Multi-Day Tour | Private

Sri Lanka Of Teas & Temples (14 days)

Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

Colombo, Sri Lanka To Galle, Sri Lanka

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 Oct 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Colombo, Sri Lanka
THE HORATHAPOLA ESTATE None

Welcome to Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon! On arrival to Colombo, clear immigration and customs. Enter the arrival area where you will be met by your private chauffeur-guide and transferred to your hotel. Experience your first impressions of this amazing island. Emerson Tennet a traveler to Sri Lanka in the 1850's wrote: There is no country in the world that has attracted the attention of authors in so many distant ages and of so many different countries as Ceylon...” It has indeed been written about by the classic Greeks and Romans as well as writers from China to India to Europe. Check in to the hotel, Horathapola Estate, which lies hidden within a vast green coconut belt that stretches up the west coast from Negombo to Puttalam and inland to Kurenegala.

About an hour and a half from Bandaranaike International Airport, your hotel rests in the seclusion of a well-manicured landscape with a main manor house, verandah, and an araliya tree in the garden that is more than 200 hundred years old. You might want to make yourself comfortable, order a gin tonic or a cup of Ceylon tea and soak in the the atmosphere of Sri Lanka in the 1920s that still lingers here. Take a refreshing swim, or treat yourself to a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi. The 50-acre estate itself with its large agricultural expanse invites you to stroll through the coconut trees or among paddy fields. Alternatively, a member of the Horathapola staff can take you for a guided village walk. If you wish to explore the vicinity of this rural village, feel free to ask for a bicycle from the staff. For those interested in local foods, you can also get involved preparing lunch or dinner to learn about local spices and methods of preparation.

Day 2
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
ULAGALLA RESORT Breakfast

Horathapola / Anuradhapura / Thirappane

This morning after sampling a local breakfast, proceed to the Cultural Triangle. home to the early Sinhalese civilization which encompassed the great cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The grandiose monuments still serve as potent reminders of the golden age of Sinhalese civilization. At the spiritual heart of the triangle lies the ruined city of Anuradhapura, capital of the island from the third century BCE to 993 CE.

There are not many places in the world that can claim to have been continuously inhabited for over two millennia. Anuradhapura is one of them. The seat of power in Sri Lanka until constant invasions forced a move to Polannaruwa further south. This an ancient archeological site is also a place of pilgrimage. Take time to wonder around, find a quiet spot to reflect on the passage of time and humanity. The area is dotted with monasteries, elaborate palaces, enormous tanks and a trio of monumental dagobas, excelled in scale in the ancient world only by the Egyptian pyramids. The Sri Maha Bodhi at Anurdharapura is thought to have been brought to the island by Sangamitta, the daughter of the emperor Asoka, sometime around the third century BCE. According to tradition, it came from the Bodh Gaya tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. At the time when Anurdharapura was abandoned in search of a new capital further south a group of monks stayed behind to protect the tree, especially from elephants looking to feast on its young leaves. People have journeyed here for 2,000 years. It is the oldest recorded living tree on earth. Today it is still a place of veneration as it was back in the days of King Devanampiyatissa.

Explore an amazing hidden archeological site – Kaludiya Pokuna. While many people know about it, you won't find it in guide books. A beautiful man-made lake is surrounded by big boulders and small archeological sites that date back 1,500 years. What is remarkable about here is that monks still live here on the upper slopes of the hill. Your guide can take you there but to really gain an understanding of the place, you need to honor the site by remaining quiet and removing your shoes. Be respectful of the monks, most of whom have taken a vow of silence and seldom interact with people. Take time to explore and soak in the beauty of this memorable place. Later proceed to your hotel.

