President’s Pick: Sri Lanka A Natural Adventure (12 days)


Day 1
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Uga Residence Dinner

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.

Explore the city during a walk with your guide, who will take you through the Galle Face Green, an ocean-side urban park along the coast in the heart of the financial and business center of Colombo. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, and originally extended over a much larger area. The Galle Face Green was initially used for horse racing and as a golf course, but was also used for cricket, polo, football, tennis and rugby. Then on to the inner roads of Slave Island, where you meet locals and witness how their daily lifestyle is spent. You stop at a street vendor to see and possibly sample a Kottu Rotti, an everyday Sri Lankan meal. You might be able to drop in on time for a Pooja ceremony, a ceremonial offering, at a Hindu temple.

Day 2
Puttalam, Sri Lanka
Bethany 101 Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today after a relaxed breakfast, you head towards Puttalam. Along the way, you take a slight detour from the little town of Mahawewa to the little house of Rasanjali. Step into her kitchen to sample an array of local dishes she has prepared. Rasanjali, like the other women in this little village, takes pride in cooking for her family and warmly welcomes you into her home. She uses homemade spices with the fresh picked vegetables, fish and meat from the local market to provide you with the authentic flavors of the island, while tailoring the amount of spices – mild or hot – to your tastes. Vegetarians can also be accommodated.

Afterwards continue your drive to Puttalam, home to one of the largest lagoons in the country. Puttalam is also known for its salt mines, energy production, coconuts as well as amazing seafood. This part of the island is popularly known for the hospitality of the people in the area. One of the interesting aspects of the area is the contrast of the people from the rest of the country. Puttalam and Kalpitiya areas are primarily Muslims while other regions have more Hindus and Tamils. The bright colored houses and residents on their foot cycles along the way will definitely catch your attention, especially around the water front of the big lagoon.

Day 3
Puttalam, Sri Lanka
Bethany 101 Breakfast, Dinner

This morning is an early wake up. With a packed breakfast, set out for Wilpattu National Park, the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. The park is among the top national parks known for leopards. On your half-day safari, you may also glimpse elephants, spotted deer, sloth bears and gigantic crocodiles as well as striking flocks of peacocks, painted storks, jungle fowls and mongoose. Thick foliage interwoven with shrubbery, streamlets and tanks expand during the monsoons and contract during the dry season - the landscapes of the Wilpattu National Park reflect an ideal place for varied wildlife species. Moreover, one can also bear witness to striking flocks of peacocks, painted storks, jungle fowls as well as national park. Return to the hotel where the remainder of your day is at leisure. Grab a good book and settle into a tea planter’s chair with afternoon tea, and watch life pass by. It is still possible to feel that old Ceylon is very much alive here. Tip: The rice and curry here are a must try, and also some fried prawns if in season.

Day 4
Thirappane, Sri Lanka
Ulagalla Resort Breakfast

Discover Anuradhapura, the city of Kings, which has been continuously inhabited for more than 2,000 years. Anuradhapura was the seat of power in Sri Lanka until constant invasions forced relocation to Polannaruwa further south. Anuradhapura is famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. It remains a pilgrimage site for many who still visit the sacred Bo tree. The dagobas stand as majestic as they did during the reign of King Tissa. Take time to wonder around, find a quiet spot to reflect on the passage of time and humanity. The Sri Maha Bodhi, sacred fig tree, is said to have been brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta, the daughter of the emperor Asoka, sometime around the third century BCE. According to legend, it was grown from a seed of the Bodh Gaya tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. When the city was abandoned, a group of monks stayed behind to protect it, especially from elephants looking to feast on its leaves. It is said to be 2,000 years old, the oldest living tree of which there is a record.

Then, you travel on to Kaludiya Pokuna, one of the unknown treasures of Sri Lanka that you do not see in guide books. As the travel writer Paul Theroux one said "buy a guidebook, identify where the tourists are going and head the other way."

This beautiful man-made lake is surrounded by big boulders and small archeological sites that date back 1500 years. Monks still live on the upper slopes of the hill. You can visit with your guide, but you need to be quiet and remove your shoes. The monks living there have taken a vow of silence and have minimum interaction with people so please be respectful. Explore this serene site at your leisure, soaking in the beauty of this place. You have this evening at leisure.

