To Tour or Not To Tour

15 Feb

image via Cafepress

Many of the vacations I took as a kid were tour-based (6am wake-up call, only 1 hour in a museum that usually takes a solid afternoon to explore, 10 minute pee break or the bus leaves without you, buffets and chains galore).  Tours are a great option for those who like to just show up and leave the planning and itinerary up to someone else.  It’s not really our style to go on such tours, we find many tours to not be at a pace that we like (either way too slow or rushed).  But I know there will be days where I will just want to wake up and let someone show me around for the day.

So in the spirit of trying new things (or giving old things a chance), I’ve researched some tours for South America that I’m pretty excited about!

For Machu Picchu, we booked with Llama Path based on our friends N+M’s recs.
In Santiago, I’m leaning towards the Spicy Chile walking tours, and in Buenos Aires, the Buenos Aires Free Tour has rave reviews.
Hielo y Aventura is a must for Patagonia.

Other places we’ll probably forgo tours are Easter Island and Iguazu Falls.  We’re undecided on whether we’ll go on a favela tour in Rio.  Would you do a favela tour?

So what’s the verdict folks?  Do you love tours for its convenience and ease, stay away cus it’s not your cup of tea, or are you like us and somewhere in between?  Share in the comments or in the poll below!

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2 Responses to “To Tour or Not To Tour”

  1. lydia February 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM #

    I think some sights are quite restricted unless you’re on a tour, so those are great places to take advantage of organized tours. (Easy when everything’s taken care of, too!) But otherwise it’s nice to do things at a leisurely place and plan it all our yourself because it gives you a more intimate experience with a place, imho 🙂 I like your guys’ approach! A mix of things is good, especially because you’re traveling for so long.

  2. Rosalyn February 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM #

    We like to mix it up but we like tours for an overview. They usually take you to the “main attractions” and the tour guides tell you all about the history and culture, so you don’t have to read up. It’s the “lazy man’s” way and neophyte’s way to travel. Then we decide later whether we will go back for more exploration at our own pace. It was great to have all the hotels and transportation taken care of for places that we weren’t yet familiar with.

    Plus, we enjoyed our tour companions every time we’ve been on tour because everybody was out to have a good time. But usually the tour group is comprised of older folks who have money and time but no energy. For that reason, short tours would probably be good for you in places that are not “tourist friendly” (hard to get around, not many hotels, etc) but going it on your own should be fine for the rest of it for savvy people like you.

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