Day 3
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
JETWING JAFFNA Breakfast, Lunch

Thirappane / Anuradhapura / Jaffna

Start early today with breakfast. You might want to try the Sri Lankan breakfast and order the string hopper, little spider-like dough circles with pol sambol, a coconut chilly garnish. Afterwards, you head to the Anuradhapura Railway Station to catch the wonderfully sounding Queen of Jaffna Express train. It only resumed service a year ago. Jaffna and the North of Sri Lanka have been cut off from the rest of the country and the world for three decades. Only now is veil finally lifting and Jaffna is eagerly waiting to welcome travelers once more. Board the train for a three-hour ride that travels across the barren landscape of the Vavuniya. Controlled by the Tamil Tigers, this area suffered from attacks from both the Sinhalese forces as well as the Tamils, leaving thousands of people displaced. Looking out the window at the dry landscape dotted with the occasional village is a somber remainder of the folly of all wars.

On arrival in Jaffna, you have time to relax and freshen up at the hotel, conveniently located in the town center.

After lunch, you join everyday Sri Lankans, most of whom get around Jaffna on bikes. On your own black bicycle, you travel through around most of the city of Jaffna. It is home to many historical sites such as the popular Jaffna library that was burnt down and rebuilt and the Jaffna fort rebuilt during the Dutch colonial period. See the Supramaniyam Park, Old Park, coastal villages, the biggest church in Jaffna, Buddhist dagopa, statue of last king of Jaffna Kingdom, arc of last kingdom’s palace and minister house. After an action packed day, time to head back to the hotel and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Day 4
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
JET Breakfast, Lunch

Jaffna

Continue your discovery this morning with Nallur Temple. A traditional shalve or veddi will be provided for you to wear to enter the temple. You learn about the temple's history and importance as well as the basic principles of worshipping at a Hindu temple. You can also delve into Jaffna’s culture, and explore the similarities and differences of the local South Indian culture, the aftermath of war, and the effects that the flow of people in and out of the region has had.

Later, you take in Karainagar Kasurina Beach, Kayts jetty, Hanuman Temple, Kantharodai Buddhist miniature pagodas, deep well, Keerimalai Pond and Naguleswaram Temple. Lunch will be provided at a village home with fried cuttlefish, Jaffna prawn curry, toasted crab, fish masala, mashed brinjal, drumstick curry, and fish gravy. Meals will be served on banana leaf in traditional Jaffna style. Vegetarian options are also available upon request. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax at the quiet Casuarina Beach. If in season, try the fruit of the Palmyra tree, a unique combination of coconut and jelly.

Day 5
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
JETWING JAFFNA Breakfast, Lunch

Jaffna – Delft Island – Jaffna

Delft Island is small and lined with walls of coral. It has no cars, but does have feral horses left by the Portuguese over 400 years ago. There are the ruins of a fort and some great beaches. Your driver will take you to Kurikadduvan jetty to board a local ferry to the island. During the one-hour boat trip, your Tamil guide talk to you about the Jaffna Islands, the lifestyle today, wartime recollections and something about Hindu lore. On arrival to the island, a special vehicle will be waiting to show you the wild horses, the huge baobab tree, the Dutch fort, and more. A special lunch of Jaffna rice, fish curry, fish fry, fish gravy, two or three vegetable curries with pappadam, and neem tree flower fry will be served. Fruits such as mangoes, papaya and banana will be offered, depending on the season. In the late afternoon, head back in the boat to Jaffna and relax at your hotel.

Day 6
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
JETWING VIL UYANA Breakfast

Jaffna – Delft Island – Jaffna

After breakfast, check-out and proceed towards the cultural triangle. Explore the Ritigala Archeological Monastery. Think Indiana Jones, Ritigala, about a 4.5-hour drive, has that feel of undiscovered a world away from the more famous sights in Sri Lanka. Discover the complex in depth and walk all the way to the higher levels. This archeological site bears a certain mysterious nature owing to the long meditational pathways that open into the thick jungle and large stone-lined reservoirs. Take time to sit down and connect with nature inside this ancient sacred meditation grounds. Later, proceed to your hotel, about an hour’s drive away in Sigiriya, and spend the evening at leisure.

