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Canadian BLT

Absolutely stunning trip & one of the best experiences of my life

Reviewed July 2017

I booked this trip because a couple of months ago I had realized that I finally wanted to make my dream of seeing Canada become reality. And to go there on my own. To really leave the comfort zone. Problem was, I had never travelled alone before and was absolutely unsure on how to plan a voyage like this. A friend of mine had gone on a similar thing, as I remembered, and when I approached her, she told me about TREK AMERICA. I was fired up about it at once. I loved the fact that the group would consist of young people from all over the world, so I'd be able to speak English, which I had missed since my term abroad 2 years ago, and find new international friends. And I had dreamt of Canada since I'd first heard of it, I guess.

The trek exceeded all of my expectations.
Our tour leader was an enthusiastic and funny Scotsman, who always took care of everyone's wellbeing, explained the itinerary and the various sights we were visiting in a fun and understandable manner and always made sure we were safe.
Our group was fun and mature at once. Probably due to the destination(s) or purpose of this BLT, this was not that much about partying, as I'd expect other trips (Miami/Vegas etc.) to, but rather about sitting around at a campfire with S'mores, having nice dinners, exploring and talking a lot and in peace taking in the absolutely wonderful scenery of Western Canada (We went out to have drinks too, though, it just wasn't the focus of anyone on this trip). I took each and every one on my group fondly into my heart and it was hard to say goodbye at the end.
But it was as hard to say goodbye to this beautiful country, which the trek showed you in so many different facets. Some of the hikes were a bit challenging, but that's probably just me who hasn't seen a gym from the inside for weeks. We'd always have enough time for everyone to finish stuff at their own pace, and also we were given two days off. I enjoyed these a lot too, because you could decide whether you wanted to join the group in certain activites or just wander or even lay around at a beautiful lake or in a park on your own. Fun Fact: My English improved a lot (I'm from Germany).
I also loved the accomodation. I read in one or two of the reviews for this trip that not every one of the hostels was perfectly fine, but when we went, the one I think that was not as good had been renovated and thus all of them were clean, comfortable and even cozy. (The cabins at the ranch were one of the highlights, of course.) It was just so comforting that after a long day of seeing a lot and making exciting and wonderful experiences, you knew you didn't have to put up a tent or crawl into one in cold or rain (although we were incredibly fortune in regards of the weather, sun every day) but could just enjoy your dinner and then fall into a cozy and warm bed or take a shower.

I'd instantly go again and can only recommend this to anyone who's unsure about, but eager to travel on his or her own. You'll find friends as soon as you arrive at your pre tour hotel, don't worry about it. Also I'm normally the kind of person that enjoys being on her own the most and feeling rather drained by being around people too much, and I didn't even notice this on my trek, I just enjoyed every single second of it. It was absolutely amazing - I cried when the plane home took off. But make sure you don't have to work the next day - I slept for 15 hours when I finally returned home.

Western BLT from San Francisco

Amazing experience - totally worth it

Reviewed July 2017

Western BLT was an amazing trip. It took us to absolutely fascinating places in the USA incl. Yosemite Park and Grand Canyon that we otherwise would not be able to visit. Although we traveled a lot in the mini bus, we also had enough free time to explore the places we visited. There were also plenty of extra options offered for our free time, e.g. bike rental in Yosemite, a helicopter flight above the Grand Canyon (though $284 per person) or visit of various clubs in Las Vegas.
The trip also gives you the opportunity to meet local people and to taste typical local food. The hotels on the way are great and all are equipped with free Wi-Fi, except the one in Las Vegas.
In Yosemite you are going to spend two nights in a dormitory with the other girls/boys from the group (the dorms are gender separated so bear this in mind in case you are travelling with your partner :)). However it wasn't an unpleasant experience. The food in the camp restaurant was great - home made with organic, local products, plus there was a natural "swimming pool" nearby the river, which could be a great end of a hot day.
The only thing that let us down during the trip was our tour leader. He was a bit distracted and it seemed as he didn't care much about the trip. Most of the time we had to ask for information regarding the places we would be visiting, the daily plan, free time, dinner places etc. The driving was slow (we were the slowest vehicle on the highway). We expected to receive at least a minimum information / summary / interesting facts regarding the places we visited or the places we passed through. The tour leader should be proactive. It's important because for most of us this was the first visit to the U.S.
All in all I would recommend this trip. It was totally worth it!

