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GAP Adventures - experiences?

Various stories positive and negative regarding GAP adventures - there is no general consensus. All comments reflect the opinions and experiences of the individual posters.
11 years ago, May 12th 2008 No: 21 Msg: #35012  
N Posts: 1
I went on their Thailand and Costa Rica trips and thoroughly enjoyed them. The guides were very helpful and the other people on the trip were great. GAP offers many trips and I can imagine sometimes the experience may not be so great due to one reason or another. But I would use them again. They do have great prices especially if you are a single traveller. Reply to this

11 years ago, May 30th 2008 No: 22 Msg: #36862  

Wow! I wished I had have found this site before I booked my tour with GAP. I used them last year to travel through India, whilst the continent was different the problems were the same. I work in the travel industry & could not believe the disorganisation & "slap dash" attitude of this company.

Here's the history...GAP used to be the "budget arm" of Intrepid which is a highly respected world wide tour provider. They severed ties a couple of years back, no doubt to GAP's practices. Now Intrepid does their own "basix" tours which is what GAP used to provide!

Where to start...they changed the starting hotel twice, no a big deal but when you have paid for extra 2 nights accommodation at this hotel they should advise you & send a new voucher......they didn't. In fact a girl joining our tour who had come straight from finishing a tour of Nepal spent several hours running around to find the wrong hotel by cab & to find out it had changed without them advising her. Thankfully in India cabs are cheap - but elsewhere would have been more of an issue.

Then they advertise the tour visits the abandoned town of Fatehpur Sikri (a highlight of an Indian tour), only to find out that there is no transport to get there & no one ever gets to see it. They also advise is 2 different places you can do a cooking class (optional activity)...sadly they didn't bother to advise their tour leader that this was possible, so in the end he pulled out the lonely planet & made some calls for me & arranged it. Too bad the company doesn't give any support to their staff.

The tour always leaves on a Monday, and they advertise you can visit the Calico Museum in Ahmedebad (another highlight) - guess what - the tour always arrives in Ahmedebad on a Wednesday - the one day of the week the museum is CLOSED!

Whilst on Ahmedebad, they thought we would like to carry our bags/backpacks around this dubious city for 8 hours between the bus arrival & the train departure!! The cloak room at the train station won't hold the backpack style bags we were TOLD to bring because you can't lock them! So in the end our tour leader found the cheapest (and nastiest) hotel in town for us to store our stuff.

The finishing hotel was changed 3 times - again not a huge issue - but it moved from North Goa to South Goa some 65kms away. Problem was my 18 year old nephew was meeting me there and we had specifically booked a hotel for him close to where I was. Which means I had to cut the tour short by two days due to the change in location!!

It is my experience working in the industry that if you are a reliable/reputable/established tour operator you do not change your joining/finishing hotels as often as you change your sheets!!

Thankfully I got a response to my concerns from GAP with a voucher off my next tour....a tour needless to say I will never take!!!!

That all said....we had the BEST tour leader who tried very very very hard to make up for the lack of planning/support on GAP's part.

Take the advice from someone in the Industry (airline employee not travel agent) stick with either Intrepid or Geckos - no scary surprises


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11 years ago, June 8th 2008 No: 23 Msg: #37771  
N Posts: 1
GAP is doing a set of Tours through Expedia in conjunction with the new Indiana Jones movie. I was considering taking the trip to Macchu Picchu but was concerned about the company sponsoring the tour. I would classify myself as a seasoned traveler, but not well seasoned. I was curious about general thoughts about using GAP and Expedia for this tour. I was planning on going in September if that makes any difference.
Thanks for the advice Reply to this

11 years ago, June 9th 2008 No: 24 Msg: #37895  
Having experienced GAP in India, I would recommend looking at other tour companies for a trip to Machu Picchu. I went with General Tours and was extremely pleased with that experience. Travel in Peru can get "interesting" at times, and my experience with GAP pretty much says they're not capable of handling it. My recommendations are for either General Tours or Overseas Adventure Travel. Both are small group oriented and have an excellent track record in Peru. Reply to this

11 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 25 Msg: #47491  
But why Real Gap staff who seems so present in this forum don't explain their philosphy mixing profit, tourism and voluntarism ???
Why they don't answer about their local subcontractors working for them with extremely low salary ?

