4 independent reviews for Georgia & Armenia cultural vacation

Reviews for Georgia & Armenia cultural vacation

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review 24 Jun 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The walks, especially Kasbegi, Ushguli and the Molokan village. But there were too few opportunities for walking.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for long hours of minibus travel. Some days had six or more hours of bus traveling with only brief visits and “photo-stops”.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We used local guides, hotels and restaurants, thus supporting the local tourism economy. On the other hand, plastic bottles of water were handed out continually, and we saw no attempt at recycling. Food wastage was prodigious, with all meals being grossly over-provisioned: we probably managed to eat about half of what was provided. Obviously, the air travel and diesel minibus were polluting.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Frustrating. Georgia and Armenia are beautiful and interesting countries, but we mostly saw them from the minibus windows. The itinerary tried to cram every corner of two countries into a two-week trip, which was unrealistic. It would have been better to select fewer locations and to have had more time in each. We also wasted a lot of time over huge long lunches every day, when a picnic or light lunch would have been perfectly adequate, leaving more time to visit the places we wanted to see. The driving in Georgia was terrifying: continual tail-gating and overtaking on blind bends. Not a pleasant experience, especially in a small minibus with apparently no emergency exit. (The driving in Armenia was good, and we had a much more comfortable vehicle). The Georgian guide was very knowledgeable, the Armenian guide less so (though fine as a general tourist guide). The final day was a complete waste of time. Five hours driving in order to have a “traditional Georgian lunch” which is what we had had every day already.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback. We are reviewing the tour at the end of the season and will take in to account all of your comments regarding the itinerary. The driving times each day are described in the itinerary and it is classed as a'busy' tour. We are looking in to the conduct of the driver in Georgia as we expect the highest levels of professionalism from all our guides and drivers. Part of the tradition in these regions is to have a long lunch and the hospitality of the people often means that large portions are provided. We will speak to our local hosts to try and reduce the amount of food waste. Thank you for taking the time to proide this feedback and we are glad that overall you enjoyed the tour.

review 19 Oct 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Waking up in the morning in Gudauri and opening the window to see fresh snow on the Higher Caucasus mountains - spectacular.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The trip is advertised as a cultural vacation and the itinerary mentions that many monasteries will be visited. Complaints about "not another monastery" are unwarranted. The variety and environment in which all of these are found varies and the journey to and from them is quite spectacular.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, as all restaurants were used by local population and the hotel staff were local. Also we were taken to small local markets rather than big supermarkets.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent introduction to these 2 countries. You certainly felt you would like to return and explore more of them.

review 25 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The friendliness of the local people, in all three countries, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. I was happy to see many efforts at preserving local buildings, e.g. churches and monasteries, especially after the Russian occupation which closed (even destroyed), places of worship. The guides for both the Armenian and especially the Georgian sections were very knowledgeable and helpful. All three drivers did a great job, on sometimes, precarious roads, steering clear of wandering cows and some risk taking drivers (mainly overtaking in the opposite direction), going up and down mountainous narrow roads.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared to have your eyes opened as to the depth of Christianity practised in both countries, both in the past and still today. Bring healthy appetites, for the food is very good and tasty and so plentiful. If you can extend your trip by a couple of days (before and/or after the guided sections), you can experience more of the local capitals.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The one thing that stood out for me, was the abandonned sites (mostly factories) left by the Russians. If only they could be demolished, some of the materials used to rebuild, e.g. just crushing some concrete and reuse for sealing more roads. We did not see many homeless people, but convert other disused buildings into housing and so on. We did see a couple of settlements for refugees from Russian occupied areas, in Georgia. Hopefully, more tourists will bring in more money into the local economies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I would definitely recommend this trip (with extension to Azerbaijan), to people who want to see more than the well trodden tourist routes in Western Europe.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you. We are delighted that you enjoyed your vacation.

review 16 Oct 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Traveling into the mountains of Georgia.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ask the company about the walking, the timing of the itinerary and the time allowed in Yerevan. We found the walks were disappointing or did not happen. Sticks were helpful and proper walking shoes. Accommodating non walkers and walkers meant some compromises which some of the group found disappointing. Overall we felt in order to attract enough people, the walking that was included was not necessarily as described.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

To some extent local people were involved but the amount of driving did nothing to reduce environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We enjoyed our group and the guides were good. We felt the itinerary was unrealistic and not enough time was available to enjoy Yerevan and some of the other places we stayed in.

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