Samantha Verzella
Rocky Mountain High

saw the best of America's West in 3 thrilling weeks

Reviewed July 2017

If you're like me and you've never been to the west coast and are looking to visit the highlights but don't have the means of doing it on your own, TrekAmerica's Rocky Mountain High is the trip for you! I went with my best friend and was amazed to see that everyone else on our trek was traveling solo. It made for a really fun group dynamic. Although I am an American (which is apparently uncommon among trek trips) I had to opportunity to become friends with peers from all over the world (which I loved!). This trek will show you the extremes of America's vast and diverse land. Starting in the Pacific Northwest, you'll see snow & lots of it. By the time you make it through the desert locations near the end of the trek, you'll be wishing for A/C and cold water. The change in climate made things interesting and allowed us to fully appreciate the geography of America. My favorite parts of the trip included the Grinnell Glacier hike in Glacier National Park, waking up to snow covered trees in Yellowstone, white water rafting the Snake River in Jackson, WY, driving I-70 through Colorado, hiking to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park, waking up at 4 AM to hike into the Grand Canyon, watching the sunrise over Monument Valley, and essentially everything about Zion National Park. You'll see it all during this trip (or close to it). A lot of the hikes we did were challenging but worth it for the views. Although we didn't stop long at each park we certainly had time for the highlights and I never left the park feeling like I was gypped of an experience due to time constraint. If you're not a fan of camping don't do this trip because you'll be sleeping outside in all types of weather which is not for the faint of heart...however the camping is a means to an end and the experiences you'll have in the park are worth it! My Trek leader, David, was great at answering any questions or concerns, I or my group members, threw his way. In general, Trek America staff are really passionate about nature and their jobs and work hard to make sure their passengers are getting the most out of their trip. They may even surprise you with a couple of surprise stops along the route!

Matt J
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Mini (Camping)

Incredible Jam-Filled Tour of the USA West

Reviewed July 2017

Incredible week on the west coast. This was my first trek with Trek America and only the second travelling solo so I was a little on edge, however Trek America organised everything down to a tee before departure. From the pre-/post trek hotels to all the optional activities, everything flowed so seamlessly thanks to the very capable, knowledge and sensitive dealings of our guide, Jenny and the office team. Regardless the questions or our quirky nature, she always had the answer, along with a witty fact.

This tour is quite an insanely jam-filled trek with a huge amount crammed into such a short time. When you look back on it, it is truly mind-blowing just how much incredible experiences you have had. From the big sites of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park to the culture and history of Monument Valley and the Navajo people, this trek has a little something for everyone. There is also the quaint and in some ways, a little creepy mini-towns you pass through along the way, including Page (AZ), Seligman (Route 66) and Kayenta (AZ), Mesquite (NV) and the awesome Cameron Navajo Trading Post.

Due to working full-time this trek fitted perfectly into my tight schedule to experience the best of the national parks of the USA and be back in UK in the space of 10 days. Be prepared for 3-4 hours of driving each day and only getting 3-4 hours in each national park, but in the end, this is all you need on this taster-tour. The pre-/post-tour hotel - Alexis Park is okay. Beautiful grounds, but a little rundown, maybe a better choice would be nicer, however it was sufficient and better than camping.

Western BLT from San Francisco

Worth the Money :D

Reviewed June 2017

Pretty great trip. Exceeded my expectation in most areas. My main concern before going on the trip was the Tour Guide since i had read a lot of reviews where the tour guide seemed to be the one main let down. Our tour guide was Rick who had just joined the company (been there less than 5 months) and he was pretty great. When i heard the term 'Tour Guide' i was kind of expecting someone with a mic who led the group around, spewing facts about each destination - it wasn't like that at all! I think this was better in the sense that, he still knew a lot of information about the places we visit and we still had the option of asking him questions from things like How the grand canyon was formed, all the way to things like tipping in the USA and how to get around after the trek finishes.

