.

Leslie D

My family of 4 adults just finished this trip and I highly recommend it/ It's wonderful - god food, amazing scenery, great hotels and just an overall good feeling throughout. The people were very friendly and there is lots of interesting information about the country and its history. You will really enjoy the experience.

Discover Japan

13 Reviews

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Anonymous

Our tour director, May was outstanding. My pre- conceived ideas about her country of Japan were totally reversed with succinct, informative illustrations brought to life by our incredible tour !!

Mary

This is our 4 th trip with Smartours and have always been delighted by the experiences and by our tour guides. This trip to Japan was no exception. Kudos to Smartours for putting together such excellent itineraries, lodgings, transports and guides.

Anonymous

The excursion to Nara tour company needs to have head sets. Huge crowds made listening very difficult to hear our very knowledgable guide. The tour was very rushed - -left quite late (maybe waited for some "no-shows"?), left Nara in the dark. We needed more time!! Suggest not scheduling the Nara trips against the same time for the excursion to Hiroshima. Then we could do both. I have more photos I would be willing to share is request. Did the image post here? Can't tell. Julie Kirby You replied that you would like me to send more photos. Sending one at a time, is not a solution here, Your reply, was a "no reply" address. Please send me and email address where I can send more Japan trip photos. Thanks, Julie Kirby

Anonymous

Good overview of Japan with many great stops (Kanazawa, Takayama). Our tour was a little on the large side with 38 people. The hotels were fine - some great, some good enough. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience.

Manfred R

It is 2 weeks ago that we returned from our "Discover Japan" tour. What a great enjoyment it was, and how lucky we were! We managed to experience the cherry blossoms (Sakurai) in all the towns on the agenda. Even our guide, graceful Yoshimi Ozawa, was amazed about our great luck and exclaimed that two weeks before there was nothing to see. To add to our enjoyment, we were able to see Mount Fuji's upper cone above the clouds. Yoshi (as she wanted to be called by us) was extremely well organized and very eager to share her extensive knowledge of Japans history, customs and living conditions with us. We were duly impressed by the cleanliness of the cities, streets and people. Especially the rail road stations in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto are far and above in architecture and organization over any that we seen in Europe (let alone here in the US). The visit to the Mitsukushi department store was eye opening. The quality and quantity of the products on offer exceeded anything here in the US. Even more so were the the great number of sales clerks available to help, but not at all "pushy". The hotels were very good and the breakfasts quite sufficient. The included meals were also good. Our concerns of having to spend extensively for meals were unfounded since there were a great variety of lower costs options. Just the long and congested breakfast lines at the New Otani Hotel dimmed the outlook for the day. Having to wait up to 40 minutes, even though there were empty tables, should not be an acceptable condition. Transportation in general , be it by bus or train, was very good. However, We did not understand why the suitcases were moved from Takayama directly to Kyoto, depriving us of them in Kanazawa. We came away from this journey admiring the Japanese people that went through such dramatic changes since the middle of the last century.

DJ G

We just returned last week from our fabulous trip to Japan, and we cannot stop thinking about our incredible adventure. We chose Smartours because a friend of ours has been traveling with them for years going to amazing places such as India, Thailand, and Colombia. She advised us the tour company is very reasonable, a really good value including airfare from NYC, and she guaranteed we would enjoy a safe guided trip which sounded wonderful since we do not speak or read Japanese. On arrival at Tokyo, we met our tour guide, Haruko, who was just amazing. She not only knew about each shrine and temple we visited, but she could answer any question about Japanese culture, history, and legends. She even sang to us one day!! She was just a lovely person who was very patient with all of us. The trip included not only the places we’ve all heard of but also places we NEVER heard of. The scenery in the Japanese Alps was just breathtaking. The Japanese people are just so kind and gracious. We never felt unsafe even in the big cities. We were totally exhausted each night from the day’s activities. There was a lot of walking involved, but my 82-year old Mother did just fine, but she is VERY active. We visited Tokyo, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa and Kyoto using buses and trains to get us around (including the Bullet Train). All of the transportation was top notch and so clean. A full buffet breakfast was included at each hotel which had both Western and Japanese cuisine. Only two dinners were included, but that gave us plenty of time to explore on our own. Our hotel in Takayama even included an Onsen hot springs bath which was heavenly!! Smartours was an excellent value for all that we got. All the hotels were high end. We booked a triple room which worked out GR8. The non-stop flight from NYC was not so grueling on Japan Airlines as they fed us constantly (with wine) and we saw plenty of movies. Anyone considering Japan, certainly consider smarTours.com!!

Ute F

This was an excellent fast paced and all too short tour of a beautiful amazing country. I wish I had visited it much earlier. It is the cleanest and safest place in Asia with the most honest,polite and helpful people. You are never pushed to make a purchase in any of the stores or souvenir shops, no hawkers or children tucking at you to gain their attention. The hotels were excellent and especially the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo would be worth to spend a relaxing vacation in its luxurious surroundings. Our guide was knowledgeable and accommodating. It was a wonderful experience.

Jay C

Pretty good tour, least interesting was Tokyo. The smaller cities were fascinating. Tour guide was excellent and hotels were fine.

Lydia S

This was an amazing experience and the tour guide was informative, up-to-date with what was happening in the area and knew her history of Japan well. I will recommend this trip to all my friends because it is a definitely "must see" travel.

Jacquline H

We just got back three days ago from the Discover Japan Tour. This was my first Smartours trip, and my first trip using a tour/guide company. I must say I was very satisfied. I will say the amount of things we saw would be better stretched out over two more days, there were some things I really wanted to stay at longer, but due to time constraints we had to move on. Also, really enjoyed the older homes/houses/and buildings. However, one or two of them would have been enough as they pretty much looked alike once inside. Really really enjoyed the thatched roof village, our tour guide ( who asked us to call her May due to her slightly complicated Japanese name ) was fantastic! I also learned that I am in much worse physical shape, I was fully exhausted at the end of each day we walked and saw so much. I can truly say I was impressed with Smartours, the quality of our lodgings, tour buses, audio devices used during touring, etc. And, May had good knowledge of her subject, Japanese history, and quite a sense of humor. I hope to go with Smartours to Israel in 2017 if I can get the time off, and if political climate allows it. Thanks for supporting a great trip and sister time with my sister Smartours. Will be touring with you again!!

Diane

The trip was filled with wonderful sights to see. Our guide Yoko was very knowledgeable and accommodating. She gave us a great insight into the wonderful country.

Jack S

Excellent overview of Japanese culture across the centuries, with large cities and World Cultural sites.

Debra D

We just returned from our tour of Japan two days ago (October, 2015). There were 33 of us on our tour. Accommodations provided are all very nice, exceptionally maintained and well located. The buses are in perfect condition and immaculately clean. Breakfast buffets are generous; both Japanese and western breakfast options are plentiful. We enjoyed exceptional weather and good luck in experiencing a few serendipitous surprises – the Autumn Festival in Takayama, and a moving religious ceremony in the Great Buddha Hall in Nara that involved incense, smoking braziers, dozens of monks chanting, and a raptly attentive, kimono clad congregation. Our ogling and photo snapping was tolerated with usual Japanese courtesy. Our tour guide, Yukari, was organized, well-informed, kind, conscientiously hard-working and gentle. She is always courteous, positive, and patient. Her English is excellent, but significantly accented. Everything in Japan is astonishingly tidy and safe, beautiful and highly organized. The sense of complete personal safety is unparalleled in our extensive travel experiences and even at home! The even, unbroken sidewalks, low curbs, signage, metered pedestrian traffic crossings all contribute to an enjoyable walking experience. Toilets!!!! Clean. Free. Fully-supplied. Readily available. Heated seats! The Japanese are extremely honest, courteous and welcoming. I must mention the many children and families that we met while touring historical sites: smiling, charming, eager to interact in order to practice their English, respectful, and happy to be photographed – this was a particularly delightful and unexpected part of our tour. The children were themselves visitors to the sites – usually with school groups. Despite what we have all heard, food costs are not overly expensive and options in a range to suit your pocket are readily available. Their cuisine is very interesting and fun – not to mention gorgeously presented. Shopping is terrific as everything is of high-quality, perfect, and available within a range of prices. Highly recommended!
Create Your Own Review

Carol

The Island Hopping on the Galapagos Islands was an excellent trip.

Rich S

smarTours...I can't say enough about the outstanding time we had touring Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands...outstanding guides, service, accommodations and plenty of time to enjoy the wonders of these 2 outstanding locations. Thanks again. We will be back!

Daniel B

We enjoyed the trip very much. Being a smart traveler lets us enjoy special upgrades. Thank you. Looking forward to upcoming trip to India and Nepal

DEBBIE P

My husband & I took this trip in June 2015 -- highly recommend Smartours and this trip -- it was amazing! Everything was very well-organized; the tour guides & naturalists were excellent -- knowledgeable, personable and professional. All of the hotels and the ship were top-notch. The included meals were very good. The only negative on the trip was that LAN airlines changed some of the flight schedules, so we ended up losing some direct flights, and instead, had a couple flights with connections involving considerable time in airports. (unfortunately not controllable by Smartours -- LAN made the changes) -- to make up for the inconvenience, they provided an additional lunch (in a 5* restaurant in Quito) and extra tours in Quito. Almost every other traveler on our trip had toured with Smartours previously -- some as many as 12 times! Based on the rave reviews of our fellow travelers and our own experience on this, our 1st, Smartours trip, we will definitely travel with Smartours again (checking dates for 2 trips already)

Cheri D

Wow! What a trip! Excellent tour guides everywhere we visited. Accommodations excellent, food delicious. The ship was beautiful. Just a fabulous trip.. If you ever wanted to see both Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands don't miss this trip!

Enchanting Peru

29 Reviews

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Cynthia

Trip was fabulous, Enrique Virto was a superior host and tour guide. The altitude was a problem for both my husband and I as was the inability to brush our teeth with the water, but the hotels helped with Oxygen and Coca Tea to ease the altitude sickness and Enrique was encouraging and very helpful during the entire trip. He was very considerate of our abilities or inabilities and always considered our group as a whole. He was incredibly informative and knowledgeable about all of the places we visited and his English was excellent. The accommodations were excellent, clean rooms, comfortable beds and very kind and helpful staff. This is my 3rd trip with SmarTours and I will travel with them in the future.

Eimer

Enrique our tour guide was fantastic . He has a passion for educating his clients about Peru . Our tour of 6 adults were delighted with his care . Smart Tours got us to see all the important places in Peru . Food and accommodation were great too

Judith

The guide was wonderful. Very organized trip. Hotel accommodations exceeded my expectations. The daily activities were very tiring. Perhaps a lighter schedule would be better. Overall a delightful trip

Pam

Enchanting Peru trip was an amazing experience . Led by Enrique Virto who was very knowledgeable , funny and passionate about leading the tour thru his country. Highlights were the floating islands (lake Titicaca), Manchu Piccu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley. I would highly recommend this tour if led by Enrique . Was the experience of a lifetime !!!

Shannon M

This was an amazing trip, made even better by our guide Enrique Virto! His local knowledge added so much to a journey that was already of bucket-list quality. Thank you SmarTours!

Zell M

My partner and I just got back from Peru. Wow --- what an excellent tour and memorable experience. Everything was perfectly organized and executed well. All of the lodgings were fantastic, and our tour guide, Enrique Virto (from Cusco), was exceptional (full of energy and passion about his country). My one suggestion: an extra day in Lima. It's a beautiful city with so much to see and do. We were only there for one full day; one more would have been perfect. I highly recommend this tour.

Steve a

We just completed the Enchanting Peru trip. It was fantastic. Our guide Enrique Virto was the best. He made sure that everyone in our group was included in every activity. He was very knowledgable about Peru and it was his home and it made us all feel welcomed to his country. We have been on other tours but Enrique was the best guide ever. We recommend this SmarTour to Peru and ask for Enrique as your guide. It was unfortunate that we did not have him in Lima as our guide. The guide in Lima was fair, but Enrique was the best. All the hotels were top of the line, only complaint is the beds where just a bit bigger than a twin. Luckily there where two bed in our room each night. We have recommended this tour already to a few of our friends. Smartours made this a very easy trip with no worries.

Angela

We just returned from our Tour in Peru, unfortunately it was riddled with strikes by the Transportation Department. HOWEVER!!! we must say that Smartours went beyond what was normal. We were treated like Royalty, additional nights at the hotel, flight upgrades. We were able to see everything we came for. Some other Tour Groups we shared our hotel with were not that lucky and they ended up stranded. Also I like to say that our Tour Guide in Peru (Enrique) was funny, very knowledgeable and just overall a super nice person, we never felt like that we were a burden or "just a job". Too bad he wasn't able to come to Lima, we really missed him there. Overall our group was amazing and fun, we had a wonderful time. This was one of our many trips with Smartours and I am looking to see where we will go next. Thank you for all your effort. I will email some pictures ;-)

Bruce C

This was our second guided vacation with Smart Tours. Outstanding trip and memorable due to the main guide, Enrique Virto. Rosario Rojas who we spent two days with was also excellent. Enrique's knowledge and passion for explaining the art, history and culture of the country were evident to everyone on the trip. Many of the other members of the group commented that Enrique was the one of the best guides they ever had in their world travels. I hope your company continues to hire Enrique as he is a real asset to Smart Tours.

mike p

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Our guide, Enrique Virto, was exceptional and made a fantastic trip a memorable one! Highly recommend this tour. This was our second trip with Smartours and both were amazing!

William W

Our guide Enrique, (from Cusco) was excellent, full of knowledge and interesting and very helpful with all our requests and needs. Bus drivers were excellent. We had a great time enjoying all the wonderful sights, Machu Picchu, floating islands, Lake Titicaca, Sacred Valley, cities of Cusco, Lima, Pisco, and Puna, and great shopping places. Enjoyed seeing all the beautiful animals, Llamas, Alpaca, Vaicuna, etc. Hope to join another SmarTours trip in the future.

Susan R

Hello -- This is a review of a tour when everything goes wrong and this can happen with best laid plans. The tour had just begun with our overnight flight to Lima from JFK. LAN asked us to off-load for 20 minutes, which turned into an overnight cancellation. I got in touch with smarTours and spoke with Linda (not 100% sure of the name). She was in constant contact with LAN and us to make sure we had a flight booked the next day with connection to Cusco and a guide and driver to meet us at Cusco airport and transfer us to meet up with our group. Then the high altitude hit me. Our guide in Cusco, Enrique, saw to it that I got prompt medical attention including transfer to hospital in Cusco. Also a local tour rep, Javier, worked with us to get our flights rescheduled for return stateside per doctor's orders. I felt smarTours and their representatives took very good care of us. Enrique was in constant touch with us and I felt went out of his way to get us good care.

Teresa T

I am 67 years old and I have bad knees and balance issues. I was skeptical about this trip but I went anyway and I am so very glad I did. I did things at the pace I felt comfortable with and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I settled on a plateau at Machu Picchu, with a great view, taking in all the beauty of it, without climbing all the way to the top. The climb up on the 'big island' was quite difficult, but with the help of some new friends, I made it and the lunch was fantastic. The tour was well organized and our tour guide Luis offered great information with such a passion. The hotels were beautiful and I made some very lasting memories. I would recommend this trip to friends and family. Thanks for a great experience.

Barb a

Excellent tour in all respects.

Michele G

this was a great tour but the altitude can slow you down if you are used to flat land at sea level. the history was amazing and so were the people. the guide knew her way around the area and helping us adjust to the altitude. the trip is mostly in the Andes with the final days in Lima.

Rose P

Such an amazing tour.. thanks to the excellent guide Dagmar Becerra. She's everything a tour guide should be.. competent, knowledgeable, smart, patient. Our group was so much fun and interesting too, from riding the vistadome train to trekking Machu Picchu, exploring the Uros floating islands and riding the double-decker reedboat in Lake Titicaca, and even just enjoying the live music at the restaurants and group dancing the night away.. what an incredible experience!

Rachel N

This was an amazing tour. The tour guide Dagmar Becerra gave us a good feel for the culture and the history of the people. She took care of the young and the mature people of the group. Thank you Dagmar for taking your job seriously and making this trip enjoyable to everyone.

Laurel

Everything that I expected and more. Tour guide, Dagmar, was amazing! We took the trip to see Matchu Pitchu, but we fell in love with Peru. The colors, the friendly people, not to mention the shopping! What a trip! A few inconveniences while there, nothing crazy, but the tourist industry is in its infancy, so not unexpected. But, its still so natural, it was worth it!

Teresa W

I wanted to start by saying that Enrique our tour director, was amazing. He made us feel like we really mattered. He even let my husband and I tag along with him during his down time to enjoy an amazing meal in the town below Machu Pichu. The hotels were great, although the beds were a bit hard in Cuzco( but that is not anyones fault). The food was great, and every place that Enrique recommended to eat was amazing. The value as usual was unbeatable. Our only input for improvement might be that you add an extension to the end of the trip in Lima of a day or two with the optional tour of going to see the Nazca lines, otherwise had a great time. The group was all fun to be with as well. Thank you again for all of wonderful experiences, I look forward to the next adventure!

Eddie

We had an extremely pleasant vacation!!! The trip activities, hotels, flights and guides were outstanding. THis was our first tour experience and it was superb (not sure future will be the same.. ;-( we are used to coordinating our vacations ourselves). One big minus on the tour is that there is practically no time at all in Lima!!! Paying for only the land portion to extend stay is not economically fair. Nevertheless was an outstanding experience...

Lois L

We were fortunate to have Luis (Leuko) as our tour guide. He was through, kind, and patient, had a good command of the English language, and explained places we visited and customs well. Many of the people of Peru dress daily in their colorful native costumes. It is a trip I am glad that we took.

Fred L

This was one of the best Smartours we have taken. Our tour guide,Alvin, was perfect. As far as I'm concerned, he could do no wrong. The Peruvian people were very friendly, the food was great and the sights were fabulous. What more could you ask for. The hotels were very good also. When we are ready to book a tour again, Smartours is on the top of my list!!,

Heidi B

My husband, son and I, along with my sister-in-law and her partner tried to think of one thing that could have improved this tour company and this trip...but came up with nothing. This tour company runs a smooth, competent tour...run like a well oiled machine. From the flights, hotels meals, recommended restaurants, sights and tours were planned with such expertise and wonder. This was our first experience with a tour company and I was overwhelmed with their professionalism and attention to detail. The entire trip was meticulously planned so that we were climatized appropriately...with amazing hotels (best I've stayed at in the world) so unique and meals were art in themselves...our tour guide Lucou...not sure of spelling...was knowledgable, friendly, patient, caring and become all our friend....I just sat back and enjoyed, with not a single worry...felt very safe, secure and well taken care of. Every penny spent on this tour was worth it and more. I wish I was better with writing to express my gratitude to Smartours for introducing e to a whole new way of travel for my husband and I...Every moment was scheduled to give the proper balance of rest and wonder.....Thank you Thank you Thank you and can't wait for our next adventure with Smartours.

Rich a

This was our sixth tour with Smartours and it was fabulous. We are always amazed at the high quality hotels and tours for such an affordable price!! Our tour guide, Enrique Virto was the most outstanding tour guide we have ever had. His knowledge and love of Peru was evident in the information provided. His presentation was understandable and humorous at times. Enrique went the extra mile to ensure special requests were met. We saw all of the wonders of Peru and came home extremely satisfied.

Hilary L

Just returned from this trip to Peru, and without a doubt our tour guide/director Enrique Virto was amazing- his rich Inca history, knowledge of local politics, healthcare and historical facts made the trip incredible. He took care of us like we were family, accomodating requests and making sure we not only experianced the best of our tour but kept us enthralled with local information and helpful hints. It is clear he loves and is proud of his country and heritage and I cant imagine another guide to have given more of himself to us than Enrique did- Booking Patagonia with Smartours next- the bar is set high!

Toni D

This was out 3rd SmarTour (one woman on our trip was on her 14th SmarTour). It was an amazing trip. Everything was perfect especially our tour guide - Enrique. He was so fabulous - extremely knowledgeable about everything, fascinating, smart and funny. I would definitely go when you know Enrique will be leading the tour. We are now trying to figure out which SmarTour to take next. The hotels, the tours and the price can't be beat.

Michael a

We loved the group and our tour guides Enrique and Charros. It was so good we booked our second smarTours trip to New Zealand and Australia for next fall. Only complaint is we would like to sit together on flights. See if you can work that out for our next trip.

Rosalyn B

I just returned from Peru and I'm a historian and read a bit before the tour. I never imagined our guides Enrique and Charros would be so knowledgeable, funny, informed and passionate. They both had a sense of the history and put the present and history of the region in perspective. Enrique kept a tight ship and no one dared come late. He lead us by passion and humor.Both cared deeply about the history and were dramatic and brought it to life. Both allowed time for questions. The Lima guide in comparison was poor and didn't answer questions and often exaggerated and gave us misinformation.

Alan T

Hotel Novotel Cusco offers a laundry service in addition to the dry cleaning service shown on their website. Review of the actual Peru tour will follow later.
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Lawrence

Tour director was very good. City tours by bus were weak. There needed to be a handout with ideas for free time with directions and costs. Beatles museum visit should have been part of base tour. Edinburg castle optional tour should have live guide or audio guide as part of package, Options for dinner at three price points should be a handout for each location where dinner is on your own.

George

Very good guide. AA just ok airline. Liked 9am start times. Hotels excellent except good in Edinburgh. Tours excellent except good in Liverpool. Wish single room was not so expensive.
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Dorna

The trip was wonderful. Renata our guide was excellent The Hotels in some countries could have been a little closer to the "action. The trip home from Prague to Helsinki and then to New York was complicated. The flight from New York to Baltimore did not give us enough time to catch our flight to Baltimore so we had to take a cab into the city and take a train home, an extra added expense. D. Remenick

Anonymous

Mostly, competent, interesting guides. We covered a lot of territory in 13 days, and always had support when anything untoward happened. It was also fun having time on our own. We go over our photographs with fond memories.

Anne

I recently participated in the Great Cities of Eastern Europe SmarTours. The scheduled tour as is planned is well done with a tour guide in each city. Our tour director, Renata, enhanced our experience with her first hand knowledge of each area as well as the historical background she shared. Renata made the trip exceptional. We enjoyed the SmarTours Optional Excursions that gave us an additional experience in the countryside around the Cities. We enjoyed a very compatible group of travelers which made the motorcoach travel and our meals together very enjoyable. The hotels in Warsaw, Krakow, and Budapest were great hotels and were all within walking distance of the Old Towns. It was disappointing in Vienna and especially Prague that the hotels were both long distances from the City Center. There was an underground line relatively close to both hotels. Overall this was a fantastic glimpse of Eastern Europe. I look forward to returning to this area as well as experiencing another part of our world with SmarTours!

Jacqueline O

We throughly enjoyed our Sept. 15 tour with Renata. It was like walking through the pages of a history book. One of the best tours we have taken and Renata and the local were wonderful. Anyone who loves history will enjoy this tour especially.

Laurel P

What a wonderful experience this was. Renata, our tour director, was exceptional, she is a knowledgeable, PATIENT, kind, funny and passionate lady who made this trip great! I can only hope that future smarTours trips I plan to take will be this good. We had a large group, 44 people, but everything ran smoothly. The local guides and our bus driver, Irek, were fantastic as well. I heard about smarTours from a friend and I'm glad we chose this company. The hotels were top-notch, food was great and they accommodated vegetarian guests as well. Only recommendation I would make is that they provide name badges for guests, it would be so helpful. Other than that it was a great tour visiting great places!

john s

Renata, our guide, was outstanding. She went beyond what guides normaly do to make this tour unforgettable.

Rose N

I just returned from this trip a few days ago. The food, guides, history and scenery was wonderful throughout the tour. What a lovely surprise Poland was with its beautiful buildings and interesting history. I took all the optional tours which added greatly to the overall tour and they were a good value for the money. Overall it was a great trip.

Kay K

Thank you for organizing such a variety of experiences for the great cities tour. Renata, our guide, was brilliant, organized, interesting, and made our journey memorable. She gave us many tips to elevate our enjoyment and keep us safe. This is my second trip with Smartours and I'll continue to use your company....a great value, thoroughly educational, and a quality adventure!

janet r

What a fabulous tour...great tour guide(s), great accommodations, wonderful food and lovely people on the tour!

Allan Z

The tour was great as usual, guide was excellent, group was all wonderful and we made some new friends. What more would you want?

Howard C

This trip was excellent. The cities visited, while different, had much history in common. Our tour guide was outstanding. She had a great amount of knowledge and, on a daily basis, really showed she cared about each tour member. Money exchange was a snap and I came home with no foreign currency, a task rarely achieved.

HelliTaskila

Renata our tour guide was exceptional and very attentive. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip which was quite fast paced encompassing so many sites and considerable history

Dale M

This was our fifth trip (and definitely not our last) with Smartours. The hotels and local tour operators were great. Only wish we had more time in Vienna.

Jacqueline g

Excellent tour guide was extremely knowledgable and kind

Steve a

We had a wonderful time on this tour! It's a must for anyone who chooses to visit these beautiful places of history.

Diane y

Great trip. Tour guide,Renata,was so well informed no matter what questions were asked. Step on guides in each of the cities also were extremely interesting and well prepared for almost any question. Each city visited presented a new experience. The trip was one of the best we have been on.

Gisela D

The trip was fabulous, but if possible don't travel during July, it was blistering hot. Besides the cities the additional stops chosen by the tour company were wonderful, interesting and a worthy addition. The hotels were comfortable and clean, breakfast was great in some and not so great in others but adequate. Last but not least our guide Renata was fantastic, one of the best ever. The only thing I will complain about is the seating on the bus. The seats were so close together that even I at 4'10 felt like a sardine jammed in a can. It must have been horrible for an average sized person and I highly recommend to make some changes.

Victor C

The smarTours trip to Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague was fantastic. Our tour director Pavel C. was incredible and even surpassed excellent when in Prague. He offered us an extra free guided tour which gave us even more of the history of this great city. The bus driver Henrique (Warsaw to Vienna) was a superior driver who drove extremely smoothly and safely.

Ed

Enjoyed a wonderful trip to Eastern Europe; nice hotels w/breakfast, nice bus & great itinerary. Sights were wonderful and everything went off without a hitch. Pavo our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and always there to answer your questions & help out. He was very organized and kept things moving at a steady pace. (And you are on the move...) Always felt safe in each city; just need to use caution like you would when visiting any big city in the world. Agree with review below of the different Optional Tours to take... Things to know: Bring along a 220V to 110V convertor to be able to charge your electronic devices. Still a charge to use a restroom in Europe. Our tour guide had us near a restroom at least every 2 hours. Don't forget to let your credit card & debit/atm card company know you are going overseas. As AAA members we preordered the different currencies ($75-$100 U.S.) needed using a link to off AAA's webpage to Travelex. Our tour guide pointed out best ATM or Money Exchange kiosk to use if you want to get funds when you arrive. A lot of walking is involved on cobblestone roads/pathways; bring comfortable walking shoes. You can check in with Finnair 24 hours in advance; we did this and were able to get 2 seats together by aisle/window for overseas flight. Seat configuration on plane was 2-4-2.

Dave G

Interested to hear more from Janice and Art Baer (Jul 5) about the Krakow segment of the tour and the comment "only complaint...more leg room.".

Patty

Just returned home yesterday from the 15 day Eastern European trip and it was amazing. We had Renata as our guide and we all thought she went above and beyond to make sure we had what we needed and knew where to go and how to get there. She could not have done more to make us welcome and comfortable. Each day we were given a history of where we were going and she was very knowledgeable and kept us interested. We were always handed a city map at each new location and she marked the hotel locaton . Be sure not to miss the folk dance excursion in Budapest. It was amazing. Our driver Henrique, the females fell in love with. He always gave us his hand when stepping off the bus. We used the front entrance more than the back to see him... Recommend this tour highly. A++++++... Would use smart tours again....

Debi B

Just returned from the 15 day Great Cities of Eastern Europe. Have taken many tour groups in the past and have to say this one was right up there as one of the best!!! So enjoyed the itinerary, great hotels, sightseeing, beautiful brand new bus. Very well planned!. The trip was really made by the exceptional tour guide Ranalta. She was amazing!! Because of her expertise and experience the trip went very smooth. She was very knowledgable and shared so much history of all our destinations. Everyone loved her!! Great job! Look forward to using Smartours again!!

Denise W

Just returned from the 15 day tour. Travelled with my husband and two children, (ages 16 and 20). We all enjoyed this trip. So much history and beautiful architecture to explore. The accommodations were clean and comfortable. The breakfast buffets were very good. There was a variety of foods to pick from so that all palates were satisfied. Our tour director, Renata was exceptional!!!! She is well organized, helpful, knowledgeable, energetic, friendly and fun to travel with. Renata shared with us what it was like to grow up and live under communist rule. Very interesting! If you are going to take this tour, be ready for a lot of walking. Take some comfortable walking shoes. Many of the surfaces are uneven as they are cobble stone. We would definitely travel with smart tours again.

Janice a

Hotels were all great. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, organized,patient and had an excellent command of the English language. He gave us an extra tour in Prague! Overall he was excellent; only critique was that he was not more involved in welcoming and closing dinners...did not facilitate group members introduction/getting to know one another nor stayed at the farewell dinner. Tour guides were good to excellent...the best being the guide who took us to the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. Some guides talked non stop and was too much to digest. Warsaw-Disappointed that the Warsaw Ghetto wall was just a drive by and a 1 1/2 hr tour of the Jews of Poland Museum was not enough. Krakow-Salt Mines...good not great. Need to make people aware BEFORE the tour that there are many steps to traverse and a great deal of walking. Jewish Quarter by Night-Tour was skimpy at best and restaurant food was terrible. If you continue this tour, consider another restaurant and allow more time to walk around the area..get there when you can see the synagogue and walk to the Holocaust memorial. We saw the memorial as my husband and I took a walk after we ordered our food. This tour was a waste of money and could have easily done it on our own. Budapest-Danube River cruise-fantastic and beautiful Schoenbrunn Palance was excellent and the best guide Prague- tours were excellent with our tour director and gave us an extra tour of places we would not have seen. Lunch cruise-excellent..beyond our expectations..Very nice. Helsinki-enjoyed it...beautiful great restaurant. Would have preferred going to hotel after arriving instead of driving around even though the guide was great...very sweet. Hotel was in great area to explore by ourselves. Comments about Finnair- Great service, ran smoothly and on time and friendly...only complaint...more leg room. We would definitely travel with smarTours again. It is a well run program, excellent hotels and financially competitive. The trip met our expectations and had a great time.

Boris S

We just returned from this tour (Helsinki, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Helsinki). Our main tour guide (with us for almost all of the trip), Renata, was terrific. She was knowledgeable, friendly, very helpful and accommodating, energetic....just great!). In each city we had expert guides and each was absolutely wonderful! Overall it was an excellent tour, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough overview of the history and culture of the cities visited. The food, entertainment, optional tours, tour guides in each city, bus drivers were all wonderful. Cant say enough about the breakfasts!!!! And, some of the scheduled dinner meals included wine or beer - I definitely did NOT feel "nickeled and dimed" on this tour.

mike r

Very interesting tour of Poland-Hungary-Austria-Czech Republic-Finland.. Tour guide Ms Renata Mikulowska was extremely informative & available for questions.. Hotels in Warsaw-Vienna & Helsinki outstanding ---Krakow Hotel-fair--Budapest & Prague good..

Marie A

Outstanding historical visit to six amazing cities. We traveled with delightful people who were interested in being inclusive and gaining from rich cultural experiences. The tour went exceedingly smooth with transitions between all cities and sites to be seen. The value of the trip was a splendid deal.

judy l

Just returned from the first tour of the season. Very busy, packed schedule to 5 amazing cities. Hotels were consistently good to great, breakfasts also excellent. Renata was a wonderful guide. Very experienced and full of knowledge and humor. Local tours were better than expected. The cities are all unique and worth a visit. Very new bus for comfortable travel. Only complaint was too much of a hard sell for optional tours. We were a small group and it was difficult to get the minimum number for many of them. Would recommend this tour, but best if you are able to walk a few miles over various surfaces without difficulty. Hope you get Renata as she adds so much to this trip!