Day 7
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
JETWING VIL UYANA Breakfast

Sigiriya

This morning visit the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. This is a rare jewel among the many treasures in Sri Lanka. It was the domain of King Kashyapa, whose aim was to build an impregnable fortress and within it, a heavenly abode. Rising over the dry plains of the Sigiriya District, the fortress is reached by a tough climb up 1,200 footsteps to the flat-topped rock. Once on top, enjoy the scenic views of the emerald plains and leafy villages beneath. The skeletal layout of the ancient city within the fortress is impressive in its grandeur and the complexity of the 5th century urban-planning of Sri Lanka. On the way to the top, you see the famous Sigiriya frescoes of the maidens bearing flowers amid the wilderness and ancient ruins. Nearby, the smoothly glazed ‘Mirror Wall’ was coated with a smooth glaze upon which visitors felt impelled to note their impressions of the women in the gallery above, so says local legend. The graffiti was inscribed between the 6th and 14th centuries.

Later in the evening, visit Pidurangala, a massive rock formation a few kilometers north of Sigiriya Rock Fortress. You can climb the rock but the hike takes about one hour, depending on fitness, and the last part is a bit tricky over rocks but it can be done with care. It is worth it once you reach the top and are rewarded with views of a green carpet of forest punctuated with Sigiriya Rock in the distance. Breathe in the fresh air on the top of a magical place.

Day 8
Kandy, Sri Lanka
THE KANDY HOUSE Breakfast
Sigiriya / Kandy

After breakfast, proceed to Kandy, the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings. It is about a 2.5-hour drive. Kandy belongs to the fabric of legends. While Sri Lanka was under Portuguese and Dutch rule, the kings of Kandy remained defiant and independent. It was much later, during the British rule that Kandy finally fell. Today, it is a big city that retains touches of its colonial history in buildings such as the Queen's Hotel, a 19th century neoclassical beauty. Wander around the lake and the streets of Kandy to gain a feel for this wonderful city and explore the local markets. Later, visit the famous Temple of Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which houses a sacred relic – one of the Buddha’s teeth – making the city one of the most sacred places for Buddhists. It is a site of pilgrimage, with worshipers bearing offerings of coconuts, flowers and fruits.

Day 9
Kandy, Sri Lanka
THE KANDY HOUSE Breakfast

Kandy

Imagine a quaint Buddhist temple located on a small hill with a beautifully painted cave and a serene sleeping Buddha. This is an ideal spot to begin your Kandy heritage cycling excursion. In true Sri Lankan style, you ride the same bicycles as the locals – grandma-style with no gears, old school cycling. The route has a couple of moderate hills, but should not present a problem for most riders. Travel the small lanes and back roads to discover the heritage of Kandy through its people, who carry on the traditions of the Kandyan Kingdom: from the keeper of a Buddhist temple, to a lady selling coconuts. Is a bit like stepping back into a gentler time to an era where things moved at a slower pace. Along the way, you visit some cottage industries from a wood carver to a small foundry.

Day 10
Hatton, Sri Lanka
CEYLON TEA TRAILS Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kandy / Hatton

Today, you will experience the most magical train journey through Sri Lanka’s hill country, past lush tea plantations, hill villages, mountains covered in mist and smiling people. You will have both first class and second class tickets. You may want to try out the second class journey where you may get to mingle with the locals rather than the more touristic first class carriage – either way, it is an enchanting journey. The chauffeur guide will pick you up with your luggage at the Hatton Railway Station, and transfer you to Ceylon Tea Trails, the first tea bungalow resort, perched at an altitude above 1,250 meters/4,100 feet in Sri Lanka’s panoramic Ceylon tea region, bordering the UNESCO World Heritage Central Highlands.