Day 5
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Jaffna Breakfast, Dinner

Begin today with an early breakfast, where you might want to try the Sri Lankan breakfast with an order of string hoppers – little spider-like dough circles that go great with pol sambol, the coconut chilly garnish. Then, proceed to the Anuradhapura Railway Station to catch the train to Jaffna. The wonderfully sounding Queen of Jaffna Express train only resumed services a year ago. Jaffna and northern Sri Lanka were cut off from the rest of the country and the world for some 30 years. Now the veil is finally opening, and Jaffna is eagerly waiting to welcome travelers again. You board the train for a three-hour ride across the barren landscape of the Vavuniya. Once controlled by the Tamil Tigers, this area suffered attacks from both the Sinhalese forces as well as the Tamils, leaving thousands of people displaced. Arrive in Jaffna with time to freshen up a bit at your hotel. One of the only buildings in the city it is conveniently located in the town center and at this stage one of the only hotels in Jaffna. The city is just opening up and the contrast with other parts of the island is striking.

Set out to take to the road like most people here – by bicycle. On your own black bicycle, you travel around most of the city of Jaffna. It is home to many historical sites such as the popular Jaffna library, which burned down and was 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.

Savor dinner with a family in their private home where you will have an opportunity to exchange ideas and game a brief look into their way of life. The local Tamil guide will be there to assist, translate and provide context. For the main course you have “Pittu” made from rice flour and coconut scrap, and served with crab curry, fried prawns, cuttlefish, mashed omelets mixed with dry fish, dhal curry with fish and plain gravy. This is a true Jaffna feast. Mangoes and jackfruits may be available during the season and at other times papaya and Jaffna’s special banana will be served. Return to your hotel.

Day 6
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Jaffna Breakfast, Lunch

Start this morning with a visit to Nallur Temple. Traditional wear, shalve or Veddi, will be provided so you may enter the temple. The history and importance of the temple are explained, and the basic principles of worshipping at a Hindu temple are demonstrated. Delve into Jaffna’s culture, and the similarities and differences of South Indian culture, as well as the effects war, migration and exile have had on the region.

Then explore Karainagar Kasurina Beach, Kayts jetty, Hanuman temple, deep well, Kantharodai Buddhist miniature pagodas, Keerimalai pond, Naguleswaram temple. Enjoy another encounter at a private home to enjoy a lunch of Jaffna prawn curry, toasted crab, fish masala, mashed brinjal, drumstick curry, fish gravy, etc. Meals are served on banana leaf in traditional Jaffna style. If in season, try the unique fruit of the Palmyra palm tree with its jellylike seeds. This is a valuable product widely cultivated in tropical regions. Its leaves are used for thatching, mats, baskets, fans, hats, umbrellas, and as writing material. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax and spend some time on the quiet Casuarina beach.

Day 7
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Jaffna Breakfast, Lunch

There are few places in the world that capture the imagination of travelers like Delft Island, a small island lined with walls of coral, no cars, the ruins of a fort and amazing feral horses left by the Portuguese over 400 years ago. Your driver will take you to Kurikaddvan Jetty in the morning to board a local ferry for the island. During the one-hour boat trip, your Tamil guide talks to you about the Jaffna Islands, the life style, war-time memories, Hindu lore and more. On arrival, you see the wild horses, a huge baobab tree, which is one of the thousands originally planted by Portuguese, and more. The limestone and coral fort was built by the Portuguese, and later taken over by Dutch.

A special fresh seafood lunch will be arranged at a local home, where you learn about the lifestyle of a remote isolated island family. Jaffna rice, fish curry, fish fry, fish gravy, two or three vegetable curries with pappadam, neem tree flower fry will be served. Fruits mangoes, papaya, banana will be offered, depending on the season. In the late afternoon, return to Jaffna and your hotel.

Day 8
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Vil Uyana Breakfast

After enjoying breakfast, bid adieu to the northern peninsula and head back towards the cultural triangle. En route visit and explore the Ritigala Archeological Monastery. Ritigala, an ancient monastery that feels like an undiscovered world away from the most famous sights in Sri Lanka. Explore in depth and walk to the higher part of the complex. The 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 connect with nature inside this ancient sacred meditation grounds. Travel on to your hotel, where the evening is at leisure.

Day 9
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Vil Uyana Breakfast

The best time to visit the fortress is early morning to avoid crowds. Take in the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. The site 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 Sigiriya District, the fortress is reached by a tough climb up 1,200 steps to a flat-topped monodon. On the way to the top you can see the famous Sigiriya frescoes of the buxom, wasp-waisted maidens bearing flowers. The smoothly glazed ‘Mirror Wall’ located a few steps away has sealed the expressions of ancient visitors, inspired by the vibrant frescoes. You are rewarded with the stunning bird’s-eye views of the emerald plains and small villages. The skeletal layout of the ancient city within the fortress marvels its observers with the grandeur and complexity of fifth century urban planning of Sri Lanka. The Sigiriya experience takes between one and a half and three hours, depending on the pace of your ascent. Return to your hotel and spend the remainder of the day relaxing or pursuing your own interests. For those looking for night adventure, you can opt to trek a night trail from your hotel in search of the nocturnal species, especially loris, a small, slow-moving primate with a short or absent tail. Loris conservation is of special concern to the hotel staff. This evening, the walk takes you through a lush forest. You are provided a red-light headlamp to prevent damage to nocturnal loris eyes. When the light comes in contact with the eyes of a loris, you see a bright red reflection of a pair of enormous eyes. Depending on how quiet you are, the loris may even approach you. Other nocturnal species include Eurasian otter, mouse deer, palm civet, collared scops owl, Indian nightjar and fishing cat.