Judy A

Our cruise on the Danube was the best! Rather a no frills boat but wonderful food and everyone treated us like royalty. So interesting to go through the less than popular countries. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Steve S

We just returned from this tour (Helsinki, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Helsinki). Our main tour guide (with us for almost all of the trip), Renata, was terrific. She was knowledgeable, friendly, very helpful and accommodating, energetic....just great!). In each city we had expert guides and each was absolutely wonderful! Overall it was an excellent tour, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough overview of the history and culture of the cities visited. The food, entertainment, optional tours, tour guides in each city, bus drivers were all wonderful. Cant say enough about the breakfasts!!!! And, some of the scheduled dinner meals included wine or beer - I definitely did NOT feel "nickeled and dimed" on this tour. However, there are two itinerary issues that should be addressed as they detract from the overall comfort for individual travelers: 1. The website has an error: you do NOT arrive in Warsaw late morning; travelers arrive in Helsinki at 9 am (Helsinki time) after the overnight flight from NYC (7.5 hour flight), and must wait with an 8 hr layover until the connecting plane to Warsaw leaves (5pm Helsinki time) That means, that travelers from NYC arrive in Warsaw 16+ hours later and then are taken to the hotel. (the website itinerary states 'warsaw late morning' - not true). Smarttours solution was to offer a bus from Helsinki airport to downtown Helsinki and drop us all in front of a University building so we could aimlessly wander about for 6 of the 8 hours. - this was a waste of a day! A better use of our time would have been to schedule a bus tour with a guide on that day (of course the BEST solution would be to find a direct flight to Warsaw from some other airline). We could have seen the Hard Rock church, Sibelius statue, and a general tour that day. Lunch in the city should have been arranged and introductions to our travel mates might have been a nice touch. I must mention here, that I called Smart Tours office twice about this issue a week before the trip when I noticed the inconsistencies between my flight time info and the website - I was not impressed with the cold, unfriendly, and unsympathetic response I received from the corporate office person I spoke with - the answer was "well, others have done it and no complaints were expressed" - WELL -HERE IS YOUR WELL EARNED COMPLAINT! I am not mentioning a name here, but am not at all satisfied with that person's phone manner (I spoke with that person more than once). As this was our first Smart Tour trip it left me feeling uncertain (what other "surprises" should I expect?) - fortunately, no other difficulties were experienced. 2. Although it was clean and relatively convenient, the hotel in Budapest (NH Budapest Hotel) was not on the level of the other hotels we stayed in. It was a definite "eh" compared to the others. By the way, all our travel companions were very nice, friendly, and fun to be with. We really enjoyed this trip and despite this critique, we would go with Smart Tours again (many of the people on our tour had been on several Smart Tours, and felt they were well taken care of). Hoping Smart Tours takes this critique in the spirit in which it is offered.
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Deborah

We recently returned from ICELAND with our first trip with smarTours. Everything far exceeded our expectations. Our airfare was included and we flew on ICELANDAIR which was incredible. Our guide Oli was with us every step of the way and was very helpful and knowledgeable. Chosen hotels and meals represented local culture. Our only recurring question: how can Smartours give so much while costing so little?.. We are in the process of planning our next trip and would recommend smarTours without reservation!

Karrel

I just returned from Iceland and Chasing the Northern Lights tour. It was a fabulous trip, our guide was wonderful and very knowledgeable. Our drivers were great in getting us to our planned sites safely. The accommodations weren’t plush but certainly adequate and clean. The meals planned were delicious with plenty of fresh fish. This was my first time with smarTours, but it won’t be my last!

Michael

Over all a good tour. Smartours should host the northern lights tours each night instead of only the first three nights. It is sold as the northern lights tour, accordingly, the tour should include every opportunity to see the northern lights. We had to pay extra $60/person to see the lights. The guide, Guony, was excellent!!! Thanks Guony.

Hilliard

We were on the "Incredible Iceland and Northern Light Tour." We were not pleased to have to pay for our own Northern Lights tour with Grey Lines at an additional cost. We were told Smartours only covered the cost of the Northern Lights tour for the first three days, when we did not go out, due to snowing conditions. This extra cost makes no sense on a tour titled Northern Lights. Also, before the tour we emailed to get additional information as new travelers to Smartours and our email was not answered. On our phone contact, one representative was snippy in her attitude.

Kaniyalal

The guide was very friendly and accommodating. The tour was well organized. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t see the Northern lights.

Sheridyn M

We were on the middle October 2017 tour. Our tour guide, Oli, MADE us stay out on the tour the first night that we were there--for some of us having stayed up for nearly 24 hours--BUT--he was right we had views of the Northern Lights that never appeared another night--He was great--I loved all the tales of the Trolls and Hidden People--he was very informed about all the things that make Iceland so special. Plan to go back. The worst part of the whole trip was my getting called out--cataracts and all--for extra scrutiny at the Reyjavik airport--and that the overnight at JFK was unbearable--except for watching some Peruvians in native costume--recognized from our trip to Macchu Picchu --who were waiting on a flight.--Hated that part of it all--the connection--but loved the trip itself.

India and Nepal

41 Reviews

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Sheila E

We went on the India and Nepal Tour. So very wonderful. Would not have been so wonderful without the enthusiasm and and knowledge of our wonderful guide Bonita Backer.

Donald

Excellent trip with a phenomenal guide, covered 5-6 cities in India plus Kathmandu, Nepal. Smartours does not provide enough preparatory information on anticipated expenses so we were caught short; but otherwise excellent.

gertrude b

India has always been special to me. We recently combined a short segment of independent travel to Calcutta (birthplace of my father and where my grandparents were buried) with an organized trip to India and Nepal. The hotels on the tour were generally OK with superb accommodations at the Meridien New Dehli and good accommodations Jaypee Palace in Agra. Breakfast buffet was excellent most places. The entire trip was made enjoyable, comfortable, fun and ran smoothly due the tireless efforts, skill, compassion, care and friendship of our guide Jasvir Saurana. He took care of all the annoying fees including all the hotel tips, some of small fees for toilet attendants that is annoying for some of the western traveller (shouldn't be as those attendants would not be working there if they are able to find other work easily), and some camera fees for those that happen not to carry small change, etc. (This is not true of other Smart tour guides!). He personally bought treats, additional night boat ride on the Ganges, drinks and flower/candle offering on the Ganges amongst others for the group. He was unstinting of his personal time for demanding and sometimes dependent tourists. He seamlessly integrated personal flight schedules and worked with his agencies and Indian travel bureaucracy/security to make what could have been a travel headache if not nightmare when I unfortunately had to cancel the last segment of the trip due to my mother's illness and subsequent death. The entire journey, guided by someone I would be happy to have as a friend, through northern india including a passing glance of Indian culture, India lifestyle, intra Indian flights, train, boat, rickshaw, bicycle etc, is a life (changing) experience not to miss.

Kathleen A

I recently finished up the India-Nepal tour with SmarTours on November 5, 2017. I can’t say enough about it. It was a life-changing experience. We saw many wonderful sites and had some very unique and extraordinary experiences. One of our tour mates was even cast in a Bollywood film to play a British officer! The evening trip to the Ganges River was an other-worldly experience not to be missed. Seeing the Taj Mahal was the fruition of a life long dream. It truly is the most beautiful building in the world. The food and venues were superb. Our tour guide, Jasvir Saurana, a Delhi native, was excellent, from attending to every aspect of our travel comfort to acting as a great narrator and teacher of the history, religion, and customs and practices of India and its various regions. Jasvir gave India the color and contextual meaning to make it come alive for our entire tour group. He was exceptionally kind and courteous to all, making everyone feel welcome and part of a fun and caring group. He truly is a rock star tour guide and great human being. It was the trip of a lifetime. Thank you, thank you, SmarTours and Jasvir! Namaste ?

Gloria P

Tour guide Jasvir Saurana has been one of the best I've experienced in my 14 escorted tours over the years. He is knowledgeable, organized, experienced and most of all proud of his country. Being born of Indian parents but never visiting this awesome country until now, I had only minimum knowledge of this magnificent country with all its grandeur and history. Jasvir opened my eyes to so much more with his detailed explanations of India and Nepal in all their majesty. He is very caring and generous with his time and I'm grateful that I was a participant in this journey. Accommodations, transportation and incredible staff made my trip amazing and incredible. I compliment SmarTours for this great experience and would certainly travel with them again. Three Cheers for SmarTours and 10+ for Jasvir Saurana. Namaste.

Ashifa P

Took this tour Sept 23-Nov 5th and what an adventure! Words cannot describe the amazing experience we had during this tour. We experienced the culture and history, saw amazing sites and unbelievable architecture and enjoyed fabulous food! What made this tour even more memorable was our fantastic tour guide Jasvir Saurana. Absolutely fantastic! If you are planning on taking this tour i would highly recommend this company. Accommodations and transportation was fantastic. ANd of course, if you get Jasvir as a tour guide, well thats just icing on the cake!

Joanne S

Our guide, Jasvir Saurana, made this trip the trip of a lifetime! His knowledge and enthusiasm were infectious. The whole group loved him. I will never forget this experience. I came away with a new understanding of this incredible country: the history, culture, religions, and food. Don't miss out on seeing incredible India with smarTours.

Karen T

Amazing Trip! Loved our guide Ravi. He was so organized, knowledgeable and caring. He was kind enough to arrange a surprise birthday cake and celebration for my husband. This was an extensive itinerary and we couldn't have covered this much ground on our own. Hotels were good to great and the food was delicious. Our bus driver was a real pro. Traffic, roads and wandering cows were a real challenge. Air India leaves a lot to be desired, but we appreciated the direct flight. We would definitely book another trip with SmarTours, this was our fifth.

Taesuk L

Me and my husband just returned from India and Nepal, 23 Nov - Dec 3. This is our 8th trip with SmarTours. Thanks for providing a great experience again. SmarTours can't be beaten it's best value for money. We took land only tour and it worked well. Our tour director, Ms Bonita Backer is one of the best we've ever had. We were very fortunate to have native English speaker who speaks Hindi and Nepalie fluently as our tour director. Local guides were Indians and some of them were very hard to understand especially in Delhi tour. Bonita always reiterated what they said in a very professional manner. She also made sure we were recognized as VIP. Most hotels provided cookies, fruit baskets or upgraded our rooms. Appreciate your SmarTravel program and we enjoyed our perks. It worked. Sue Lee from San Antonio, Texas

Barbara B

I was on the November 2016 tour with Susan and agree with everything she has shared. We had great weather to see the incredible sites and amazing guides who not only took us through the scenery but saw to every possible detail. Hotels were great. Food was great. But the chief tour guide, Bonita Backer, was the key to this amazing trip in the depth of her knowledge and her compassion and love for the people of India and Nepal. She got us through bad air, the rupee crisis, visa issues and more. I did my share of shopping but the souvenir I treasure most is the chance to know what kind, generous and caring people live in these two countries. Namaste.

susan r

I recently traveled to India and Nepal with Smartours and wanted to say what an incredible trip it was. The accommodations were excellent, the transportation was great, although the roads travelled left much to be desired. We arrived just in time for the Indian demonetarization, which created havoc not only with the travelers but the locals as well. It was wonderful to see the Taj Majal and the plane ride over the Himalayas was amazing and not to be missed. But most of the credit for the successful tour resides with our tour guide Bonnie Backer, an expat who has lived and breathed India for several decades. She had such patience and calmness during the money crisis, and displayed such enthusiasm and passion for the country and its people that is was almost as if we were a part of it rather then spectators looking in. She truly has developed a sense of the country, the people, the traditions and customs , and was able to convey that sense of belonging to all of us on the trip. For 15 days she was with us, and while it is never long enough to get a real feel for the country- we got a taste and a very personal one at that. India and Nepal may not be for everyone, but it did come alive for me.

Laura

I've always wanted to go to India, when I found out there was an India & Nepal trip I didn't doubt it for a minute. Our trip was in October 2016, it suppose to be better weather but it was very hot, so try to use cotton clothing, the tour provided bottled water on demand, to keep hydrated and we could purchased near by at a very cheap price. For me the highlight of the tour was the visit to the Ganges river ceremony, in Varanasi, it was magical!! We had the privilege to have a great guide, very educated and professional, with a lot of knowledge about culture and monuments, with him we could learn about religious, history and the life of the people; without him our trip to India and Nepal, wouldn't be as wonderful as it was, I definitely recommend to ask for Jasvir if you take this tour, he thinks in every detail to make your stay memorable and special, he even manage to book for us the elephant ride that was cancelled to the Red Fort, because of the religious practices; he made some calls and gave us the surprise, it was a priceless experience that we will never forget. Namaste!!

Francesco F

It was a WONDERFUL experience. People, places, foods, religions, animals. Unbelivable!! Special thanks to our guide Jasvir who did a great job. It would never be as awesome as it was without him, he really made the difference. I totally recommend, If you decide to go to India and Nepal, please ask for Jasvir Saurana as a tour guide.

Tyler C

Talk about incredible! We saw lot of sights - lots of beauty (Taj Mahal), lots of ceremony (sunset and sunrise ceremonies on the Ganges River), lots of people (16 million just in Delhi), lots of traffic (all cities we visited), lots of high mountains (the Himalayas & Mt Everest). We stayed in top hotels and ate lots of delicious Indian food. Everything ran smoothly from rickshaw/elephant rides to more traditional modes of transportation (planes and trains). We were treated regally everywhere we went. People were wonderful. My wife, Elana is in many selfies with girls and women of the country, who wanted a shot with a red headed American! Our tour guide Bonnie was fabulous! An American who has lived in India for 15 years. What an amazing woman. Her love of India and Nepal was infectious, her knowledge and insights invaluable. The local guides also added key observations and commentary. Our fellow passengers were a great group. Smartours, we will back for our fourth tour!!! Your tours can't be beat- best value for the money.

Christian S

Just returned from the Smart Tours India and Nepal trip (Mar 28-april 11). This was quite one beautiful and exiting trip. My favorite one from my 3 smart tours trips to the date. Everything was well organized: Logistic, Transportation, Hotels, and a highly recommended team selected by Tour Manager Miss Backer. Miss Backer was always very resourceful and always available to all of us. She took care of all our group and individual needs always with a big smile and good sense of humor. She is also very knowledgeable in everything related to Indian and Nepali Culture. I Highly recommend this trip to anyone that want to have a good introduction of India and Nepal. Thank you Bonita and Smart tours for making this trip a lifetime experience!!! Christian Saavedra, Puerto Rico

Lynn F

We have just returned from the Smartours India & Nepal trip of Mar 28-Apr 11. India is a beautiful, but vast and complicated country. I do not believe we could have efficiently visited it without being on an organized tour. The selection of cities and sites provided a comprehensive look at Northern India. The hotels (with the exception of the Jaipur Sheraton Four Points) were excellent. The local city guides were all top notch, especially Krishna in Varanasi and Mali in Kathmandu. But by far, the biggest asset to this tour was the never-tiring leadership of our Tour Escort, Miss Bonita Backer. Of all the guides on my four Smartours trips, she was one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She spiced up the trip with details of Indians and everyday Indian life and did not just talk about temple and palace facts. Although it was a long, hot, and at times arduous journey, she never tired of enthusiastically sharing her obvious love of her adopted country, and she never lost her warm sense of humor. Having an American ex-pat as a guide was having the best of both worlds. She knows India intimately, but she can relate well to Americans and our interests. And, as a bonus, her American English accent was easy to follow. And, finally, her skills at facilitating our in country travels were amazing. She took care of not only our hotel check in/out procedures, but also our many bus, train, and multiple airline reservations.

Renato G

Our India/Nepal tour was quite memorable because of Ms Bonita Becker, our tour director. She was very good in anticipating/accommodating all our needs. The hotels, transportation, local guides and sites selected we're outstanding.

Mary A

I just returned a few days ago from the India/Nepal tour, and the cities and sites are still flashing in my mind. So much to absorb and see in all the cities on the tour. Every city has it's own flavor to offer on this tour. Bonita Backer our tour guide was great. She has wonderful insight on both countries as an American living in India presently and Nepal in the past. She is able to share her experiences to the group , so we just don't see India and Nepal but can understand these countries, the people, and their customs. This made me enjoy the tour even more having a better understanding of the cultures through my first time western eyes.

Joan a

This was our third Smartours and definitely our favorite! The title Incredible India describes both the tour and the tour guide. We owe so much to our compassionate and knowledgeable tour guide Bonita Backer. We will recommend this trip ..Incredible India.. to our many friends as long as they can have Bonnie as their guide. We were cared for..we were informed..we were organized..we became a group of friends. But most importantly we saw Incredible India from expert eyes with a view that made us very satisfied Smartours customers. Bonita attended to every detail magnificently. It is delightful to see how she is so well known and how she is so well liked by the Indian people. This enhanced our enjoyment of the trip. Brava Bonnie. Joan and Herb Spiegel Lambertvile NJ

Marsha L

Dear smarTours I have just returned from your most fabulous trip in incredible India & Nepal.I wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on having such a terrific employee such as Bonita( miss India)❗️Although the itinerary was excellent, I doubt the group would have enjoyed it as much without Bonita's energy, passion & compassion,expertise, and organizational skills which enabled the group to have a spectacular experience.... And very importantly..WE COULD UNDERSTAND EVERY WORD SHE SAID ❗️ I will recommend this trip if Bonita is the guide. I can't imagine it with anyone else! Maita /Marsha Leoni

Phillip U

Well planned and organized. Guide Bonnie Backer outstanding. Good value. Highly recommend.

Roy a

We were clients on the February 8, 2016 tour to India and Nepal. This tour was very well organized and planned from our arrival in Delhi until our return to JFK. The itinerary was perfect, the hotels used were magnificent, and all transportation excellent. Local tour guides were knowledgeable and conveyed a high regard for their profession. However, we feel that the key to the success of the tour was Ms. Bonnie (Bonita) Baker. Her enthusiasm and passion for India and Nepal were genuine. Ms. Bonita’s knowledge and experience for many years in India and Nepal allowed this tour to unfold seamlessly so that no issue was an issue. The obvious joy which Ms. Bonita has to be able to share India and Nepal with others was infectious. We send gratitude to smarTours but especially to Ms. Bonita Baker.

Jennifer

Just back from a wonderful cultural tour of northern India and Nepal. It was an incredible experience that will stay with me forever, I can't say enough about our guide Bonnie Backer. Her enthusiasm and passion as well as her dedication and attentiveness to everyone in our group really made the trip a successful and very memorable experience. It was a very full itinerary but very well balanced that provided us with the opportunity to see many heritage sites, learn about the artisans and their crafts as well as being immersed in the sometimes chaotic and overwhelming surroundings particularly in the cities of India. Bonnie did an outstanding job of overseeing everything. Thank you Bonnie!

Phillip U

Feb.5, 2016 I was on your smarTours trip to India and Nepal Jan 11-25, 2016. I have travelled extensively. This was the most interesting and enjoyable tour I have been on, primarily if not completely because of your excellent guide/co-ordinator Bonita Backer. She was extremely knowledgable and has an obvious love and passion for India/Nepal and their people. This came through clearly. Her enthusiasm and passion infected all of us. She worked tirelessly to ensure that all the logistics of this difficult trip in difficult countries came off without a glitch. A monumental accomplishment. She knew and understood all of us. She never showed any irritation - even though some asked the same questions repeatedly. She was respectful to all. She presented India/Nepal and its peoples in the most complimentary light possible.They would be proud of her. Thanks for making Bonita available to us. It made the voyage the success it was. Yours sincerely, Phillip Unger MD

Carole P

thanks especially to our superb Tour Director, Bonita Backer. She is a real wonder..... her love of her job, of both India and Nepal, of people in general..... SHE made the trip! India was an adventure in every aspect.... the food was great, the people very admirable in their attitude towards life and living, the hotels fine but our Bonnie was the real reason we enjoyed ourselves so much. We had some excellent city guides but she always had some added insight and information for us. Great trip..... Nepal a wonderful plus.

LInda L

I went solo on this trip to India and Nepal in December 2015. The experience was Fabulous. Our guide, Ravi Tiwari, was exceptional and our drivers navigated us safely through our travels. Smartours is to be commended for their support of Nepal during this time. If you have an adventurous spirit and passion for travel, add India and Nepal to your bucket list.

Jennifer W

My husband and I went on this tour in January of 2015. Amit was our guide, and he was fantastic! We have been on four SmarTours previously, and while all the guides have been excellent, Amit really stood out. Our group happened to be small (about 16), which helped, but he did not rush us through places like some guides do. If we all seemed interested in a place, we stayed a little longer. "No hurries, no worries" is his motto. Amit has one Master's degree (Political Science, as I remember) and is studying for another in Religion. This made his talks about India so very interesting, as he explained the politics and ethnic/religious groups, and how they interact. Our hotels were mostly excellent, as is the norm with SmarTours. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. I don't mind "flavorful" food, but I dislike spicy hot food. The hotels all had a variety of options to choose from, and Amit was good about helping us choose items from the menu that would suit our tastes. I came back loving Indian food, the warm Indian and Nepali people, and India and Nepal! Thanks to SmarTours for making these tours so affordable, and for hiring such excellent guides. We were fortunate to have left Nepal about 7 weeks before the earthquake struck, but had we been there, I'm sure that Amit and SmarTours would have been doing everything possible to get us home.

Glen T

My brother and I really enjoyed the tour. All of the guides and drivers did a wonderful job. This is our second Smartour and I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Megan

SmarTours was recommended by a friend who does her homework and knows good value. We looked at several other companies but most no longer include Nepal which was worth the extra time/effort to visit. The opportunity to contrast different countries and their cultures during the course of one trip is something we like to do when we plan our own trips. (This was the 1st group tour my husband & I have taken in the nearly 25 years we have been together.) Our tour manager, Bonnie Backer, is a magician & diplomat, not to mention a fascinating embodiment of multi-culturalism at its best. After the tour ended, we traveled through India for 3 more weeks on our own and rarely a day went by without some challenge that made us appreciate the inordinate skill Bonnie used to shepherd our @smarTours group those first 2 weeks.

Shirley M

What a wonderful trip. Hotels were excellent to very good. Continental foods and bottled water offered. Tour Director and local guides were excellent and offered experiences beyond the original agenda. Nepal is open for business and its people very welcoming.

Nan

I have just returned from this fabulous 14-day Smartours trip to India and Nepal. I've traveled with Smartours often and have never been disappointed with their itineraries, accommodation, experiences and excursions, and guides. But for this trip, in a country where the tourist infrastructure is not as easy to access as it would be in less challenging places in the world, their services, including those of our wonderful guide Arvind, were simply outstanding. If you are on the fence about whether you can handle the challenge, I can only say “no worries, a wonderful adventure awaits, reserve now with Smartours!” We were assured of a great trip from the moment of meeting our guide. He was so knowledgeable, helpful, caring, articulate - - it was always evident how much he loved his country, its culture and history, its people and as he shared that with us, we too got to know India for the incredible country it is. Arvind offered so many personal insights into his country - - shared its customs with us, and made each experience personal. I always felt we were in his safe hands. It would be difficult to pick any one experience as a favorite as there were simply too many... but among them, the Taj Mahal, the Hindu rituals on the Ganges at Varanasi, the elephant ride, our farewell dinner in Nepal stand out. Thank you Arvind and thank you Smartours!

Billie G

Adding to my previous reviews, Due to the fuel shortage in Nepal, our flight from Varanasi to Nepal was cancelled. SmarTours paid the bill for the 27 of us to fly back to Delhi and connect to another flight to Nepal. This was a huge expense to SmarTours. THANK YOU SmarTours for taking care of us and making the trip a great success.

Billie G

I just returned from an amazing trip to India and Nepal. I have been on many trips, but this was one of the best. Thank you SmarTours! So much culture, history, interesting sites, very friendly, beautiful people, a multitude of sounds and vivid colors, its impossible to explain. You must go... The accommodations were top notch as well as our guide, Arvind Chadha. He brought the whole experience to life, guiding us stress free, through a beautiful, colorful country. His tireless, ever so patient, endless efforts helping us to get the most out of every day. Keeping us together and safe, spending his own money at times, giving us gifts along the way made the trip fun and carefree. I have traveled on many trips with SmarTours and with other companies but never encountered a guide like Arvind and would like to let you SmarTours be aware of what an outstanding treasure you have in him. Put India and Nepal on your Bucket List and GO. You will not be sorry. It is a wonderful experience. If you don't you will miss out on one of the beauties of the world.

Greg A

An incredibly intense, eye-opening journey, demanding but equally rewarding, all made unforgettable by the extraordinarily gifted and loving tour director, Bonita Backer. Her heart and soul belongs to India and Nepal, and now ours do to. A phenomenal, broadening, and moving two-week experience, not to mention great fun.

Craig S

Our trip to India and Nepal was truly a life changing experience. So glad we went there. Bonnie was just the best. She seemed to know everything ...and everyone there. Well they all seemed to know her anyway. We were treated so well, that we really felt that, for once, we were able to relax on our vacation. Even in the midst of chaos she was able to exude calm...and humor. Such a great time we actually missed her and some of our travel companions when we got home.

Barbara G

This was a life changing experience and Bonnie Backer was instrumental in making this trip o unforgettable. She is one of, if not the best, tour guides I have ever met. She was and is passionate and enthusiastic about the country, its culture and its people and conveyed that to all on the tour. Many of us would like to return to India again especially if she is the guide. The actual tour was fascinating; we saw and did so much but at the same time had some free time so we did not feel that every minute was scheduled with an activity. The accommodations were great, especial the Meridian, the Jass Radisson in Khajuraho and the Crowne Plaza in Nepal (those wee my favorites). The food was also great….lots of variety and a chance to try new dishes. The trip to the Taj Majal and Veranasi were memorable, incredible actually. Nepal, in light of the subsequent earthquake, was haunting; we saw so many national heritage sites that were devastated by the quake and aftershocks. Again I cannot say enough about Bonnie Backer…she really made this tour come alive and sparkle. She will have to be a part of my next tour to Inia!

Kathie R

My daughter and I were lucky enough to go on your India/Nepal tour from Dec. 25 until Jan. 8, 2015. This is my third trip with Smartours and I am always amazed at your itineraries, accommodations, excursions, food and tour guides you provide. But I was blown away by our recent trip to India and Nepal. Our tour guide, Bonnie Backer, was absolutely fabulous; from meeting her in the airport with open arms to the sad ending of our trip, where we cried, hugged and had to say goodbye. She is the best ambassador to India with all of her exuberant passion for "her country" and her knowledge of the people, stories, and history. I always felt excellently taken care of by Bonnie as she was so professional in guiding us around both India and Nepal. In any new country, you always have the need to feel comfortable and safe; Bonnie took care of those needs every step of the way. As we traveled to many cities, hotels, shops, restaurants, sites, etc., I could see the love people had for Bonnie as she led with kindness and her caring nature. She respected all the people she encountered. I know with the recent earthquake in Nepal, you won't be including that in your tours, so I feel so lucky to have accompanied Bonnie to this beautiful country. I hope you will be continuing with India and I want you to know you are so lucky to have the BEST TOUR GUIDE ever! Thanks for the experience.

Daryl D

The India and Nepal trip was absolutely amazing. I had been on ten previous Smartours, and I must say that our tour guide, Bonnie Backer, was the most knowledgeable, most enthusiastic, tour guide that I have ever had. She was so excited to share this experience and all her wonderful friends at each location. The entourage of assistants were very beautiful, kind people, as were people in general everywhere we went. I must say the Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist people welcomed us with open arms and I have never received such a warm feeling while traveling. We are so saddened by the disaster in Nepal and we are praying for all the lovely people there.

Jack H

Last year, I had the absolute pleasure of touring India and Nepal. I am somewhat of a smarTours veteran having visited several countries with this company. Every trip was wonderful but the most outstanding experience I have had was the India and Nepal tour. This was due to our guide, Bonnie Backer, whom I affectionately call Miss India. A title well earned and deserved. Bonnie knows India - the people, the food, the sites and the culture. Her passion for all things Indian and Nepalese is infectious and her knowledge and resources in both these countries is invaluable. Bonnie's ability to meet the needs of all the members of our group was overwhelming - I know this first-hand as she went above and beyond to accommodate all of my special requests. Bonnie's sense of humor and commitment to details made for a fantastic experience for all. This review is particularly significant because of the devastation currently taking place in Nepal. My thoughts and good wishes go out to Bonnie and the many friends I made throughout India and Nepal. I am proud to call Bonnie my friend and will always appreciate the experience she provided for me while touring India. She really is Miss India and I will forever be grateful for all her efforts on my behalf while in India and Nepal.

Rachel

My trip to India and Nepal was incredibly special because of my tour leader Bonnie. Her personal touch turned an interesting trip into a very memorable experience. Her energy and enthusiasm for the countries shined through and made each day more exciting. Furthermore, her knowledge and understanding of the food, culture, arts, and religion connected us to the countries in a way no guide book ever could. The attention to detail to organize and meet the needs of 29 travelers in such a diverse group is never easy and yet each adventure went without issue. She made each day seamless, which is clearly a credit to her hard work behind the scenes. We feel very fortunate that she led our trip because we know our time in India (and Nepal) would not have been as much fun without her. From the friends for each bus bazaar, the rickshaw rides or photo wallahs, she truly made the trip outstanding. We are deeply appreciative of she added flair to make the trip amazing.

Helena

A journey into the mysterious and enigmatic, full of strange fascination - from the splendid Taj Mahal to the erotic temples of Khajuraho. The country of mysterious paradoxes; the land where civilizations and times intermix... Please enjoy the pictures from our fantastic trip to India: http://www.webgraphic.us/photography/india-2014
Create Your Own Review

George

The huge organization problem appeared on the back way during the overlay from Croatia Airline to American Airline (on 10/23/18): the time break between flights was one hour only.. The Croatian jet has delayed, and the entire group lost their connection to AA. This event has created very nervous situation for tourists, who mostly are not so young people. This case destroyed good mood after the nice, in general, trip.

Susan

This tour was incredible. What a beautiful part of the world. I was most impressed with Lake Bled, Istria Peninsula and Split. The accommodations and meals were very very good. I would have rated this a "5" except on the first day of the trip when we boarded the bus our guide, Rok, informed us that the bathroom on the bus was not to be used unless it was an extreme emergency and would remained locked. One lady did have an emergency and she had to ask Rok 3 times to unlock the bathroom. He kept saying just wait 5 minutes... There are times when you can't wait 5 minutes (me being one of them), I don't know if this is your policy of disabling the bus bathrooms or if it was the bus company. I would like to know. I would never book another tour with SmarTours if this was your policy. I have taken many tours with other companies and have never run into this. Thank you, Susan Ransier

Hannah

I had a wonderful time on the tour to Croatia, and would highly recommend to my friends and family. Hannah

Anonymous

Smartours Croatia exceeded my expectations! Thoroughly enjoyed the tour in every respect. Suggestions-more history & detail of past & current culture by tour guide on bus, several optional tours should be part of the package(Lake Bled boat ride & Istria), More dinners in restaurants and NOT in hotels and more time in Split. Please eliminate your min. 10 characters and welcome all comments!!!!

Anonymous

I went to Croatia and Slovenia. Had a fabulous tour director....Elvis. Lots of history and the countries are beautiful.

harveena r

Just returned from an amazing, well organized "Adriatic tour". Had a wonderful time. We would highly recommend this tour to everyone. It is a beautiful, scenic part of the world! Elvis Kidric our Tour Director was phenomenal. He is well informed, relatable, attentive to the needs of all group members, caring and humorous. His attention to detail was remarkable. We had an excellent driver too. We look forward to joining many more smarTours to different destinations. My sister will be going to Egypt with smarTours based on our great experience.

Tom

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and educational group tour made so by our tour guide, Roc. His knowledge of the area and the history of the former Yugoslavia was extraordinary. His best skill was keeping the group under control and on time. Hotels and meals were great and the sights were memorable. We highly recommend this tour.

Carla S

The magic began after a very long journey to Zagreb airport on July 12, 2018. We were greeted by Elvis! From that very moment until we said goodbye, he made our Croatian experiance nothing short of SPECTACULAR! Thank you yo Smartours and Elvis for the best adventure ever! Xoxo

Bonnie M

This was my 19th trip with smarTours in 21 years – and it was absolutely wonderful! My first visit to the area (formerly Yugoslavia) was 41 years ago, and the beauty of the countries brought me back 14 years ago with smarTours. Our guide Rok filled our minds with the incredible history of the area – from ancient times to current. Meanwhile, we absorbed the breathtaking scenery in the care of our most capable driver Sludgen, as he navigated the winding roads through and around the mountains. Someone commented that the Dalmation Coast of Croatia was more beautiful than Italy's Amalfi Coast (or our own California coastline, for that matter). Absolutely true, because the Croatian coast is probably longer. There are 1,000 islands that parallel it, and the mountains seem to tumble into the turquoise waters below. All along the drive, from Zadar to Montenegro, communities with red-tiled rooftops dot the bays and inlets. For anyone who loves culture and history, this is the trip for you – but if you just want to absorb absolute beauty, you won't be disappointed!

THOMAS H

Our recent "Jewels of the Adriatic" trip was one of our best ever. Our tour guide Valentina was to quote an old saying is "AS GOOD AS IT GETS" She is bright, delightful, knowledgeable person who went far beyond the norm to insure every minute of our tour was safe, interesting and a learning treat. We can't say enough....A JOB WELL DONE.