There are five separate and unique bungalows, each with four to six rooms or suites. Norwood Bungalow commands a fine view of the eastern end of the Bogawantalawa Valley and was originally built in 1890, rebuilt in 1950 and rests at an altitude 4300 ft. Tientsin Bungalow was named after the Chinese village from which the original tea seedlings came, and is a historic landmark. 'High Colonial' is the perfect way to describe Tientsin, built in 1888. Lakeside Castlereagh Bungalow offers views across the lake and boasts an eclectic style of its own. It dates to 1925. Summerville Bungalow sits high above the lake at the edge of a tea plantation, with magnificent views of the water and beyond to tea planted mountains in the distance. Dunkeld Bungalow is the newest addition to the Ceylon Tea Trails family. Dunkeld offers a panoramic view of the lake, and was built in 1925. Poised high above Castlereagh Lake, the bungalow looks down on the verdant tea fields of Dunkeld estate and the tea factory, with spectacular views of the Great Western mountain range. The bungalows are poised at slightly different elevations. In this breathtaking setting, you can learn about the history of tea plantations and tea production, hike pristine trails, grab a mountain bike and head out, go whitewater rafting, or opt for a game of tennis or croquet in an unmatched setting. Finish your day with an in-room spa treatment that includes options for the Tea Trails signature massage, deep tissue massage and reflex zone therapy.

Day 11
Hatton, Sri Lanka
CEYLON TEA TRAILS Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hatton & Dickoya

Dickoya forms Hatton-Dickoya urban council with nearby Hatton. Your day starts with the tradition of Bed Tea served by your butler, who will also draw your bath. Your chef suggest meals based on fresh produce and home grown vegetables and herbs. Guests can indulge in a variety of dishes from western fare to traditional Sri Lankan classics and tea inspired dishes. Spend the morning discovering how Ceylon tea is made and learn the art of becoming a discerning tea taster. Take a walk out to the tea plantations, watch the local women in their daily routing of tea plucking.

The history of tea and Sri Lanka are closely intertwined, and it is on the hills of Hatton where the traditions of tea planting are still alive. The plantations around Tea Trails are fully functional as they were in the late 1800s when the first Scottish planters came to invest in the country.

Interestingly during the Dutch period, Sri Lanka produced mostly coffee. But the coffee plantations suffered from a plague so there was a need for a new cash crop so the British introduced tea. Most of the workforce still is Tamil women who live a hard life. Conditions have improved dramatically since the 19th century but it is still a back breaking job. While at Tea Trails, walk on the paths, meet the local people working there, and strike up a conversation. This is a world of its own – self-contained plantation with schools, factories and villages. It feels like a window into the past, even though it is still very much their present. For better or worse, it is part of the history of Sri Lanka as well as its present and future. Visit the nearby Warleigh Church, built in 1878 by early British planters, or savor a picnic at one of the many magical picnic spots along the way.

Day 12
Galle, Sri Lanka
ADITYA RESORT Breakfast

Dickoya / Galle

This morning, you will be met by your chauffeur guide and transferred to the coast to take a sea plane flight to Galle, where you explore its historic fort. Imagine cobbled streets that have seen 400 hundred years of history from Arab merchants to the adventurous Portuguese and the industrious Dutch, with colonial homes complete with red-tiled roofs. Add to that an impressive rampart surrounding a small peninsula jutting out to the Indian Ocean and you begin to get an idea of the fort in Galle. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about the fort is that it is a living monument. Families that have lived there for generations continue to inhabit the fortified streets. But life is beginning to change even here. Development of the tourist industry means that many families are choosing to sell their homes to make way for new boutique hotels. But, for now, you still see many of the traditions of generations.

Day 13
Galle, Sri Lanka
SHANTI SUITE Breakfast

Galle

Spend the morning leisurely by the beach at Aditya Resort. Later in the afternoon, discover the faces of Galle. The port city of Galle in Southern Sri Lanka is one of the must-see sites on the island. The walls that enclose the fort have kept the inner city intact from years of turmoil and conquest. Galle is a synthesis of the history of Sri Lanka. In a way, the walls have also kept the city protected from the outside, creating a unique atmosphere of a place lost in time.