In vietnam we had very bad experience with them: My NGO were contacted by them (introduce as a UK english volunteer org) to send us english volunteers.... in fact they were tourism who paid up to 1000 euro to join our volunteer projects (we asked them 75 euro by weeks...)

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11 years ago, September 2nd 2008 No: 26 Msg: #47635  
N Posts: 11
If not Gap, who would you recimmend ten? I'm going to Argentina,Chile than Bolivia and Peru.Will be travelling on my on in though the first two countried bot would like to take an organized trip in Bolivia and Peru.I went to rTailfinders in Dublin where they actually recommended Gap.But having read all these comments i'm having serious doubts now..Any advice?
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11 years ago, September 2nd 2008 No: 27 Msg: #47636  
Take a look at General Tours. They have an excellent tour that includes Machu Picchu. Locally in Peru they use Coultours as the actual provider. (Spelling may be a hair off on that last part. I'm at work and can't double check it.) I believe Overseas Adventure Travel also goes to that region and is small group oriented. Reply to this

11 years ago, September 2nd 2008 No: 28 Msg: #47640  
If you want to be volunteer in south america, check this list

you will find a directory of real voluntary organization and a lot of them doesn't ask any "profit" fees to the people coming to help them
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11 years ago, September 10th 2008 No: 29 Msg: #48353  
To add to my earlier post, I can not recommend either Geckos or Intrepid enough. Either of those are organised, experienced tour operators who will provide you with a fantastic experience. About volunteering, if they can not assist they will recommend another organisation to you but from memory I know intrepid offers volunteering in India so south america shouldn't be too different. Enjoy! Reply to this

11 years ago, September 15th 2008 No: 30 Msg: #48785  
Wow that is a long comment about Gap adventure they must or really annoyed you. I have just booked 3 tours 1 with Gap and 2 with Intrepid. The one I booked with Gap is to South America as the women at STA travel said Gap were better at South America and Intrepid were better with Thailand. I booked the guaranteed trip so hopefully it should be ok. I am doing the Santiago to Lima tour. Has any one else done this tour. It starts in chilli goes up to Bolivia then Peru Reply to this

10 years ago, December 17th 2008 No: 31 Msg: #57814  
I went to Thailand with GAP and we brought back bed bugs.

The accommodation during the first week was quite good but the second week I just wished I had stayed at home. We had strange bites all over us because the place we stayed at was not clean and apparently my boyfriend brought back the insects that caused the bites- BED BUGS.

It is so disgusting. It hurts and itches and we will have to get professional help to get rid of them.

Whenever I travelled my motto used to be I am OK with everything as long as I have a clean bed to sleep in... that was not the case!

We did not book the cheapest category because we still wanted decent accommodation but GAP has saved every $ to make more profits for themselves or they have not negotiated prices well... anyhow 5$ per room per room per night could have protected our health and we would not have to pay 250 £ for a vermin exterminator.

Thanks GAP! Never again!!!

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10 years ago, December 17th 2008 No: 32 Msg: #57818  
I symphatize fully with you for it happened to me last year in Hoi An.

Adding to my pain was the reaction of the Manager there, acting as if he didn't understood what I was talking about.
Killing me finally was their phone call few days later, asking me to settle the bill...that I had pre-paid through a travel agency in Saigon.

I wish I could remember the name, but thank God, I took them out of my memory.
(they own three hotels around town, with one "only-wood-and-old" on one of the main arteries).

Mainly a managerial problem, I guess.

Cheers, charles Reply to this

10 years ago, December 17th 2008 No: 33 Msg: #57822  
2 posts merged into this topic from: Thailand with GAP Reply to this

10 years ago, December 17th 2008 No: 34 Msg: #57833  
Thailand island hopping with GAP-

the bed bugs only where only one thing.

We did not have a hot shower for 4 days and than went to on the sleeper train back to Bangkok and adjacent were supposed to catch our flight back. How would any traveller feel on the plane back home without having had a proper warm shower for 5 days?

For 2 days we slept in a tent on a hard mat where sleeping was not really possible. The floor was so hard that my hips hurt.
The cold shower we could use during certain ours of the day only was about 3 inches away from the Thai toilet bowl so you literally where taking a shower above the toilet.