HECTOR A

One of the best vacation trips I ever had, incredible places, excelent food and not to mention great lager beer. truly recommendable

Carol A

From lakeside castles to shimmering coastline, mountains, terraced lakes, waterfalls, walled cities, Roman ruins...Croatia and Slovenia were one fabulous surprise after another! Our tour director, Elvis, guided us with humor and patience. His stories made the distant and recent histories of these countries come alive for us. This was my first experience with SmarTours, and I will definitely be coming back for more!

Jane

This trip with Smartours through Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro was one of the best I've experienced.. Our guide, Rok was very informed and and shed light on the complex history of the area. The balance of the guided and the free time was excellent and the hotels and accommodation very nice. I am recommending smarTours to others as well. They are a great value for a very quality trip.

Jerry S

We have traveled through many parts of Europe, most of the trips organized on our own. This trip with Smartours through Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro was just awesome. Honestly one of the most beautiful areas we have ever seen. We learned so much about the history of this area besides seeing the beautiful views and towns and so much about the people and their struggles. Our guide Rok did a fabulous job of keeping the group organized and on time and in telling us so many facts about the cultures, history and much about the recent history through Communism and the 1990's wars. The trip was relaxing as everything was organized and timely. Our hotels were all excellent. Many meals included. Typically a nice overview guided tour was offered of each new location but you have very much time on your own to explore. The other members of the tour were very nice and we all enjoyed a common bond early on in the trip. Bottom line is I would highly recommend Smartours for your next trip. They are a great value for a very quality trip. We certainly will be using them again!

Debbie F

Terrific tour, it covered some beautiful country. Our guide, Elvis, was wonderful. He shared insight, stories, and history of the region very nicely, had good wine recommendations(!), and was a pleasure to be with each day. Hotels were very good and well located, the bus was new and very comfortable. We were about the only first-time smarTours travelers on the bus, most others had traveled with them for years. I think we will join them! Thank you for a relaxing holiday, smarTours.

Michael a

Carolyn and I recently returned from our May/June Croatian tour (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) with two other couples. This was our fourth SMARTOURS experience. We have previously been to China, Thailand, Turkey, Israel and Jordan. As on everyone of our tours we experienced all we had expected and more. As always the tour guides are exceptional. Our guide, Elvis, from Slovenia met all our expectations. Elvis was very knowledgeable about the local geography, history, architecture, religion, and culture. He was a master at introducing us to each locale and advising us about possibilities for us to explore, either with the group or on our own. Elvis was exceptional in every way: hints on customs, where to get cash changed, where to eat, what to see and the itinerary allowed plenty of opportunities for free time and tour time. All our hotels were very nice, always in a great location with amenities in close proximity. Our bus was brand new and very comfortable and our driver, who was with us the entire trip, was equally affable, pleasant and helpful. All in all we have enjoyed this and all our SMARTOURS. When our friends ask us about our trip they are amazed at how much of the country we have experienced, how much we enjoyed our accommodations and the exceptional value we received for our money. When we consider the entire cost of the trip includes flight to and from the USA, all local flights, ground and water transportation, excellent hotels, most of our meals, admission to attractions (often not having to wait in lines to purchase tickets or wait in a queue), expert tour guide and expert local guides, we get exceptional value for our money. No one we know has expressed similar satisfaction with their tour results and overall value with any other tour company. We will stick with SMARTOURS. Thank you for another great experience. See you soon. Mike and Carolyn

Lisa L

I purchased the Jewels of the Adriatic Tour as a college graduation present for my daughter and I. We had the BEST time! The tour was well organized , on time, entertaining, informative, beautiful scenery, historical etc... Our Tour Guide RoK (Rock) was amazing. He made sure we were always on time, He was well prepared, entertaining, knowledgeable about the history and culture. He thoroughly answered all of our questions and concerns. He gave clear directions. We absolutely loved this trip! Other positive notes: Mario our bus driver was excellent, and we enjoyed meeting all the other fun people on this tour. Thank you SmarTours we will be back!

Elizabeth M

What a beautiful part of the world! I travel a great deal and thought I knew the history of this area. Our guide, Elvis, was so well versed that I learned a great deal. Smartours is my favorite travel company. Rather than spending lots of money on wine and advertising, they keep their prices low. This is why I choose them. The hotels are still nice, the guides are super, and the food is good. This tour and all that I have taken with Smartours had a nice balance between scheduled time and optional tours. The optional tours are reasonably priced and interesting so I usually take all of them.

martha c

Leaving from jfk May 11 to 24th. Excellent guide and wonderful trip. Much more than I expected!! The only thing was early wake -up calls! although I understand why.

Dale

This was our first experience with smarTours and we were very pleased with everything. Travel arrangements to and from Croatia worked out well with limited layover time. The hotels we stayed in were very nice. Our tour director, Rok, was OUTSTANDING. The bus was only 6 months old and was very nice and the bus driver was excellent. We will definitely consider using smarTours again for another adventure.

Victoria E

Our trip to Slovenia and Croatia exceeded our expectations. Each stop was amazing such as the caves, waterfalls, historic cities, and the view from the bus of the Adriatic coast. The city or site with historical significance smarTours provided a local guide to give us the history and information. The main tour guide was Rok who was very professional, organized, and knowledgeable about the past and present Yugoslavia. He would often would get us to a location before the crowds. After seeing my pictures that I have posted on FaceBook, many of my friends have put Croatia and Slovenia on their list of places to visit. The only suggestion I had to Rok that if possible could the bus driver slow down for some of the sites therefore making picture taking easier. Also, if he could give us a heads up when a particular site of importance was coming up so we would be ready to take our picture from the bus. I highly recommend this tour and will use smarTours in the future. This was our #4 trip with smarTours.

Joe a

Tour started in Zagreb on April 28, 2016, in Zagreb. 1. Outstanding tour director Rok. Absolutely wonderful 2. Driver Draggie (sp?) was great and coach was a really fine ride. 3. Hotels and hotel food was good. Some better than others, but none were unacceptable. We spend a lot of time comparing various tour companies before booking, and we think that we got the very best value for our money 4. Optional tour: Kumrovec (Tito's birthplace) was not that great but ok. Dinner that came with the tour was ok. Would not particularly recommend this option. Stay in Zagreb 5. Optional tour: Boat ride on Lake Bled. First class time. Michael was our boat dude, and he was really interesting. Island is pretty. Take this option! 6. Optional tour: Slovenians Village Dinner at Radovlijica. Food was good, wine was great, entertainment was good. This one was well worth it. Surprised at the value on this one. Don't miss it! 7. Optional Tour: Full Day Istrian Peninsula: I could imagine spending more time on the Istrian Peninsula. Pula's Roman ruins are amazing and the local guide was very good! Rovinj is just breath taking. Don't miss 8. Optional tour: Dubrovnik Cruise and Dinner. This was absolutely spectacular. Wonderful ride at late afternoon and dinner in view of the old town, the water, the sunset. WOW! However, the dinner was pretty bad (cold) and the bathrooms were flooded. However, it is a beautiful idea, and I recommend it highly if dinner problems are fixed. 9. Optional tour: Excursion to Mostar. Do not miss this one! Extremely good value and a whole country and culture that you would miss!!! Local guide was really good. The bridge that everyone goes to see is worth the time, but the nice lunch over looking the bridge and river is the best. Nice marketplace that is different from the typical. take it! 10. Lake Bled.... Mighty nice walk around the lake, I recommend. Visit to the Bled Castle is good. Could have stayed longer! Be sure to take the optional boat ride. Spectacular natural beauty 11. Postojna Caves: This is included. Nothing quite like it. Tour is well done, and you get to see quite a bit of the cave. 12. Pliitvice Lakes. This has to be one of the prettiest places in the world. The Walk around the various lakes with the local guide is strenuous but beautiful. Unfortunately, the local guide was more interested in getting done quickly instead of showing us the beauty. Everyone had difficulty in keeping up with her, and she simply abandoned us along the way. I would have been hurt had not a member of our group and another group rescued me. I hope smarTours makes different arrangements for a local guide. I reported this to Rok our tour director. 13. Split: MORE TIME IN SPLIT! This is beautiful place. The local guide who did Diocletian's palace and the local town was outstanding. The dinner at the Epetium dinner the arrival night was good and the special entertainment was good. 14. Zadar and Trogir were good. The ruins in Zadar are good! 15. Well, the highlight of the trip is Dubrovnik. The old town is just amazing. Be sure to walk the wall.... although, one does need to be in good shape; One can walk part of the wall as we did. Lots of steps. Good local tour guide. 16, Farewell dinner was just great!

Holly V

The tour was very well organized and covered lots of diverse sites. I enjoyed the parks and natural wonders as much, or more, than the cities. Local guides were excellent-a couple better than others-but very informative. Hotels and food were outstanding. Bus driver was superb and fellow travelers a delight to get to know.

Greg A

My best friend and I absolutely loved this trip. We had no expectations of what this part of the world would be like and were delightfully surprised. This was our second Smartours excursion but certainly not our last, an excellent blend of cultural, natural, and urban elements - incredible beauty, great food, and good company. The hotels were nice, even the government-owned facility in Plitvice Lakes. Our tour guide, Roc, our driver Dijo, the tours, including the optional ones (we took them all), and most of the local guides were quite good, especially with the "whispers" we used, but Dubrovnik was very crowded, even at the beginning of the season. The airlines and connections were better than in India and Nepal. And the price was definitely right! April 13-26,2016

Tammy

What an amazing tour...we couldn't have asked for more. The history was so facinating, the scenery so breathtakingly beautiful. Our tour guide was fabulous and so knowledgeable...thanks Valentina. We would take another tour anytime. If you haven't toured Croatia...go for it you will nto be disappointed.

Karin a

Our Trip was Amazing and perfect. We learned so much and seen the most beautiful sights. The food was great. Especially the Pizza's. We couldn't have asked for a more knowledgeable Tour Guide, Valentina was amazing. It was hard to go back home. We will def book our next tour with Smartours

Richard R

Fantastic tour with extremely knowledgeable trip leader. I suggest making the Montenegro tour optional and making the Istrian Peninsula trip option a part of the standard tour.

john s

Elvis and the coach driver were great! We had a great time and countries we visted were beautiful with wonderful food at reasonable prices! We always felt very safe.

Ellen M

An excellent itinerary and tour. The ideal blend of interesting history, architecture and beautiful scenery. Our tour director, Rok, was outstanding. He was very helpful, well organized and enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge of these countries. The optional tours were a great value and very worthwhile, significantly enhancing the experience. I highly recommend this trip.

Bette B

We just returned from the Jewels of the Adriatic tour and it was wonderful. This area of the world is very special, historic and so beautiful. The amazing, wonderful, brilliant Rok Kunaver, tour director, was so able to teach us about the history of this places, give us incredible information and share great stories of growing up in the neighborhood. There were a couple of difficult situations which he handled with such great ease and confidence. The hotels were lovely. The air travel, though long on the way home, went smoothly with no disruption and no problems with connections-and we had 4! The food was great and Rok's recommendations for restaurants were top notch and really gave us a sense of the food culture of the area. The optional tours were really well planned and gave you a much more indepth perspective of the country. We felt they were quite a value as well. We had an amazing driver, Tiho, with a very high end and comfortable coach. We really like this tour. It was our first time with SmarTours but we will definitely travel with you again.

Terry W

A fabulous trip! Well organize with a great tour guide, Elvis. Great hotels, cities, and optional tours made for a nice variety of experiences. Would like to have more time in Split and the Istrian peninsula.

William a

Very good to excellent

Joan B

Absolutely fabulous. Escort Rok Rocks! He was smart, funny and very accommodating. A surprise at every turn. With the great vistas, the blending of ancient & 'modern' architectu andof course the history was most interesting. A great value, amazing attractions along with superior lodging. Most people were repeat SmarTour travelers. This is a must see place to visit.

Elaine a

Incredibly beautiful scenery and cities seen on this well planned tour with a fantastic tour guide named,ROC.

Shek M

This Croatia/Slovenia trip offered much travel bliss. The scenaries were great; only that mother nature didn't like us on a couple of days, which we could not do anything about. The guide, Elvis, was wonderful, very informative, kind and caring toward his customer travelers. The drive Draszen (not sure of spelling) was very competent. We enjoyed it very much. However, a couple of "constructive" criticisms are in order to benefit future participants. We (20 of us) felt that the Plitvice National Park leg deserves MORE time. We only had 1/2 day. It certain deserves MORE. SmarTours should consider ensuring that the group arrives at the Park earlier than the current practice of arriving after noontime. Also, should allow more time the next morning. One can argue that as it offers only waterfalls, 1/2 day or so is all that's necessary. Well.... I beg to disagree. I love taking photographs. So, I take some liberty with the time on the trail. So.... more time than what's allotted now is absolutely necessary. It's such a beautiful place; I'm sure more time is justifiable and should be allotted. We were hit with rain, so, more time the next day definitely may give us sunnier times. With respect to the Plitvice Park, the local guide was sub-par. She's not so people-oriented. Don't know if she's too new. She only explained in front of the big map an overall picture, and not so seemed enthusiastic telling much about the park. Also, a couple of our group missed the boat ride. She absolutely didn't show any concern, and made any attempt to help. We got lucky. Somehow the 2 friends re-joined us mysteriously by themselves (taking another boat). Because of her UNfriendless, I suspect she didn't get any tipping from some. Then, the last part of the tour (last sightseeing day) was a full day to Mostar. The place is nice, but it certainly does NOT justify a full day. So, some time should be stolen from Mostar and be given to Plitvice.....

Ann B

Thoroughly enjoyable tour with Elvis who was an excellent tour director and Matteo who was a a great bus driver. Croatia and Slovenia are beautiful countries. So much was included in this tour, and the accommodations, meals and local guides were perfect. We saw so much and have wonderful memories. We also learned a lot about the problems that these countries have faced over the years. This is our second trip with Smartours; we look forward to traveling with them again.

Karen c

This trip was just fabulous!!! Beautiful scenery, great guide, good food and a wide variety of things to do. We have traveled with smartours several times and we have never been disappointed. This trip is a must for those who love traveling

Raleigh C

The tour met and exceeded our expectations. The Optional Tours were perfect, the dinners and lunch were exceptional allowing us to experience the traditional food. The hotels were excellent and our tour director Elvis and driver Tony were outstanding. With them at the helm, our group felt like a happy family. Information about each city/town/village was always provided in advance and this made the visit informative and personal allowing us to understand the people, customs and history of each visit. Needless to say, it was a wonderful trip and we would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

Charles C

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Charles C

This tour has to rank as one of the best we've ever taken ! World class scenery abounds through out the tour such as majestic mountains,lakes,sea coasts and many Roman and medieval structures and ruins. Also, the Postojna Caves are beyond fabulous ! Our guide,Rok, did a masterful job in leading our group in terms of communication and organization.You will learn a great deal about a little known corner of Europe with this tour. I recommend that you take the Mostar optional excursion and see Bosnia as well. This tour reveals a "hidden jewel" for sure. This is a "must do" trip for anyone exploring Europe !! (our trip dates were 4/22-5/5/15)

Barbara V

We just returned from this wonderful tour. Our congratulations to Smartours for the excellent organization and superb quality of tour guides, driver, and everyone that works with you. We would definitely take another of your tours and recommend them to all. We were delighted with the variety of wonders, both natural and man-made, of Croatia and the surrounding countries. Thank you for an unforgettable time.
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Pamela

Not quite clear in description of Kenya Safari. I was not aware of the arduous ride daily in a ATV for many hours. It was quite uncomfortable. The staff was great, the hotels and food were amazing, and the schedule was OK. A bit coerced into visiting the Maasai , price varied from tour to tour as we discussed with others. Great size of group , we had 11. Good thongs to say, just need more info on the difficulty of the terrain. Animals were fantastic! trip of a lifetime!

Patricia

Kenya/Tanzania tour was great. We saw lots of amazing wildlife and our jeep drivers/ guides were knowledgeable and experienced. Accommodation was varied and some was above expectations. All were unique. Food was very good.

janet k

First time with smartours ,Had an amazing trip best vacation ever ! I truly think that the guide makes the safari we had a fantastic one (Henry) very intelligent and knowledgeable everything we mentioned he found it ! Spoke with many other groups at the lodges and they didnt see as much as we did .Not sure if you are able to request guides .

Ann r

Just back from the most wonderful and exciting time of my life. All went very well. It was more than I could have imagined. Every lodge was wonderful as was the staff. Food was excellent. Our guide ,Alex,was the best .wish I had done it years ago. Thanks again smartours it was a pleasure

Jennifer H

We did the Kenya Safari Tour (No Extension) July 2017. Words don't fully express how this trip went beyond all our expectations. The hotels were all gorgeous and the food varied and plentiful. Our driver Benson was incredible. Your driver/guide is with you the whole time so they can really personalize the experience to what you are looking for. I am no professional photographer but we got so close that I came home and got some of the pictures blown up on canvas to remember it by.

Elizabeth

I went on this trip with the Tanzania extension in Aug 2016. What an incredible experience. Our Kenya guide, Johnson, was the absolute best! He could point out animals when all we saw was grass! He was so knowledgeable about the wildlife and really worked with our group to make each and every day magical. The hotels were fantastic (little blips here and there but that's to be expected) and met all of our needs. The Tanzania extension is a must! Again the guides were knowledgeable and fantastic, the hotels were superb, and the animals were plentiful. We were fortunate enough to see the Big 5 and then some! We saw both black and white rhinos! I would take this trip again and again!

Dean

This is a trip not to be missed! We took this journey in July 2016. Our group totaled only 6 and we had a wonderful time traveling together. Our guide, Abraham was wonderful and took excellent care of us. The wildlife was abundant and our guide knew just when and where to spot the animals. The accommodations on this trip were very good to excellent. The meals were mostly buffet and had good variety. Each of the hotels/lodges we stayed at had something special or unique about the location or building. This was our second SmarTours trip and it lived up to the expectations set after the first one! We were so pleased with our experience that we are looking at another SmarTours trip to a different region of Africa for next year.

Steven B

It was a wonderful trip due to the excellence of the Driver/Guide Abraham (Ibrahim?). His knowledge, work ethic and desire to have a fulfilling vacation experience made it a superior experience. The hotels were all good as far as the accommodations were concerned. The food was generally well presented and a wide variety but the taste and meat quality was mediocre. Better food was provided at Serena Mountain Lodge and the Safari Park. Food at the Sopa chain was just ok. Service throughout was terrific. The game drives were exciting, thorough and great experiences. The condition of the truck was just OK; e.g., the tires were marginal. The American Air flight, JFK to CDG was good while the Paris to Nairobi flight on Kenya Air was of lower quality. We will be looking at othe smarTours in the future mostly because of our terrific experience and the wonderful guide was had.

Helena

Just come back from our amazing African safari adventure. The hotels and lodges are excellent, rooms are very comfortable and food is great. There are many opportunities to view animals and great scenery. Photos from this trip: http://www.webgraphic.us/photography/kenya/ http://www.webgraphic.us/photography/tanzania/ In Kenya - minibuses not comfortable for more than 4-5 people. Speed and pass ability of minibuses concedes to jeeps. When arrival to Nairobi - discuss with the company representative about transportation, provided for a safari. No more than 4 people can photograph from one minibus. In Tanzania – new comfortable Toyota jeeps were provided.

Kerry M

Loved the trip. The only place we stayed that we weren't crazy about was the treetop lodge on Mt Kenya. American Airlines flight from NYC to Paris was awful- old plane and very poor service. Returning AA flight to London was great. Kenya Air was awesome. Tour guide was really good and we saw fantastic wildlife. All in all a great experience.

Maciej

This was our trip of a lifetime. Words can't describe how amazing that trip was. If you want to see real Africa this is the trip you need to take. Smartours make it safe and unforgettable. Here's link to my video from this trip. Enjoy. http://youtu.be/8Jr4pBri4l8 http://youtu.be/NlV2wXF2VqI
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Carol

The Island Hopping on the Galapagos Islands was an excellent trip.

Rich S

smarTours...I can't say enough about the outstanding time we had touring Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands...outstanding guides, service, accommodations and plenty of time to enjoy the wonders of these 2 outstanding locations. Thanks again. We will be back!

Daniel B

We enjoyed the trip very much. Being a smart traveler lets us enjoy special upgrades. Thank you. Looking forward to upcoming trip to India and Nepal

DEBBIE P

My husband & I took this trip in June 2015 -- highly recommend Smartours and this trip -- it was amazing! Everything was very well-organized; the tour guides & naturalists were excellent -- knowledgeable, personable and professional. All of the hotels and the ship were top-notch. The included meals were very good. The only negative on the trip was that LAN airlines changed some of the flight schedules, so we ended up losing some direct flights, and instead, had a couple flights with connections involving considerable time in airports. (unfortunately not controllable by Smartours -- LAN made the changes) -- to make up for the inconvenience, they provided an additional lunch (in a 5* restaurant in Quito) and extra tours in Quito. Almost every other traveler on our trip had toured with Smartours previously -- some as many as 12 times! Based on the rave reviews of our fellow travelers and our own experience on this, our 1st, Smartours trip, we will definitely travel with Smartours again (checking dates for 2 trips already)

Cheri D

Wow! What a trip! Excellent tour guides everywhere we visited. Accommodations excellent, food delicious. The ship was beautiful. Just a fabulous trip.. If you ever wanted to see both Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands don't miss this trip!

Magical Ireland

66 Reviews

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Mearl

The tour was great. The guide, Paul, was excellent. The trip from the last hotel to the airport was ridiculous, we left the hotel at 4 am to get to the airport by 7am. However, the overall tour and my experience in Ireland was fantastic.

Mark

Great tour! Paul was a great guide. Just wish the tour would go to Ireland & Scotland not just Ireland. Everything was well planned no issues.

Susan

The Magical Ireland tour was a thorough tour of all of Ireland. The pace was good, well organized and great accomodations. The tour guide, Paul Kealy was exceptional and made the entire tour very immersive as it related to Irish history and culture. An exceptional guide!

James

We had a great tour guide with Peter he was very knowledgeabl.

Emmanuil G

We traveled from July 19. Our tour director is sample of what the tour director should be. Funny, lot of nice jokes, knowledgeable, very well organized and much more. We learned a lot about country, observe its natural beauty and long history. I highly recommend the tour

Ann M

We just got home from this trip and had a great time! The trip was well organized, meals were delicious, and the only hotel we weren't too happy with was the Randle in Killarney. The tour director, Peter Murphy, was very knowledgeable and he and the 9 other people (there were only 11 of us) on the bus were super nice and so much fun to spend time with. They made our first trip to Europe a very memorable one. We would recommend this company to anyone thinking of going to Ireland.

Donna

The magical Ireland trip was fabulous, our guide Peter Murphy filled our days with history and fun facts of Ireland . The hotels and all of the many places that we visited were made fun and interesting. Thanks to Peter Murphy.

Paul T

We traveled on June 7th. This trip was everything we expected and more. Our driver, Peter Murphy, made the cities and the countryside come alive with his narrations. The city tours were very informative and the travel between major cities was made enjoyable with narration and frequent stops at places of interest. Peter kept to a schedule, was always available and served his travelers well. We saw a lot, learned a lot, met some great people, ate some wonderful food and made lasting memories. This was our second trip with smarTours and we highly recommend them.

janet a

We have just returned from the 12 day Magical Ireland tour with our guide, Peter Murphy. Every part of the trip was great, from the itinerary, hotels, food, and especially our tour director, Peter Murphy. We learned a great deal about Irish history, from the ancient language and burial sites to the hardships of the Great Hunger and the political Troubles which have beseiged this island. Peter was well informed as were the guides we met in Derry, Belfast and Dublin. Our weather was nearly perfect and the scenery, particularly the Dingle Peninsula was breathtaking. We came home full of knowledge thanks to Peter and have adopted many of his unique expressions in our conversation. Everyone on our tour, a most congenial group, seemed upbeat and happy. We would both highly recommend this tour, especially with Peter as your guide!

Robert N

My daughter and I just finished this tour, and we both enjoyed it very much. Our tour guide and driver, Peter Murphy, was excellent. Peter was friendly, humorous, informative and punctual throughout the trip. He helped create a good atmosphere on the trip for everyone. If you go, make sure you ask Peter about swimming sheep. Peter loves questions about sheep!!! The tour is well organized and covers a good variety of sights and history. The hotels (with the exception of the one in Derry) were excellent. The scenery is stunning, and the people of Ireland were always friendly. In short, this was a very good tour.

Sue M

I recently returned from Magical Ireland tour 5/24- 6/5/18. It was beyond expectations. We had a fantastic tour guide, Paul Kealy. Paul really has a passion for Ireland and has a great sense of humor. He explained the complicated history of Ireland and entertained us with jokes and limericks. He is very organized and has a laid back style. He played typical Irish music and explained the various sports played in Ireland. We saw wonderful places like the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Penisula, and so much more. I really can’t say enough about this fantastic trip to Ireland. I recommend that you go with Paul Kealy as the tour guide.

Sue M

I just returned from Magical Ireland tour 5/24/18-6/5/18. It was a fabulous tour. Our tour director Paul Kealy is an excellent tour guide. He is an awesome storyteller and was so organized. He explained the complicated history of Ireland in a magical and fun way and had a great sense of humor. He entertained us with jokes and limericks and played Irish music for us. It was an action packed tour. He told us where movies were filmed on location in Ireland. Paul has a great love of Ireland and was a fascinating storyteller and an all around great guy. I would definitely recommend this tour. Ireland is beautiful. If you go to Ireland...go with Paul! ??

Christina

I recently returned from this IRELAND tour and it was absolutely AMAZING! Each local guide was full of knowledge and each town had it's own charm. The free time allotted during the tour allowed us to explore each town on our own which was awesome. Peter Murphy was our driver and tour director and he was ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. I highly recommend going on a tour where Peter is the tour director. Things ran smoothly, he was prompt, very knowledgeable. His humor left us laughing all the time and you could tell he loves his country.

Frances

I cannot say enough good things about this tour and our tour director Paul. Even the weather cooperated to make this a fantastic time. Our group was small with only 20 people and we bonded and had a grand time. Paul is a store house of knowledge and a true love for his country which he is happy to share with all of us. I learned to much about Ireland and its history and Paul made is so easy. He also has a super sense of humor and had us laughing every day. An absolutely marvelous time!!!!

Bob B

I have been on many international trips, and think that this may have been my favorite for land tours. Paul Kealy was key to this trip and he was a great tour director. I met some nice new friends and would recommend this to a single traveler.

Isa R

Ireland was fantastic beautiful above and beyond my expectations. The trip was a dream come true. Paul Kealy was an excellent tour guide that took care of all the details. He was attentive kind to everyone in the group. Very organized and a great sense of humor. He knew all about the history, the best pubs and restaurants,sight seeing. With out a doubt the trip was AWESOME! The hotels & tours were excellent. My first tour with SmarTours and I highly recommend it. I went from the15th to the 26th of September. Great weather. Thank you SmarTours! Your the best Company. Sincerely, Isa Ramirez

Alan R

We took the June 1st tour and just returned. What a fantastic experience. Our guide, Eunan Smyth, was the best. He has encyclopedic knowledge of the country and a real enthusiasm for sharing it. The hotels were comfortable and in great locations. The pace was just right and each day was a new adventure. We've already booked our next SmarTour!

Josephine C

My husband and I just returned from our first trip with smarTours to Ireland. Our tour guide and driver was Paul Kealy. We had such a wonderful experience and it was because of Paul. He is very knowledgeable, he makes the history of the country come alive, his witticism ( My husband and I are smiling as we write this) is infectious, and most of all his care and concern for all of us was always at the forefront He is truly the best guide we have ever had and we hope you know how valuable he is to your organization. We were very pleased with the hotels and in particular their locations. I could go on and on. If all your other tours and tour guides are as good as this trip, we are hooked.

Claudia

What a fabulous tour! Paul Kealy, our guide was the best. He was so knowledgeable and fun to with. We saw and learned so much of Ireland.

Joan

We have toured with other companies but this was our chance to tour Ireland with a group comprising family and friends. We learned so much about Irish culture, history, geography and current politics and we loved the experience. Our guide and driver, Paul Kealy, was a font of knowledge, providing answers and information with indomitable wit and humour while navigating the bus with aplomb. He is an exceptional guide with evident love for his country! Our accommodations were very good (aside from one hotel that was too far from Galway to walk), with some hotel meals surpassing our expectations. We appreciated the extra time to explore on our own. Our visit to Northern Ireland was an important inclusion in the tour, a component that is not part of many other tours. We highly recommend the Magical Ireland tour.

Gina

Going to Ireland has always been a lifelong dream. It did not disappoint. And this trip was made even more amazing because of Paul whose passion and love for his country came through when sharing about both the historical and current events of Ireland. I thought I was going on a sightseeing adventure and Ireland's beauty is indescribable. But in addition to that, I came away with a much deeper understanding of the history, culture, and people of Ireland.

Estela S

We booked a trip with Smartours to Ireland because their itinerary included locations that we wanted to visit at a reasonable price. We had previously traveled with them and were eagerly looking forward to another great experience. We never imagined that the itinerary was a limited overview and that many more daily stops and excursions would be added. Amazing! Our Tour Director/Driver, Paul Kealy, was "one in a million"; he was funny, knowledgeable, personable, informative – never boring, attentive to details, and shared with us Ireland's history, struggles, music, food, and incredible countryside. He challenged us lot learn a few Irish phrases and created a relaxed camaraderie among all participants. Paul stopped by the roadside so we could take pictures and rearranged stops to take advantage of the weather. He recommended places to eat and main courses that we should try; suggestions were great. Thank you Smartours for subcontracting the best! There are no words to express our gratitude to Paul for this amazing experience. Priceless!! Totally worth the money!!! Unforgettable!!!!

Edward L

A recipe for a perfect Holliday; Ireland plus Smartours, but make sure you get Paul Kiely as your guide/host. A perfect 12 days. We even had sunshine.

Cindy

Excellent balance of cities, villages, countryside. Tour guide/bus driver, Paul Kealy, has exceptional knowledge of all aspects of Ireland as well as fine sense of Irish humor creating a great tour. Belfast additional guide provided up-to-date information regarding political situation, information not presented in the USA.

Elizabeth D

AWESOME trip- Our tour guide Paul was fabulous- learned a lot about Ireland- history, etc. Saw many beautiful places. I would definitely recommend this tour. thank you!

Ken

Our tour was great! Imagine two weeks in Ireland with no rain! Bus driver/Tour director, Gerry, was excellent. Extremely attentive to all and entertaining and informative. All accommodations were excellent. Only improvement would be fewer sweater/souvenir shops would yield greater time at a few locations where another 30-60 minutes would have been appreciated.

Maria L

Trip was fantastic......But who made this trip awesome was our Driver/Tour Director Gerard Maher........Hope that smarTours knows about how valuable Gerard is.... Sincerely, Maria Loy

Glenn B

My wife and I had not been to Ireland together previously. We had a very splendid time there. Our driver/tour guide, Jerry Maher, was entertaining. He has a broad knowledge base, and was very informative. Jerry honestly presented Ireland's storied history and Ireland's positive outlook about itself and its aspirations for the future. Our local guides especially in Derry and Dublin were informative and entertaining; and gave personal insight about the local history both old and recent. This tour made me contemplate returning, very soon. It was great !

Andrew S

This was my first tour over the sea, and I had a great time. The hotels, places, events, city guides and a knowledgeable driver (Gerry), made this an experience that will be tough to beat for any future tours I may take.

Sharon p

Absolutely awesome trip. Our driver, Gerry Maher was exceptional. So much information given, very accommodating, and very conscientious. Highly recommend this tour. My sisters and a friend of ours were extremely impressed by Ireland.

Esther L

Comprehensive coverage of Ireland with a full array of tours and a wonderful driver/narrator/tour director. Paul Keary looked out for us individually and as a group and kept us all in good humor and gave us a great historical view of Ireland. We really felt like we got to know this country with its culture and lovely people. Great hotels, wonderful food and delightful entertainment. Thank you, smarTours . Many in our group had taken your tours before. We did China and want to do more.

Kathleen K

We had been to Ireland before -- once a cruise line stop and also doing a self-drive 1 week trip using B&B's. Every visit has been great, but we definitely saw the most on this trip. Our guide/driver was Paul Kealy and he was the best tour guide I have ever experienced. His knowledge was astounding and he had a wonderful personality and dealt with the many different personalities very well. All of the hotels were well chosen and certainly met our needs. It is a busy trip -- up early every morning and a very packed daily schedule. But we saw so much, and and did have some down time (mostly in the evenings). I would highly recommend this Ireland trip to anyone -- it offered the most venues at a reasonable price.