Muslim gem traders, Portuguese adventurers, Dutch privateers, and English settlers have all made Galle their home at some point. With cute shops, restored colonial mansions, and an up and coming food scene, the city has a modern vibe too. But beyond that, Galle’s people are the repository of hundreds of years of living history. Take the time to sample tea with a gentleman who pours a magical cup; enjoy a chat with a passionate local amateur historian; or buy some samosas from a smiling lad on a bicycle cart. The city reveals itself in its full depth once you open to its true treasures, its people.

After the walk around the fort, it is time to eat. What a better way to finish the evening that in the company of friends and with a home cooked meal fit for the king of Kandy. Mom Washanti makes some of the tastiest curries in this part of Sri Lanka, and her food is above anything else you will find in a restaurant. Dad Sam used to be a cabbie in New York and he has stories he loves to to tell. There is also Mira, the Labrador, and Poosea, the cat. Maybe it is the family atmosphere or the fragrant spices or the casual conversation, by the time you leave the house, you will feel like family

Day 14
Galle, Sri Lanka
None Breakfast

Galle / Depart

Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight home which connects through Colombo.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

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Description

Tour Highlights - 14 Days

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$750 per person per day

Discover the Cultural Triangle, home to the early Sinhalese civilization which encompassed the great cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa; and explore an amazing hidden archeological site – Kaludiya Pokuna, not found in most guide books

Savor two railway journeys: one to Jaffna, which only resumed service a year ago; and the other travels through Sri Lanka’s hill country, past lush tea plantations, hill villages, mountains covered in mist

Join everyday Sri Lankans, as you travel through around most of the city of Jaffna by bicycle to see the sights from the Jaffna fort, to the Supramaniyam Park, past biggest church in Jaffna, Buddhist dagopa, statue of last king of Jaffna Kingdom, arc of last kingdom’s palace and minister house

Savor time at a luxurious tea plantation in Sri Lanka’s panoramic Ceylon tea region, bordering the UNESCO World Heritage Central Highlands

Take in the old port city of Galle and its historic fort and welcoming people

Included:

*Hotel and lodge accommodations as proposed, including taxes and fees

*Meals as indicated (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)

*Services of an English speaking guide during all included excursions on a shared basis

*All transfers in an air conditioned vehicle

*Entrances at parks, sites, and monuments

*Comprehensive assortment of pre-tour materials and amenities

*Big Five’s 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance

*Complimentary one-year membership to One More Generation, including adoption of an endangered species

About Us

Since 1973, Big Five has created life-affirming journeys to some 44 destinations worldwide. Our Destination Specialists, award-winning adventures and premier 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance combine to present the journey of a lifetime to individuals, families and small groups. Sustainable travel is at the heart of Big Five. We have seen how the power of travel can change the world for the better. Sustainability benefits both the traveler and the places visited. Whether the focus is cultural, wildlife or adventure, we tailor each journey to the interests of guests traveling in Africa, Asia, Latin America and South Pacific.

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Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

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Reviews and Recommendations for Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

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Highly recommend

By: Jsquared


Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2013

In Chengdu our guide, Amanda, went above and beyond her responsibilities and made our stay there the highlight of the tour. We did not go through the locks on the Three Gorges Dam. Apparently the locks were shut down because of wind. However, when we reached the locks there was not even a breath of wind. We will be obliged if you could confirm the reason for the locks being closed,and in future pick a cruise ship that goes through the locks in daylight.
Travel Advisor:  Jodi Fox
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highly recommend

By: Sandy Z


Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2013

We used them for our most recent trip. The arrangements they made were very good. We had a few problems with flight time changes, but each time I emailed them and they were able to confirm the changes and reassure me that we would be picked up at the appropriate time at the other end. THey made good choices for hotels, and the cruise boat down the Amazon was fabulous!!
Travel Advisor:  Birgit Navarre
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Hardworking and experienced tour group

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

We've used Big Five Tours twice. The first experience had one or two bumps in the outcome but they corrected what could be done at the time and were attentive. We had doubts about their competency and experience but spent time going over the issues with them after the trip. After detailed discussions, we found them to be truly interested and they took our comments seriously. We decided to give them a 2nd chance with another large trip and they did a fabulous job!
Travel Advisor:  Sharon Cooper
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Very Accommodating

By: TGC and MJC


Reviewed on: 24 Nov 2013

Our trip to the the Galapagos Islands and Machi Picchu was fine tuned to our personal needs and time restrictions. The local tour companies in Ecuador (Klein Tours) and Peru (Fiesta Tours) were outstanding. Their staff and guides could not have been better. It was a trip of a lifetime.