The so called long tail boat that we used was so old that it was quite dangerous to us it. The leader in the boat was so rusty that one tread broke off while someone of the group was just getting onto the boat. I badly scratched my back an a rusty metal rod that my fellow traveller would ask me quite shocked about what had happened to me when they saw my bruise.

The group was quite nice and we had fun nevertheless. The trip was not that cheap and everything nice in the south was additional to the costs. We booked a nice boat trip that was very nice and expensive and I would have loved to spend 20$ extra per night and upgrade to a clean hotel and not to bring back bed bugs!

I can imagine that it is a management problem but if GAP offers too many trips and cannot keep track their services the travelers should not have to suffer!

Cheers Sunny

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10 years ago, February 1st 2009 No: 35 Msg: #61901  
I wish I had come accross this site before I booked 3 trips with GAP. I chose them because they were highly recommended by Lonely Planet as a company with affordable trips, excellent service and ecological bent. I have booked the Antarctica Classic package, The Southern Sojourn Buenos Aires to Santiago and Easter Island. I am going at the end of November and have already paid a deposit on the 3 trips so I haven't much choice now but to go with them. To round up my trip to SA I was contemplating their Atacama Crossing Trip from Santiago to la Paz but when I enquired if the local Tour operator carried oxygen the GAP agent response was ' GAP Adventures is the tour operator and we do not offer oxygen on this trip'. Considering the trip takes you mostly at high altitude I would have thought carrying oxygen in case some people become seriously affected by altitude sickness would have been routine practice. I decided against going on that final trip.

I would like to visit the Atacama Desert departing from Santiago. Would anyone recommend a reliable and serious company offering this itinary? I would be very grateful for any suggestions.
Thanks-Maelis Reply to this

10 years ago, April 21st 2009 No: 36 Msg: #70375  
N Posts: 1
@janet2801: "Here's the history...GAP used to be the "budget arm" of Intrepid which is a highly respected world wide tour provider. They severed ties a couple of years back, no doubt to GAP's practices. Now Intrepid does their own "basix" tours which is what GAP used to provide!"

umm.... no. Not even close as a matter of fact.

Here's the history. Intrepid started before G.A.P., stared by Darryl Wade and Geoff Manchester in Australia. G.A.P started shortly after by Bruce Poon Tip in Toronto ( after he had went on an Intrepid trip and basically stole their business model ). Being similar companies they did have a verbal agreement. Intrepid operated in Asia while G.A.P operated in South America. The two never operated in the others regions.

Even though there was a verbal contract, and split regions, the two companies were definitely in competition. Soon there was a need for expansion for each company however there was the verbal contract. Intrepid went into South America. Ties were split immediately. The next day GAP hired Intrepids Asia tour leader and brought with him all the other Asia Intrepid guides. So, in a day GAP had their Asia itinerary.

There ya go.

G.A.P will do anything to get a sale. Their prices look low ( until you factor in their local payment ) because they want as many passengers as possible. Higher volume and lower costs still equals profit.

Intrepid is by far the better operated company in my personal opinion.

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10 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 37 Msg: #70416  
Hi XsTatiC...

I knew they were separate companies & that Intrepid started before GAP (I am an Aussie afterall). I didn't mean however that GAP was started by Intrepid!

I depart next week for a Trans Siberian trip with Intrepid. Funnily enough GAP offers the same itinerary at approx $200 less than Intrepid. I've spent the extra money without giving it a second thought!!!!! Last thing I need is a repeat of India!

Happy Travels
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10 years ago, June 20th 2009 No: 38 Msg: #77093  
GAP Adventures "Peru on a shoestring"
Anyone have feedback on this trip. Any recommendations?
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10 years ago, June 21st 2009 No: 39 Msg: #77160  
2 posts moved to this topic: GAP Adventures, Peru Reply to this

10 years ago, June 21st 2009 No: 40 Msg: #77176  
I went on 3 trips with Intrepid last year and will do another in August 2009. The guides were fantastic and so were the trips and far better than GAP. I went on one trip 3 years ago with GAP which had a guide and 2 in training and they were terrible. The trip was OK but everyone got stuff stolen from them and when we exchanged money were cheated and the guide just said they always do don't argue. In a recent forum on the Gap site several people had stuff stolen on their trip. When I tried to contact someone on one of the future trips concerning a positive matter the moderator blocked it. I too would rather pay a little more and go on a well organized Intrepid trip and have a great time. Reply to this

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