Marie B

What a great tour! We could not have asked for a better driver/guide than Gerry Maher. He gave us a wealth of information on Ireland, and carefully drove us around the beautiful countryside. Certainly was a magical trip.

Steve H

This tour was all that I expected and more. We saw all the highlights of Ireland that you could hope to see in 12 days. Our driver/director Paul Kealy was phenomenal. He knew all about the history, and the best sights, and the best pubs and restaurants. His concern for the group was evident, and he had no end of humorous stories. A Great Trip all around.

Patty J

This was my first bus tour ever. It was amazing. The history, knowledge, wit, humor, consciencentiousness and complete competence led by our tour/driver/guide Paul Kealy couldn't be matched. He enhanced beautiful Ireland with a great attitude . I'd highly recommend this trip!

Yuko a

We had a wonderful trip, one of the best!!! Exciting to learn about Ireland culture and such a beautiful country!! Each hotel we stayed was excellent with great breakfast!! This was our 2nd trip with SmarTours. The tour guide and our traveller friends were so nice!! We had a great time!! We will love to have another tour with them again, no doubt. Thank you so much, SmarTours!! You are the best tour company!!

Dave a

This was our first ever tour. Always in the past preferred to "do it ourselves". Best decision ever. We had a thorough tour with a very competent,warm,knowledgeable driver/ guide. We experienced Ireland in detail. Paul Kealy our venerable leader, was there for us at every turn. We loved him and couldn't believe how capable he was. It was a 12 day tour and we only experienced obe day of rain! Miracle worker as well!

EVA R

Recently returned from your Magical Ireland trip and it was absolutely enchanting. The wild Irish coastline scenery was truly spectacular and the Giant's Causeway -just amazing. Our guide/driver was extremely knowledgable and provided an interesting and enthusiastic commentary. Very very good trip.

carol a

Great trip, Paul made Ireland north and south come alive.

Dave a

Dave and I enjoyed a wonderful magical tour of beautiful Ireland. Our tour guide, Ger Maher was a delight as well as a well informed tour guide. We saw the sights, learned about the history and enjoyed the culture first hand. Thank you Smartours, this was a great trip.

Eladia C

Paul Kealy was an excellent tour director/bus driver. How one person did that, I am overwhelmed. Usually there is a separate tour director during a group tour. The itinerary was great and my favorite is the idea that Northern Ireland is included for the price. I only wish two or three more days were added to spend some time in Southern Ireland.

George

The Magical Ireland tour was a wonderful immersion in Irish culture, history and countryside. The sunny attitude, quick wit, and vast knowledge of our driver /guide, Gerry Maher, made the tour a pleasure for everyone

Nancy

This was my first Smartour and I would recommend it. Paul, our tour guide, was always available and helpful. He was very knowledgeable about the country and provided excellent guide in Dublin, Belfast, Derry and Galway.

Ann

Our guide and driver Gerard Maher made it a truly unique trip. He was very thoughtful and helpful to all in our group. His knowledge of Ireland and his humor was exceptional.I have taken other Smartours and he was the best guide yet.

Kathy B

The Magical Ireland tour was fantastic! Our tour guide, Gerry Maher, was the best! His wit, knowledge, conscientiousness, and caring enhanced the pleasure of experiencing the beauty and culture of Ireland. Gerry took a personal interest in everyone and went out of his way to make the tour experience special to each individual. This was my first SmarTour and because of the wonderful experience I look forward to future trips.

Richard C

This was one of our favorite vacations so far. We've been to many places around the world, but this trip was great! Paul Kealy really made the trip memorable with his wit and knowledge.

Julie

The Magical Ireland tour with Paul Kealy was a fantastic, informative, fun-filled journey around the Emerald Isle. Paul was funny, knowledgeable, accommodating, interesting, and a great driver! Couldn't have asked for a better time. We loved it and would do another tour with Smartours in a heartbeat.

Charles G

First off let me say a big Thank you to Matt Rafter our Driver/Tour Director. Matt did an outstanding job and made the tour a magical, informative, educational and wonderful experience. As this was my first trip abroad I was blessed to have his expertise and knowledge. The other local guides did a fine job as well. The only drawback I found was the walking tours falling at the end of the day after events and stops along the way and being on the bus all day. I just wanted to get to my hotel room and have time to prepare for dinner rather than set off on a walking tour at 4 PM. Clarion Hotel in Limerick's staff was less than friendly, they had no business center and we had to buy electrical adapters that even the much smaller hotels provided? I would recommend SmarTours and would use them again myself!

Sherry P

Like so many visitors from the USA/Canada, we had great fun tracing our roots back to The Emerald Isle. Surprisingly we discovered our ancestors covered Great Britain in it's entirety. We found family surnames from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales!!! Our Tour Director/Driver, Matt, was fantastic. He took very, good care of us and did it with a sense of ease. He was informative, caring, intelligent and had a wonderful sense of humor. I'm sure you consider him a great asset to your company, right? :) A couple of suggestions; no walking tours at the end of a day, also would like to see you select a different hotel in Limerick. It was very dismal with gray and black colors and staff that was very different from the friendly staff in our previous hotels. It felt like we had landed in a eastern block country. Overall I was very impressed with my first trip with smarTours and will gladly recommend you folks to others.

Martha V

This tour of Ireland by SmarTours is well worth the money! Ireland is truly a beautiful country with Paul Kealy as your guide. The tour went smooth all the way around Ireland with Northern Ireland also. I have no complaints about the quality of hotels nor food. I recommend this tour with SmarTours.

Michael S

Paul was a great tour guide and driver. Entertaining and very good. The hotels were excellent. The weather even cooperative. The price was very good. Very good company with excellent sites and a good price. Well worth the trip.

Linda H

This was my first smarTour trip, although the third in my family. The trip was so well organized that everything went off without a hitch. Our tour guide Paul was fun and entertaining, and oh so informative. You could tell he really enjoyed what he was doing. Hotels were good, food was good. I could have done without the Irish night at Kate Kearney's Cottage which I thought was overpriced and repetitive of what we had already seen by that time of the trip. However, the Connemara excursion was very nice with some beautiful scenery. Overall, I would highly recommend the trip!

Carol R

Excellent all the way through - one of the very best tours we've ever taken. Much of our enjoyment was due to Paul Kealy who is the epitome of a perfect guide. In addition to his knowledge, patience, personality and humor, he obviously loves his country...reminded me of Sir Walter Scott's line: "This is my own, my native land". The country is beautiful and so very clean (as was our spotless coach), the residents are friendly, the venues fascinating, the scenery outstanding. The only negative has nothing to do with the tour itself but with the wish that Smartours could inform us at an earlier date of the airline arrangements. Others in the group expressed the same wish. We shall definitely book another tour with this company.

Shek M

Never seen a place so green throughout the trip. May be that's why it got somewhat boring. Thruout the tour, all we saw were green grass, sheep, copws and horses on the green pastures, nicely sectionalized and decorated. But... believe it or not, never saw a single patch of vegetable planting throughout the 2-week traverse. Was told veggies are grow elsewhere. No wonder veggies tend to be pricey there. However, the Irish potato is "magical" indeed. Never had potatoes so soft, melting in the mouth once it's chewed into. You don't need teeth to eat Irish potatoes. Idaho, move aside. I consider the potato the best discovery on this trip. The scenery? Good, but.... somewhat a bit short of my expectations (too high perhaps). But... for the price, can't complain. Our tour director Paul was phenomenally intensive to pour our his knowledge of Ireland on us (thanks Paul). The food was much to our surprise, surprisingly good. The lodging overall was good; again, but.... the "F" (Fitzwilliams?) in Belfast, 4-star as it may be, I couldn't stand the hardness of the water. One would keep applying soap and rubbing. You'd never feel cleansed. Have had various hard water situations at lodging places. Wonder why they don't do something 'bout the water. All we needed was good clean beds, comfort sleep before the next day's activities. SmartTours did come through in this department, EXCEPT for the "F" (not the grade).

Carol R

Beautiful country and hosted by a lyrical, informed and very personable guide, Paul Kealy. I learned more about Ireland that any history book could include and enjoyed the food, the friendly Irish, and the gorgeous countryside. Paul took excellent care of us and the tour provided all the amenities that could be provided. If you are looking for an excellent and enjoyable adventure, don't miss this one!

Tanya W

This was my 1st bus tour and I was a little nervous, but overall it was fantastic and unforgettable. My Mom & I had an immensely enjoyable time. First, some of the things I could see improved: There was definitely NOT enough time at a few of the stops, specifically the Titanic Belfast, Ring of Kerry vista points, and Blarney Castle. Regarding Titanic Belfast: Since the city center was so close and no other excursions were planned immediately after, I think there should be the option to stay longer on your own to do some more exploring of the site. Personally, I could have spent at least 4 hours there. A small warning: Every single hotel offered the same exact menu options for dinner: salmon, chicken, or a meat. By the end of the tour, it was very tiresome and redundant and some of us joked that we didn't need to see a menu because we already knew what was on it. On the last Saturday of our tour for the Ring of Kerry drive, there were too many little stops (20-30 minutes each) at some smaller Irish towns. I would have rather spent much more time at the vista points, taking more pictures and just enjoying the scenery. The numerous town stops were, in my opinion, too many and not memorable at all. I would prefer more time to enjoy the Irish scenery. The last day in Limerick just isn't enough time to see or enjoy the city. Because my Mom & I booked our own flights, we were able to stay in Limerick and enjoy a guided walking tour on our own. Limerick is a LOVELY city and we learned so much history. I would suggest getting into Limerick a bit earlier on Monday (which would perhaps require the coach leaving 45-60 minutes earlier from Killarney to have enough time at Blarney Castle & get into Limerick to enjoy an afternoon guided walking tour), but it is well worth it. I feel the rest of the group that had to leave early really missed out on learning about and enjoying Limerick City. Finally, I am sad to say I was disappointed with the breakfast staff at the last two hotels: Killarney Randles Court & Limerick City Clarion Hotel. The hotels themselves were beautiful and in great locations. I only had breakfast at Randles Court one day and the breakfast staff was not friendly at all. I thought it was just a fluke until we stayed at Clarion Hotel and experienced the same situation with the breakfast staff there. They were not as friendly as the other hotels' staff and it was a bit of a shame to have that last impression on an otherwise superb tour with usually upbeat, friendly, smiling staff throughout. (This is not necessarily a reflection of SmarTours, but I think they should be aware of the wait staff at these last 2 hotels.) Now, the fantastic, glowing review: Above all, the success of the tour is because of the knowledgeable, witty, extraordinary driver/guide Paul Kealy. Yes, it is true! The second reason for success is just Ireland itself! And yes, it is in that order even though we were blessed with the luck of the Irish and had unbelievably fantastic weather throughout our tour!! Paul actually enhances the beauty of Ireland! He spouts out so much fantastic information, history, anecdotes, jokes, facts, statistics, stories, and Irish lore that I hope to recall even 10% of it to share with others. He also gives many, many great recommendations and even gave us some "extras" during our trip that really added to the tour even more. We got to see all of Ireland with an Irish "expert" and I don't think you can find such quality and quantity at this price point anywhere. Also, we had a great group and I am grateful to have made some new friends. I also liked that there was enough "free" time to do our own thing so that we could book other excursions, get a massage, or just relax. We paid extra for the 2 optional tours and I would recommend them because they are well worth the extra cash and time spent at them. Overall, I am happy with my 1st bus tour and I would recommend and even try another tour with SmarTours again. Thank you for an unforgettable experience that I will cherish forever.

John M

This was our fifth SmarTour and it was one of the best. We have been to Ireland before on cruise stops and business, but never really got the feel of the country. This tour took us all around the country allowing us to see the differences in the areas. We had a very congenial group (as usual) of different age groups. Our driver/guide Paul was was very knowledgeable, organized, informative and yet irreverent enough to keep us on our toes and entertained. We saw all of the famous sites and also did other things like visit a sheep farm and spend evenings in pubs with the locals listening to traditional music and having fun. We did both optional tours and highly recommend them. Paul arranged for fresh mussels to be available on the river cruise and also added a few extra stops to the trip. He made good restaurant recommendations and was always available. We highly recommend this tour.

Rick S

My wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary on the Magical Ireland tour that departed on May 14th. A couple of criticisms before the glowing review. One problem we had was the time it took to get our flight information. We wanted to upgrade our flights but by the time we received our flight information from SmarTours, we got the last two seats available in the first class cabin and couldn't get two seats together from Newark to Dublin. Fortunately another passenger worked with us and all ended well but things would have neen easier if the flight information was available from SmarTours a couple of weeks earlier. Next, the coach was short on leg room. I'm not that tall but still found it a little crowded. Ok, enough negative. This was a fantastic tour. The itinerary was excellent. The one thing I may have changed is the amount of time alloted at the Titanic Museum in Belfast. We really could have used even an extra hour there. I was hoping to walk down to the Titanic Dock and Pumphouse but just didn't have enough time. That was a disappointment. The itinerary as a whole though was great. The optional tours were well worth the money, as was the tour in its entirety. Great value. The dinner and music at Kate Kearney's made for a fantastic night out, and I can't think of a better way to cap off the tour than the midieval castle banquet on our last night. The performers at the banquet were incredibly talented and put on a great show. All of the local guides were excellent and informative. The most important element of the tour though, was also the best. Matt, our coach driver and guide, has to be the best in the business. This man made our vacation. He is personable, has a great sense of humor, and frankly is a walking encyclopedia on Ireland. As we drove across Ireland and Northern Ireland he provided a nonstop narrative on everything ranging from agriculture to "The Troubles." All of it very interesting and educational I might add. And, we didn't have any extraordinary needs but Matt made it clear that he was available day and night if anyone did need anything at all. Your guide can make or break your tour and Matt is top notch in every regard. All in all, I don't think you can find a better tour of Ireland. The itinerary and guide were both great, the hotels which were clean and comfortable were all located right in town or close to it, and the provided meals were excellent. The beer in Ireland is pretty doggone good too!

john d

Weather reports said the coldest May in decades but it didn't put a damper on an incredible tour of all Ireland. We didn't come for the sunshine. Matt Rafter, our driver and tour director, kept up the chatter non-stop as we drove point A to B. He definitely kissed the Blarney stone and we loved it. Forty shades of green underestimates this emerald isle. Between the full Irish breakfast at great hotels and all the places visited around the island in the big bus, memorable. Great people to travel with - as we have found on all the Samrtours. I might mention we had plenty of time to wander in each city on our own.

Daniel L

It was the best escorted tour we have ever been on. The points of interest we visited were outstanding. The meals were absolutely wonderful. The service was perfect. Our driver, Matt Rafter, was the most informative and helpful driver we ever could have hoped for. He was an excellent driver of our bus throughout our tour. His information on Irish history and agriculture was excellent. His personality and the respect he gave his passengers was remarkable. He is an important asset to your company. At the Belfast hotel, the Fitzwilliams, four couples were given handicap rooms even though we protested. They said it was arranged through a third party. We would not recommend this hotel again unless this practice is stopped. The United airline was ok. The seats were small and couples were not seated together. This was a problem for many people including my wife and I.

Walt

Our trip to Ireland was indeed magical! The hotels were fantastic, food delicious, and our guide, Paul was very knowledgeable. Paul was also extremely organized. Luckily our group was not only punctual, but very congenial. This made for an easy and smooth tour. We also felt that we visited a good mix of what makes up Ireland. Paul always had interesting information about the areas we visited and shared with us the history of the country. We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend this tour. In fact, we are thinking of doing it again with some of our family!

Tim a

Just returned from the Ireland trip. In one word: AWESOME! Everything from reception to tours, hotels, food, etc., was wonderful. A huge thank you to Paul Kealy, the tour guide, who made this trip so successful. Best tour guide we've ever had: honest, great sense of humor, and went out of his way to make it happen. This was our third trip with Smartours and it was the best!

Larry J

What a wonderful tour. Everything was great, sights, hotels, coach, churches, castles and our wonderful tour guide, Paul Kealy. He is so personable, knowledgeable and just makes the whole tour fun. Great job, we will be going with SmarTours again. Ann and Larry Jourdan, Destin, Florida

Lavone

This was my first trip with Smartours. Our guide, Paul Kealy, was friendly and outgoing all through the tour. Paul'l knowledge of Ireland's history, people and cultures is absolutely amazing. It was Paul's genuine natural abilities that made this trip fantastic. He provided so much information than I had expected. Paul is much more than a tour guide. The two extra excursions were well worth the extra money and should not be missed! For myself this trip was awesome and I wish that I had an email for Paul so that I could tell him myself how much I enjoyed myself. This rates up there as a a trip of a life time one that I would like to do again!!

Lisa C

This is my second trip with Smartours, the other being Vietnam and Cambodia. Our July trip was fanastic from start to finish. Our guide Paul was efficient, friendly, knowledgable and funny. With the exception of Galway, all the hotels were in great locations for exploring on your own. Another day here would have been nice as one was taken by the excursion, which should NOT be missed. A hop over to Scotland from the north might be a thought for the future, so close! Paul's love of history and his country surely made this trip come alive.

Jana G

I took the smarTours Ireland trip this past June. It was so much more than my expectations. This was my third trip with smarTours ( South Africa and Thailand/ Cambodia). Paul Kealy is your Ireland tour bus driver, teacher, jokester, song leader and all around cat herder. He knows his stuff, and is never boring. Now being home, I wish i had recorded some of his banter and information. I learned so much about the history of Ireland, it's peoples and cultures. The hotels were all good, some nicer than others, but my cousin and i had no real gripes except for the dining room manager (breakfast) at the Randles Court hotel in Killarney. After almost two weeks of such warm and friendly service we were suddenly faced with a very rude, bossy and quite ill mannered sort who practically pushed people around. I enjoy smarTours as they give you plenty of time for exploring on your own, and Paul was very personal and professional in his recommendations. Many tour guides will only send you off to where they might make something on the side. Oh not so with Paul. He listened and then offered some fabulous suggestions. Our tour group had a wide range of ages and levels of travel experience and Paul really tried to accommodate everyone. Fantastic experience!
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Margery

First, the tour director, Khalid was the best: articulate, extremely knowledgeable of the history, archeology, biology and culture of his country. He was always organized and gave personal attention to questions and concerns as they came up. The areas visited were varied as well as the components of each area were varied with culture mixed with history etc.

Anonymous

This was our first experience with Smartours and also the first time we’ve taken any kind of trip with a tour group. We were very pleased with our guide, Khalid, who was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. We loved the mountains and the desert, as well as all the beautiful cities we visited. We weren’t especially pleased with having to spend so much time on the bus, but we realize that it was the only way to be able to see so much of the country. We also didn’t like the limited dining available to us when we were traveling from place to place. It seemed like we were stopping at the Moroccan equivalent of a truck stop for lunch on most days, and were almost always presented with the same limited menu of fast food. We were looking forward to sampling local foods but rarely got the opportunity to do so. On the whole, this was a nice introduction to Morocco that covered a lot of ground.

Michael

The tour took us through many interesting and beautiful areas of Morocco. The tour leader was informed and very concerned that we get the most out of our experience. He made sure that we were safe and that we were satisfied with the food and with the sites we were visiting. He was always available to us. He was very caring to us. Some of hotels could have been been improved upon, especially the one in Casablanca.

Stefanie

Our guide, Kahlid, was excellent in every regard: knowledgeable, efficient, personable and very attentive to all our needs. I'm sure each traveler returned home with a completely different perspective on Morocco, indeed a quite positive one.

Dauna

Morocco was more than I expected! I did not realize there would be so many different environments --from mountains, forests, agricultural areas, cities, small towns and deserts! Our guide Khalid was outstanding. His organization and caring friendliness and support made the trip. 5 stars for him! I have been on 35 international trips and this was one of my favorites.

Melissa

It's January 2018, and I just returned from Morocco. What an amazing trip, due in great part to our guide, Abdelkader, who was patient, professional and very knowledgeable about the country he obviously loves. I was blown away by the diversity of the Moroccan landscape - the dessert, forest, seaside and lush cropland. The architecture, tile work and textiles were incredible. This Smartours trip is planned to give you a well-rounded view of a gorgeous place whose people are kind, food is delicious and shopping is rewarding - you can't resist the array of slippers they sell in the souks. This was my 8th Smartour and definitely among the best.

Baby

Independent, world travelers, we went on this tour (first-time tour experience, Oct. 17-29, 2017) because there was so much ground to be covered in a limited time. KHALID LAMDIRA, our tour guide, was the essence and the heart of this exotic country tour. He and his team, the bus driver, our various assistants and local guides along the way, were superb. Khalid's vast knowledge (social, cultural, historical geographical, religious), engaging and humorous presentations, and his deft interpersonal skill (especially his great sense of humor) made this a highlight of a lifetime of traveling. We laughed a lot. Food quality and diversity were excellent, all lodging outstanding (some "romantic" and exotic). Would unequivocally recommend SmarTours organization, Khalid, and Majestic Morocco tour. One caveat: 2-3 days of bus travel is necessary to see all four of Morocco's fascinating imperial cities -- which is the primary reason we decided to take a tour. Yep, we'd do it all over again. If we could go on tours for the rest of our lives hosted by Khalid, we'd tour forever. Thanks, Khalid! Thanks, SmarTours!

Eva W

Would someone who has just returned from the Moroccan tour please contact me, I will be going in October and have some questions. As you have been there, you would be the best person/people to talk with. Would most appreciate it. My email address is eva.w@videotron.ca Thank you.

Bill M

My wife and I had a terrific time touring Morocco in May for two weeks. Tour guide Safi was amazing. He took great care that everyone had the best possible experience every single day. I can't say enough good things about this kind man. His understanding of Moroccan history and the countryside added so much to the experience. This was the first organized tour we have taken, after doing a lot of travel on our own over the years. We were both happy we did the Smartours excursion and learned so much more and saw more than if we had arranged this ourselves. Morocco is a wonderful country, the people were friendly and the hotels Smartours arranged for our group were so unique and memorable.

Martha

I just returned from my Morroco tour and have to say what a great trip! Our tour guide, Safi, was probably one of the best guides I've had. The tour gave a great overview of the country, and the hotels were excellent.

Marilyn A

This tour covered most of Morocco and gave us a great overall view of this interesting country. Our tour guide, Larby, was a walking Wikipedia and if there was a question he could not answer, he would research it and answer the following day. He was more than a tour leader - he was a friend and a caregiver and one could not have a better or nicer leader. Hotels and food were excellent and SmarTours went above and beyond when the workers at our hotel in Fes went on strike and they not only moved us to a better hotel just down the street, but also took us out for a meal the next day. The care and consideration for us was amazing. The extra activites offered were interesting and reasonable and the help we were offered to arrange personal appointments was timely and helpful. The best was naturally the camel ride. The high point of the tour. I can highly recommend this tour to everyone interested in seeing a highly interesting country, a bridge between so many cultures.

Janet E

People do not realize how special Morocco is or how wonderful the people are until they take this tour. All of our stops in Morocco were amazing and gave us a very diverse understanding of the country. Larbi, our guide made it so special with his knowledge and his care of each one of us to make our trip beyond expectations.

Mary E

I also was on the Nov 1-13,2016 Morocco tour. It was marvelous. Our guide Larbi was extremely well informed and friendly to all. He went out of his way to help people get the most out of the trip by helping people see what was important to them . Anytime he did not know the answer to one of our questions, he promptly found the answer. I learned so much about the country - the history, the food, the customs and saw much of what the country has to offer. A great trip!

Rhea V

We just returned from the Majestic Morocco Tour ending November 13 and we were truly overwhelmed with the experience. The tour guide Larbi El Mahdar was incredible, he was gracious and kind and his goal appeared to be ensure that our visit was a success! and he accomplished that. His knowledge was great, he helped each individual as if they were the only person on the trip. He was a great representative for Morocco as we referred to him as the "Minister of Tourism" throughout the trip. Our entire trip was enjoyable due to the accommodations and the way he handled each person's unique need. Thank you Larbi for ensuring our trip was a great experience!

Jean G

We just finished our tour an hour ago and I have to write and rave about this wonderful experience. Everything exceeded our expectaions. We have taken close to 20 SmarTours trips and this will be a favourite. Our guide, Larbi El Mahdar was superb. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, so helpful and patient, anticipated potential problems and solved them before they could happen. He was always happy and kind (even after answering the same question repeatedly). The tour was filled with diverse interesting sites and experiences. The evening camel ride and sunset in the Sahara was incredible. Hotels, meals, and the bus are pleasant, comfortable, and excellent.

Patricia B

This was my 13th trip with smarTours and it was wonderful, thanks in no small part to our tour director Larbi. He made sure that we were well-informed and comfortable -- in the hotels, the souks, and on the road. What a fabulous visit to a wonderful country!

Linda S

The smarTours Majestic Morocco tour was an excellent way to see the highlights of Morocco. Our tour director, Khalid Lamdiro, had an encyclopedic knowledge of everything about Morocco, was an entertaining speaker, and took excellent care of those on the tour.

Mario D

Mr, Khalid Lamdira, the tour Director is a professional lecturer and a very good guide. The food in Marocco is very plain and OK I enjoyed the tour very much! Thank YOU smarTours!!! Sorry to be late with my review.

David

Our guide was excellent.

Jeanette S

This was truly a magical trip and I truly felt like I experienced the totality of Morocco. Major geography is covered on this trip but Khalid is an amazing tour guide. Make sure you travel with him when you book this amazing adventure.

Carol

My husband, my daughter, and I totally enjoyed our Morocco trip. Our tour leader was the main component that made our trip so great.

DavidLee

Khalid, our tour guide, was an historian, anthropologist, comedian, and friend. Ask for him if you book the Morocco trip. By the way, it is a safe destination, one of the few in Africa.

Kelly H

Khalid made this tour the best I have ever been on. I would do it again. smarTours is very lucky to have him. He is the greatest.

Denise

This is really the best tour I have ever taken! We were fortunate to have Khalid Lamdira as our tour quide. He has such a love for the country ! He took the time to answer any and all questions, provide background information on what we were going to see, travel tips, etc. What patience this man has!

Dr. S

This special vacation with my two BFF's of 35 years was truly an awesome adventure. This was our first time with SmarTours and will not be the last, especially if other trips are of the same manner. Every day was well put together with our tour guide Kalif. We enjoyed every day from the bus, walking and exploring and the camel rides. Thank you!!

CBritt

November 2015 - Wow! This trip was such a delight! My friend & I both said this trip was by far the best we have ever been on and I think we owe a lot of that to our tour director Khalid Lamdira. His exceptional knowledge of his country's history, many cultures, food, architecture, gave us a passion for Morocco. The days flew by and we were left wanting so much more. The tour was well organized and went smoothly, I loved not having to make any decisions for 11 days!! We were well cared for by tour director, bus driver & his assistant.

Catherine

Fabulous Moroccan guide, wonderful, diverse itinerary and activities, two wonderful optional tours in Marrakesh.

Judy-Lynn H

My friend and I enjoyed our tour so much. The weather was perfect at the beginning of November, our fellow travelers were interesting, and our guide was the best. Kahlid is a local of Marrakesh and although the whole tour was excellent, we especially enjoyed the time in his home town. The option Culinary Tour was totally misnamed. Yes, we did enjoy a delicious lunch in a beautiful setting and learn about the making of couscous, but the gardens and up close and personal Medina tour was exceptional. Perhaps the tour should be called "Moroccan Delights." I blogged about the tour and you are welcome to enjoy my vision of Majestic Morocco at http://intentionaltravelernotes.blogspot.com/ It is free. The last post comes up first but you can scroll down to the beginning. It will have pictures of the guidebook I recommend and some reading to get you in the mood for a magical tour of Morocco.

Joyce A

This is one of the best tours I have ever been on. The guide was superb. Khalid was knowledgable and was able to talk about any subject. He took care of all our individual needs..

Cindi C

Trip to Morocco, Nov. 3 - 15, 2015, was truly fabulous. Our Tour Director, Khahid and his team were outstanding in their roles and made all of us feel comfortable and protected. Would highly recommend this well paced/balanced tour and hope to return to Morocco with SmarTours again. Beautiful country.

Mary T

Trip to Morocco-Oct. 20 to Nov 1 was wonderful, but beyond wonderful was our tour guide.

Dj

This was a magical journey due to the great expertise of our guide Khalid. His knowledge of Moroccan history, culture and customs is vast and his presentation is delightful. He has superb people skills and is very attentive to individual traveler's needs. He will make your Moroccan holiday memorable and safe.

Harish M

Overall this was a great trip with a true flavor for Morocco. It is true that the tour guide has the most impact on the quality of the tour. Our guide was Khalid Hamdira and he is easily the best tour guide we have ever had (we have done 12 tours so far). He was knowledgeable, engaging, funny and above all kept track of every tour members need. His recommendations for our own activities was exceptional. We will remember Khalid for ever. There are long bus rides for transportation on 2 days of this tour because airline service is underdeveloped in Morocco. Khalid made these long rides tolerable with his innovative approach. I took more than 1100 pictures on this trip. Thank you smartours for having Khalid on your team.

Barbara B

I just returned from the Morocco tour and it was amazing. The tour was well organized with a fantastic itinerary. It was well balanced with awesome adventures, in depth historical information and great shopping! Khalid, our tour director, was always well organized and prepared with information and suggestions to enhance the experience. He dealt well with differing personalities and attended to all with patience and empathy when required. It was truly a pleasure traveling with Khalid, his assistants and SmarTours. I'm planning my next trip very soon.

JoEllen

Our Morocco Director, Kahlid, was fabulous, fabulous--thoughtful, kind, fun and full of great information. He made the trip because of his knowledge and the way he anticipated every need.This trip not only exposed me to the beauty and diversity of the geographic landscape and agriculture; I learned a lot about this country and it's importance in the Arabic world.
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Carol

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my Patagonia trip with Smartours. The best part of the trip was Patricia in Chile. She was fabulous. And she had to deal with two persnickety women which were total pain in the a**es. I loved the amount of free time and guided time on the tour. Would do it again.

Lisa

This was a first class tour! Patricia is a fabulous tour guide. She is knowledgeable, considerate and fun. Hotels were very nice. Meals included were very good. We were lucky to have a great group of people on the tour. Only negative was LATAM Airlines. I see more SMARTOURS in our future.

Jan W

This was my second Smartour. Our tour began in Santiago, Chile on January 20. We reached Punta Arenas on January 21 and we were met by Olga Mallo, our primary tour guide. Olga was with us until we departed for Buenos Aries and she was excellent. She was very knowledgeable and went out of her way to make sure that we experienced all that was promised in the itinerary. The local guides were also very good. The bus used for travel from Punta Arenas to El Calafate was very comfortable and the driver did an excellent job. The hotel selections were overall very good to excellent. The hotel in Santiago, Punta Arenas and Buenos Aires were first class. The hotel in Puerto Natales was my least favorite. It was situated on the water with lovely views of the sound. However, it was over heated, the WIFI was very weak in the rooms, the hallways were noisy and we had ongoing problems trying to get into our room as the card key would not always work. The meals provided on the tour were all fine. All of the hotels provided good breakfast buffets. The breakfast buffets in the hotels in Santiago and Buenos Aires were my favorite. Although I want to mention that we arrived in Santiago one day in advance of the group and we were able to take advantage of the breakfast buffet at that hotel. However, the day of the group departure to Punta Arenas, the buffet was not available so the group did not get a breakfast as promised. All of the tours to the national parks, glaciers, icebergs, and penguins exceeded my expectations. The visit to the estancia in Argentina was unique. The ranch owner and his wife were very hospitable. They provided a lovely lunch for the group as well as an interesting demonstration by one of their sheep herding dogs followed by a sheep sheering. The farewell dinner in Buenos Aries was excellent followed by a high energy tango show. Overall, we had a great time on this Patagonia tour.

Monica H

The Smartours trip to Patagonia was perfect in every way. Of course the area is magnificent--the glaciers stupendous. But in addition, our Patagonia guide was the definition of intelligence, wisdom and concern for all of us. Olga was always making an effort to explain, to teach and to relate individually. The hotels were excellent, the meals provided were also super. The entire tour was handled with proficiency, there were never any glitches or problems. The trip absolutely exceeded my expectations; I fully understand the enthusiasm that other trip participants who had been on previous Smartours expeditions expressed. All kinds of friends may be turning to Smartours for a Patagonia trip. Lots of people , including my younger daughter and husband, are thinking about it.

Anne M

This was our fourth SmarTours trip, and again SmarTours came through with an excellent itinerary at a great value. We had knowledgeable guides, excellent destinations and tours, and great hotels in convenient locations. The sights on this trip were dramatic and breathtaking and unlike any others from our travel experiences. Each day's destination surpassed that of the previous day. The tour participants were so well traveled and a pleasure to explore Patagonia with. We look forward to booking another SmarTours trip.

