Monday, May 12, 2014

Don't Take a Julia Tour

Well this bus break down in a mountainous area was a bummer, but it's not the reason I do not recommend Julia Tours.  This was inconvenient and cost us about 1.5 hours of time, and we had to pay to use the bathroom facility here.
I've never had to pay to use a bathroom...but they were making some decent money on that venture.  But, as annoying as that was that's also NOT the reason I do not recommend Julia Tours.
We were picked up at our resort, Marriott's Marbella Beach before daylight.  We knew the departure time to be early and to be an estimate based on the tour description.  We were heading to Tangiers for the day, which meant a 2.5 hour bus drive, then a high speed ferry from Spain to Tangiers.    I do not recommend this tour or the Julia line for the following reasons:

  • Very disorganized.  The guide, Pedro spent his time giving driving instructions to poor Paco, our driver instead of providing us with information beyond very limited tour information.  And when he gave instructions to Paco, he was anything but nice.  Very rude infact.  
  • The tour could have been better to alter how people were picked up and transported to the port for departure on the ferry.
  • Un-like all other tour buses I've been on, there were no toilet facilities which wasn't communicated, and should have been so folks could plan.
  • Due to their poor organization, we were apparently running late, causes Pedro to be even more grumpy.
  • Arriving at the port where he needed to take care of passports wasn't well done.  We sat on the bus while he went inside.  Then after his return he didn't return our passports; but waited until we were in the area to depart on the ferry...mass confusion there as there were many tour groups.  And he offered no one time to use the bathroom facilities there.  We could have been there, used the facilities while he took care of business with the passports to save time, AND or he could have passed them out on the bus which would also have saved time, been less chaotic and confusing.
  • He was rude to many people in our tour group.  Treated people like they were kindergartners. 
The tour is not what it was suppose to be.  
  • The description indicated you'd learn about how they make rugs...NOT That it was hardcore in your face SALES PROMOTION.  You were suppose to be able to shop in the bazarre, but they would NOT let you do that until you sat through the SALES PROMOTION.  Then there was insufficient time to actually look around at the bizarre.  Likewise at an apothecary shop, though there was a small bit of learning there it was primarily SALES.  With both situations our guide was not around and you felt at the mercy of these sales people.  
  • Lunch was nice (I blogged here about it), but Pedro our guide didn't allow anyone time to eat the desert and use the bathroom.  Those who opted (like me) to rush to the bathroom had no time to eat desert as he was ushering people out the door.  Those who didn't jump to go to the bathroom got a bite or two of desert in; but that was it.  
  • At each turn you felt the guide took us where he got kick backs from bringing the tourists through.
  • The touts were VERY FORCEFUL, very numerous, and would not leave you alone.  Some of this should have been controlled by the tour guide/company.  It was a very uncomfortable and stressful situation.  They forced themselves between two people walking side by side, they were in front of you, behind you and beside you.  It was often hard to even walk.  AND you didn't dare stop and loose pace with the group for fear of being lost.
I've written a review of this tour company on Travel Adviser and can see many others have as well.  It has many poor ratings and very very few good ones.  AVOID JULIA TOUR Company and select another one instead.

Blogging a-z in May, my focus is Spain Click the drop down box to leave your name and url of your blog post, not profile page.


  1. Weird, it took me three times of refreshing the page for the comment box to show up. I thought I was losing it!
    Sorry your tour didn't go as planned (I'll remember this for sure) but I hope you enjoyed other things about your trip. I'd love to go to Spain- and see the Andalusian horses.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

    1. Sorry you had the refreshing problem Marlene, not sure what that's about. I've not come across that before. We weren't near where the horses were, but I remember reading about them. We loved Spain and the rest of the trip was awesome.

  2. I'm a stickler for bathroom breaks, too! Good tip to check review sites before booking. A to Z road-tripping with you.

    1. Right you are Shonna, wished we had reveiwed the stats before hand. It would have made us choice a different option.

  3. Sandy, As I said on an earlier post, I did a similar tour a few years back. It was not with Julia Tours, yet I had almost the exact same experience. I wonder if anyone out there in blog world has done a one-day Tangiers tour and not had this experience?!

    1. Would be nice to know Corinne, there were signs for tours ever where as you walked along the beach area in Marbella as well as the info at the hotel...but I too wondered about whether a nice tour of Tangiers exists?

  4. In quite a few countries I've encountered bathrooms that charge you for their services. It's never very much and sometimes it's a symbolic donation but I don't think it's very rare.

    Thank you for the review on the Julia tour though. I'll make sure to avoid it if I ever come across it. These types of reviews are important.

    Visiting on the a to z roadtrip

    LittleCely's Blog

  5. I'll remember this! Sorry your experience wasn't good.


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