The trip itself was pretty amazing, we got to see a lot of places and spend some decent time exploring ( Absolutely loved the Mist Trail at Yosemite). The only real let down was the last day. Hollywood Blvd was like Oxford Street on steroids and if you don't like Oxford Street like me, then it's pretty much the wrong place to be. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to see all the stars and the hand/shoe prints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but it's such a hectic and packed street that it was extremely easy to lose everyone within the first 5 mins of walking down the road. I'm glad i went, only because now i know i don't want to return to that road. Despite that revelation, Rick was a trooper! Despite all information saying the trek will finish at 5/5:30pm at the hotel, he wanted us to enjoy our last day and take in the sights. We ended up spending some time at Venice Beach to catch the sunset before he dropped us off at our final destinations (Hotels, Airport, Hostel e.t.c) when it wasn't a requirement of the trip. That was pretty nice thing to do :)

All in all it was a great trip. However, I must say that I wouldn't be too quick to book another solo trek. Not because it was bad - because I realized that it would be a lot more enjoyable to go with friends who I know would love to see the same sights and i can enjoy it with. During a couple of the trips/hikes i kept thinking to myself 'Omg, ..... would enjoy this!' Another thing was that, my trek group were too quick to form 'cliques' in the sense that it was hard to believe they came alone since everyone grouped up by the end of the first day. If you happened to be in that group - great. If not, it could be a bit lonely or isolating at times. However while it didn't bother me at all, I wanted to add it to the review as something to bear in mind/be wary of. It actually worked out since i learnt more about myself and can actually say i traveled by myself. I even did a lot more activities compared to everyone else on the same trek and it was easier to do what i want rather than travel in a pack, compromising what i wanted to do for others. Vegas and LA are excellent places to explore by yourself. San Francisco was a bit iffy in my opinion - there were a lot of aggressive homeless people. To the point where the girl on the same trek and i, were hauling ass back to the train station so we could avoid being caught in the city center at night. Never sped walked so fast from Pier 39 to Embarcadero (The metro line that runs to San Francisco International Airport where we got a shuttle back to our hotel where the trek started). All in all, i'm glad I went on the trek that started in San Francisco and ended in LA. I made sure to spend a full day after the trek (Trek ended on Saturday and my flight back was on Monday).

I've reached a point where I know i've written a lot since i cba to go back and check what i've mentioned/not mentioned but i gave the trip 4 1/2 stars because Hollywood Blvd ruined the end -.-

All that being said, I would definitely recommend it to a friend.

Tips: If you go on your trek and discover you don't like/get on with anyone, it's not the end of the world! Pluck up the courage and do things yourself. You went on the trip for a reason, don't leave it with regrets and a sour face!
- If you want to do/try something, go for it.
- Do the Mist trail at Yosemite and at least try and make it to the top of Vernal Fall (The first waterfall on the Mist trail) I didn't make it to the top but only because i thought you'd have to come down the same way and by that point it was slippery and i was crawling to make it up the steps. AT LEAST make sure you get to the point where you go through a mini tunnel and can see all the rainbows on the other side (If you're going during the summer) that's where I stopped. Also, you're going to get wet. Protect your bag if you can but there's no point wearing a raincoat. You will get wet.
- Death Valley is... interesting. The car said we hit 118 Degrees Farenheit (52 Degrees). Snapchat said we hit 47 degrees. Either way that road to Vegas and Vegas itself, is hot as shit. It's not humid heat, more like dry heat. Sunglasses or a hat is recommended. I wear glasses and have a big head but i survived without either.
- Do the Zipwire on Fremont Street. It's called Slotszilla. And if the hotel is still the same (Golden Nugget) you'll be staying on that street and can see people doing it. I didn't book beforehand, just turned up the day we arrived and booked a ticket for the next day. I don't know what everyone was complaining about based on the reviews - The wait wasn't long at all! I did the highest one (Where you lie down) and the only 'iffy' thing about it was the stop. It felt like running into a brick wall, especially if you pushed yourself off (like the recommend for speed) and you come to a dead stop on the other side. If you have the money or are thinking about it - do it! You'll regret it if you don't. I saw an old lady do it and she looked so worried, bless her heart, but she was ecstatic on the other end after it all!
- Watch a show in Vegas. Even if you go by yourself (Like i did) it's still an experience in itself. Don't let that stop you.
- Gamble, but not everything! I Didn't gamble while in Vegas and i sorta regretted it. I did take some free classes since the hotel offered and i realized Blackjack and roulette are actually complicated... But the Hotel we stayed in after Route 66 was in Nevada and had a casino. I ended up playing roulette and accidentally gambling some of the tip i planned to give our tour guide... but i had enough in the end, it was all good... Still an addictive experience though!
- The Grand Canyon is literally a hole in the ground. Some people did the helicopter experience but not all. If you have your heart set out on it, do it. If not, it's not the end of the world, don't feel like you have to because everyone else is.
- The Snow Cap restaurant on Route 66 in Seligman has the best customer service I've ever come across. If they make you laugh like they did all of us - tip them!
- If you have extra time in LA after the trip, be sure to visit Venice Beach. Muscle beach and Santa Monica Pier are walkable from here. it's also 25 mins away from the hotel where the trek ended. Download Uber or Lyft, you WILL need it to get anywhere in LA. Also, do a ride share. It works out cheaper and i used it 3 times and only actually shared it once. Be careful if you're going to a shopping area. I had to order 4 taxis because each driver kept going to a wrong location and i wasn't able to call/text them. I was charged a $5 no show fee but got it back in form of a voucher off my next ride. If you use Lyft, make sure to use it before you leave since it doesn't operate in England.
- Buy a crap ton of water whenever you can. Or invest in a water bottle. Just always have water.
- I know America is hot, but pack some light weight trousers/leggings. There will come a day when you're tired of sunburns/ feeling things brush at your legs but seeing nothing.
- Always Pack a swimsuit. The itinerary doesn't mention swimming but my manager told me to always pack one when you go on holiday. My group Ended up going to a lake and being near pools a lot. I didn't swim/participate but it was handy bringing one anyway if i were to change my mind.
- American food is iffy. Buy snacks in case you don't like the food the hotel has for dinner.
- Tip your tour guide if you can! They may get paid anyway but depending on how they were/what they did on the trek, it's nice to feel appreciated :) Also American salaries are a joke. They basically survive on tips (if their jobs allow tips)
- If you have free days, always make sure to ask the hotel reception/your tour guide how to get around places. Download the app Citymapper if you haven't! It works in San Francisco and LA but not in Vegas.