Brian

This was our first SmarTours trip. My partner and I througholy enjoyed all the destinations, activities, and the whole experience far surpassed our expectations. The accommodations were great, too. But what made the trip such a smashing success were the guides; Viviana in Santiago, Olga in Patagonia, and Nathalia in Buenos Aires. All were exceptional, but since we spent the most time with Olga, I would like to add a special note of appreciation for her. Olga sets the international standard for excellence and professionalism as a tour guide. My deep gratitude for all who helped made this trip truly incredible. I had a spiritual experience.

Shirley S

It was an amazing trip. Olga, our tour director was fantastic . She knows thecountry very well - both Chile and Argentina. The only part of the trip that I think needs to be looked at is the last day of the tour - the coming back to the U.S. That full day was wasted. We were in the lobby of the hotel from the check out time of 11am until 7pm when the bus took us to the airport for the 11pm flight. But over all, that tour is awesome. Patagonia is one of my favorite.

Jon W

We selected this trip for its itinerary and we were not disappointed. Saw all the places in Patagonia that were on our list. The tour was comfortable and well paced. We recommended this trip to family and friends. Accommodations and provided meals were first rate. We really enjoyed the tango show and dinner on the last night of the trip. We have just a couple recommendations for tweaks that will further improve a great trip: Olga, our tour director, was very knowledgeable and helpful but her restaurant suggestions were usually pointed out from the bus as we zoomed past and given the full Spanish pronunciation which was difficult for us to understand and write down. There was usually enough time that she could have walked the restaurant areas in each town with us and pointed out the recommended places. Our local guide in Buenos Aries, Lydia, was friendly and well informed but didn't seem to want to spend much time with us. We had lots of free time including 9 hours after we checked out of our hotel. We would have appreciated an optional tour to fill some of this time. The method SmarTours used to buy plane tickets resulted in my wife and I not being able to sit together both coming and going.
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Christina

Very good value for the money. Sicilian chef had a varied menu for each meal. We are vegetarians and had something different for each meal which is a rarity! Unlimited beer and wine at lunch and dinner were definitely enjoyable! The ports of call were beautiful although most of the local tour guides were on a mission to tell you what they knew and didn’t want to address our questions. However, Otto in Koblenz was amazing! The tour guide in Rotterdam was actually rude and combative when a fellow traveler informed him that we couldn’t hear him when he turned his head. The guide reprimanded him and told him he should have informed him sooner! We left the group after that. The keyboard player in the evening was good but he needs to expand his repitoire of music because by the third night he was repeating the same songs. The crew was attentive and helpful. The ship very clean and the room size was rather spacious for a river boat. This being a Russian vessel, the only TV channel, RTV was totally right wing.
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Pamela

Scandinavia Explorer tour guide, Alexander Koutsikopoulos was not at the same level as the other tour guides I've had with SmarTours. My two major complaints were: 1. He would withhold information when I asked him a question about the next days events and then he never posted an itinerary in the hotel lobby. 2. He didn't provide whisper listening devices for guided tours so it was nearly impossible to hear what the local tour guides were telling us. Alex blamed SmarTours for the lack of the listening devices. Also, this was a large group of 44 people and that's a lot of folks to lead around the world. Please consider offering smaller groups at a higher cost like GATE1 does with their DISCOVERY Tours.

Delores

I thought it was great. One problem was the long layover in Helsinki before going on Sweden. It was over 5 hours. Also, the process for getting a VISA for Russia was rather expensive and tedious. I like that they gave us time to explore on our own most places. Tour guide was great.

George G

Our 8/25/2016 trip was very enjoyable. The hotels were all 4 star and well located. Good food and a nice group of people. Pear (spelling?) our main guide made us feel welcome, was attentive, informative and always had a smile. Our secondary guides were very knowledgeable about the area we were visiting. It was sometimes difficult to hear them clearly on the bus tours but they never hesitated to repeat what was missed. The beginning of the trip was not ideal due to the long layover in Helsinki which after the long flight was tiring. The experience left us enriched. We will travel with Smartours again.

Sue H

Everyone on this tour, including my sister and I had travelled with smartours before. Thre's a reason....a lot of bang for your buck. The accommodations on this trip were excellent...not only 4 star but in very central locations. The included tours were all very good too. The guide pointed out things of interest for our spare time. The guide was very good. I don't rate him excellent for one reason...he never gave us his cell phone number or hotel room number. How could he be reached in an emergency....? Everything else was great!

Patti S

We had a wonderful time traveling with Betty Levin through Scandinavia. The people were gracious and friendly, the food was delicious, the cities were clean and beautiful and the scenery was spectacular. Highlights were; Skansen open air Museum, Wassa Museum, Tivioli Gardens, the cruise from Oslo to Copenhagen and,of course, the fjord cruise. The hotel on the fjord was fabulous.

Cindy L

It was an overall quality, funfilled Nordic experience. The sightseeing was compact butesrscti provided ample free time to explore on our own leisurely. The hotels all located in central area of each city, though provide convenience but quality of each varies and some are less than ideal. The best one being Ullensvang. Special mention is our tour director Pam Boudrot who made a big difference in making the trip so memorable. She was professional, informative, and meticulously caring to the smallest details to ensure all have the best time possible. My family and friends have all been traveling with SmarTour's before, but I highly recommend that Pam Boudrot be in all my future adventures with SmarTour's

Ed L

Wonderful accommodations, food and guide. Perfect balance of planned excursions and free time. Trip over, with lengthy airport layover in Helsinki was tiring. Would have loved an extra night in Oslo.

Sandra P

Hotels in Sweden, Copenhagen and Bergen were good; Oslo, on ship, Helsinki and St. Petersburg were excellent. Our guide in Scandanavia, Kristina, was excellent, personable, knowledgable and so accommodating. In spite of several setbacks, she persevered and thought on her feet; Valery in Russia was knowledgable. My first time with SmarTours. Found tour via search engine. Just as advertised. I feel too much time was spent in Norway - could have been condensed to two days and given more time to Denmark or Finland.
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Carol

Tour guide Ron was excelent source of information on history of SA. Really enjoyed all tours and optional tours as well. Favorite was Kruger Park.

Santo

We had a fine trip and the guide was Ron McGregor, a superb guide. I recommend this trip.

Jeffrey

We were fortunate to have as our South Africa tour guide the very knowledgeable and personable Jeremy Poole. Our February 2019 trip was just magical! We learned and saw so much. It was our first SmarTours trip but it will not be our last. We cannot recommend this too much -- great value!!

Anonymous

This was our first trip with SmarTours and we were pleasantly surprised at how organized it was. This was due to our guide, Shawn. He was incredibly organized and went out of his way to make this a memorable experience for all of us. I would like to suggest that you let travelers know ahead of time the amount of small US bills they will need for tips,etc. . We weren't quite prepared for that. The optional tours that Shawn set up for us were as good as those included in the package. Our only complaint is with South Africa Airlines. I will never fly with them again. On our flight to SA we were fed, the lights turned off, and never saw an attendant again for 12 hours. It wasn't any different on the return flight. There was food available at the galley but you had to know it was available. Unnecessary!!! Other than the length of the flight, I would do this trip again and will promote it whenever I can.

Irving

This was our first experience with smarTours and it was a huge success based primarily on the talents of our outstanding host, Desmond Clack. The itinerary was well thought out and we accomplished more that we expected.

Alexander

Excellent Tour. The guide, Desmond Clack, was not only very knowledgeable, and personable with an excellent sense of humour but he worked diligently on the details to make the tour run smoothly and anticipated logistical issues. We had a great time.

Arthur

Excellent, well organized tour of Africa, Shaun Bartnik was a great tour director, he took care of all the details, changes, add on tours and was a wealth of information. I was surprised by the quality of the accommodations and food. I would pass on Swaziland next time though, really didn't add anything to the experience BUT the Victoria Falls extension and Chobe Park are highly recommended, we also rode elephants and walked with the lions.

Michael

This South Africa venture was our third smarTours outing, after India/Nepal and Vietnam/Cambodia. smarTours ticks all the boxes (which is why we keep coming back) - value for money, simple and clear booking processes and access to information, great hotels and transportation, and probably above all, great tour directors. We had Ron Armstrong as our tour director. Not only was he infinitely knowledgeable, but he helped us feel and understand both the history and the current issues facing this wonderful and complex country. We have no reservations whatsoever in recommending both the company and this particular tour.

Indiana

This was my first time traveling w/ smarTours (South Africa Highlights and Safari) and my first time traveling internationally on my own, but I must say I not once felt lonely or unsafe as my tour guide Renier was purely AMAZING! He made sure all single travelers (there were 3 in total) always felt part of the group or the family as that is sort of what we became during the trip. He was funny, uber knowledgable and super friendly. Not once did he get annoyed with the million and one questions people asked him, even during the times when he constantly had to repeat things for the chatty Kathy's on the bus. I really have to say he was one of the best parts of my trip! Shout out to Renier for being an awesome tour guide!!! I highly enjoyed all the scenery, seeing all the animals during the Game Drives, meeting all the people and trying out all the different foods. However, there are a few things I would definitely change for this tour. The amount of time spent at cool open markets was too short. We would stop to have lunch/shop and would have to do both in an hour or an hour and a half. Granted we were not shopping for homes, but I would have liked a little more time just to walk around and check things out instead of feeling rushed. This also goes for places like Table Mountain and The Potholes. More time to take everything in and really absorb the amazing views would have been great. I would also take out the trip to the DumaZulu Cultural Village as it's not a real village at all. It felt like I was at Disney watching people in costumes put on a show for us, with many of them who looked unhappy to even be there. Perhaps I was the naive to think I was walking into an actual village where the DumaZulu tribe actually lived at, but I was quite disappointed. I felt this part of the trip was a complete waste of time and could have been spent else where. I would have liked if there were a few more alternative options for people. I felt there were a few times where there was not much to do mainly because of the location of the hotel/lodge so having an option for an excursion or activity would have been nice. I would have also like to know going in that although some meals were included, drinks (of any kind) were not included. Not a huge deal, but just something I would have liked to be informed of before hand. (And if this was in the fine print and I missed it- my apologies in advance). All the hotel/lodge accommodations were great as well. They all had air conditioning, basic amenities (towels, hair dryers, shampoo/conditioner, etc) were well kept (of course some more than others) and the staff was usually friendly. Although food was usually buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner), there was always a nice variety to please everyone, including those with a sweet tooth. The farewell dinner was fabulous and we all had such a fun time. I met some interesting people and made some new lifetime friends so overall I had a terrific trip and would consider smarTours again.

Benjamin

Best trip ever can't stop talking about it and showing the many pictures we tooks. Saw the big five animals in South Africa, Table Mountain, Wine Country, Cape of Good Hope, Victoria falls and more. Hotels were also great and the tour directors were very knowledgeable and insured we were safe at all times. This trip was so good we are currently planning our next trip with SmarTours.

Tom a

Our Tour Guide, Shaun Bartnick, was the best! His ability to handle every request and solve problems was impressive. We enjoyed the sights all the way from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. Each Hotel or Lodge was unique and the food was excellent. The Safari guides in the game parks were outstanding and we got to see every animal we wanted to see except a Leopard. The Victoria Falls extension is also highly recommended but we missed having Shaun as our guide and fixer during that tour. He spoiled us!

Dennis B

Loved your safari & highlights tour. Whether in the luxury area of Sandton or the shantytowns in Capetown, everyone was friendly; obliging; and hopeful for the future of this post apartheid country. Loved the up close and personal experiences with animals at Kruger. the food was excellent everywhere. our guide Ron was the best. Thank you again smarTours for the experience of a lifetime.

Lisa T

The South African Highlights and Safari Tour could not have been packed more full of wonderful experiences- nature, history, and culture. Our guide, Jeremy Poole, was incredibly well informed on every aspect of this vast and complicated country. This was the first time my husband and I had ever taken a tour and I was a bit uncertain about giving up my autonomy as a traveler. Well, I am now a complete convert- with Smartours we were able to see and do and learn so much more than we would have had we been on our own. The accomodations were lovely, the food was excellent, and we had so much fun with our fellow travelers. Looking forward to the next trip!

Dennis B

This was my best vacation ever. I especially loved the friendliness of the people and the fantastic food (game & domestic). Seeing the wild animals up close and personal was a special treat. Our guide (Ron McGregor) was simply the best. Keep up the good work.

Christine

I took the South Africa highlights and the extension in July. It was wonderful! The guides, the accommodations, the whole trip was totally worth it. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. The safaris were incredible. The land was breathtaking. The people were nice. One of the best places I have been so far! Will definitely go back in the future and go to more countries in Africa. I highly recommend the tour!!!

Jan

I took the South African tour this year at the end of June. We also took the extension. Our trip was wonderful. We saw so much and learned so much. The lodgings were great--especially the safari-type lodges. The food everywhere was good too. Our guide, Jeremy Poole was fantastic! Very knowledgeable, patient, and organized. Everything was well-planned. Our driver Sipho was also excellent and fun. This was one of the best experiences of my life! Maybe the game drives were the highlights but also enjoyed learning about the history of the country. The people were friendly and helpful. If you have a chance to go, I don't think you'll regret it!

Linnea

Just returned home yesterday from our trip. Everything was wonderful - our guide Jeremy, our driver Sipho, the hotels, the food, the sights. A good balance of city and country, activities and down time. You get my highest recommendation! Also, your customer service is great and really helped out when our flight to JFK was cancelled. I wish I could remember the agents name because she kept in contact with us until the problem was solved - we made it to S. Africa a day late, but don't feel like we missed anything.

JENNIFER

Amazing country. Our tour guide, Ron McGregor, was on point with current and historical information about the country. He was always available to answer questions and provide assistance. The hotels were as described. The entire experience was wonderful and well worth the money.

barbara l

what a great experience. our tour guide, leonard kandjirioumini, was very informative about customs and areas we visited. best hotels and native foods. busy all the time. even enjoyed the bus rides to different locations. would highly recommend this tour

Barbie a

My husband and I just returned from this trip yesterday and I am eager to write this review. Everything about this trip was total perfection. South Africa had been in our bucket list for a long time and this tour exceeded our expectations from beginning to end. Our tour director, Ron McGregor was spectacular. He's brilliant, knowledgeable and truly amazing. His narrations throughout the tour are simply one of a kind that keeps you entertained and interested. I want to thank SmarTours for such an amazing itinerary, choice of hotels and everything else. I cannot think of a better way to visit and learn about South Africa than taking this tour. Highly recommending this tour is simply an understatement. Definitely a TRIP OF A LIFETIME!!

Sima B

The nature and geography of this continent is amazing. How I wish I had Ron McGregor as a history and geography teacher in my youth. My forgetfulness, ( left behind a jacket and sweater), was rewarded by Ron McGregor's sense of responsibility. Definitely recommend this trip and this guide.

Anne M

Once again we traveled with SmarTours and were thoroughly satisfied with the trip. This was an active trip with early morning departures, and as a result, we were fortunate to see much of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Swaziland without long lines. Our guide, Ron McGregor was knowledgeable, organized, and a fascinating story teller. We learned so much about the regions we visited. He also put us at ease regarding any concerns regarding our safety and health, and we never felt threatened. We experienced such diversity from the stunning coastline of Cape Town and the Peninsula, the serene wine lands, beautiful Blyde River Canyon, and the exciting safaris in Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe, where we felt as though we were on a National Geographic filming. The extension to Victoria Falls was amazing. We rode and fed elephants, petted lions and cheetahs, viewed rainbows at the falls, and relaxed on boat rides in Chobe and the Zambezi River. We visited the Apartheid Museum, learned much about Mandela's life and contributions, and witnessed everyday life of the South Africans. The food was very good, with lots of choices, and for the more adventurous, opportunities to experience crocodile, kudu, and impala. What a value for the price of this tour. We highly recommend this trip

David

This tour was really very good and our tour director, Ron McGregor was great. He is very knowledgeable and gave us great insight into life in South Africa at the present time. The safaris were very good with the drivers getting us very close to a lot of animals. The Victoria Falls add-on was also very good and our tour guide there covered everything very well. Too bad he couldn't go with us into Botswana.

Dora

Smartours provided a very interesting and thoroughly picked itinerary for this trip. All hotels were good and conveniently located. Informative tours were carefully scheduled. We've see many beautiful places, lots of animals and birds. We had multiple different safaris using boats and safari vehicles, in the morning and in the afternoons. Victoria Falls extension was very interesting also. Optional tours provided options for those who wanted to get more different experience. Stuff was very good also.

Boris M

Excellent and very informative review of Yvonne Alexander - perfect for people who are planning to go to this wonderful place. Did not have any doubts about Smartours - already went 4 times, last time in September to Greece with unforgettable Granville. Yvonne, would it be possible to add what pills and (if at all) shots have you taken and at which part of the trip? With this information I am ready to book. Kind regards, Dr. Boris Mintseris

Yvonne A

This tour has far exceeded my expectations. An avid independent traveler, I admittedly am skeptical of large tour groups. However I would not have experienced all that Southern Africa has to offer if traveling alone. This tour delivered it all, from the beautiful crystal blue coastline of Cape Town, the intensity of Zululand, the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, inspirational Johannesburg, the wild Kruger National Park...and the optional extension to one of the seven Natural Wonders of the world, the magnificent Victoria Falls. We could not have had a better tour guide than Jonathan Muller. His efficiency and professionalism provided me with a new respect for group touring. He came to know each personality in our group, and embraced each individual's sensitivity . With 35 person onboard, that was no easy task. Jonathan is truly a people person, also patient and knowledgeable...all aspects of a great tour guide. He kept us entertained during the long motor coach rides with humor and personal views of his homeland. While we were all enjoying ourselves during downtime, Jonathan was behind the scenes making arrangements and phone calls, so that our tour succeeded with only one glitch, a missing suitcase that eventually arrived to the hotel. All included hotels were high quality, per US standards. The beds were all comfortable. Some had bathtubs whereas the others had huge showers with strong water flow. All had room safes, only two did not have a refrigerator, and two did not have a television. We were greeted at every hotel with a non-alcoholic beverage, and room keys were distributed expeditiously. Dining opportunities were convenient at all locations. The included buffet meals were top notch. If there is any negativity to mention, it occurred during the end of our 3 day extension to Zimbabwe. Everyone was really hot, exhausted, and ready to return home. Victoria Falls itself was absolutely breathtaking, and the side trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana was was also memorable. Unfortunately, we didn't have Jonathan to hold our hands, so there was a little more exertion on our parts. However the guides and bus drivers that we had were all very friendly. I'm really glad that I did the tour and the extension; one of the best trips I've ever taken.

Anastasia S

There are several reasons this was a fantastic trip: 1) the itinerary had a little bit of everything, from the amazing city life of Cape Town to wildlife safaris to the natural beauty of Victoria Falls to the apartheid museum in Joburg. 2) Jeremy Poole was our tour director. He made sure everything was organized, he took special requests, he offered great advice, and he was always patient. But what really made him such an amazing host was his knowledge of and his passion for his country in every aspect, from its history to its geography and botany. I doubt that we would have learned as much or been as captivated by South Africa had he not been our guide. 3) the accommodations, value for money, meals covered, etc. were all excellent. This was our first Smartour but will not be our last.

Suzette S

Just retuned from African Highlights with the Victoria Falls extension. Can not say enough about Jeriemy Poole, tour director, and the entire once in a lifetime African experience. The whole tour was fantastic and I did every single optional tour. Well worth it. I highly recommend this tour. It's my second tour with Smartours and I'm booking 2 more trips for next year. You get your monies worth and then some.

D B

This was a great trip! We saw and learned a lot in our group of 22. Tour guide Jeremy Poole was informative, passionate and shared his extensive knowledge of South Africa and the region. He kept us on schedule, entertained and informed above and beyond. The hotels were great (Swaziland hotel was so-so but okay for just one night, but the other hotels and lodges were fantastic!). Food was great too. A nice combination of buffets and chances to dine out on your own. smarTours gives a lot of value for the price and everything was delivered as stated and more.

will F

Ron McGregor was the tour director for our group of 21 people. His comments and suggestion were most appropriate and informative. although he is not as an effective shopper as some of the ladies in our group. We saw everything that we could have wanted to see for the days available in SA. Gave drives in all 3 reserves were as advertised and we did see all of the big 5 with the exception that we did see several adult males none were the mature adults with the manes to match. all hotels were above average and the furnished buffet breakfast buffets were above average especially the Protea lodge breakfast. the coach and drivers were excellent for our trips and the park guides were very informative and seemed to enjoy finding the animals for our group. 1st day in Kruger we watched a leopard casually drink from a creek and the fade into the trees. This was our first experience with SmarTours but will definitely not be the last as we were totally impressed with what we received for the cost of the trip and their planning of the trip.

Debra D

Just back from a terrific tour of South Africa with Jeremy Poole as our guide. We travelled from June 21 - July 7, 2016. We were a group of 22; it was a delightful group to travel with. We had fine, clear weather everywhere we went. Perfect! Jeremy was wonderfully organized, informative, and clear about every detail. He is the best tour guide we've ever had and this was our 10th Smartours trip. We learned so much about South African history, culture, politics past and present, its many challenges, and came away encouraged for what they are striving to make of the 21st century. We enjoyed the Apartheid Museum, Mandela's house, and visiting Soweto. Ditto wine tasting, the strikingly beautiful cape peninsula and freshest fish of Cape Town. The safaris were really wonderful. We especially liked safari drives in Kruger and Hluhluwe and the little boat cruise and afternoon safari in Chobe in Botswana. We saw all of the Big 5 and soooooo much more! The safari guides know where and when to find the animals and are so very informative. I love it best when they would shut off the safari vehicle just so we could gaze at whatever animals we'd found and watch whatever behavior might display itself. We saw an elephant swimming! Also a giraffe having a drink. And lions and leopards. Also, a herd of cape buffalo rushing to a watering hole and shouldering each other aside for a drink of water. The hotels were terrific as were all of the people we met. We particularly loved the Sabi River Sun Resort and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (extension). We really liked the locals we met in Victoria Falls and during our day trip to Botswana. We would highly recommend this tour and also the extension. Both exceeded expectations in every area. smarTours does not disappoint!

Jim

We went on this tour late May / early June 2016 and had a great time. Ron McGregor was a great guide. The safari drives at Hluhluwe and Kruger National Park were spectacular. Even the weather was great. Would recommend this tour for anyone.

Glenn R

Recommend this trip! The best trip ever! We had Jeremy Poole and he was the best. Also a great tour group ever!!! Recommend the Victoria Falls extension.

Jan S

Best tour we have ever taken! The tour guide was amazing, the hotels and food were excellent and the whole experience was far beyond our expectations. We will definitely travel with smarTours again.

Elizabeth H

Although I have traveled internationally for work for many years, this was our first "tour" and I wasn't sure about giving up my independence. Now I am hooked. Everything was professionally planned, extremely interesting, and with a good balance of time and location. Wonderful guide, great meals, very nice hotels and staff, and truly hassle-free. We learned a lot, loved the others on the trip. No problems.

Sharon T

This was my third trip with Smartours and as with the last two, I was NOT disappointed. This was definitely the most incredible tour I have ever taken. Our tour guides and hotel accommodations were excellent and we saw wild life beyond our expectations.

Janice Q

This trip was phenomenal in many ways -- the guide Ron McGregor is a raconteur who will teach you so much about South African history, its varied people, geography and climate, politics, even botany, and although the group may be large at over 40 travellers, his fine organizational skills and humor appear to make the group feel smaller (ask to buy a copy of the book with his commentary). Animals were abundant and clearly visible at Hluhluwe National Park, and the park is actually much prettier than the famed Kruger. Be sure to take the nominally priced guided walk to visit (and pet) cheetahs and other cats at Emdoneni Lodge bordering on Hluhluwe. There are numerous choices to use your free time in Cape Town, including the Two Oceans Aquarium, inexpensive harbor tours, walking tours, dinner and live performances of black South African music, and craft shopping (I arranged them all myself). The optional tours to Pretoria and the Cape Town cultural heritage and township tours are worthwhile. Included buffet meals were delicious. The tour never felt rushed, and weather in May was delightful, and the price was unbeatable.

Claire

This was an amazing tour if you love wildlife and adventure. We had a great guide, Shaun Bartnick, who provided us with information, fun safaris and happy surprises. We visited 5 countries in Africa, saw every animal you have ever heard of, including ones you haven't, like the stunning Black Sable Antelope. Wildlife roams around the National Parks like we humans wander around the mall, and our local guides knew how to spot them. You see more than you imagined on smarTours land and river safaris. Don't miss Victoria Falls! It's a spectacular ending to your trip, with elephants, hippos, giraffes, lions and more. I cannot say enough good things about Shaun. We had 3 people in wheelchairs (!) and he accommodated them beautifully without holding the rest of us eager adventurers back. He was super-terrific. In my opinion: Book it!

James C

Great tour. Covered everything you would want to see and do. First class accommodations, transportation and meals. Couldn't ask for anything more.

Howard

Our guide, Ron McGreggor, lived up to his reviews. He made the trip so interesting with his first hand knowledge. Ron gets 10 stars on a scale of 1 to 5. He was that good. The included and optional tours were fantastic. Got to see the big 5 twice in Kruger National Park. Hotels & food were first class. Victoria Falls was awesome, especially from the helicopter ride. Did the walk with lions. Truly amazing.

Lynne

Our trip to S. Africa was one of the best we've ever taken. Our guide, Jeremy, was very knowledgeable, having lived through Apartheid from childhood. He was able to present the information little by little so as to inform, not to bore. Our safaris were awesome! We saw tons of animals although the big cats hid from us throughout the trip. We recommend the cat sanctuaries and the Capetown cultural excursion and the Pretoria excursion. We were rather disappointed with the Victoria Falls extension. The people of Zimbabwe don't really get the value of the dollar, wanting to charge a fortune for what would cost maybe 2 dollars in the US. I have said many times that I feel like I paid for 3 star hotels and got 5 stars! The food, which was always buffets, was also delicious! We highly recommend this trip and this company!!

Kathleen K

Before we left, I read "The South African Story" by Ron McGregor. It was a good read to get a feeling for SA. To my surprise, Ron was our guide! He knew to go to Cape Town's Table Mountain first thing in morning to avoid the crowds. Gave us great advice about dinning and optional tours. On the bus, he gave us a running commentary about South Africa and being a South African. We saw the African "Big Five", penguins, protea and Victoria Falls. Busy every minute, it was truly the trip of a life time.

Debbie

Just returned from the amazing "South Africa Highlights & Safari" (March 15-27 trip). This was our 2nd trip with Smartours & it was the same excellent quality as our Smartours trip to Machu Picchu & Galapagos. Our Tour Director, Jeremy Poole, was by far, the best Tour Director we've ever had. He is personable, well organized, extremely knowledgeable, passionate & a great educator & story-teller. If you're planning to book this trip, try to book a date when Jeremy is the Tour Director. All of the hotels/lodges were 4* (except possibly, the Lugogo Sun in Swaziland -- it's a beautiful resort, but it could do with some updating) The included & optional tours & meals were excellent; the meals that we purchased were very inexpensive all through our stay in South Africa. South Africa Airlines is great -- crew is friendly & service is very good -- not many other airlines provide "real" meals & snacks, even on short flights; the "free" beverages include wine & beer, and they give you "sleep kits", even for passengers in the Economy section (all free of charge); seats are comfortable, with good leg-room and recline. The Victoria Falls extension (March 27-30), on the other hand, is VERY expensive -- the Lodge is lovely, the Falls are beautiful to see, and the optional side-trip to Chobe was wonderful, but meals and optional tours are very expensive. (and if you're Canadian, the costs for Visas to enter Zimbabwe (twice, if you do the Botswana side-trip) are significantly more than Visas for U.S. passport-holders)

Victoria M

This was an amazing trip. I have traveled with many different tour groups and never had any tour director like Ron McGregor. He was very organized, on time, gave clear instructions. His knowledge of African history, culture and politics was wonderful. He gave us tips where best to get laundry done, where to change money and many other things.

roxsene/jules

All South African Airlines flights and flight connections were fine. Tour Director Jason Gresak is a phenomenal director and guide. He is extremely knowledgeable, affable, charming, generous, accommodating, and well organized . His presentations on Mendela and the history of South Africa were very educational and interesting. His daily quotes from Mendala were an enriching way to begin each day. All the hotels were good to excellent but the the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was exemplary. The tours were very well planned with the exception of the optional 1/2 tour of Hluhluwe Game Reserve, because it was superfluous. The cultural tour in Cape Town was exceptionally educational,l with an excellent guide. Walking with the Lions was an unforgettable experience, enabling us to send pictures that shocked our friends and family. Victoria Falls should not to be missed.(Appropriate shoes would be helpful). To summarize. We highly recommend this trip. Hopefully Jason would be your tour director.

Ralph G

The above named tour starting on Feb 16 was excellent. The hotels were all good to excellent and the tour director was one of the best we have ever had. The included and optional tours were excellent except for Chobe which was only good possibly due to the time of year.

Lynne M

Everything was great! South African Airlines treated us very well - lots of food and drink, polite, helpful staff and comfortable space. Our tour director, Jason Gresak, was personable, articulate, well informed and well organized. His daily Mandela quotes and breadth of knowledge about the regions we were passing through added immeasurably to the enjoyment of this trip of a lifetime. He has a great sense of humour too! The hotels were all first rate and the included meals were excellent. The safaris were excellent and we saw lots and lots of big, and small game and birds. The Cat Walk at Emdoneni Lodge was an amazing experience - getting up close and personal with cheetahs, caracals, serval and African Wild Cats unforgettable. One of the main highlights of the trip was the Walk with the Lions north-west of Pretoria. Another unforgettable time - and the brick-oven, warthog pizza was awesome. Will definitely be recommending smarTours to my friends. Thank you.

MICHELE R

This was the best trip of my life, Jason Gresak was a phenomenal tour guide. He was knowledgeable, personable, patient, super organized and went above and beyond in many ways. The hotels, meals, buses (and drivers), sights and experiences far exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend this tour with smartours!

Elaine

This was our first Trip with Smartours and it was fabulous. Jason was our wonderful tour guide . He was very knowledgeable and presented everything in a clear, interesting way, and he was very engaging , and accommodating . The hotels were all acceptable. Protea Kruger Gate was lovely with a very nice staff. Our favorite hotel was Victoria Fall Safari club which we were upgraded to. They have exceptionally beautiful rooms with views and wonderful amenities . The staff was very accommodating . I particularly remember Tandy and Patience who c ould not do enough for us. The hotel offered free laundry service which I really appreciated. The highlights for us were the optional cultural tour in Cape Town, the safaris, the optional lion walk and elephant experience in Victoria Falls. I would have preferred to have had early morning and /or late afternoon safaris rather than mid day. All in all, a great trip!

Patricia A

The trip to South Africa was both wonderful and exhilarating. Our accommodations in Cape Town were superb. It was easy to get around and the tours and our tour guide Roger was well informed and more than willing to help in any way possible. Moving on to Johannesburg we were excited about our safari tour but not so much about the hotel . It was in the middle of nowhere with nothing nearby within walking distance. We saw very little of Johannesburg only in passing through. Overall I enjoyed for the most part the itinerary set forth by SmartTours and would definitely use them again.

Eli H

Immensely enjoyed this trip taken in late January 2016 with wife and 2 teenage girls. Group was small (26 ppl, incl. us) and mostly older couples, but we didn't mind. Shawn Bartnick was very informative regarding South African history and current political & civic environment. Included meals were surprisingly decent, & the meals we paid for were not expensive. Highly recommend the optional township tour in Cape Town. I wish the Victoria Falls extension (which we passed on) was shorter period & less expensive, since we had to get back for work & school schedule. Rufus Makwela, safari jeep driver at Kruger, was fantastic ... you must ask for him!

Reina L

Excelente Vacaciones no tengo palabras como expresar lo bello que fue este viaje. Nuestro directos Jeremías excelente ser humano con una gran experiencia de lo que hace. Los hoteles excelente servicio en todo. Gracias a Smar Tour por bajos precios en sus paquetes.

Toby

We had the fortunate opportunity to be on the January 12, 2016 South African Highlights tour led by Ron McGregor. We cannot find enough words to express what a fabulous adventure this trip was. From the first minute we met Ron until the very last day at the airport, he was the Tour Director Extraordinaire! He warned us that this was not a vacation – it was a holiday. His organization kept us all on our toes and allowed us to get the most out of the tour. Ron gave us a realistic lesson in the politics and history of South Africa and there was no question he couldn’t answer. In all of our travels Ron is the best guide we ever had. He led us from place to place and tackled every problem that arose calmly, professionally and proficiently. The extras that he arranged for us – the extra safari, and those of us who didn’t go to Victoria Falls, got the awesome experience of Walking with Lions – which we know none of us will ever forget. The hotels, the food, the local guides, etc. were all more than we ever expected!! This was our first Smartour but it’s not going to be our last one!

