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Organised trip on on our own

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Organised trip on on our own

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1. Posted by lucyl77 (Budding Member, 5 posts) 15 Aug '05 09:31

I want to travel from Chile through Bolivia into Peru, after speaking to sta travel, rep there said an organised trip would be a better option as the language barrier can be a huge problem & ruin our enjoyment of these countries. Is this true?

2. Posted by Marty 6 (Full Member, 45 posts) 15 Aug '05 09:45

Not true.

I was considering such a trip and having spoken to people who did it, i could not be happier that i went it alone. Dont worry too much about safety. im 19 and iv travelled solo with no problems through Chile, Peru and im now in Bolivia.

Your trip will not be your trip if you go with a company. they will make decisions for you. that might sound good now, but when you are out here you will really start to resent it.

i didnt speak a word of spanish before i arrnaged my trip. get a book or do a few hours tuition and you will enjoy your time out here far more. but please do not be scared into making a choice that purely profits STA.

it would be a mistake

Martin

3. Posted by SkacoreUK (Full Member, 56 posts) 15 Aug '05 14:21

I am actually going alone on an organised trip with G.A.P Adventures (booked through STA). I am going through Central America with them for 1 month, and then travelling alone for the next 4 months through South America.

All the other organisers I looked at had a group size of over 30 people, whereas G.A.P had a miximum size of 12, plus two "in country co-ordinators" who travel with the group.

This will be my first time travelling, alone or otherwise, so I wanted to be eased into it gently. I also don't speak a word of Spanish, so wanted a bit of time to work on it before being let loose all alone.

The organisers arrange your accomodation for each night, and your travel (by whatever means, bus, boat, bike etc) and tell you what sort of things are worth doing in each place you come too, but what you do & eat is left totally up to you.

It is expensive though, I was originally going to do my entire Central & South America trip with them, but soon discovered that it was just not worth it. Also I agree that you would not get the complete "solo experience" doing an entire trip in this way.

However, it does seem like a good way to start your trip, get eased into the culture & language, and hopefully meet some people who you can continue to travel with.

Hope that helped, and check out G.A.P Adventures web site for whats on offer, they seemed to be the best people I could find.

I leave in just over two weeks, so i'll let you know how it goes, and feel free to ask any questions

4. Posted by mim (Travel Guru, 1276 posts) 15 Aug '05 16:41

DOnt trust STA, they're just trying to get you to spend more money, yeah a language barrier cn be a pain but not so much of a pain as being dragged around an itinerary with no say on where or what you do next!!

m

5. Posted by Rishin (Budding Member, 10 posts) 15 Aug '05 17:20

Do it on your own. You will have more flexibility, see more sites, save a lot more money and meet a lot more people. I have just got back from travelling and the savings I made by doing the trip on my own when compared to what I would have spent by doing an organised tour were astonishing.

I didnt speak a word of spanish when I flew into Peru but I had a lonely planet latin american phrasebook which was invaluable and helped me communicate with locals. Any problems you experience due to the language barrier are the problems that you will look back at and laugh your head off. Far from ruining your enjoyment, the language barrier will make your trip all the more memorable.

The only real advantage of doing an organised tour is that if you are extremely short on time, they can help you make the most of what little time you have.

6. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru, 454 posts) 17 Aug '05 00:40

I agree (to all above!). Most organized trips I've been to have been alright, but always very touristy and you really don't get to do any decisions of your own... More of an experience to do it by yourself!
//Susanna

7. Posted by jblossom12 (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 5 Jun '06 05:29

do you guys really think that not goin with a tour company would be easier on a person's wallet? i've been wondering whether to go with a tour group or independently. i'm been thinking about doing some day trips for at least macchu picchu and colca canyon. would be that a good idea? or would it just be better to get a guide book and trek by myself? the tour guides seem to be a bit expensive but i would like to know more abou the culture surrounding such spots (i.e. pisac, nazca, etc)

8. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru, 454 posts) 5 Jun '06 06:11

Regarding Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, you have to go through an agency with a licenced guide.

As for the language barrier, it is a problem (not huge though) - but not a problem that will be solved by going with STA. The problem is more that you won't get to talk to the locals properly (but never underestimate the power or body language!), but going on an organized trip is just gonna make you feel even more distant from the real South America.

As for safety, just use common sense and you'll be fine.

//Susanna

9. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 5 Jun '06 06:20

I've never been on an organized trip or to South America, but here's my two cents anyway!

I'd say go it alone - there's nothing worse than being stuck with the same bunch of people and an itinerary you have no control of. I love travelling alone, but I will also join an organized day tour now and again. These often help you pass quickly through a long line, give you lots of interesting information, provide transportation to an often out-of-the-way place, and help you make the most of your time if you're only there for a short stay. Plus, once the tour is done you can do whatever you feel like doing!

10. Posted by HereICome (Full Member, 67 posts) 8 Jun '06 18:11

Agree weith all the above about going alone. Its very easy. But i would add- learn as much Spanish as u can before going. That means learn some, and a bit more. U dont need to be fluent but u do need to be able to communicate basic stuff, especially if u get into any kind of bother. I got robbed on my first day in Lima and none of the general police spoke a word of English. There were a few ocassions where having no Spanish would have made things very difficult. Thankfully i had just enough to get me thru, especially in regards to the robbery. Learn the basics if u r going alone, its really worth the effort.