Recommend

By: jpriest


Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Patty Calvert

Professional and timely

By: pelisons3


Reviewed on: 12 May 2015

Big Five provided a professional and individualized travel experience for us. Our guides were timely and informative and really seemed to want us to have a hassle free vacation while enjoying the beauty and culture of their country.
Travel Advisor:  Michele Vogel

Ditto previous comments

By: Jim


Reviewed on: 03 Nov 2015

See my other review that contains the same information -- altogether excellent!
Travel Advisor:  Honey Mistry

Thailand Myanmar

By: Been There


Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2016

Had a thoroughly enjoyable 17 day excursion to Bangkok, Amphawa, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake areas. Travel connections were made without complication. Transportation (buses, vans) were comfortable, drivers and assistants were up to the task, Guides were knowledgeable, helpful, flexible, personable and communicated effectively. Accommodations for the most part were in keeping with what we expected. The restaurant in the Baan Amphawa Resort accommodation should not have served us supper as their kitchen was closing. The breakfast meals were good and set one up for the day. The accommodation in the Inle Lake accommodation (Inle Princess Hotel) has very weak internet connection for those needing to receive email. A travel companion had her US dollar cash reserve eliminated as the internet failed and she could not pay by credit card. Their water system pulses and surges giving uneven pressure when washing/showering. Had restful sleep in all hotels.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Ferragine
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Comprehensive trip planners

By: Pamela


Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2016

This was our second trip with Big Five. We also travelled with them in Peru, where we had one guide for 10 days who was one of the most remarkable people we've ever met. This trip included safari, Victoria Falls, and a few days in Cape Town. Our trip had many logistical elements (we are a family of 5) and it went off pretty much without a hitch. We had multiple guides and drivers, all competent and timely, some more expert or personable than others. The safari camps chosen exceeded our needs and expectations. We would do the trip again in a heartbeat.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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Great tours

By: Jax


Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2016

Our vacation to Tanzania, Africa was fantastic. Big Five Tours did not disappoint. We did not know what to expect and they did a great job in every way. The tented camps were more than anyone could have imagined. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Amazing Company

By: Monica B


Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2016

Working with Ashish and Big Five Tours was a great experience. Every aspect our our tour was outstanding and we would not have changed anything with our itinerary. Ashish took the time to get to know what we wanted and expected and was bang on with everything on our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Sue Pechtel
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Great Tour Company!

By: Holly


Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2017

Everyone was on time and where they said they would be in our itinerary. We had amazing guides and drivers who took such great care of us. I would highly recommend Big Five to my friends and family!
Travel Advisor:  Courtney Regan
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Five

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2017

Very good. Almost everything went off as planned. When there was a problem, a call took care of it. The guide was great: pleasant, knowledgeable and punctual. I would definitely recommend Big Five Tours.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga
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Uruguay

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2017

This is our second time using Big Five. We were faced with an emergency situation of coming up with a 10 day itinerary for Uruguay with 2 weeks notice. They came through with a great program at a price point we were comfortable with. The planning and fine tuning was done quickly and efficiently. A great company for a good travel experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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A boundary pushing vacation

