SmarTours vs Tucan Travel (Operations Suspended) - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.3
Guide — 4.3
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 4.3
Transportation — 4.3
Meals — 4.3
Recent Reviews

Beauiful Croatia

0.0 July 2019
This was our first Bus Tour. While we did enjopy the spots we visited, we felt that there were too many towns and not enough time in each, necessitating more time on the bus. Nevertheless the value of the tour is undeniable. The Tour director Jon, was extremely professional and he was a huge positive on the trip. The topography of Croatia was spectacular, the Sea and mountain views were gorgeous. Lake Bled, the Postojna Caves, Opatija/Plitvice Lakes, Debrovnik, the Roman Ruins, Zagreb were wonderful. The hotels were all clean and rooms were comfortable. Unfortunately my partner Barbara fell and injured her face and broke her glasses on the way to Debrovnik. Jon was extremely concerned offered to find a doctor ()which Barbara declined) but Jon took the broken glasses to an occulist who temporarliy repaired the frames. Two of our fellow travelors who were Nurses took care of Barbara after the accident.
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Exceeded my Expectations!

0.0 July 2019
For someone who usually plans every detail of my travels...going on a group tour was not something I relished. Plus, I knew that Smartours was considered a “budget” travel company, so my expectations weren’t that high. However, other than a few minor inconveniences, this trip exceeded my expectations. The magical African landscapes and its kind, welcoming people made this adventure one of the best vacations I’ve been on. Pros: Well-paced itinerary that gave us the opportunity for some free time to plan our own activities, smallish group (25) of lovely, considerate, fellow travelers (we were in the minority of “younger” folks and we are in our 50s), excellent included tours, mostly lovely hotels/lodges, amazing breakfasts/dinners, included porter services at all stops, Smartours CEO personally responded quickly to our inquiry regarding booking cost concern, and our delightful and attentive guide Jonathan. Cons: 6 hour scheduled layover, most uncomfortable 14+ hour flight ever via South African Airways, trip extension Vic Falls guide was very personable, but not very attentive, Smartours sends trip info only 2 weeks prior to departure (would love to have had this info sooner), several of the optional tours were mediocre. But honestly...if you’re a frequent traveler...these concerns are pretty minor. I will definitely be recommending the South Africa Tour to friends for value/quality and hope that ST keeps its word about limiting group sizes to under 25. I will definitely use them again in the future!
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Wonderful experience, well-deigned by SmarTours

0.0 May 2019
The Treasures of Portugal trip focuses on the highlights of the cultural and artistic heritage of this fascinating country. The chosen destinations and sites rarely disappointed, and there was always something awe-inspiring at each stop. The tour provides a great balance between programmed and free time, allowing you to see what you want or find time to explore on your own. The fact that few dinners and no lunches were provided afford you the opportunity to discover the places and tastes that intrigue you as you discover the variety of offerings available in each location.

The destinations chosen are smart and live up to the promise that these are the country's treasures. Our guide was brilliant - she knew well the backstory of the locations and the significance of the art and architecture. Each part of the tour was a lesson in history, presented with excitement and passion. Her adoration of the history and culture of her countrymen was palpable and infectious, and gave the touring experience much added value.

Well planned, organized, balanced, affordable, and utterly enjoyable. Very highly recommended.
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Clamping or what

0.0 April 2019
Clamping or what, couldn't fault the accommodation, highly recommend small group tours and the tour director always on hand.

Tour Tucan Travel Company Reviews

A great trip covering a lot of ground

0.0 April 2019
A great trip which covers a lot of ground allowing you to see a lot of the country. There were plenty of optional activities to choose from, which allowed people to tailor their holidays, with their budget and their interests. We had a great tour leader who went out of her way to help make and change arrangements for anyone in the group as they needed. The only let down for me was that a couple travelling legs of the tour were by public bus, rather than a private bus for the group, in particular the last leg of 5hrs (or more) back to San Jose.
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Tour Tucan Travel Company Reviews

We have travelled with Tucan twice now

0.0 April 2019
We have travelled with Tucan twice now. They are well organised and have great itineraries. The guides are very knowledgeable and easy to get along with which makes for a wonderful experience

Tour Tucan Travel Company Reviews

Tours 60 Trips 0 Trip
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 0
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Budget Budget
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Adventure
  • Budget
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA Acton, London, United Kingdom
Year Established 1996 1987
Solo Friendly N/A Good for singles, No single supplement
Tour Languages English English
Top Trips
    Similar Companies
    About SmarTours

    Founded in 1996, smarTours promises its customers the “Best Travel Bargains” by offering mostly all-inclusive guided tours throughout much of the world.

    What Makes SmarTours Stand Out?

    • Airfare included
    • Affordable trips
    • Numerous ways to save
    • Local guides
    • Destinations around the world

    Japan tour with Smartours

    SmarTours offers affordable tours along with great itineraries. Included in the price of all their tours is international airfare from the U.S., first-class hotels, sightseeing excursions, and English-speaking local guides.

    SmarTours draws a large repeat business, taking travelers to such far-flung destinations as Thailand, Morocco, Japan, Peru, Patagonia, India, and Australia.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling with SmarTours?

    • Budget travelers
    • Social travelers
    • History and culture lovers

    Travelers who love traveling and care about experiencing the destination above all else - tourist sites, history, and culture - will love the feel of a SmarTours trip.

    These tours are definitely for the budget minded - SmarTours offers numerous deals and specials throughout the year, and provides many other ways you can save money as well, including referring your friends and being a repeat SmarTours traveler.