Sharon S

I have done a great deal of traveling in my life, but I can say that the 17 days I spent on this tour were among the best of my travels, if not THE best. In South Africa, we had a tour director who easily surpasses all others with his knowledge and ability to communicate it. Jeremy was largely responsible for the excellence of this trip. The only downside was the number of different guides in Victoria Falls and Chobe. The optional tours throughout were excellent, but the tours in Victoria Falls were quite expensive.

Penny D

Wish there were ten stars. Just returned from South Africa tour. It not only met, but far exceeded, my expectations. From the second we stepped off the plane and was met by Ron MacGreggor (sp?) our tour guide it was smooth sailing. Ron's knowledge of his country was AMAZING. How he kept 32 people organized and on time was nothing short of miraculous. The small mishaps along the way were handled with a calm and professional manner. The tour itself was unbelievable. I was talking to a woman on our return flight who paid almost double what we did and saw half what we saw. I can without hesitation completely recommend Smartours to anyone who wants to make the most of their vacation and see and experience, to the fullest, the culture where they are going. Memories to last a lifetime!

Marina E

November 24- December 10, 2015. Great trip and very well organized. Food and hotels A plus. And our guide Mr.Ron McGregor is just plain excellent. There is very little that gentleman does not know. Learned a lot. It was like going to school every day but loved it!! Remember, get your Robben Island ticket BEFORE you leave home. The add on of Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) and Botswana (Chobe National Park and 45,000 elephants) absolutely worth it as were the river cruises. Highly recommend this tour with SmarTours.

Charles P

Great trip with a good cost.

Stacey

The South Africa tour was incredible, and so all-encompassing. Our tour guide, Jeremy, was THE BEST. EVER. He was so knowledgable and passionate about what he does. I could not recommend it more highly.

helen p

TOUR DIRECTOR RON MCGREGOR WAS THE BEST I HAVE HAD IN ALL MY TRAVELS. THE TOUR WAS AN INTELLECTUAL FEAST. WE SAW SO MUCH OF THE COUNTRY AND I LEARNED MORE THAN I EVER ANTICIPATED. I SUGGEST THAT PARTICIPANTS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE OPTIONAL TOURS AS I FELT THEY WERE WELL WORTH THE EXTRA COST. THIS TRIP FAR EXCEED MY EXPECTATIONS AND DESIRES.

Linda M

This was the fourth Smartour I've taken, and one of many over the years. Our tour guide Jeremy was the BEST! His knowledge of South Africa was incredible. The entire tour was well organized. The hotels were great, the optional tours very informative and the itinerary included all the highlights. Victoria Falls extension was also very worth the additional expense.

Patricia D

This tour went way beyond my expectations for its ability to present all levels of society in South Africa. The excursions that were included were enhanced by additional excursion opportunities to learn more about low, middle, and upper classes. Our tour guide was provided intelligent insights and was an excellent story-teller in sharing about the history and dynamics of the various people and cultures inhabiting the country. I am now reading his book (Ron McGregor) and reliving my tour again. I am pleased to have made this investment.

Joanne Z

We loved the South Africa trip. Our guide Shaun Bartnick was fantastic. He was knowledgable, and never lost patience with some folks on our tour who kept asking questions he had just answered. A few points for improvement: less time in JoBerg airport. Perhaps rearrange the trip so that we are not in JoBerg so often. Publicize ALL the optional tours so we can budget and plan better ahead of time. Less time on the bus - break up the days more. Otherwise everything was perfect

Helen T

Couldn't find a thing wrong from the wonderful guide Ron to the hotels, food, itinerary,group, and especially game drives. Ready for my next trip.

Linda M

The tour guide on this trip was the best I've ever had on ANY trip anywhere. Jeremy Poole was excellent. His knowledge of South Africa was incredible. History/botany/animals was all first rate. The hotels and meals provided were certainly more than what would be expected with the cost of this trip. It's the 4th trip with Smart Tours and I will continue to use Smart tours when traveling with a group.

Julile K

This trip is amazing and our tour guide, Ron McGregor, was the most organized and his knowledge of the country and the people made for a great experience! He went out of his way to attend to each and every detail!

Bonnie S

This was a great tour. Really enjoyed seeing the animals and learning about So Africa, Zimbabwe , and Botswana . Our guide, Ron McGregor was very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about the country. He had patience and a good sense of humor. Helped everyone to understand the culture of the country. Also our guide in Victoria Falls was Big Boy. He was very personable and taught us a lot about that area. A good experience! Many thanks to Smartours!

Marlene

You would have to search the earth far and wide to find another tour guide as good as Ron McGregor. His knowledge of the country and his organizational skills are without equal. He added so much to the trip with his insight and facts which he provided throughout the vacation. I wish I could clone him and make him my tour guide for all the future tours I may take. On another note, the worst airline I ever flew was South African Airways. Besides losing my luggage which never did show up, they were the only airline I've ever flown internationally where I was hungry because the only snack available for the 10 hours between the 2 meals offered on a 15 hour flight was a package of Fritos. If you have a choice of airlines, do not select them.

Lynnette J

This is a high energy, compact tour where you see a lot, eat a lot, and everything in between. Great value for the money. Such beautiful scenery and included tours were a real treat. The optional tours offered were a great value too. Be sure to take the Robben Island tour of Nelson Mandella's jail cell. Impossible to think a perfect tour guide could be found, but he was in Ron McGruger. His knowledge of the area was amazing and I can never thank him enough for making an already incredible tour more enjoyable. We were on time, well organized and without drama due to his leadership. Take this tour with full assurance you will come away with a greater understanding of South African history and where they are headed in the future.

Irene K

Perfect combination of history, culture and nature. Our guide, Jeremy, provided a fascinating glimpse into South African life with his in depth knowledge of politics, history, and the unique South African environment.

Mary C

Loved every minute...the people on tour, the locals we met, our tour director Jeremy Poole was really great !!!

Brenda S

This was an amazing trip which far exceeded our expections. Our tour director Ron McGregor was the best we have ever had looking after every detail I will never take on the stress of planning another vacation by booking my own hotels, etc. The hotels were great and the ones in Emdoneni Lodge and Kruger Gate were so unique, the safari were a thrill to see all the animals right beside you. Smart Tours are commended for organizing such a great itinerary. My trival request would be that each hotel carry the universal wall plug as some of the hotels were out and that was frustrating.

Fred K

Quite a country, quite a tour, this trip more than matched our expectations. We enjoyed every day of this fascinating excursion with tour guide Ron McGregor, whose knowledge of the history and topography of South Africa was amazing. From Capetown through Swaziland, Kruger National Park, to Johanesburg, there wasn't one day of disappointment. My biggest problem is going the thousand pictures and video of animals and cultures, to pick out the best moments of the trip. We have been on other tours and seen almost one hundred countries, but no trip comes close to this one. Don't miss it!!!

James P

We recently returned from the South Africa tour with Victoria Falls extension. Ron McGregor did an amazing job in a country that requires a little more "guiding" than other locations we have visited. He is witty, articulate and knowledgeable on every subject it seems. Our Zimbabwe guides were excellent as well. Accommodations were very good overall, especially the three nature settings, and the included meals offered great choice and nutrition. We signed up for many of the optional programs and they were all "must see" in our opinion. Chobe, the lion walk, Pretoria, the townships. Best of all were the game drives and river cruises. I couldn't believe how close we were able to get to some amazing creatures. Great chemistry on our coach throughout the adventure and the tour was well paced with a very good mix of structured and free time as well. Great job!

Brenda S

A wonderful trip of a lifetime. Our guide Ron McGregor made the trip so stressfree with his super organizing skills and telling us the history of the country while we were on the buses.The safaris through Kruger Park and Zululand were wonderful seeing the Big 5 each time.This was our first trip with Smart Tours and we will try them again as we truly thought for the money they offer great service.

Merlyn N

Every trip I take is good, but South Africa was extraordinary. Its hard to describe the thrill of being up close and personal to the wild animals. The numerous safaris were amazing. Our guide Ron, was knowledgeable, interesting and helpful; accommodations and food were good; and we saw everything that I had hoped to see plus many I didn't expect to. The trip of a lifetime.

Judy Y

Wonderful trip! Jeremy Poole was a great guide, very informative and organized. Saw the Big 5 and much more. Loved the penguin colony, petting the cheetahs, walking with lions, helicopter ride over Victoria Falls. Especially enjoyed my upgraded loft at Victoria Falls with a view of the waterhole!

Elizabeth S

Having traveled quite a lot, but never with a group of 40, the size of the group was my biggest concern. It turned out not to be an issue. All of the people on our tour were friendly, and polite and our guide Shaun made sure they were always on time. The guide was well informed, flexible and helpful. The accommodations were consistently good particularly the location in Kruger and Victoria Falls. The only exception would be the hotel in Swaziland, which was far below my expectations. Although I do not like buffets generally, they were quite consistently good, with many options, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The meal that was below expectations was the "going away dinner." Although described as a special African meal in the Smartours literature it was actually a very basic mediocre buffet. The extension to Victoria Falls was very good. It could have been better if our guide was able to continue with us for the extension. The fact that the flight from Cape Town to Durban was not direct was disappointing. Overall the itinerary was excellent and provided a great overview of culture as well as plenty of safari time.

Mary W

The tour director was knowledgeable and interesting and the safaris and animals were fascinating. We stayed in two amazing hotels in Cape Town and Kruger Park. The guide offered optional tours which were definitely worth it, and reasonably priced. The guide managed a large group well, and my only complaint is beware the early wakeups. Meals were also excellent and the guide gave us much needed advice at each stop. The scenery was magnificent. A trip of a lifetime.

Karen A

Excellent guide with a wealth of information. First rate hotels. And, the animals cooperated!

Kelly N

This trip was amazing. No other way to describe it. The 15-hour flight was completely worth it! Although it is definitely not a relaxing trip, it was beyond anything I had expected! I would recommend doing all of the optional tours (Cultural Heritage Tour, Winelands Tour, Chobe National Park Tour, & Robbens Island Tour- although ours was cancelled due to bad weather). The only complaint is that we stayed in Cape Town a bit too long and the night in Swaziland, I think, was unnecessary. I would say MORE SAFARIS! When in Kruger, ask your guide about the night safari! Food was delicious and super cheap! Another tip- bring a journal to write down names of animals! & bring lots of camera memory cards! :)

Jon C

This tour was fantastic! We explored a huge array of urban and nature landscapes, ate amazing food and saw incredible animals throughout the tour. Ron is an extremely well-spoken and knowledgeable tour director, and we came away from this tour both exhilarated at what we saw, and our eyes were also opened to the story of South Africa. The best parts of the tour, in our opinion, were: * The cultural tour in Cape Town, including meeting people in a township. * Safari drives in Kruger * The Walking with Lions tour near Pretoria (this could really be a non-optional tour...it was incredible to interact so closely with lions of different ages!) Our only constructive feedback is: * Provide better up-front information about the optional tours that will be offered. Very thorough information was provided during the tour, but it would great to have this information in advance so tour guests know the up-front total cost. * Provide at least 1-2 more opportunities throughout the tour for down-time. This is a high-intensity tour, which is great, since there is so much to see and learn! However, having 1-2 additional quiet afternoons with no optional tours would be great...a little extra sleep would make subsequent tours all the more pleasurable. This was the tour of a lifetime, and I will heartily recommend it to friends!

Tom L

We are so happy we found SmarTours several years ago and delighted to travel to South Africa with their guide, Jeremy. With SmarTours we have been on several trips to places that were stunningly beautiful (Thailand) or offered an extraordinary cultural education (China), but this trip had it all. Jeremy was incredible and really helped us understand the cultural and political history of this wonderful country. Then there were the game drives….simply amazing. We saw the Big Five and felt we were in the middle of a National Geographic special every day. Each successive day outdid the previous extraordinary one. The accommodation were excellent – especially when were on game drives, the food was terrific, and the people of Africa couldn’t have been friendlier and welcoming. This was our best trip and can’t wait to come back to Africa….Morocco? Kenya? Maybe both!

Laurel A

OK - First off, my expectations were not good. I did not look at reviews until after the trip was booked and many of them were pretty bad. I'm here to tell you - the trip was excellent. I don't know if they have just tried harder after receiving bad reviews or what. I would recommend this trip to everyone and I intend to tell everyone just how good it was. Our guide, most of the time, was Dez Monde and from the first he said we would be treated like royalty....and we were. The Cape Sun Hotel was great and buffet food was marvelous. Staff was great. I needed batteries for my camera and my husband went to find them at about 7p in the evening ( they don't have any kind of shops in the hotel). The porter would not let him go out by himself. He walked with him to a store about 2 and a half blocks from the hotel. They don't even let you press the elevator button....there is someone assigned just to press the button. Cape Sun is one of the grand old hotels that is huge and beautiful and the are many people stationed in the lobby...just to help or answer questions. The second hotel we stayed at was the Protea Winkler - not far from Kruger National Park. It was OK. It's set in beautiful surroundings and staff is attentive but rooms were not up to the standard as the Cape Sun in Cape Town. Food was poor...except for the salads they prepared. I would say this hotel is more rustic. Found tiny lizard that had crawled under our door and a couple of bugs in the room...but after all we were in Africa. Bathroom was great and very clean. Carpet was in need of cleaning. Would I recommend this hotel...yes, with some qualifications. It may not make everyone happy.

Rhea V

Went with a group of friends on the South Africa Tour in November 2014. This was my second trip with Smartours and I would do it again, The organization does great planning and accommodates folks well. Our tour guide Jeremy was the best as he was knowledgeable and really was sensitive to the needs of his visitors. LOVED IT IMMENSELY!!!! I always recommend Smartours they are great!

Betsy K

Amazing visit to South Africa in 2012. Want to go back. Would recommend Smart Tour devise a wine farms tour.

Victoria

We traveled to South Africa October 2014. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful this vacation was. Our tour guide Ron McGregor was OUTSTANDING!! He brought the places we visited to life. Ron taught me so much about the countries we visited and the people who lived there. If your considering this package I would highly recommend the extension to Victoria Falls... it was breathtaking! Thank you Smartours for such an awesome experience.. you get a lot of bang for your buck with this company. Next adventure Thailand with Smartours of course!!

Emmanuil

We traveled to South Africa+VF in August 14. The weather was perfect. Great trip. Jeremy was perfect. Wildlife viewing was amazing. I saw all big 5. The only thing that the next traveler has to keep in mind. It is not a relaxing trip. You have to wake early and be on safari vehicle at 6am. A lot of flights. But this is the only way to see a lot.

Barbara W

We just returned from the South Africa Highlights and Safari tour including the Victoria Falls extension. It was an amazing trip. Our Tour guide, Jeremy was excellent. He was very knowledgeable and was great in organizing the group. This is a great tour for the money and would highly recommend to others!

Amanda M

This was an amazing tour with an excellent tour director! Highly recommended!

David

Woohoo! Great trip. Loved it
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Michael

The tour to South America exceeded our expectations marked by outstanding tour guides and breathtaking sceneries and excellent accommodations. Fernando, the tour director Was very instrumental in making this trip very successful and enjoyable.

Dona M

This was our first Smartours trip and a great start to many more! Kristina Hagelstam, our Tour Guide, went well above the call of duty to attend to our every need. The hotels were excellent, the food great, and the scenery beautiful. We especially liked the Chilean Lake District, Bariloche, Buenos Aires, and Iguassu Falls. In the Optional Tours, don't miss the Afternoon "Small Circuit Tour." The views are spectacular.

Leslie D

Trip of a lifetime and excellent guide; loved Fernando. Guides all had so much knowledge and definitely would love to go on another trip with Smart Tours.

Betty L

Fantastic trip What did I like best? All of it. Memories for a lifetime.

Helena A

Excellent Tour http://webgraphic.us/photography/buenos-aires/index.html and Tango just WOW... http://webgraphic.us/photography/tango/index.html

robert r

Another excellent tour with Betty Levin and the professional staff at smarTours. I was amazed at all the sites we visited, the very nice hotels, the wonderful meals. And we had a great group of travelers who joined us, people literally from all around the U.S. and the world. Their varied travel experiences added a dimension to our tour which made it even more interesting. I'll be back for another tour soon.

Arlene

wonderful trip. of us took the South American Odyssey the middle if January. Our Guide, Alex was wonderful. He was knowledgable, personable, and lots of fun. He made each day fun and full of energy. The itinerary was very good including cities, Iguazu Falls, the Lake District and a day on the Pampas. Absolutely loved Buenos Aires and to my surprise, Rio was my least favorite. I highly recommend this trip and hooefullly you will have Alex to make it even better.

Michael B

This is our third tour with smarTours but we thought the Optional tours were over priced.

Karen T

Kristina was a wonderful tour leader and all the tour guides for each location were enthusiastic about their country. The included meals were great. My favorite places were Bariloche and Iguassu Falls, but the cities we visited were also exciting. Would highly recommend the tour if you want to see the highlights of South America.

Laurie t

This is a wonderful trip! Chile is a very interesting country -good economy. Much diversity from the coast thru the mountains. The Lake District was so beautiful! Argentina is again very diverse-from the pampas to a very European city. The estancias, the Cowboys & the BBQ-delicious! Buenos aires history-think Duarte , Eva Peron. Iguassu is beautiful on both borders! Rio-Christ the redeemer statue, the beaches,-all beautiful!
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Anonymous

in overall the trip was wonderful, especially, land portion (Delphi and Olympia). Cruise part was ok, but very little time for Island tours. our lead Guides (Granville and Nina) and local guides were very nice and very knowledgeable. Especially both lead Guides were very helpful and made our trip enjoyable. And special thanks to Elias (our driver on the land tour), he was wonderful always so helpful and keeping eye on all our needs. He made out tour so enjoyable. We thought Smart Tour could improve this tour by allocation (or extending the tour time) longer for few days especially time spent on Islands. We thought planning for Island visit could be longer as some of them were quite short like Santorini. Turkey portion of the tour (Ephesus) was breath taking and nice little touch with a side visit to carpet factory. Our Hotel at Athens on first day was at best not what we expected (very small rooms), we thought food on the ship, especially breakfast and lunch, could be better. In overall, it was a good tour and got to see and learn more about Ancient Greece.

Lynn

I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular Greece tour. The guide Granville Lee-Warner was fabulous. He made the tour extra special being personable, knowledgeable and giving us an extra excursion on the Island of Rhodes. I enjoyed Victoria as well for the land tours. She was very knowledgeable as well.

Susan G

What makes one Tour company superior to another? Surely, the destinations are the same as are the methods of transportation and the accommodations. So what made SmarTours “Spectacular Greece with Island Cruise” so wonderful? Two things come to mind: (1) the quality of the tour guides and (2) people! SmarTours “Spectacular Greece with Island Cruise” destination boasts two guides; one for sea and the other for the land portion Our first guide, Granville Lee-Warner greeted us with a huge smile at Athens airport. And it only got better from then. He was organized, thoughtful, knowledgeable. He regaled us with historical information that infused the tour with added appreciation. He also took us on extra walking tours that gave us added flavour for the locals. He pointed out the better eating and shopping areas. Absolutely entertaining! A man who loves what he does. Victoria was our land guide. She was very personable. An encyclopedia of information. Organized, funny, thoughtful. Energetic. What else makes SmarTours different? The people! Not only the sales staff in the office, but the fellow travellers. This is my second SmarTours destination. I travelled alone (from Montreal, Canada) on this second destination with much trepidation. My first was South Africa Highlights (which was unbelievable! I highly recommend it!) Travel is much about destination but MEMORIES ARE MADE BY SHARING WITH OTHERS. What an extraordinary group of travellers. What fantastic dinners we shared: laughs, wine, entrees, experiences! Many have become my friends. Many are on their second and third destinations; some are beyond ten! No doubt, my new friends and I will make plans for another SmarTours destination. I have booked my third destination with SmarTours and look forward to many more. I entrust my “travel bucket list” with SmarTours entirely.

Jacqui K

This tour of Greece was AMAZING! We returned 2 weeks ago and my heart still skips a beat when I look at our pictures. Granville was personable, great at making sure we got where we needed to go, and shared stories that made the places we visited come alive. You could tell the country and people of Greece touch his heart. The local guides that met us at various points were delightful. Two in particular were Fuelia at Ephesus and Susie on the island of Patmos. The staff on the cruise ship were kind, efficient, helpful and tireless! The tour of the islands offered a postcard picture opportunity at every turn and the people of the islands were warm and welcoming. For the second half of the tour we were blessed with the WEALTH of knowledge that was Kassandra Porioti. Her vast and varied comprehension of the historical sights we visited was astounding. She knew backstories and dates like the back of her hand and as a bonus she took us to wonderfully scenic and quaint coffee stops along the way and recommended the BEST restaurants in each town. We LOVED our time in Greece, and wouldn't hesitate to go with smarTours again. In fact, even though it was our first tour, several of the people in our group had been on MANY trips with smarTours all over the world, which was a huge compliment to the standards of the company. Thank you, thank you. We are forever grateful for this opportunity.

Mary E

I just returned from your fabulous Greece tour and wanted to commend Granville Lee Warner for the best tour guide experience I have ever encountered. He was so personable and was there for all of our needs. He brought such a delightful presence to every part of the tour and helped make us all feel like friends as well as fellow travelers. I feel so blessed to have met him and will definitely keep in touch for future travel. You are lucky to have him as part of your company!

Norma H

I just returned from the Spectacular Greece Tour April 28-May 9, 2018. This was my first tour experience and first time Greece. What an amazing trip! It was jam packed with excursions to see things that I'd only read about in history books. The cruise to the islands was just amazing. I only wish I'd had more time to spend on each of the islands. The hotels that were chosen by SmarTours were top notch! As were the buffets at the hotels. A special shout out and thank you to our amazing tour guide Granville Lee-Warner! As soon as I met him at the airport, I was greeted with a smile, a hug, and a warm welcome. I immediately relaxed and knew that I would be in for a great time. He imparted his vast knowledge of Greece to us. He suggested great places to eat and shop. He warned us about potential dangers from street crimes such as pickpockets. He took great care of our group and made sure we were informed as to departure and meetup instructions from and to our venues. He made himself available to us 24/7 for any concerns. I hope to return to Greece again for another tour!

john P

One of the best tours I ever went to. Amazing locations and lot of history to discover. Especially enjoyed the Tour Guides like Granville. Made it very memorable.

Lawrence T

I had the pleasure to journey to Greece with smarTours in May. I just wanted to complement you on the quality of the tour and especially the tour guides. Three in particular: Granville Lee-Warner, Matina Chountala, and Thalia Zervaki were memorable for their charm, knowledge, and professionalism at every step of the tour. They created for a me a lasting experience that I will not forget.

Pat D

If you want to see Greece and all of the most important sights that launched civilization this is the tour for you. The cruise was wonderful, food good and staff very friendly and efficient. The land portion takes you to all of the classic sights that represent the birthplace of modern thought and culture in the western civilization. The hotels were all wonderful and food excellent. Now for the guides - the best tour guide I have ever had took our group on the cruise portion. His name is Granville Lee-Warner and he is extremely knowledgeable of Greek history but more than that he represents the soul of the Greek people. I cannot express how well he leads you into the heart of Greece and how these people defined western civilization. The land portion of the trip was guided by Matina and she was an encyclopedia of Greek history and so fluid and helpful. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a great all in one trip of Greece.

Linda

This was our 3rd trip with smarTours, and we have enjoyed every one of them. We experienced a wonderful variety of sites. There was so much to see and do on this trip. Our guides were excellent, and our tour directors, Granville and Elena, both deserve special kudos for their breadth of knowledge and for making this trip so memorable.

Rick P

This was our 1st smarTours trip. Based on this excellent experience we plan to do more. There was so much to see and do! I am so glad we finally made it to Greece and the Aegean Sea. Granville Lee Warner and Elana were outstanding guides. Both Granville and Elana were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated to making our trip as enjoyable as possible. We signed up for all of the side trips and thus our days were full. Yet the pace was always just about right and our travel group really enjoyed each other’s company. Credit Granville and Elana for our learning experiences, group cohesion and many fun times.

Alan a

This was our 2nd SmarTour trip and lived up to its name. The itinerary was very ambitious and not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless , despite the the amount walking/climbing , you never felt rushed and there were plenty of rest stops along the way. The amount of information and education we received on both the cruise and land tours was phenomenal due to the excellent guides we had on board and land. Granville Lee Warner was nothing less than phenomenal. His enthusiasm, compassion and breadth of knowledge were exceptional and his personality infectious. His anecdotal stories along the way were entrancing. Elena, was was a gem. Her knowledge base of archeology and Greek mythology was extensive and presented in a clear story book method that was captivating. It was Granville and Elena that made this trip as enjoyable and unforgettable as one could hope for and not to be forgotten.

Charles C

Our Greece trip was our 5th with SmarTours and was fabulous throughout ! The tour directors ,Granville and Elena, were beyond superb ! Their knowledge of and passion for Greece was the glue that made our group so tight knit. We are in our 70's and the pace of this tour gave us all we wanted,physically speaking. The tour also gives you many tremendous sights and history that makes travel so worthwhile. Despite the turmoil in Syria, we always felt very safe in Greece and would urge you to make the trip.(Our trip dates were 4/30-5/10/16). Great job, SmarTours !!

Cindy K

I really enjoyed my tour of Greece.We were impressed with our leader and how he finagled our own little lounge to give us tour info and the speedy way he got us off the boat to have more time. It was disappointing to get to an island in tne dark. I really enjoyed Elana , She has a great personality and would love to know when she has her baby. The Mt climbing was a little rough on my knees,but I never felt rushed. I has just studied about John and Ephesus this fall so it was so meaningful to me. I was really awed. ONe highlight for me was seeing the original huge vase in the Nat. museum of one my husband had brought for me many years ago. One suggestion is to tell people the temp in the Mt is colder than Athens . Also warn them about losing day light saving.

Rodney R

Where do I begin? To start we had a 4 day boat cruise to Mikonos, Rhodes, Crete, Patmos, Santorini, Ephesus Turkey with our fantastic tour guide Mr. Granville Lee Warner. Granville was the super star guide. Passonate, personable and exetremly knowledgeable about Greece and its special places to visit and enjoy. The next four days was a land tour on tour buses. Out tour guide Matina and bus driver Mario were good and we survived the mountains of Delphi, Nafpaktos, Olympia and Mycenae and finally Athens. During the land tour Granville rejoined our tour and we finished off with a Metro ride in Athens with Granville. What a fabulous tour! I must thank Granville for all his hard work getting us back and forth without a hitch and fabulous stories and visits to those special places. Coach.

Jeanelle C

The trip was a great time. The guides were great, the cruise was wonderful, and the sights overwhelming. We had terrific weather, just a touch of rain. The tours showed ancient landscapes that lasted the tests of time. This was a trip I had wanted to take for years and am very happy it finally happened.

Donna C

We had such a great time while in Greece. Granville was an amazing guide on the cruise portion of the trip. He is definitely an asset for SmarTours. He was like a brother who just had to share his country Greece with us that he now lives in. He did a fabulous job. Elena was equally impressive on the land portion. She was very knowledgeable and delighted in sharing her knowledge of Greece with us. I highly recommend your Spectacular Greece tour to anyone who would like to experience a quick comprehensive tour of Greece. Way to go SmarTours!

Erin I

I had always hoped to visit Greece and am so glad I did it through Smartours. If it wasn't for Granville, our sea tour guide, I don't know if I'd appreciate Greece as much-he has so much passion and love for Greece, he made it an unforgettable experience. This trip was so affordable and I can't wait to go back!

Cathy P

I much enjoyed both our guides (Granville and Melitza) and loved all the sightseeing, learning, and laughing. WHile the schedule and activities were tiring, there is nothing I would want to take out of the trip. It was well planned, most interesting, and beautiful. The on-board musicians were very good. I esp. liked the Greek music in the lounge and the Afro-Cuban band in the night club. I felt the value was very good and I could recommend this tour to anyone.

Muriel C

Great trip, enjoyed islands and historical/archaeological wonders of Greece. No complaints re ship, hotels, food - all good value. Guides Granville Lee-Warner (cruise) and Militsa Pechlivanidou (land) were very caring and passionate about Greece. Only downside was that the information given by Militsa was too in-depth and unremitting for a tourist. She is a lovely person and her knowledge base was vast, but on the coach we needed some downtime! Seeing so much of Greece understandably required being on the move but we felt it was too rushed. Would still recommend SmarTours for value and efficiency.

rose d

The tour director was the best we have had (Granville Lee Warner) and though he didn't do the land tour, Elena wasn't far behind. They made their love of Greece come alive.
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Anonymous

Excellent. Our Egyptologist guide, Randa, was fabulous! All travel connections were perfect, and the hotels were excellent. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Sallie Winters

Marsha

"The Splendors of Egypt" was our eleventh SmarTorus trip. As usual, it was an incredible experience. We can't say enough about our tour guide, Soha. Besides being an outstanding organizer and trouble-shooter, her local background and education as an Egyptologist gave us a welcome extra understanding of the culture(s) and history of Egypt. Her experienced local assistants helped make everything run as smoothly as possible. The riverboat for our Nile cruise was far more comfortable that we had expected, with a spacious cabin and attentive crew. Granted, there are a couple of early wake-ups during this trip, but they were actually welcomed by our experienced group of travelers (just a few good-natured groans) as they allowed us to get a jump on our filled days, and a jump on other tour groups. All in all, another great experience with smarTours. Can't wait for another "smart" adventure. Marsha & Joel

Patricia

Our Egyptologist guide, Dina, was a marvel. She enthused the entire trip with her knowledge and love of country. The trip exceeded my expectations, with the exception of the airline controlled timing of the excursion to Abu Simbel. Our time there was frenetic and unfortunately brief. That information was not included in pre-trip sales details. The Movenpick boat was fabulous, and the treasures of antiquity amazing to see.

Jo

Our trip to Egypt with Smart Tours was great. We traveled with a terrific group of well traveled people ranging in age from the 20s to the 80s! I'd be happy to see any one of them at any future trip. The accommodations were all very good and we were well taken care of by attentive but not overbearing staff. Our guide Tarek was really great. He was passionate about the beauty of the incredible ancient sites of Egypt. There is a concern about safety in Egypt and between the tour company and the tourism department in Egypt we felt safe at all times, with a security agent with us in addition to the guide and also the government provides police escort for the bus. In addition, my husband developed a respiratory bug about 2 weeks before our trip and was sure he was on the mend before our trip, but about a week into it took a turn for the worse. We were so grateful to Smart Tours for the attention they gave him. He was taken to a clinic and was accompanied throughout the appointment with a doctor who took an X-ray, blood test and administered antibiotics and then monitored for the next 2 days with a nurse coming to check on him even. We really appreciated the attentive health care. My only criticism of the way the tour is set up is the tipping situation. I like tipping those people like the guide who was with us the entire trip and driver who was our main driver. I felt that it got a little confusing when we had a different driver for just a day or had the security agent on the bus. I would like those incidental tips to be added to the cost of the trip up front so there wasn't the constant small tipping we did on those days. Overall, I would be confident to reccomend Smart Tours and to travel again with them myself and I want to thank you for this great experience!

Henry

The trip to Egypt was one of the best tours I have traveled with Smartours. This was my sixth tour and everything was great. I was not concerned with safety what so ever. Our guides were terrific especially Eric. The people of Egypt are very warm and very polite. Exception the vendors, but nothing is perfect. Prepare to tip a lot, but it is not much compared to other places. The weather was cold in Egypt so wear a coat . Just an amazing trip. Go for it.

Julia

Again, my smarTours trip was wonderful! Every aspect of the trip, the Tour Director, the hotels, the food, and of course the sites were truly outstanding! I will continue to participate in these tours as they are great value and provide excellent service.

Dong

The guide Sherri was wonderful. In Nile cruise ship and Hotel in Luxor, there was no heat (there was thermostat but heat was working) and many people including me and my wife had a bad cold. Cairo Marriott Hotel was nice. The coach was tight. Arrangement for the sightseeing was very good. Overall trip was good. I would recommend this tour to anyone.

Carryl

This was my first time travelling with SmarTours and I was delighted. The trip to Egypt was simply amazing. It was a non-stop whirlwind adventure. We had a wonderful guide, Mrs. Sahar Hammad who was with us during the entire 10 days taking us from the Pyramids in Gaza, to the cruise on the Nile river, to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens in Luxor. Mrs. Hammad is a most experienced guide who not only knows the tour routes but brought the history of Egypt's' great civilization to life through personal anecdotes. I would recommend this trip with Mrs. Hammad as your guide if you can get her. I would love to visit again.

Wayne

Terrific ! Egypt--great, helpful, knowledgeable guide. I saw everything I wanted to see. Food and hotels were wonderful !