By: Jann DH


Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2017

Having never been to Central America, it was important for our family to work with an experienced operator with trusted connections. Our amazing travel advisor Sheila Gallant-Halloran recommended Big Five, and together, we experienced our best vacation ever. Our accommodations were fantastic. While living in the jungle without electricity, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys and rappelling down 100ft waterfalls definitely pushed our personal comfort zones, it was always done within the parameters of safety, fun and new experiences (in addition to push comfort!). Having Gisele and Asheesh thoroughly explain the uniqueness of our vacation choices only added to the excitement upon arriving. The finely-detailed itinerary made for no surprises. Logistically, it was great to have people waiting for to take us to our next destination. Their local contacts Jose and Jannie checked in with us throughout our vacation, making sure all was well. Top marks for another great family vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Sheila Gallant-Halloran
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Good

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2017

Most of our experience with Big Five was good. A couple of times drivers were not there but they recovered quickly. Guide was great. Trip through the canal went very well. Hi light of the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga

Peru 2017

By: Mark B


Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2017

Another great trip with Big Five - every detail attended to, wonderful guides and destinantions.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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South America

By: Jay


Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2017

We could not fault the Big Five. We travelled to amazing places in Peru and Ecuador over 3 1/2 weeks and were looked after very well all the way. we had good accommodation, excellant guides and very good drivers with comfortable cars which all made for a good holiday.
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Extremely professional and knowledgeable

By: ConstantlyCurious


Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2017

While I still get a bit confused about the role of Big Five vs. the local agencies in Peru (not to mention my personal agent), our overall trip was extremely well managed. The guides were all incredibly knowledgeable, to the point where they could have been professors! Everything was extremely efficient. We always felt like someone was watching out for us - which was important to us in a country where we don't speak the language. And most importantly, we were able to experience some truly amazing things. Thanks for a great trip!
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Big Five Tours

By: Neal


Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2017

Excellent.....most impressive was the Tour Guides we experienced throughout the five different Camps we visited. The Camps were well managed and efficient.
Travel Advisor:  Toni Lanfrank
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Great tour provider

By: Neets


Reviewed on: 19 Sep 2017

Big Five made sure our experience was exceptional. Our first experience in Africa was made memorable by Big Five. We were met at the bush plane by Michael our guide and from the minute we left the airstrip we felt safe and secure in his presence. Over the next several days he demonstrated his knowledge of the wildlife and their habits and made our experience a true adventure. He is more than a guide, he is an ambassador for Tanzania and a dedicated conservator of the wildlife resource. We saw and photographed so many different animals and had so much fun with Michael as he has a very developed sense of humour. The rest of our tour with Big Five was to the Ngorongoro Conservation area and was also memorable. Words cannot truly express the experiences provided us by Big Five you have to go there yourself. Big Five live up to their name and reputation and are the professionals they say they are.
Travel Advisor:  Geordie McDonald
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A Little Bit of Heaven

By: bus driver


Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2017

We couldn't have asked for a better experience. We were looked after right off from the start. During the whole trip we felt safe. The staff couldn't have been more accommodating,friendly caring people. The bus driver and myself highly recommend the Big Five to all who want a trip of a lifetime. try them you will never go to another.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Asia

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2017

Very good. Have used Big Five on three different occasions and they provide an excellent service and itinerary leading to a very satisfying experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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South America

By: big blue


Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2017

Wonderful experience with Big Five. The guides were uniformly excellent, both knowledgeable and very friendly. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of going to South America.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins
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Patagonia

By: OMM


Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2018

The guides provided by the tour operator were amicable, yet professional. They were there for us all of the time from arrival to departure. Alvin was the best in Santiago. Joaquin was the best en El Cajon del Maipo. Remota Hotel provided great facilities with great guides. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Travel Advisor:  Misty Jones
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Thank you Big Five

By: Frequent Travelers


Reviewed on: 14 Apr 2018

Big Five was awesome! They kept our family busy in Costa Rica with hiking, fishing, zip lining, horseback riding and more. Big Five seemed to have the insight on where to go with the time we had. The tour services booked were wonderful with very kind and knowledgable guides. The accommodations chosen were top notch and our family would love to return one day with Big Five as our event coordinator once again! Thanks Big Five
Travel Advisor:  Jeannie Sauleau
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