Day 10
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Elephant Stables Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, set out for legendary Kandy, the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings. 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 to the biggest Empire in the world. Today Kandy is a big city that still retains touches of its colonial past in buildings such as the Queen's Hotel a beautiful 19th century neoclassical beauty. There is time to take a stroll around the lake and to explore the markets to get a feel for the city. Later visit the Temple of the Tooth, the city’s greatest treasure. This evening, you head to the Royal Bar, a traditional bar that is almost a Kandy institution. Locals come here for the spicy deviled chicken, and the chickpeas kadala in Sinhalese. It has an authentic feel, and is a great place to enjoy some Sri Lankan-style tapas, or, less spicy the classic British fish and chips.

Day 11
Kotugoda , Sri Lanka
The Wallawwa Breakfast

Today after breakfast, you board a train for Colombo. You experience train travel like a local and see how they travel in their daily lives. The train travels through the hill country and gradually descends, arriving at Gampaha Railway Station. Here you are greeted and taken to visit a local home to experience Mother's Curry and Gin Tonics, for authentic experience with the real flavors of Sri Lanka cuisine such as a fiery curry. (If you have special dietary requirements, the curries can be adjusted.) You can create curry with almost anything from pineapple and veggies, to seafood and meats. Then, proceed to your hotel, The Wallawa, a restored 200-year-old manor house built during the Dutch East Indies period. Its thick cooling walls, red tiled roofs and ample gardens make it an ideal retreat to unwind. Just relax or join a cricket game in the garden, take a swim in the pool, or visit the Z Spa for a coconut or sandalwood scrub or massage. Enjoy the great room with classic English games. The hotel includes a library, a shop, and free WiFi in public areas. Rooms have flatscreen satellite TV, DVD player (on request) and local-brand toiletries. Just 45 minutes outside Colombo, the Wallawwa Hotel sits amid lush tropical gardens that feel miles from anywhere.

Day 12
Kotugoda, Sri Lanka
None Breakfast

After breakfast, head to the airport three hours prior to your onward flight.

Tour Features


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Sri Lanka is re-emerging on the world stage as a destination. On this adventure, you explore Sri Lanka's natural and cultural history that rediscovers areas of the islands such as Jaffna that have little visited for decades. Savor home-cooked meals in private homes, tour Jaffna by bicycle, look for leopards in Wilpattu National Park, and climb the fabled rock fortress of Sigiriya, Discover the culture, religious traditions, history, nature and the welcoming people of Sri Lanka.

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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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.


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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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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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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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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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 Washington
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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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Happy Traveler


Reviewed on: 20 Oct 2018

We enjoyed the things we saw and places we visited. They did an excellent job preparing a trip that suited the needs and desires of our group.
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble
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Family trip to Patagonia

By: Family trip to Patagonia

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2018

Working with Big Five through Carissa Guylas was a great experience. They were very knowledgeable and helpful.
Travel Advisor:  Carissa Gulyas

Excellent Tour Operator

By: Bill

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2018

Big Five Tours is a great agency to work with in providing on the ground travel experiences. As part of our cruise, we did a pre-cruise to Hong Kong and India and post cruise to Egypt. Via our travel advisor, Clare Isquist, Big Five made it happen. The hotels and guides and the itinerary in country were excellent. No complaints. Their in country representatives were always available to assist if needed and were a great help with plane reservations and airport formalities. Without Big Five we do not think our trip would have been the experience of a lifetime that it was.
Travel Advisor:  Clare Isquith
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Great tour guides and drivers

By: Trendy Traveler

Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

We used Big Five for our trip to Peru the end of May 2018. Each of the drivers and guides were so accommodating and knowledgable. Freddie and Erika, our guides in the Urubamba Sacred Valley really bent over backwards for us. Freddie even came all the way back to the train station to deliver my husband's reading glasses that he had left in the car. We had so much fun with them that we got a group picture with them at the end to put in our photo book. I would use Big Five again, but my only complaint is that we had a small issue come up and when we tried to use the "White Glove Service", they did not respond to us. The problem resolved itself, but if it had been a big deal, this would have been very upsetting because we were paying for the service. Otherwise, all was taken care of and we had a great time.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Brant
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Very good... in line with expectations

