Croatia and the Balkans. Not Gadventured quality.

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Croatia and the Balkans. Not Gadventured quality.

Postby basailorman » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:09 am

I have been on numerous Gadventures Trips and they have always been excellent and always exceeded my expectations. I truly support the concept of sustainable travel and am constantly in awe of the value Gadventures provides and the caliber of the CEOs. This trip was a glaring exception.
I did the Eastern European, Balkans and Croatian combined trip. The first half was excellent although there was a good deal of travel between cities but that was unavoidable. The second part was totally unacceptable. The following comments are on the second half.
We traveled exclusively on local public buses which were poorly maintained, stopped frequently and were overcrowded. We did not have assigned seats. One bus broke down and we had to push it. When the relief van came to pick us up, the local women pushed us out of the way and took all the seats on the van leaving us stranded. So much for meeting the locals by using public transportation. Travel days were frequent and very long. We spent lots of time in dirty local bus stations. All travel time was longer than stated in the trip itinerary.
The hotels with very few exceptions were way out of town and substandard. At the hotel in Kotor our room was infested with bed bugs and my roommate and I got multiple bits which are still not healed.
The travel planning was idiotic. We spent one day traveling four hours from Sarajevo to Mostar on a local public bus and then four more back to Sarajevo. Only to travel back to Mostar the following day on our way to Kotor. That is ridiculous. Mostar should have been a one hour stop on the way to Kotor. The trip did not need five hours in Mostar to see one reconstructed bridge.
Local buses that stop every five minutes and travel very slowly should not be used for long distances. You end up exhausted, you do not stop to see the scenery and you have a long, hot miserable experience. Get a through non stop public bus or hire a van.
We spent half this trip traveling. That is unacceptable. Belgrade, Sarjevo and Mostar were at best mediocre stops. Budapest, Kotor, Hvar and Split were wonderful. You do not need three days in Sarajevo.
With GAdventures I became conditioned to great local boutique hotels that were modest but great finds and in or close to the city. The ones on this trip mostly required a long walk or a local bus to get to the best parts of the city. The hotels on this trip were not as good as the hostels we stayed at on my last YoLo Trip. The rooms were tiny and frequently run down.
This trip needs to be carefully examined and redone. It appears to have been subcontracted to a local operator and needs a Gadventures overhaul.
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Re: Croatia and the Balkans. Not Gadventured quality.

Postby rls07 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:24 pm

That's a shame that you experienced that. I just wanted to pipe in and give my very positive review of a different G tour - Western Balkans Adventure which covers some of the same destinations and was fantastic. To be clear, it is a comfort level tour so more expensive. Private vans and much better accommodations than what you had - all very clean, 3+ stars by western standards and VERY well-located. Mostly though, the itinerary was fantastic. Room for some improvement but mostly every destination was so worthwhile.
In fact, during my trip we encountered a group that was on your tour and they shared with us some of their frustrations with the travel between cities and especially the annoyance about travelling to Mostar from Sarajevo and then passing through Mostar the very next day. I remember thinking that was a huge waste of time and chatting with our CEO (who was top-notch) about this. She basically explained that use of public transportation in Croatian and Balkans makes it much more of a hassle and long travel days.
I think that with some destinations you kind of get what you pay for in terms of local travel. G should probably should look at adding private travel to this tour too. Although from the sounds of it the accommodations need fixing too.
Just want people to know that if they're looking for a good G tour in this region, the Western Balkans Tour is it. We had a very small group on our tour and all of us were puzzled because we all thought that it was by far the best itinerary G offered in the region. Highly recommend this tour.
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Re: Croatia and the Balkans. Not Gadventured quality.

Postby noodengr » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:47 am

I was stunned to even read the topic. Because last year I did a Balkans tour with Gadventure and it was awesome. It did make more sense when I realized that you were on the YOLO tour and not the one I was on. I went on the same tour ( not date) as rls07 and would second all rls07 wrote about the tour. Like rls07 my tour guide was top notch and really made the trip by being more like the 7th member of our group than a guide.

don't let one bad yolo tour sour you, Next week I leave on my 4th Gadventure tour in 2 yrs.
And am already looking at my 5th for my winter escape.
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Re: Croatia and the Balkans. Not Gadventured quality.

Postby mnurnyp » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:10 pm

I'm sorry you had that experience as well. I'm looking into a YOLO tour to Croatia next year and some of the issues you have mentioned with your trip is exactly what I fear. However, the tour I am considering is only 7 days in length and only includes Croatia so there may be fewer challenges particularly with the use of public transportation and long travel days. I figure if I'm gonna be "roughing it" a week is the maximum I can tolerate. I have also been considering the Western Balkans Adventure" tour that is geared towards comfort (the one that the other respondents have mentioned in their posts). But with that trip I worry I'll be the only "young" solo traveller (I'll be 30). To those who went on that trip what was your experience with the diversity of the other travellers mostly with respect to age and solo vs. couples?
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