Most importantly, you paid for this trip! Don't finish it with regrets and make sure you have fun!

Hawaii Big Island

Never wanted to leave!

Reviewed June 2017

From the day we started we saw the most amazing parts of Big Island. Don, our leader, was fantastic telling us to embrace the 'aloha' lifestyle, life goes so much more slowly there. So many highlights but for a coffee lover the coffee farm was amazing, some of the best stuff you'll ever taste. The beaches are second to none, the secret one a walk from Spencer beach was by far the most beautiful, especially at sunset! Our guide catered to everyone's need, stopping for extra one off must sees, to ensuring someone who stood on a sea urchin was well looked after. You'll get to see so much, from the volcano trek (we actually got to see the lava flow) to beach days, to sea turtles, to the botanical gardens, to being caught in a rain storm whilst walking in flip flops through mud, it's all worth it!! The helicopter ride was out of this world, seeing untouched areas on the island...for a first time trekker I got the bug there and then and knew I'd be back for more!!

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Mini (Camping)

Awesome for a 4days trip!

Reviewed June 2017

For me it was an amazing experience. It was my first trekamerica tour and i felt the whole time safe and well informed about the trip and the schedule. I´m a single traveller and I highly recommend this trip. I made friends all over the world, young and older generation. Also we had a really nice and comfortable tourbus. The equipement for camping was really good. Everyone had enough food. I also really enjoyed to be in a group and not alone. Also we had a strict schedule, but what we saw in 4 days is amazing! We had eniugh time to go on hikes and explore the area.
Thanks from germany!

Mexican BLT

Mexico is cheaper than I expected

Reviewed June 2017

I am writing this review whilst everything is still fresh in my mind. I visited on the May 2017 tour. It really was a fantastic experience with such a great group of people from all over the world.

The first thing I would like to say about this trip is how good our tour guide Dalai was. Dalai was very helpful and really looked after the group for the duration of the trip. Mexico is a wonderful country and I would strongly recommend to anyone interested that they should book! The tour had a great combination of historical sites, jungles, cenotes & beaches. I was even surprised by how cheap everything was in Mexico. At one stage I paid 30 pesos for a litre of Sol beer, which equated to approx £1.20 (UK)! Naturally, Cancun is a bit more expensive though, and many places will charge you more if you try and pay in US dollars so better off paying in pesos.

We traveled around Mexico in a private van which was comfortable and plenty of rooms for bags etc. However, we were not at full capacity (we had 9 plus tour guide) so perhaps a full van would have provided a few more spacial issues. There is a significant amount of driving in this trip, particularly as you head to and from Palenque so make sure you prepare some good playlists for the ride. The air con worked brilliantly which was a relief as it was baking outside!