By: Steve

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2018

we didn't really have much contact with them... they seemed to help on the itinerary... had a problem with a bag in Arusha and their ground operator Tandela helped with that
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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By: Happy Hamster

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

I was nervous about going on a photo safari, but we were in very good hands with Big Five. We were met at each stop along the way by courteous and professional representatives even when our flight was 5 hours late on arrival. Our lodging at Kings Camp was the absolute lap of luxury and the guides, trackers and hotel staff were wonderful. We were also pleased with other arrangements at Victoria Falls and Chobe. We saw all of the 'big five' and so much more - birds of every color, animals small and large. I would definitely use them again.
Travel Advisor:  Joan Smith
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By: Tom

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

We have done two trips to South/Central America planned by Big Five. Both have been filled with activities and multiple destinations. Big Five provides a detailed itinerary which is flawlessly executed. Representatives are on hand and on time when promised. Reservations are in place and we are welcomed upon arrival. Transportation from jeeps, to rafts, to small planes are in place and on time. Everything comes together perfectly. I'm confident there is a lot of behind the scenes calling and confirming going on during the trip but we just experience the wonder of the locations with no logistical responsibilities or problems. Oh, and the trips themselves have been amazing, activity-filled vacations delivering what we requested and more than we expected!
Travel Advisor:  Mary Jean Thompson
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Great trip

By: sai

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

This was our first time traveling with Big Five. They were very responsive from the planning stage to during the trip. Could not have been better!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz
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By: Sunny

Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2018

Very good-all experiences were favorable-tour guides were good and on time and very pleasent
Travel Advisor:  Pam Anderson
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Big Five gets a high five

By: Dee

Reviewed on: 20 Oct 2018

Very impressive travel documents to prepare us for our South Africa adventure. Greatly appreciated the hotel upgrade to the Royal Livingstone. I’m sure they can’t guarantee upgrades but it was a very nice surprise.
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble
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South Africa

By: Lindale

Reviewed on: 27 Oct 2018

Excellent guide
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble
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Recent Africa trip

By: Tls

Reviewed on: 09 Nov 2018

Big five arranged an absolutely fantastic trip for us. All the arrangements worked very well, the pickups and local information were great, the camps were wonderful and perfectly chosen, and also all had their unique qualities. We had a fantastic wildlife viewing and got to see animal wildlife and desert adaptations. It was exactly the trip we had hoped for. Thank you Big Five!
Travel Advisor:  Lynn Klinger
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By: Maddy

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2018

Have used this company before and would again
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble
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South Africa and Beyond

By: Leslie

Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2018

We have been on many trips but this was one of the was very well organized and there were no problems. The guides and drivers were excellent. We were always met when we were supposed to be and felt well looked after. The accommodations were all lovely and the various activities and excursions were incredible. Would love to do it all over again.
Travel Advisor:  Deanna Sutherland - Rigby
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big five

By: Me

Reviewed on: 30 Dec 2018

I would recommend Big Five - there were a couple of issues related to travel within Chile since the airport in Santiago is so messed up with the construction. however, the 2 lodges I was set up with in Pucon and San Pedro de Atacama were excellent and the excursions were fantastic. Almost everything was thought of and anticipated.
Travel Advisor:  Michael King
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A great guide makes a trip

By: CT Traveler

Reviewed on: 08 Jan 2019

Big Five helped our travel agent plan our trip to Peru. They matched us with Chris and Lalo - our amazing guide and driver. Chris is fun, knowledgeable, easy to spend time with and knows people everywhere. Lalo is a great driver (and the roads in the Cusco area are not easy!) and super nice. This team helped make our trip one we will never forget. Additionally, Big Five made some great suggestions for family activities - like rafting and horseback riding - that everyone enjoyed!
Travel Advisor:  Debbie Hires
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Egypt- Big 5

By: fjr

Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2019

The best thing about Big 5 is I don't have to think about anything- it's already done from the minute I land (For example entrance visa and hotel keys handed to me literally right off the flight). The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and the drivers great. Nothing is left to chance, or for me to figure out.
Travel Advisor:  Betsy Bouche

Excellent Tour & Accommodations

By: The Great One

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2019

Big Five was great and ensured our trip went smoothly. At no time, were we concerned about any phase of our trip. Their concierge service stayed in contact with us the entire trip and made sure we were aware of each step of the itinerary as the trip progressed. They have a reputation as being the best and we were never disappointed.
Travel Advisor:  Judy Gauthier