Rajnikumar

In Egypt even though we did not have anything on the day before departure the Tour director gave very little time at the Cairo museum.

Anonymous

SmartTours provided an outstanding travel experience to Egypt, for my wife and me. Our tour guide was excellent! Already, we have made several recommendations to friends.

Cedric

The tour to Egypt was a truly wonderfully experience, well paced and excellently executed. Henry, the informed tour guide did an exceptional job in balancing the needs of the diverse clientele, from accommodations to addressing accessibility needs. As a rather independent traveler, having the flexibility to do a I pleased in the context of an organized group was truly liberating. The guides suggestions, and attention to detail were truly exemplary. Egypt's treasures were wonderfully accessible, and provided glorious opportunities for full engagement. The Egyptian people were warmly welcoming throughout the adventure, and provided the best possible climate for enjoying the journey. At each point, the adventure felt safe and open. Exploring each city was truly enthralling, with opportunities to mix with local citizens, fellow travelers, and the monumental grandeur that is Egypt! Cedric

Anna

We just got back from Egypt a few days ago. This was our second smarTour trip and we were very happy with pretty much everything. Our guide, Henry Ayoub, was very knowledgeable and personable. He was alot of fun to be with and a very kind person. Our accommodations were excellent and the food was very tasty. The cruise on the Nile River was the highlight of our trip!! The ony negative was that on a couple of days, too many activities were planned and we were exhausted.

Debra

The tour to Egypt was great. I felt very safe and the tour director was amazing. I would highly recommend this tour. I would suggest that Smart Tours add to their literature that Egypt has a prefence for American currency though.

Joon

This was our 5th tour with Smartours. Recent tour was "Splender of Egypt". Our tour director, Randa and several local guides were all excellent guide, in Both informative and educational. Security guard were very nice and very helpful many ways. The coaches and hotel were great 4* -5* Fantastic itinerary, Nice Nile river cruise, The Memphis & Sakkara tour, Abu Simbel, Balloon ride at Luxor were well worth it. Smartours is a great value. We enjoyed very much. Thank you.

Marilyn

The tour was very informative but it became exhausting at some point. The worst part was the fact that once we arrived we hit the ground running and were not able to rest for almost 24 hours. A lot of the sightseeing was scheduled back to back. We were all feeling sleep deprived and extremely tired! Some of the on the go meal boxes consisted of mostly bread. For the most part my trip to Egypt was amazing! The guide was extremely informative. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Money well spent. The hotels were phenomenal! Loved the cruise!

Melinda

I loved this trip, to see such Antiquities and our tour director Amuir was fabulous! The Nile River Cruise was outstanding and really helped to make this trip. The boat and crew would wonderful! Only thing that would have made it a 5 star trip was if we had been informed of such early wake up calls, one being at 1:45am! None of us were prepared for that news! If I'd have known in advance and "bought" into it I would have felt better about the early wake up calls, which there were several, but 1:45am was ridiculous. I would have also like to have been informed by SMARTOURS in advance that if we were not planning on going to any Mosques for touring personally then Shorts and T-Shirts are fine to wear due to the heat. Amuir assured us when we met him that night, comfortable shorts and and modest t shirts would be acceptable since we were going to Sightseeing venues with other tourist. Thankfully I'd spent a few days in NY City prior to leaving for Egypt and had "a few pairs" of shorts with me and T-Shirts, it sure helped make the trip/heat bearable. LOVED this trip and everything we saw and did! Melinda

Andre

Our 10 days in Egypt with Smartours was amazing. Our tour guide Hanna treated her “Lovely Pharaoh’s” as if they were family. She made sure we were well informed on the day’s events and historical sites. The tour is fast paced and full of activities’ from the beginning to the end. By the way, this was my first guided tour and it was fantastic.

James M

Splendors of Egypt is less a vacation and more of an adventure, and I highly recommend you ask for the tour guide Hanna. Always full of energy, optimism and passion, Hanna spent hours working with tour guests to make sure we had everything necessary. On our tour, there was one woman who had trouble walking, and I watched as Hanna spent her own money to make sure this guest had a wheelchair for the Cairo Museum. Before you go, I recommend reading up on historical attractions. Egypt's pyramid's, temples and natural wonders are devoid of any informational signs or guide posts. Pack plenty of bug spay/suncreen and be prepared to get up early if you want to avoid the hot sun of afternoon. An optional tour, the hot air balloons over Luxor is definitely worth every penny. The food is great, if your big on meat and desserts. Egypt is a Muslim country, but alcohol was everywhere.

Reina R

Hermoso viaje a Egypt abril 6, expectacular viaje con Smartour este es mi segundo viaje con ellos, excelente hoteles el crucero excelente nuestra guía RANDAL ABDELWAHAD muy profesional sobre todo con un excelente carisma para tratar con persona. Una vez más recomiendo Smartour. LOVE Egypt it is safe to travel and enjoy everything ❤️

Barb W

We loved our trip to Egypt! Tarek was an excellent guide. He has a degree in Egyptology and showed and taught us so much! Besides seeing so many amazing sites, we enjoyed the cruise on the Nile. Because of tight security in Egypt, we always felt safe. We would recommend this tour to everyone, especially if your guide is Tarek.We loved our trip to Egypt! Tarek was an excellent guide. He has a degree in Egyptology and showed and taught us so much! Besides seeing so many amazing sites, we enjoyed the cruise on the Nile. Because of tight security in Egypt, we always felt safe. We would recommend this tour to everyone, especially if your guide is Tarek.

Joan

My husband and I really enjoyed this trip to Egypt with our guide Henri! He was knowledgeable in Egyptology. We saw the most significant sites and learned history as we traveled. The cruise on the Nile was relaxing and balanced longer days of walking.

Rocky L

Hosam was very accommodating and ensured everything go smooth and safe. Our guide Fouad demonstrated his complete knowledge of Egypt's glorious old dynasty with interesting stories to tell. It made the entire journey fun and enjoyable. (12/21/2017). A winning TEAM.

Bob G

Splendors of Egypt lives up to it's name. smarTours does it again by providing an amazing travel experience to a country I have always wanted to visit. I did feel very safe. Egyptian police and military security are everywhere. smarTours logistics are great. From being met at the airport, inter-Egyptian flights between Cairo and Aswan, and Luxor and Cairo. The 3 day Nile Cruise on Movenpick Royal Lily was so relaxing and wonderful in the middle of a busy itinerary. The ship was small which made it so nice and personal. Not like big ocean cruise liners. The crew could not have been nicer. Food was great. Hotels in Cairo (Cairo Marriot and Fairmont Nile City Hotel on return) were very nice. Sonesta St. George in Luxor also very nice. The horse and carriage ride around Edfu was fun. Egyptian Tour Guide Fouad was excellent. He ensured that everything ran smoothly. He was so knowledgeable and very helpful. He helped make our understanding of the ancient wonders we saw even more amazing. He explained how additional excursions worked or if you wanted to take a camel ride at the Great Pyramid which was fun. His assistant in Cairo, Hosam was also very helpful and nice. To visit the Great Pyramid at Giza, enter the Tomb of Tutankamon in the Valley of the Kings, see the Temple of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Queens, the Temples of Luxor and Karnak - bring ancient history to life. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo was great. If you are fascinated by Ancient Egyptian Art, History and Architecture as I have always been, this tour is not to be missed. Thank you smarTours for a trip I will never forget.

Shirley D

My husband & I had a fabulous time during our 10 days Egypt tour. Our tour director Tarek Tewfik is very knowledgeable of the history of Egypt & very accommodating to any requests or questions. We are blessed to have him as our tour director. We love the Nile River Cruise, the room, food & the staff. We highly recommend to this tour. We love to go back to Egypt.

Lauren R

Everything about this trip was amazing. The accommodations were superb, service 5 star, food was excellent. It was a well paced trip where all the most important sites were visited. Our tour guide was an Egyptologist, full of knowledge and had great love for his country.
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Jose R

Great tour‼️ The best tour guides, very helpful and insightful. I can’t wait to visit China once again.
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Anonymous

It was a nice trip. Lots of do's and don't does, according to the tour director. Cuba is a different country to tour as they have strict rules about everything!

Anonymous

Well run tour but some of the hotels were less than ideal. Not the tours fault. Don't think there were too many 4 or 5 star hotels in Cuba. The one in Havana could have been more central.

Randy

Considering we were in Cuba, I think we went to the best of what was available. A few suggestions; The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Miami by the airport is really starting to look run down--not a great way to start a trip. I would suggest finding a new hotel. On our second day in Cuba, I lost my wallet and had to track down my tour leader late at night--I think we should all have the room numbers of our tour leaders as we arrive in each hotel so finding them is not another burden when you need them. We had salsa lessons scheduled for our stay in Holguin (actually at the all-inclusive resort) but the instructor never showed up and the leader said this was the second time that happened--time for a new salsa instructor. The tour guide in Cuba, Adriana, was exceptional--obviously, I have no way to compare her to your other leaders in Cuba, but we have been on a few of your trips and on others and she was at the very top of the list in terms of tour guides--her knowledge and personality were a perfect combination--don't let her go!

Judith/Tim K

Just returned from our third tour with Smartours and once again it was excellent. Our local guide, Marta, showed us a far different Cuba than we ever were anticipating! So glad we went now and were able to see the real Colonial Cuba, before further development moves it forward.

mg

this was one terrific tour! a great sampler of what cuba has to offer. the guides elio and randy were superb. i learned so much and my curiosity has continued. i've done much research on the history which was and is quite amazing. hotels were air conditioned and comfortable. i thank smartours for this wonderful opportunity.

Mona R

Excellent Tour. Tour guides were outstanding.

Rochelle

This was one of the most interesting, well designed tours we have taken. The people to people exchange was intellectually and culturally stimulating and our local guide Adriana was a delightful and insightful host. We were surprised every day by the warm and generous welcome we received from everyone we met. The trip exceeded every expectation!

Howard R

Seeing Cuba is like going back in a time capsule. The cars, the buildings, the music. For those who love exploring, Cuba is an amazing journey. Time stopped in the mid 50s! The only thing modern in Cuba are the people and their customs, the wonderful food and the air conditioned modern tour buses. The people and food are wonderful, colorful and very palatable. The countryside is clean as are the cities. If you are looking for 21st century modern, then Cuba is not for you. If you want to see a country of beautiful colonial buildings, beautiful people, beautiful cars of the 50s, and what a country looked like before modernization takes hold, go to CUBA now!!

Mary C

Our November 3 tour was far more than we could have imagined. Our smarTours guide, Pauline, and our Cuban guide Elio worked so hard to make every day more perfect than the day before. Have travelled the world with SmarTours and this was the best. Don't wait for the cruise ships to start arriving, The crowds will detract from the easy flow of the Cuban people and opportunities to be nearly alone in one of Havana's squares will be gone. As others have stated, the Cuban population welcomed us as family. Thanks, smarTours for doing your homework for this tour. It was fantastic!

JANE E

A fabulous tour full of cultural depth, giving an excellent glimpse of Cuba today that is impossible to know outside of seeing and experiencing the breadth of the country. No book or series of articles does the country justice. We had a brilliant, personable guide who had a Google mind for all things Cuba and Cuban, both inside and outside of the country. People from the States are genuinely respected and welcomed with open, friendly arms by a warm population on all parts of the island. We were free to independently explore places between a plethora of meaningful activities. In the next years Cuba will change greatly so with enthusiasm it is highly recommended that a trip be planned to see what it is like in this important developmental stage of growth. One will not be disappointed by the visit or the quality of Smartours planning.

joan p

I wasn't sure what to expect but this was what I hoped for and more. Our tour director Eleonora Bellini was excellent, very knowledgeable and organized. Our National Guide Edel was terrific as well...he trod the line between the two cultures with grace and fairness. The hotels were all great, very different from one another but comfortable and attractive. The paladars were lovely especially La Cueva in Gibarra. Highly recommend this tour.

Barbara D

The trip was so much more than I ever expected. We visited with the Cuban people, explored the country side, traveled in vintage cars, ate in local paladars and visited many historical sites. More important, we saw how the average Cuban lives, works and enjoy their lives. This trip was a "life experience" back into a time we have not experienced before. Thank you for the experience and for giving us the opportunity to visit Cuba with our wonderful guide Jorge. I would recommend the trip for anyone wanting a true "People to People" experience.
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Sheila E

First of all Smart Tours must update web pages and tour brochures which are so outdated. We did the Passage to India with Bonita Backer. She was beyond suburb. So much knowledge and so much passion. Tended to each and everyones' needs. She really made the trip. Have not seen current events posted. Windyshe@aol.com

Susan

The tour was great because of our knowledgeable tour leader Bonita Backer. Without her knowledge, expertise, organization .......I didn’t think my experience in India on Smartours would have been the same.

Myrna A

This is the first group tour I have done. The trip was well organixed and executed flawlessly by our tour guide, Jessie(Jasvur). . He helped us not only with the historical facts of sites visited but also gave us insight into the daily lives of the people of India..He deserved 5 Stars.....I did find that the first Radisson Hotel chosen was outdated .Smartours

Ana A

This is a great trip, with many things to do and thanks to our tour guide Jasvir Saurian (Jessie) we where able to enjoy, be safe and learn a lot. Make sure he is your tour guide if you go on this tour, he will go above and beyond with the service and knowledge that he offers to his group. Thank you Jessie!!

Maria T

Jessie, our tour guide, was the highlight of this wonderful tour. He was professional, sensitive, well spoken, and a scholar of Indian history and culture. If you decide to take this trip make sure that Jesse is your tour guide!

Amy A

I just returned to the US, after an amazing trip with SmarTours! My tour guide was Jasvir Saurana. Jasvir was very knowledgeable and an excellent tour guide! He made this adventure very special. I will always treasure this special experience because of Jasvir's compassion and willingness to go above and beyond! Thank you Jasvir for being such an incredible tour guide!

Charie

This was my first international trip. I was a bit apprehensive about traveling to a country as busy as India. This trip was well organized and planned that I felt very comfortable in India. The sights and sounds were amazing. The food was delicious and the people were super friendly. The tour guide Arvind was excellent, he made the tour a success.

Elisa

India was truly AMAZING!! The tour guide Arvin was wonderful and knowledge about India. The food was delicious! This trip was affordable and truly truly truly INCREDIBLE!!! This is a must do for your bucket list!

Braj M

Hi. Myself and spouse are very happy with every aspect of the tour, never boring. Our guide, Mr. Jasvir Saurana, is very knowledgeable, polite and passionate. If I am to go back to India I would love to have him as my tour guide. Way to go, smarTours! Braj K Mahipal

Keema O

This is my first tour I have ever taken and it was the best. I have always wanted to go to India but was afraid to go by myself, I found the courage and had a good time. The tour guide (Arvind) and his 2 assistants was was wonderful. I got to see India safely and meet new people. The hotels, food and shopping was great. The places we visited was amazing especially the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. I felt so at peace with myself during this trip that even though it was a little humid it didn't bother me. Most of all the people was very helpful and kind, which made the trip even more enjoyable. Most of all I felt at home, it was a spiritual journey that was completely amazing. I truly enjoyed this tour and will be looking forward to the next tour.

kevin n

once again a great tour and tremendous guide

Ed F

If I ever had trepidations about traveling to India, they were quickly dispelled by our tour leader Bonita Backer. New York born, she has adopted India as her own, living there for 20 + years. Her understanding of "India" time, her compassion for the locals, and her many contacts (she seems to know everyone in airports to shops) were invaluable. That she also speaks Hindi and Nepalese made our journey through these countries seamless. Don't hesitate to take this trip!

John L

This two week trip to India and Nepal lived up to all my expectations and then some. Not only the sites like the Taj Mahal but the history and culture of the people is something you cannot understand until you are actually there and feel, taste, smell and live in the culture. There were signs of the damage from the April earthquake in Nepal but most of the sites were in good condition. To see the Himalayas you need to take the optional Yeti Airlines flight. Our tour director Amit did a good job explaining the history and culture and gave us a Dewali party one night and took us to an Arti ceremony on the Ghats of the Ganges at night which was not on the itinerary. I have been on six Smartours and a number of other tours and this trip was well worth the cost.

Diana

What an amazing trip! It was really great to be able to relax and let smarTours and the tour guide take care of everything. I'm used to planning my travels on my own but in a place as big and chaotic as India, it's best to leave it to the professionals! The hotels were excellent and the food delicious. The bus was comfortable and had great A/C. Our tour guide seemed knowledgeable and was friendly and fun. All in all, an unforgettable experience. I liked it so much I will definitely travel with smaTours again and would love to even do this tour all over again! India is wonderful and so is smarTours!

Cheryl L

Tour, Guide, and bus driver were all very good.

Gladys B

The tour was fantastic. The tour director was very nice and he try to please every one in the group as much as he could. The only thing that I believe will be better is to add one more day in Delhi.

Lisa H

First--much thanks to Linda w/smarTours who helped me rebook and catch up with the group when I had major travel delays and issues. Loved Arvind and our driver who got us around safely and took us to fabulous sites with much information, perfect timing for low crowds and lighting for pics, and great suggestions. A special thanks to Arvind for personally helping me with needs as my bag did not make it with me. He was so helpful, understanding and gracious! Wonderful accommodation, tour bus and itinerary for my 1st trip to India. Thanks again for a truly memorable vacation.

Sarah D

A good value tour with all aspects as advertised

Anastasia

My experience was amazing!!!! I loved every day of this tour! Will definitely purchase more tours with this company.

Shannon

My sister and I were nervous about visiting India on our own given safety concerns so we decided to go with an organized group tour - our first. What made this trip truly incredible was our tour guide, Arvind Chadha. He showed great passion for sharing Indian history and great patience for answering my MANY questions. In addition, he had great tack in dealing with difficult travelers. This tour will allow you to see the big tourist attractions in northern India. Arvind had us up early for each of the tours to avoid the major crowds - something that was much appreciated. There wasn't much time for independent exploration but in all honesty, I wouldn't have taken much advantage of that given the relentless hawking by local vendors. There was a lot of bus time but that's unavoidable given that we visited three different cities in a short time period.

James

WOW! What a trip! I was a bit hesitant when booking this tour. I'm not a fan of leaving 'my daily routine' and do not enjoy hot/humid weather. I am so glad I took this trip though! Our tour guide Arvind Chadha was AMAZING! Extremely knowledgeable, super friendly, and very easy to have a conversation with. He went above and beyond to make sure our group had a great experience. I still am in amazement how much I learned from Arvind about India. He helped us to know what was safe to eat, drink, buy, or visit. I find it hard to believe there could be a better tour guide. A+++++ job Arvind! Thank you! Our group was amazing. People were considerate and friendly. There was one male who was a bit challenging, wanting to follow his own schedule. Arvind was very mature about the situation and dealt with it perfectly. Arvind helped the man to do his own thing without compromising what was planned for the group. We stayed in 3 hotels. The first two were very nice, no complaints. The third was average. The bus we traveled on was nice. Air conditioning worked well, plenty of space for sitting and bringing a bag. Although the weather was very warm and humid, we never spent more than 1-3 hours outside the bus at a time. I HIGHLY recommend the Incredible India tour!

Kaitlin B

This was a quick, but very full and informative tour. Our guide, Arvind Chadha, was knowledgeable and friendly, answering all questions with statistics and personal experience to back them up. He managed the group smoothly, even the more difficult travelers who tried to monopolize his time. We had plenty of time to see everything on the itinerary and a bit of free time to peruse on our own. I guess my only kind of complaint about the tour is that it was very touristy, and we spend A LOT of time on the bus. I am more of an active traveler, wanting to explore more by foot, so this was a bit annoying for me. However, as I learned, India is not the easiest place to do this kind of travel, especially as a female and obvious-looking foreigner. Overall, I would recommend this tour and Arvind as a guide to anyone who doesn't mind seeing India quickly and through a tourist bus lens.

Robert S

The Incredible India trip is a fantastic value for an 8 day trip. The sites to include the Taj Mahal and Amber Fort are sensational to see. The insight into the Hindu religion and Indian culture is spectacular. The tour guide, Arvind Chandha is one of the best I have seen in my international travels.

Mike T

When we booked this trip to India we fully anticipated the our visit to the Taj Mahal would be the highlight, but it was really our incredible tour guide Arvind! Not only did he make all the arrangements expertly and efficiently, he shared his vast knowledge freely and with patience and good humour. He paid individual attention to the needs of each tour member, and was most gracious in answering innumerable questions. He made our trip not only educational, but also uplifting as he showed us the "soul" of his country and it's peoples. He has an obvious passion for his country and his work. Because he helped us to experience and see India through his eyes, we saw more than we had ever anticipated . If you are planning to visit India, be sure to request him as your guide. Well done Arvind, you are the Guru.

Aline B

I just returned from seeing the Taj Mahal in all of its early morning glory. I was hopeful that I would not be disappointed because of smog or litter or crowds. Due to Arvind's expertise and experience, we had a phenomenal experience. I fully enjoyed all of his comments on the history and current events of this amazing country. Arvind is truly a thoughtful, experienced, educated and gifted guide. He made this tour memorable.

Gale

ARVIND...... best tour guide EVER!!!!! so knowledgable & patient.

Gale

Arvind was the best tour guide,so humble and patience...

AMY C

I had an amazing trip to India and Nepal with Smart Tours and our wonderful guide Arvind Choud. My girlfriend Carol and I are newly retired teachers who plan to see as much of the world as we possibly can. In the last 6 months we've been to Ireland, Italy, Spain and Iceland. We used a different tour company for Iceland and although it was a fine trip, it really didn't compare to the hassle free experience we had with Arvind. As a 30 plus year veteran teacher, I understand all of the underlying preparation it takes to make a large group of people with varied experiences work well together. Arvind did everything he could to make sure each one of us had the real India and Nepal experience. He was exceptionally well informed and showed such a love of his country that it was infectious. He spoke about the culture, religion, food and history, flavoring it with his own personal anecdotes, which we all requested more of. Our trip consisted of many hotels, many bus rides, many flights and many transfers. Throughout it all, there was a feeling of well being which rarely happens when your luggage is out of your hands. Arvind was extremely well prepared, even carrying extra locks for us in case we did not have one, (or if one broke, as it did for one of our fellow travelers). We traveled through airports where we were whisked through customs, benefitting from his excellent relations with the people he often works with. When we were late for a breakfast, because of an optional flight that we took, he was able to ensure that we had a hot breakfast on our return, unlike the people from the other tour who had a bagged breakfast! Also, our tour was one of the few tours to Everest whose plane was not cancelled because Arvind made the arrangements to get us on the earliest possible flight. . It was evident that after years with Smart Tours, Arvind enjoyed his relationships with the people he worked so hard to help as well as the people in the villages, whom he seemed a part of. There was one particular experience that meant so much to me. In all the places we visited, people really seemed to look forward to seeing Arvind and meeting all of us. He spoke to us about a group of deaf brothers who were in Veranasi and seemed to enjoy helping guests down the stairs to the water or just providing a smile. My fellow traveling buddy and I were particularly keen to speak with them, as we were teachers of the deaf in the United States. These brothers were as excited to speak with us as we were with them, telling us about their wives and children, as well as family members who recently died. Arvind confirmed everything they said (as sign language is not universal!!!) They walked with us to the bus and it really was one of the highlights of our trip. I am sure we will have many more wonderful trips with Smartours. We just hope that Arvind could be our guide for all of them.

Smill

India is AMAZING and Arvind made it even better Greatest Tour Guide!

Maria V

My trip to India with Smart Tours was unforgettable. The places we went to were definitely the best and the hotels were great. The trip was one I will never forget.

Erin

I'm a repeat smarTours customer and Incredible India did not disappoint! Arvind, our guide, was amazing.
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Dave

Great time in Italy with Massimo as the tour guide. This was the trip of a lifetime as we saw countless historic and amazing things in Italy. Venice was wonderful with the water traffic and Murano glass factory. Florence had so many artistic scenes and a beautiful background. Rome was spectacular with the Collesseo, Vatican, Forum, and National Monument. The food was incredible, we are not fans of wine but it was excellent. We took advice from Massimo and went to several walking areas on our own - Florence Palace Pitta, and the famous Bascillica; Rome downtown National Monument.

Paul E

For the 1st, 2nd or 3rd timer to Italy, this is a superb trip packed in 12 days. It includes the major cities of Venice, Florence, Rome & Sorrento and adds Pisa, Assisi & Pompei. Ending the trip on the Amalfi Coast is heavenly. The local tour guides were extremely knowledgeable with good English. The accommodations were generally very good with the included meals very satisfactory. My first time visit to Italy with smarTours was a real success. Kudos and Ciao!!

Debbie

What an amazing and enjoyable experience! Our tour director Anna Maria was Marvelous! She was so informative with handling purchases with tax documents, knew exactly where to direct us for shopping. Her local tour guides for each area were very good. The hotels were all good, each a step up (better)as we moved on. Tours were amazing. This was my first trip with SmarTours and thanks to Anna Maria, I would definitely recommend SmarTours and take another trip.

Loretta F

My tour to Venice, Florence and Rome was ABSOLUTELY fantastic!!! Andrea and the Museum Tour Guides were excellent. They were not only knowledgeable about the subject matter of each tour, but also friendly and attentive to answering any and all questions. Andrea has a wonderful personality and went beyond the call of duty to make everyone happy and to even offer assistance to a disabled person throughout the tour. I was very happy with the stops between the major cities where we were able to visit Assissi, as well as have a wonderful lunch at a Olive Oil and Winery and a fantastic dinner in Tuscany. Additionally, the driver was friendly and very careful to get us to each and every destination safely. There are two things I would suggest...a much nicer hotel in Rome and a much longer tour and stay in Italy. I would have loved a twelve or fourteen day Italy stay. Thank you Smartours for these wonderful tours--this was my second one, first visiting China and just recently Italy. I am seriously contemplating Dubai/Abu Dhabi or Cuba. Keep it up Smartours! You are the best at world wide travel!!! Loretta Flanagan

Deborah

The Best of Italy Tour showed us what a travel company is made of. We had unforeseen weather delays just getting to the initial U.S. departure city which caused us to miss our flight to Venice, Italy. smarTours was aware of the delay and kept in constant contact with our flight, arranging (at no cost to us) a later connecting flight. The Airline lost our luggage and for 24 hours our smarTours tour guide communicated with the airline so that they could track the tour and bring us our long-delayed luggage. smarTours showed excellent care and concern. We are looking forward to booking our next trip (2017) with Smartours.

Betty L

This trip was just the right length to see all the major spots in Italy. The local guide, Mercedes Medici was absolutely wonderful. All tours were arranged for earliest part of the morning before crowds gathered. This left all afternoon free for whatever you wanted to do. The bus driver was very accommodating and the group of 26 people could spread out on the bus. We been on 6 or 7 tours with smarTours in years past and found those to be very good although I prefer the smaller groups - 26 was just enough so you get to know people. I would do it again and highly recommend to my friends.

Judy S

This was my first SmarTour and first time to visit Italy. It was 100% fantastic from our truly amazing host, Mercedes, great driver - Cataline and great tour guides-especially Roberto and Sofia. I loved exploring Italy with my husband on this well planned, not hectic or too demanding experience. We were able to experience the truly important historic and cultural aspects of Venice, Florence, Assisi, Pisa, and Rome. The knowledge and kindness and human connection with Mercedes made every moment memorable. She is a true asset to your company! I would absolutely recommend this tour. The friendships we developed with other guests were such an amazing bonus as well. Every person on this tour added to making the trip more interesting. We did not do all optional tours but felt what we chose were excellent and worthwhile. We are planning our next SmarTour right now! I must thank my sister for recommending SmarTours!~ Ciao and arrivederci...

Ronald S

What a great time we had. Saw the highlights of Italy, Venice, Florence and Rome; and had ample time to wander on our own. Transportation on the bus was smooth and comfortable. The tour guides are what really made the trip. Without these intelligent and passionate tour guides, we would not have seen the history and contribution that Italy made to the world. We're thinking of going on another Smartour and we just got back. Ciao

Carol S

The Best of Italy really was the very best. We had twenty two people in our group and a wonderful tour guide named Andrea. Andrea was always saying things like, "Is this another Mama Mia day?" Hence, we called ourselves the Mama Mia group. It was an action packed 12 days including the extension to Amalfi Coast. We had group lunches in old farmhouses and a lovely dinner in a very nice restaurant called La Tavola Di Lucullo in Sorrento. It was so delicious. The hotels were excellent. Our guide Andrea was on top of everything. The local guides were wonderful as well. I would strongly recommend this tour.

Pat B

I had a wonderful time in Italy! Our tour director, Lynn Maloni, made this trip an exceptional one. She and all of our guides in Venice, Florence, Rome, Assisi, Sorrento, at Pompeii, and on Capri shared a wealth of fascinating historical information with us and offered access to local experiences I might have missed if travelling alone. All four hotels provided excellent services, although the bed at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Sorrento wasn't very comfortable. (It does have a beautiful swimming pool, which was a delight since the weather during the tour was unseasonably hot and humid.) I thoroughly enjoyed all of the meals, especially the family-style feast and wine tasting at a Tuscan countryside farm and the farewell dinner in Sorrento. The optional side tours, including a gondola ride in Venice, the piazzas and fountains in Rome, a day on Capri, and the Amalfi Coast ride were outstanding. I also enjoyed sharing the tour with a small group of travelers (22 of us), all of whom were friendly and interesting to meet.  In terms of the flight plans for this trip, I was very disappointed in the fact that we flew from New York to Istanbul and then on to Venice. Going home, we again flew from Naples to Istanbul and then on to New York. The trips to Istanbul and the long hours in the airport there made for a stressful beginning and end to an otherwise fantastic trip. I hope that smarTours plans to use more direct flights to Italy in the future. My only other suggestion is that for those of us who are travelling as singles, it would be nice to have a double bed option. I had a twin bed at all four hotels, and as a large person, they weren't as comfortable as I would have liked. Again, a big thank-you to smarTours for a great first trip to Italy! :^)

Gina H

I initially had doubts about traveling on a bus tour. Visions of waiting around endlessly to move a large party from one place to another haunted me. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how organized and well run every aspect of the tour was. Our bus was always on time and our tour director was exceptional. We had reservations at all of the museums or attractions we visited and NEVER waited in the long lines for tickets. We would have only seen a fraction of the sights had we made this trip on our own and not with Smartours. Can't wait to go on another tour!

Kathy S

My trip to Italy the end of April 2015 was my second Smartours trip. I learned so much of this country's history, culture, food, wine and amazing people. It is wonderful to have someone else handle all the logistical details and just enjoy the experience. I credit our tour guide, Martin, with his expertise, organization, compassion, humor, and knowledge. There are so many memorable moments, from arriving in Venice and after a short walk to a water taxi, being whisked off to our hotel (ha, never took a boat to my hotel before), Gondola ride, Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Sq, wonderful lunch at Tuscan farm, Accademia and Michelangelo's 'David', Assisi, St Peter's Basilica, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pompeii, Pisa, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi Coast -- all so breathtaking!!! All the lavish dinners and entertainment shared with our wonderful travel companions. There is one itinerary issue that I feel needs addressed. Prior to booking and several contacts after, I called to question the duration of the flights and the length of the layovers and was told there was no additional info available other than flight departure and return to JFK. Flight from JFK to Istanbul was 10 hrs; layover 5 hrs; then backtrack Istanbul to Venice 2 1/2 hrs. Repeat return Naples-Istanbul 2 hrs; 3 1/2 Hrs layover; another 10 hrs Istanbul to JFK. Surely a more direct flight could be made to avoid the extreme flight times and layovers. Overall, I truly enjoyed this amazing trip -- THANK YOU SmarTours for providing this amazing tour

linh n

We had our trip at the end of July 2014. This was our first vacation with a tour group and it was outstanding. It was a wonderful vacation, we saw many places and Italy is so beautiful. Our accommodations were fabulous with good breakfast buffet. Our tour guide Gabriella was fantastic. Highly recommend this tour to everyone.
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Mark

I've enjoyed various travel experiences with SmarTours since 2009, being able to visit Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and now Spain with them. For travelers looking for a cost effective experience that is both exciting, removes all of the headaches of travel logistics, and gives you the chance to feel the true essence of other countries, SmarTours has to be one of the leaders in their field. The lodging has always been exceptional, and especially on this Spain trip we were very impressed with the quality of the culinary choices that were available to us. We were able to venture out on our own as we liked and got to see major sites in all of the country's major cities.