The hotels were basic and in some places the air con and WiFi did not work. Limited WiFi was more of an issue for contacting home to update families etc. We also appeared to be double booked in one place but Dalai resolved that issue in no time at all. Generally the location of the hotels was very good in relation to where we were travelling to do the activities. It was a little disappointing that breakfast was not included with the rooms. On the website it suggests all meals are paid locally but on the Trek Tips they send you it clearly states breakfast is included in Mexico, hence that provided a little confusion among the group.

On to the destinations! Our first stop was Chichen Itza (one of the famous Mayan pyramids). As you can only see them from the outside you do not need to spend hours there. We ventured to a nearby cenote which was a welcome way to cool down after the walking. We continued on to Merida for our first night of the tour. Merida gave us a nice welcome to Mexican culture as there were many street vendors selling local food & gifts. The second night was spent at Campeche. This was a lovely place with the highlight being a visit to the sea front to watch the sun set. Nights 3 & 4 were spent in the jungle at Palenque. During the days we visited jungle ruins in search of wildlife and spent the evenings touring the nearby town and the local bar to our hotel. The bar had a live band, served great food, had cheap drinks and was was literally a 2-minute drive from our hotel. I would recommend visiting Misol Ha waterfall. We chose this and it was a great way to relax after hiking in the jungle.

After Palenque the tour took a different format. Up until this point we had visited mostly Mayan historical sites but the focus switches more to beaches etc for the remainder of the tour which was a nice change for our group. We traveled on to Bacalar, which for me was the highlight of the tour, to see the lagoon of seven colours. A boat trip of the lagoon was included in the tour and this was the best way to experience its natural beauty. Several stops were allowed for us to cool off in the water and take some selfies. After Bacalar we headed to the quieter beach town of Mahahaul where we spent two nights. We were lucky as there was a music festival happening whilst we were there. Personally, I felt that we didn't need two nights in Mahahual as there wasn't that much to do in the evening. I think Trek America's description of 'many bars and beach clubs' was a bit of a stretch but perhaps the music festival drew the people away from the bars. Our final full day on tour was packed full of visits including Tulum, nearby Casa Cenote before heading to Playa Del Carmen. I would say Casa Cenote is worth a visit as the water is so clear you can see right down to the bed. We even got close enough to swim with a resident crocodile! The last night on tour was in Playa Del Carmen, which has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, 5th avenue (great for shopaholics) and a buzzing night life. If I could have made one change to the itinerary I would have spent a second night in Playa Del Carmen rather than Mahahaul as there is so much more to do there. The last day was spent relaxing at Playa beach before heading back to Cancun to finish.

All in all I would definitely recommend this tour as my overall experience was excellent. Just make sure you book some extra nights either before or after your tour to take in Cancun. The beaches at the Hotel Zone and Isla Mujeres are just some of the many things you can do there...

Northern Trail from Los Angeles

Incredible Adventure I'll never forget

Reviewed May 2017

It has been a few weeks since I arrived home from my 3rd Trek and I have to say it was my favorite. Don our leader was just incredible nothing was too much effort and he went out of his way to make it enjoyable. I managed to tick a number of things off my bucket list which I didn't think i'd be able to do. The first; being surrounded by snow in America and secondly staying in log cabins. We were given the option of upgrading on a number of the nights and we jumped at the chance as it was freezing. The places you visit on this Trek are just breathtaking. The first highlight (2nd day in) was the sunset cruise in San Francisco that will stay with me for a while just breathtaking. Even though it was hard hiking to Upper Yosemite Falls is a must the views make it worth it.. you feel on top of the world. I will also never forget hiking in the snow in Grand Teton National Park there are too many to mention I will be here all day! That is what I love about Trek... you do things you would never dream of doing. Like I said this is my third trek and the things I have learnt about myself and the confidence I have got from going with Trek America is incredible I have to thank them. If you are not sure whether to book a trek please just book it... you will not regret it. After finishing this review I am about to start researching my 4th!

Sim Sui
Mountain Trail

Great nature

Reviewed May 2017

This trip is less focused on cities and I saw amazing nature and wildlife (the latter in Yellowstone). My personal highlights were Yellowstone NP, Arches National Park and the Grand Canyon. I really enjoyed the walks we went for in the different places.