We were very disappointed in our trip with GAP Adventures and would not recommend the tour company. Below is our summary review of our experience on a trip we took with GAP to Colombia:
Extremely poor value: We do not begrudge someone a reasonable profit but we truly felt GOUGED. We trusted GAP to protect us from the locals taking advantage of us tourists. It took us a while to realize that it was our friendly GAP Tour Guides who had already grossly overcharged us.
Misleading and deceptive “bait and Switch” tactics: Originally we saw an advertisement on GAP’s website for a trip to the Patagonia “End of the World” trip advertised for $2099. When we called we were told by Sean of GAP's main office that the Patagonia trip would cost more than advertised and that if we wanted to go on a trip in South America that we would be better off going on the “Highlights of Colombia” trip due to the lack of advance notice. We asked if we were getting the best deal available for this Colombia trip and Sean assured us that we were—that were no better deals. We found out that other clients paid 2/3 of what we paid—they paid $1200pp and we paid $1899! And the others on the trip felt they had paid too much for what they got!
Poor route Planning: Although there are numerous round trip routes available in Colombia our route involved traveling back and forth seeing the same scenery twice. Many of the towns that we went to had very little to offer—there were no unique sights, events, or tours or reasons why we visited some of the places we visited.
Lack of structure: We were dropped off in Cities for 2 and 3 days at a time and there were no planned activities just "free time" fell free to find your own way around.
Nothing included: Other than basic transportation and unacceptable accommodations virtually nothing else was included.
Unacceptable accommodations: Most of the rooms we were in were noisy, some were even over night clubs, and in dangerous areas of town. Many were in youth hostel type accommodations. We were so disappointed with the trip that we left early even though we had already paid for the last night--we knew we could do better on our own and wanted to get a good night's sleep.
Uncertain and poorly planned logistics: We ended up waiting at bus depots while our guide got the absolute very best deal he could. Sometimes we waited for several hours at a time. No advance planning was done on our behalf. Our tour of 15 people were often crammed into severely cramped into undersized vans meant for 10 passengers.
Lack of safety and security: There was usually not a secure place to put our valuables in any of these hostel/hotels—we were forced to take everything with us all the time. At one point several of our fellow travelers were robbed at the beach of their cameras and money. The tour guide said later they did not take adequate precautions.
Poor follow through of customer service from GAP home office: I filled out a feed back form, wrote a letter and twice called to express my concerns. A GAP representative said they definitely were concerned and would get back to us after an investigation of other travelers comments. It's been over a month and we have yet to hear from them despite having tried to recontact them.
We totally would recommend traveling to Colombia--just not with GAP. We went on our own after the GAP Adventure and found that the locals really took care of us, we found great routes, good deals and stayed in fabulous places all for about 1/2 of what we paid to Gap.
Company Response 03/24/2010: Thanks for letting us know of your concerns! I have send a private message to the poster to resolve this. We will get it right!
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Nightmare Tour and Terrible Customer Service
Posted by Julie on 2010-01-21
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- I had a terrible vacation with Gap Adventures and I feel compelled to share my experience with others so they won't have to go through the stress, disappointment and wasted vacation time and money that I had to go through.
There were several bad experiences during my trip with Gap Adventures, but I will only share a few here.
1. On the way home from dinner one night our tour guide stopped a local boy on the street and purchase illegal drugs.
2. One of my tour-mates lost her iPod and discovered it two days later in our tour guide's backpack.
3. One morning we left at 6am to drive to our next city. At 6:15am we came upon some protesters that were blocking the road. We waited in the car for 15 HOURS for the road to open instead of turning around and driving 15 minutes back to our original town.
Gap Adventures is aware of all of the terrible events that occurred on our tour but was not concerned and still employs the irresponsible tour guide. Overall, a very bad experience, terrible tour guide and apathetic customer service. Definitely go with another tour company!
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Posted by Paula on 2010-09-01
TORONTO -- Our friend was unable to travel with us due to extenuating personal circumstances. He wished to transfer the trip to another member of our family, but Gap Adventures will not allow him to transfer the trip, even though there is nothing in their "fine print" prohibiting a transfer.
They said that my sister could get on the trip, but they want her to pay 90 percent of the tour price, even though our friend had already paid 100 percent. I feel that they are being greedy and gouging us. Their agent, Daniel, told me that it would be very costly to change the train ticket that our friend booked, but I looked up the cost to change the ticket in question and it would only be $50 US.
Their customer service has been virtually nonexistent. After reading reviews, I do not have high hopes for this trip. These people are cons. Beware!
Company Response 09/02/2010: Thanks for writing, and giving us the chance to review this and make this right.
All of our tours are non-refundable/non-transferable inside 30 days of departure. We have this rule because changes and cancelations result in cancellation/amendment fees for us. In your case, substituting a male for female traveller may have resulted in another room needing to be booked because we never room male and females together (unless they are travelling together, of course).
As a company we really appreciate this opportunity, and will happily review your concerns. Please drop us an e-mail to 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Our lead with service culture will be all over this, and there will be a lot of people in our organization who will have the opportunity to learn because you took the time to alert us to this concern. Thank you.