    London england with smartours

    Trips are comfortable and well guided, if not luxury or especially unique in tone. Airfare is included, which is a major selling point for SmarTours travelers.

    SmarTours is perfect for the traveler who wants to get the most out of their travel experience, in terms of inclusions and time spent exploring the sites, both with a guide and with free time. If you are looking for a more cultivated, personalized experience, the SmarTours focus on keeping costs low doesn’t always allow for this. That said, this is budget travel that strives to appeal to a wider range.

    SmarTours caters to all ages that are looking for good prices. They are largely popular amongst middle aged, 50+ travelers, and families.

    Top Destinations

    sand dune in Africa

    SmarTours travels all over the world, including Africa, Asia, South America and Cuba, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Diverse itineraries are available in each destination.

    SmarTours Travel Style

    • Large coaches
    • River and small ship cruises

    Except for its cruise offerings -- primarily river cruises as well as Greek Island and Galapagos cruises -- transportation is generally by bus. Group sizes can reach 40 and beyond, but may also be smaller depending on the popularity of the trip. SmarTours will design custom trips for groups with at least 25-30 travelers.

    Solo hiker on trip with Smartours

    Accommodations are between value and premium, comfortable with a step above basic amenities. You won’t spend much time in your hotel, as SmarTours makes the focus about the travel experiences on the ground. They care about ensuring that you have as much time as possible to explore with the guide and on your own.

    Why Choose a Tour With SmarTours?

    SmarTours is a complete bargain package for budget minded travelers. If you are looking for an unbeatable value, don’t mind a large group and want tours focused on exotic destinations, then SmarTours is a perfect choice for you.

    About Tucan Travel (Operations Suspended)

    Founded in 1987, Tucan Travel specializes in adventurous, immersive travel experiences.

    What Makes Tucan Travel Stand Out?

    They are all about going beyond the resort style of travel for adventure trips that let you experience another side of the country you’re visiting. They offer no pretense either, clearly stating that their style of adventure travel is not for those seeking a chill beach vacation.

    The four main travel styles you can choose from include Adventure Tours, Overland Tours, Budget Expeditions (specifically geared toward 18-35 year olds), and Add Ons, short side trips. Tour leaders are known as “Adventure Specialists” and will be alongside everyone in your group, encouraging you to to try the fried scorpions.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Tucan Travel?

    Travelers who gravitate to Tucan will be budget minded and looking for fun, new experiences - and maybe a classic site or two thrown in for good measure. Unlike some of the companies Tucan is commonly compared with, they do not have an age cap, though travelers do tend to be on the younger end.

    Think young professionals less interested in an ongoing party, but still not quite at the “cultural attractions and museums” stage. Tucan fits comfortably in the middle, offering inexpensive tours with interesting itineraries. For those younger travelers seeking a youthful group, Tucan does have group trips specifically for 18-30 year olds.

    Most Tucan trips are active, engaging, and exciting, with many local touches. Travelers with Tucan enjoy taking risks and experiencing a destination from the inside out. The price of Tucan tours is designed to be very affordable, however the tours aren’t all inclusive. You’ll be on your own for some meals, and there is a lot of free time available. Also keep in mind Tucan encourages travelers who want, to go off on their own and rejoin the tour later on.

    Solo travelers are very welcome, and encouraged! Tucan tours are a great way to make new friends, and most tours don’t require a single supplement if you are willing to share with a same-sex roommate.

    Tucan Travel Style

    Tucan tours are separated into 3 broad buckets: Worldwide Adventures, Adventures for 20s to 30s, and Tailor Made Travel.

    Worldwide Adventures with Tucan are tours intended for a wide audience - the age range is from 18-65. Groups are very small, between 4-19 people. Accommodations are in comfortable, locally owned hotels or guest houses. Like all Tucan tours they are budget conscious.

    Adventures for 20s to 30s are perfect for young adults between 18-39 years old after an adventure. These tours can be super high energy and are typically low cost. Accommodations range from camp sights to 2-3 star budget hotels and hostels. Transportation will include local public transport systems such as public buses and trains or overland vehicles.

    A note on Overland Travel: Overland tours are a very specific kind of travel, so make sure you know what you’re getting into! These journeys are self sustaining bus rides. Travelers all pitch in at various times to help with cooking, cleaning, and camp setup or breakdown tasks. Prepare for a rustic, outdoorsy venture. It’s a unique way to travel, but certainly not for everybody!

    Tailor Made Travel is great for those travelers seeking a more customized experience than a pre-set itinerary can provide. Tucan travel experts will design a trip to your specifications and provide a quote. Suggested for families, couples, and small friend groups.

    Why Choose a Tour with Tucan Travel?

    Tucan lays on the adventure travel idea pretty think throughout their tour styles. Adventure travel means many things, and Tucan takes a wide view. If you have an adventurous spirit, are one of the first to try the strange street food, volunteer to have the tarantula crawl on you, and love meeting locals these tours will be for you.

    You’ll meet young, like-minded travelers, and those that are young at heart. Guides are enthusiastic and experienced, ready for anything and ready to make sure your trip fulfills all your expectations. They emphasise the community aspect of group travel and encourage solo travelers to join their groups (and don’t require a single supplement).

    Independent travelers who are feeling really unsure about a group tour may find exactly what they’re looking for in a Tucan tour. Tucan actively encourages travelers who join their group tours to go off and explore. You can even choose to spend longer on your own and rejoin the Tucan group at the next destination!  

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