Anonymous

Tour director worked hard to please everyone. There was one couple that could never get enough, be considered first, or benefit the most We all called them the divas. Outside of those knuckleheads, the rest of us had a great time. Would say that Spain was less enthralling than South Africa or Italy.

j g

My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, and especially our tour director, Charles. He was delightful and very knowledgeable. The towels in a few of the hotels could have been softer, but other than, very nice tour.

sandra

just returned from April 28 trip and having nothing but a high recommendation for the tour. Best value for this kind of trip. Have taken several tours with this company. There were 31 people on the tour. The buses were comfortable, the speaker system while touring great ithe hotels in general were excellent. And a bang up final dinner in Barcelona.

Aba H

Very much enjoyed this escorted vacation with my wife. *Nice hotels, *good meals, *great bus, *very well organized, *excellent, knowledgable, interesting tour guide (Roberto Barrantes),and *the price was a bargain. While I'm sure others in our group were happy to get some time on their own, we would've preferred additional escorted touring, or more escorted excursion options. We'd recommend this company for the Best of Spain trip and heard from our travel companions that this was their second or third trip with SmarTours.

Glen W

Had a wonderful trip with great participants, amazing weather and an awesome guide Derek.

mary d

everything was lovely and fun with the people on the tour

carol s

This was my first trip as a smart traveler the perks were great. The tour was wonderful. I really don't expect anything but the best from SmarTours and you did not disappoint. Thank you for another great travel experience.

Keith H

We recently returned from a Best of Spain tour (which started October 4 in Madrid), and we loved it. Let me start with the best part - the guide Carmen was truly outstanding. She was tireless in making sure no one got lost, no one fell too far behind, everyone's needs were met, and so on. On the tour bus, Carmen was incredibly entertaining, with an excellent sense of humor. Next, the hotels. Only one (in Cordoba) was five star, but most of the rest were still very good. In particular, the hotels in Madrid and Barcelona, where we spend most of our time, had fabulous locations, within walking distance of many important tourist attractions. The other hotels, in smaller cities, also had good locations and were fine - with one exception - the Abba Aceton Hotel in Valencia which was not well maintained. Included dinners were a bit disappointing (a little too bland), except for the last night in Barcelona which was excellent. Most of the places the tour bus stopped were quite interesting, although just about everyone would have been happy to skip the Ciscerian Monastery on the road to Barcelona. The city guides in Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, and so on were all quite knowledgable, and each shared a tremendous amount of local pride and enthusiasm with the tour group. All in all, an excellent tour, and we will be sure to tell our friends about Smartours. Thank you.

constance s

THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF MY BEST VACATION SO FAR.WE HAD A GREAT TOUR GUIDE LUIS WHO IS SO KNOWLEDGEABLE OF SPAIN AND WAS THERE TO MAKE US FEEL SO SAFE AND AT HOME AT ALL TIMES.MADE HIMSELF AVAILABLE WHEN NEEDED.

Dr. A

The trip was amazing,our trip coordinator(Mr. Curulla) was super so as our local guides.The hotels (except for one)were more than you can ask for.

Clive W

The trip was great with the exception of two of the hotels

Joyce S

Spain is amazing. Roberto was an excellent and knowledgeable guide. We are very active people, so the 2-3 hours of walking and standing was fine for us. Some tour members complained, so perhaps it should be noted that if you have mobility issues this might not be the best choice. This is our fifth SmarTours and we have recommended your company to many people. We flew on American Airlines. The flight from NY was in a smaller jet so not great. The flight back to NY was a wide body so much more comfortable and better food.
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Anonymous

Guide and hotels were fine. Did not like the fact that some trips were optional and add -on costs. In past Smartour trips I have been on, all excursions were included.. Also, one excursion, on the last day, was basically a shopping trip. Cute town, but no purpose.Would have liked formal interaction/meeting/discussions about political/daily life, info on Salazar era, with people who live in Portugal. Guide alluded to it on bus, but would have like more in-depth views. Also 44 is a very large group! But, we did love Portugal, and our guide, Romina, was delightful.
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Linda

We experienced this tour over the last two weeks of September 2015. Wonderful, interesting, and educational in all respects. Historical sites awe-inspiring. Guide, Dilek, most friendly and extremely knowledgeable about her country, providing great explanations concerning all sites visited; our bus driver terrific and most patient. Accommodations top notch. The Turkish people are very friendly and hospitable to their foreign guests. Our group was most compatible adding to a positive experience. A tour and country to visit we highly recommend.

Jane K

This tour was great. Our tour Director has been doing this for years. He is a gem and very knowledgable and funny. I would definitely book with Smartours again.

Kathleen R

Treasures of Turkey was a wonderful mixture of interesting cities, historic sites, seaside settings on the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Our guide, Oguz Atici, was knowledgeable and clearly loved this history and culture of his country. We covered nearly 2000 miles in a comfortable bus with an unbeatable driver. This is a tough time for Turkey but I wish the best for this beautiful and welcoming country.

Neil R

I could not have guessed how great this tour was before going. Everything was superior at an unbelievable low cost. Turkey is absolutely safe and the people are friendly. Have no fears and do this tour. Fahti, our guide, was AWESOME.

GARY T

This tour was fantastic and our tour guide Fahti (spelling) was out of the world. He was very knowledgeable and went above and beyond. On the first day, another guest had a problem with seating. (it was the guest's problem..not the tour guides) and Fahti was able to handle the complaint. To be fair, the guest was very unkind to the Fahti, but Fahti turned it around. The tour was beyond great!!! thanks..

Roberta C

This was our first time with SmarTours and we were so pleased with everything about it, from Turkish Air, the hotels, food, excellent tours, and our fabulous guide, Fatih. We really appreciated Fatih's openness, sense of humor, and his enthusiasm in sharing Turkey with us really gave us a much greater appreciation of Turkey. We were amazed at what a great value our SmarTours was!

Sofia

This was an incredible vacation, everything went perfecly, the hotels were excellent, the food delicious, the entire trip program was fantastic. Our tour director Fatih was great, he loves his country and thanks of his knowledge of history, culture, stories, great attitude and his good sense of humor make this trip unforgettable for everyone!

Deanna K

We've been on several SmarTours and this may be our favorite. The hotels were nice, food good and our tour director, Fatih, was GREAT. He is very knowledgeable about the history and a great story teller with a wonderful sense of humor. He kept us organized and had every detail in hand. He really seemed to enjoy what he was doing and didn't have the "I've said all this stuff a thousand times before" attitude. We flew on Turkish Airline, and were impressed. They were on time, the food and service was better than most. If you are concerned about the safety of visiting Turkey, don't be. The agenda is no where any troubled borders. We always felt safe.

Barbara

We had the most amazing trip to Turkey, thanks in large part to our phenomenal guide, Aykud Uzun. He is so knowledgeable and caring, and so enthusiastic about everything we visited. Turkey is a must see. So much history and a fascinating place to visit. The trip was very well organized and great value.

charles c

We were amazed about how modern Turkey was. Its highway system rivals the USA. Poverty and slums were practically non-existant. Our hotels were very nice and every Turk we interacted with was courteous and responsive. Judging by the number of Turkish flags we saw flying,I would say they are quite patriotic. Prices there are quite good,compared to western Europe. There are a number of fabulous ruins that are included in the trip. Be sure and take a balloon ride in Cappodocia($225pp)--well worth the trip ! Sali,guide, and his helpers were great to work with. All in all, a great trip we would love to take again. (We went 5/7-20/14 )

Diego F

was excellent, i have a great time, always feel like VIP guest, nice hotels. food, all places i have a preference entrance, never care about my bags, i just relax and enjoy that beautiful country. This is a good choice of price and service. Este tour es excelente, el trato fue de VIP, los hoteles muy buenos, la comida, todo el plan deacuerdo a lo estipulado, nunca tube que cargar mi equipaje, lo recomiendo muy bien, Turquia es un bellos pais, que vale la pena conocer, y este tour combina comodidad y buen precio... gracias

Rose N

I just returned home last night from my Treasures of Turkey tour and I must say the entire trip program was a delight and very interesting. I did not know that Turkey had such a strong early Christian history. The trip was fantastic with wonderful scenery throughout. Nesli was our tour guide and she was a total professional. I had a wonderful tour in Turkey with great hotels, wonderful food and the Turkish people were very warm hearted, This was my third smarTours and it will not be my last tour with smarTours.. Thanks for a wonderful trip with great value.

Laura P

My husband and I really loved this trip... it's an excellent itinerary and we had an absolutely fantastic guide named Ender. We saw and learned a lot, and everything went smoothly from start to finish. This was our third trip w/ SmarTours, having done Cambodia/Vietnam and South Africa in the past. Again we feel like we got a great value for the money.
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MARIANNE BARTOLOTTA

WE HAD A TRULY WONDERFUL TIME . France was different in all three areas, but our tour guide Victor made each area so out standing, you fell in love each time you entered a new area .
The people were wonderful,and so kind and help full. All the hotels had great locations. Our tour guide Vic made it special for every one. We really had so much fun,I have shared our trip with all my friends. We also felt safe at all times. I owe my great trip to Vic the best guide ever.

Chuck Bandel

This is my third Smartours trip and without a doubt the best one yet! Mostly due to our tour director, Patrick Fargier. I go on these tours mostly to photograph and Mr. Fargier was very accommodating to my photo needs. The trip was packed with beautiful places and breath taking landscapes and Patrick always told me of the best vantage points. Mr. Fargier is very inspiring after hearing his stories of travel. I want to travel even more after hearing his tales. All in all it was an excellent trip! My only complaint is that it needs to be longer. France is just too beautiful! Thank you for a wonderful tour! www.chuckbandel.com if you want to see the pictures from the trip. Thank you, Chuck

Patricia Arsenault

Wow! My girlfriends and I (the YaYa's) have travelled to China, Thailand, Italy, Egypt among other
places in the last 8 years. Only Thailand and France with Smartours and most of the other trips were River cruises. I feel experienced enough to give a review on travel and our tour guides. First of all I love France from the wonderful city of Paris to the beautiful city of Nice. Our trip was well thought out and planned. I'm sure one of the reasons in keeping the price reasonable was the hotels which were clean but very small. (Hotels in China and Italy were more upscale.) The food was delicious almost every place we ate. The exception was the last dinner. The trip to Antibe could easily have been eliminated. We all needed more downtime for shopping and rest. With all that out of the way:
It really was a great trip......the chateaus, castles, countryside. My yaya's and I had a fabulous, interesting and informative overland voyage! The best contributor was our wonderful Patrick. He has a great understanding of your and his country.....knew so much history that he shared with us...was charming, had time for everyone, never left anyone out of anything and made all comfortable, and was just fun. All the guys with us wanted to spend time with him and all the women couldn't get enough of his company. Of all our trips I think he was the most interested and interesting guide/host. We did have a small group of people who were very well traveled and wanted to learn about France. I wish I had better words to explain how much we enjoyed France, but it wouldn't be the same when I come back without our Patrick! Thank you!

Bonnie Mack

This is my 49th year of international travel, and the 15th tour with smarTours -- I've even repeated South Africa and Thailand twice! I'm one of your biggest fans, and always promote the great tours you have to offer -- and at fabulous prices. This trip was no exception. We covered a lot of history -- and territory -- and it was worth it. What a wonderful introduction to a country. The people we were met were very nice, the landscape everywhere was awesome (there were flowers everywhere in June), and the history and cities we visited will remain with me forever. This was one of my favorite tours!!

Charles L Gast

Just wanted to let you know that I have never had a happier two weeks than my two in France. Each day was (unbelievably) better than
the one before. Our guide, Nadine LaPlat, was informed, funny and just plain wonderful to spend two weeks with. I wanted an overview
of France and I received it. I was all over that country. Your tour gave me exactly what I wanted. The hotels were wonderfully situated...
The Mercure and swimming on the roof deck pool with all of Nice at my feet was a stellar way to end the trip. A tout a l'heure! "Charl"

Jacqueline O'Donnell

We were delighted with our recent 14 day tour with Marie Agnes. We had fellow travelers who were enjoyable, punctual and pleasant . The country side was charming , Normandy very moving, and Paris was magnificent, especially at night.
Marie Agnes was knowledgable , humorous, and patient. The weather was beautiful (1 rainy day) and the food and wine delicious. Great tour!

Dave Harden

This tour was totally interesting. Great guide, great sites, ands great time.

Gunther Nothnagel

Singularly Outstanding to say the least. Our tour guide (Nadine)went the extra mile to keep us informed, entertained and made sure we had no problems during our trip. Well worth the money. Food great, hotels great, and the tour as a whole was awesome. I received value for my money. Many thanks.

Barbara Struck

This was the most amazing tour. Our tour Director, Nadine LePlat could not have been more informative, vivacious, and more accommodating. I loved all parts of the tour: Normandy, Mount St Michel, the chalets, Paris, Avignon, Nice, and the boat ride in Marseilles. There was so much to see and do. The hotels were great. Loved every minute!!!

Constance Layne

I have never had such a wonderful time on a tour. Our tour guide Nadine Leplat was fabulous. Everything about the trip was great form the itinerary to the hotels. I would do this again. Au revoir France.

Eli Wilk

Our guide Nadine Le Plat was wonderful. The itinerary was great.
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Russell

My wife and had a wonderful tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. Tommy was our guide and he did a great job in making sure everything went smoothly and everything did go smoothly thanks to him

Linda

We had a great time . The hotels were all very nice and he staff were great and helpful. We loved the last hotel in Cambodia was the best and the pool wasvery clean and spacious The staff at the pool were very helpful and pleasant. Our guide was knowledgeable and had a sense of humour and w enjoyed our time with him. We loved everything about the trip but suggest you use a different airlne to get us there

Carol

The trip was fabulous- everything ran like clockwork and our guide, Sinh, was knowledgeable and extremely professional and personable. Will definitely use SmarTours again.

Walter

I was recently on the land portion of Vietnam and Cambodia. I would like to fill out the attached review form, but cannot find it. Would you please either forward another copy of it to me at Walter Seekircher, 45 Highland Down, Shoreham, NY 11786..or print it so that I can access it online. It is important for me to use that form. Thank you so much. Walt Seekircher

Sari

I thoroughly enjoyed out trip to Vietnam & Cambodia, however, as you are aware we missed our connection from Shanghai & it would have been nice had we had a representative to meet us & give us some assistance. The airlines put us up in a seedy hotel that left much to be desired & when we tried to get in ouch with Smart we were unable to do so. Hopefully we will be reinbursed for the day missed on our tour

William

We had a wonderful time with the smart tours Vietnam trip. Our tour guide was phenomenal!! The Itinerary was well thought out and executed. Overall very pleased would like to make one suggestion about Ha Long Bay... Maybe offer an overnight stay on a boat in the bay instead of a hotel.

Jonathan

This was our first group tour and I was a little concerned on being confined to a bus and being rushed from one site to the next. I need not have worried as the tour was a wonderful experience. The tour was well paced with ample time to visit sites, souvenir shop and free time. Kiet Truong, our guide in Vietnam, was informative, giving balanced insight to the complicated history of this fascinating country. He took care of every detail and treated our group like family. Our Cambodian guide was equally excellent. The Ankor temples were certainly the highlight of this trip.

Meera

All in all a great trip with a solid itinerary and a wonderful group! I strongly recommend doing a little more research to take advantage of some of the free time - options include a Vespa tour in Saigon and cooking classes. Great value for the money and wonderful hotels etc. A few items to note: 1) there was a very heavy emphasis on shopping so keep this in mind before you book; 2) a couple of people who had taken multiple smart tours trips described this tour as very heavy on the tipping and “excessively so” - this was my first smart tours but I could see their point; 3) it would have been great to have been given some information by smart tours on optional excursions; 4) smart tours customer service - while we had been given lounge access no one met us at the flight/the customer service was pretty dismissive and unhelpful to the person who called in from our group and to a couple who lost their baggage; and 5) the visa issue - smart tours recommended a third party company that was quite expensive when a simple e-visa was available for the fraction of the cost. I obtained the e-visa but others didn’t. All in all, a great trip and an excellent value for the trip. We had a wonderful grip and certainly hit the highlights. Great experience!

Catherine b

We just returned from this trip (vietnam-cambodia) and can't stop talking about it! SMARTOURS does an excellent job with all the arrangements. We have utilized them on other tours also! Our tour guide, "Tom" (Tung Thanh Bui) (March 27th), was extremely informative, very well versed in the English language, and very compassionate, as i had a very bad cold. Can't wait to book another tour! Thank you Tom!

vicenta

Vietnam/Angkor Wat March 6 - 20, 2017 I just returned from SmarTours Vietnam/Angkor Wat tour. I wanted to send a shout out for Tommy- Bui Thanh Tung our Tour director, he was excellent. He was well informed, gave us written daily itineraries, reviewed the itinerary at the start of the days touring, made suggestions about where to eat, and what to shop for in the area we were in. He was knowlegeable, pleasant, and professional. We were in good hands with Tommy; keep up the good work!

Chrys F

Great trip! Great Guide - "Hi" Great group of 31! This was our fourth Smartour and we will do it again!

Michaela a

My husband and I experienced the countries of Vietnam and Cambodia with Tan from Smartours as the Tour Director. Being the Tour Director he did an excellent job of including everyone to enjoy the interesting places on our adventure, even pointing out some fantastic vistas for those of us who love photography!

Devorah T

This was our third Smartour. As always the tour itself was amazing. Smartours out did themselves with the sites and itinerary. The hotels were A+. We loved our tour guide and fellow travelers.

lita a

Most amazing experience.This is our second Smart Tour and we will do another one again. All the tour guides fron Saigon to Hanoi were absolutely helpful and informative. Same way to our guide Narun in Cambodia.Our tour guide NOK from day 1 to the end was the most amazing of all. I never learned the true meaning of PATIENCE until I met her. God bless her, she's excellent.

Lynn L

From beginning to end this was a great trip. The hotels were all good with the best being Hoi An Historic Hotel & Royal Angkor Resort. Boeing, the guide, was so pleasant & extremely organized. There were 30 people on the tour & I think everyone was happy. It was amazing how much was included in the overall cost of the trip. We had heard bad things about China Eastern but it was OK. The plane was new, food adequate & great selection of movies. Looking forward to another Smartour next year.

Carolyn H

We have taken 6 different Smartour trips. Amazingly they have all been five star! Luck has a lot to do with it, I am sure, but we have never had a hitch in all 6 trips. Vietnam and Cambodia was by far our favorite trip. There is so much beauty in both countries, so much American history and good and friendly people to meet along the way. We were completely surprised at how much we enjoyed the trip because we didn't have any pre-concieved expectations, never dreaming it would be so great. Do yourself a favor....just do it!!!

Connie M

First, this tour had the best hotels of any tour I have been on. The bathrooms were to die for! I really enjoyed the markets. Our guide was great, pointing out so many things we had no idea what they were (like eggs in horse urine). I could have stayed on the beach in Hoi An for days (the hotel here was in town, but you could visit their sister hotel which was on the beach). I went in the summer, and it was very hot, but it was worth it. I am sorry it is no longer on the schedule for summers (it eliminates teachers). Sitting on a balcony watching the people at the market in Hanoi while drinking a 50 cent beer will be one of my greatest travel memories ever. Be ready for A VERY LONG trip from Halong Bay to Hanoi. I would do this trip again and again.

Isabel W

This was our third trip with smartours and once again, it was AMAZING!!! The itinerary was perfect... so much to see and do in only fifteen days!!! The hotels were great!!! Four and five star hotels included for an amazingly low price. Our guide, NOK, was absolutely the best!!! She told us we would all be family and SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!! She handled everything to perfection!!! Meals, hotels, touring, bus routing, scheduling, providing snacks, providing medication when needed, were all brilliantly coordinated!!! Her cheery disposition, her warmth, her sense of humor, her expertise helped to create an amazing environment for the thirty one of us on her tour!!! Our recommendation.,.. ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH SMARTOURS!!! THEY ARE FABULOUS!!! THE TOURS AND TOUR GUIDES ARE AMAZING!!! THE VALUE IS INCREDIBLE!!! And, just maybe, you too will be fortunate to have Nok as your tour leader in Cambodia and Vietnam! An afterthought... the one difficult day (long bus trip) has now been eliminated from the tour... smartours listened to its guests... The new and improved itinerary looks wonderful!!!

Michael S

My wife and I took this trip at the beginning of March, 2014. We were expecting a hectic trip, with no more than two nights at any stop, but it was well organized. When there were slight problems, the tour director (Peter - Great!) and local guides were quick to remedy them. The local guides provided much insight into the history of Cambodia and Vietnam, which opened our eyes beyond what we'd experienced back home in the USA. Hotels were all clean and comfortable, not 5-star, but modern and well run. Korean Air was an excellent airline to fly. Despite what you hear, you CAN reserve seats before you check in, but perhaps only a few weeks before departure. Be prepared for a long bus ride between Phnom Penh and Siam Reap, since the road is under construction. Still the guide and tour director made the ride interesting, with several good stops along the way. Local flights on Vietnam Airways went well and were on typical mid-size jet aircraft. Included meals on the tour were very good, and I'm a fussy eater. The guides went out of the way to accommodate dietary needs, such as vegetarian or no pork,...and the wait staff were very helpful. Recommended restaurants were also excellent. Of course the temples were exciting and dramatic, but unexpected highlights of the trip were Halong Bay on a cloudy day and Hoi An, places that are often not included when traveling with more expensive agencies. Be sure to visit the old town in Hoi An, after dark. It's a colorfully lit wonder. So, all in all, we highly recommend this trip.
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Beth

The tour was absolutely wonderful. The sights were amazing but even better was our tour guide Adina. She was a walking encyclopedia with a terrific personality. If she didn’t know an answe she immediately checked it out. We can’t wait to return to Israel. Our only complaint was the unavailability of Masada which your company should have been aware of and this information passed on to us. Adina did substitute other sights so she adapted to the situation that your company should have been aware of. Our tour group got along beautifully and we are still in contact with many of them. Again please thank Adina for giving us an exceptional time in israel

Annette

Adina Mayer was packed with knowledge, history, bible. Her smile filled the bus!

Allen

Hotels was good kibbutz was dirty adina Mayer was knowledgable but boring if we had known that masada was closed every January for maintenance would have gone in February the bus driver in petra picked up one of his friends to drive him home on our time.

Leonard

We have participated in 4 SmarTours Trips. The first 2 were to Eastern Europe and China. This past year we went to Israel on May 21, 2018 and then to Great Britain on September 21, 2018. Your tour guides have all been wonderful. In Israel the guide was Dan Ofri. He was wonderful. In Great Britain the guide was Andrew. He too was terrific. He was very professional, very helpful and delightful to be around. In Great Britain one of the optional tours should have been offered as an activity we could do on our own. It was to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool. It was a 5 minute walk from our hotel and as Seniors we could have purchased the activity cheaper on our own. The other complaints were about the hotel in Edinburgh. Porter service was not eagerly offered and rooms on the 1st floor required dragging suitcases up two small staircases. Also dinners offered as part of the package were not as pleasant as they should have been. The first was perfectly awful, presented in a conference room and as we were a small group of eleven was not very celebratory. The second dinner which was supposed to be in a nearby restaurant was an improvement held in the hotel’s restaurant. We have enjoyed traveling with SmarTours. The quality of your tours is excellent as is the value of your pricing. Very truly yours, Diane and Leonard Soifer. Israel May 21, 2018 Great Britain September 21, 2018

Adrienne B

Too bad I cannot give this trip more stars, only 5 just is not enough. I have been thinking about what to write in this review ever since our tour began. I have been searching for just the right words and I have failed. There are no words to explain how much I learned, how many incredible experiences we had, how much we appreciated our free time to make our own plans. Our guide, Dan Ofri, filled our heads to overflowing with the spectacular history of this country. His awe at the sites, his joy and pride, and yes his tears at times, helped us to feel the life that inhabits this land. Thank you for a wonderful trip. Hotel choices placed us in just the right locale for our free time adventures... walkable or right near public transportation.This was our fourth Smartours trip and we are already planning our next adventure.

Carolyn

As always, we had a wonderful Smartours trip. This time we went to Israel. Our guide, Dan, was knowledgeable about the Jewish history and religion and, at the same time, read to is relevant passages from the New Testament. The Dan Panorama hotels were excellent and had amazing breakfasts with a wide selection of available items. I am so glad we went on this trip. I loved the optional Sea of Galilee tour. Swimming in the Dead Sea was an amazing experience. We will be heading to Machu Picchu, Equador, and the Galápagos Islands next. We can’t wait!

Francis

The guide was excellent but the travel arrangements were a short coming. I was disappointed in the fact that the bus that was to take us to the airport was late in arriving thus raising the anxiety levels. The trip over was terrible but that was somewhat weather related. The meals are ok but nothin g to rave about. Overall the trip was of

Barbara

I enjoyed touring Israel and seeing the many places that Christ when to including his birth place and his death and resurrection Would highly recommend it to anyone

Barbara

We had Dan Ofri fro our tour guide in Israel and he really knew his history. He was great and I would recommend him over and over again. Loved all parts of the trip including Jordan and the Dead Sea.

Lidia

The tour experience was good. Kibbutz not so great, not even a bar of soap in the bathroom. In Egypt bottle water was free every day, in Israel had to pay for every bottle. More dinners should be included, especially , after travelling to one destination and being on the bus all day,it would be nice to have the meal included at the hotel. Overall the trip was good. Gui Peretz the guide in Israel was excellent.

Barbara

Fantastic tour! Gai Perez is absolutely the best tour guide we’ve ever had on any trip. Amazing knowledge about the complete history of Israel going back to the beginning and such a passion for his country. Such a wonderful vacation we won’t forget.

Cynthia G

Let me start by stating that this was my second trip to Israel, the first occurred in 1988 and so many things have changed, but mainly for the better. My first trip was not with a tour group, so I was unsure if this would provide me with the same experience or better/worse. SmarTours made the trip easy, they met us at the airport and put us on a bus to Tel Aviv. They handled all of the luggage for the entire 2 week trip, getting it from the bus to the hotel room and vice/versa. Our tour guide Arie was amazing. From the first day he explained in depth what and how the trip would include and clarified where we would go and why. He and hotel staff would wake us every morning so that no one was late and everything was achieved in a timely manner. We traveled from Tel Aviv to Jaffe on foot and we were allowed a free afternoon and then dinner by bus with the whole group. We were a total of 34 people and each and every person was friendly, nice and interesting. The next day we went to Caesarea, Haifa and Galilee. In each and every place we went Arie provided us with enormous amounts of information and his knowledge and expertise was incredible. I had asked if there would be a quiz at the end of the tour and he laughed and said there should be. My friend and I went the next day on the optional Golan and Galilee excursion, which included a boat ride in the sea of Galilee and a stop in Safed, which was the highlight of the tour up to that time. The next day we traveled by bus to Capernaum and two other stops on the way to Jerusalem. The sites that we saw were all exceptional and our interest and awareness always increased with Arie's explanations and historic references helping to aide in our understanding of the full history and the who, what and where of each time period. That evening we arrived in the most amazing place in the world, Jerusalem. The old city is fascinating and with Arie's knowledge and descriptions so much had become clear to me that I didn't understand on my first visit. With SmarTours you see everything of importance and even other things that you don''t know is important until you have been there with someone who has the knowledge and expertise to teach you. The next day we went to Masada. It was late May and early June, but it was at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit but I didn't want to miss a bit so I kept going even though Arie continued to find shady places to see, hear and watch from. After Masada, we spent the afternoon at a hotel right next to the Dead Sea. It is true you cannot drown, but it is an unusual experience. The next day in Jerusalem we went to Yad Vashem. Even if you have been to another holocaust museum, this place will touch you deep in your heart and soul regardless of you religion or background. Arie let us visit this at our own pace and we had at least 3 hours and when we all met some went to Bethlehem and others went back to hotel for an afternoon at leisure and we sat by the pool. The last day in Jerusalem we went back to the old city and shopped. My friend and I decided early on that we would go to Eilat and visit Petra in Lebanon. So as people caught their planes home we drove to Eilat. That part of the trip was truly relaxing as the tour days often started early and went into the late afternoon. The trip to Petra was extraordinary. We had a different guide because Arie couldn't work in Lebanon, however, he took us to the Israeli border and met us when we returned. That day was excruciatingly hot but I made the 7 mile round trip primarily because I was continuously looking up and around at most amazingly shaped rocks and of course, the surprise! As I loved this trip so much , I took another SmarTours trip in September to Italy.

Karen C

I never went on a guided tour. As a matter of fact, I was totally against them. I loved researching and doing it all myself. I decided to take a Smartour trip to Israel because I didn't know how to speak or read Hebrew and I want d to safely see it all. We'll see it all I did. I saw Israel through the eyes and knowledge of our guide. Ari. This man was not only extremely knowledgeable, but was a passionate representative of his country. His treasure chest of facts, stories and geography made our trip come alive. He made us see things we may have never noticed or have known. I learned how to tell the different eras of construction, why certain ruins were placed where they were, what in setu means even though I can't spell it! Ari was entertaining and intense. He insisted we listen and watch his description and maps of various areas. He also took the time to take us to places that he didn't have too. He made this trip unforgettable! I hope to return to Israel and I will make sure he is my guide again so my family can experience this wonderful experience. To say I am satisfied is an understatement. I will be taking another Smartour in the near future. You have me hooked!

Roni E

An absolutely wonderful trip to Israel. While I was somewhat anxious about security I felt very safe wherever we went. Our guide , Dan Ofri, was precise in getting us to locations; considerate about all personal needs and health issues; willing to go the extra mile with individuals when needs arose; and was extremely knowledable about the history of the land and was able to impart his wealth of knowledge with ease, confidence and passion....a master teacher! You could not ask for a better guide to take you through the ages of Israel. The Hotels and Kibuttz Hotel were all excellent and accommodating and the food very good. It was also nice to have some free time to explore on your own. Dan was helpful with suggestions as to where to venture (and where not to) and also for restaurants. Our bus driver, Vladimir, I might add was an absolutely amazing driver in how he so swiftly maneuvered the purple bus in and out of the narrow and winding streets...Bravo! If you are hesitant to go on this tour...just go and you will have no regrets. A wonderful tour!

Reba B

Our wonders of Israel tour was more than we expected. My husband was a little reluctant to travel to Israel. I convinced him to go and he had a wonderful time as well. Out our leader Alon was spectacular. He truly made israel come alive. His explanations of all the sights we visited were not only historical, his side comments made everything come alive. All the Dan hotels we stayed in were beautiful. The breakfasts unbelievable and the staff at the hotels so helpful. A shout out to Naim at the Dan Jerusalem, he had wonderful suggestions for restaurants. The Shabbat dinner at kibbutz Rachel was delicious as well as beautiful. Again Alon shined as he help lead a short Friday night service with help of some members of our tour group. He explained everything so well to those who have never participated in a Shabbat dinner. I feel however that we should have spent more time st Yad Vashem. It is a very moving experience and he amount of time spent there was really not enough. A tour to Bethlehem was scheduled for the afternoon of Yad Vashem. When speaking to some Israelis re:Bethlehem they said why did you go as it is in the West Bank, it is not safe! The church was under major renovations and we were really not able to see the historical sights.That was the only downside of our trip. We took the extended trip to Eliat with three other people from our tour. Eliat was beautiful. The restaurants delicious (Pastoria--yummy) and the people we met very warm. Can't wait to go on another Smartour.

Ginny R

The tour was rich in culture and history . Our tour director, Ilan, was very well versed in the religions and history of Israel. Plus, he is friendly, personable and comfortable to be with. The hotels were very comfortable and the breakfasts excellent. We enjoyed staying at the kibbutz for the experience. We enjoyed Tel Aviv and would have spent another day there. We toured Jaffa in the morning and we went to Neve Zedek on our own in the afternoon. We went on all the optional tours. Petra is a must. Eilat was interesting and relaxing, but Petra is the highlight. The Galilee and Golan day was good. We had fun on the boat and the winery was a good experience for us Californians. The Bethelem optional tour was not my favorite, but was probably because of the restoration work being done on the Church of the Nativitiy. We went to the Sabbath dinner at a kibbutz near Jerusaleum. The experience was interesting and fun, but the price was a little high for the food served.

Barbara C

This was our first trip to Israel and it was an amazing, educational experience. Our tour guide, Dan, gave us a crash college course in 2500 years of history during our trip. Everyone was in awe of his knowledge, and he was a great tour leader, handling smoothly any concerns that came up. The hotels were all great. Do not miss the extension to Petra. It is well worth the extra cost. However, prepare appropriately for possible very hot weather. If you take the horse and buggy up the hill at the end of the Petra visit, confirm the price ahead of time (should be 30 dollars) ask for a receipt and make sure the driver takes you back to the entrance all the way at the top where you first enter. Otherwise, you will still have an uphill hike as we unfortunately did. Jerusalem, Masada and Petra were the best parts of this great tour. If you are traveling with friends or family, make sure to let smarTours know that you are traveling together so you get plane seats together. This was a physically exhausting trip but well worth it, and we felt safe the whole time.

Katharine I