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What It’s Like to Travel Now: Italy, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica and Kenya

Ratings of Zicasso's Service
Villa Rufolo’s gardens in Ravello with view of Amalfi Coast, Italy

Villa Rufolo Gardens in Ravello, Italy

The world is constantly changing, and as Zicasso travelers return from their trips, travel reviews are coming in daily. Overflowing with tips and helpful hints, learn more about what it is like to travel now, and how you can best prepare for your next vacation with tips from our travel specialists.

From the rainforests of Costa Rica to the beaches of Portugal, you can experience culture, landscape, and the spirit of adventure as you prefer. Every trip is customized because every traveler is unique. While the way we travel the world may be changing, we know that the right travel specialist can help craft your best trip, whether now or for future travel.

Italy

Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence, Italy

Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy

The most popular destination with Zicasso travelers, we have planned hundreds of trips to Italy since the Covid-19 pandemic began. From Rome’s captivating Colosseum to Venice’s enchanting canals, Michelangelo’s David in Florence to the charming view of the Amalfi Coast, Italy is endlessly enjoyable.

With a busy summer of 2021 trips, trip reviews confirm that a fantastic vacation is possible when planning with an expert travel specialist. Jeffrey, a three-time Zicasso traveler, left this review after his trip to Italy two weeks ago.

“Outstanding vacation, and the service provided by our travel specialist was excellent. The lodging, guides, drivers, tours and restaurants were all superb. Excellent planning and execution from Matteo and his team. He handled every detail, and it took all of the stress out of traveling to a foreign country -- particularly during a pandemic. I cannot say enough good things about this travel company. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for my family and me.”

Itinerary Highlights: Renaissance Art Tour | Sunrise Balloon Flight over Tuscany | Venice Food Tour | Gondola Tour | Rome Food Tour | Cooking Class | Vespa Tour

Tips from Matteo & Daniela, Jeffrey’s Italy travel specialists:

  • On how a travel specialist makes a difference: "When planning any itinerary, we invest a lot of time to get a perfect understanding of the travel needs and expectations to advise clients about the country specifics that need to be considered. This way, we can design tour programs aligned with the dream trip they have in mind."
  • What to expect while traveling: "We have a dedicated team of “Guardian Angels” in constant contact 24/7 with clients from the time of booking to the time they are in the country to assist them with any change to the program, restaurant reservations, and during these times assisting with Covid protocols and the like. Our Customer Service Team is also in constant contact with our local suppliers to ensure that the trip is executed at perfection and in line with clients’ expectations."
  • Advice for a 2021 trip: "It is always a good idea to travel to Italy, and that’s particularly true in 2021. Italy is fully open and with the additional advantage that sites are not crowded. Autumn is the perfect season to enjoy the countryside (Tuscany, but also Piedmont and the whole of Central Italy), as well as the major art cities; and Christmas period is beautiful if you consider visiting Rome, Florence, Venice or northern Italy cities and mountains where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and Christmas atmosphere."
  • Travel Tip for Italy: "Anyone interested in traveling to Italy can do so with full confidence. The country is open, enjoyable, and safe. 70% of the population is currently fully vaccinated, and the target is to reach 80% by the end of September 2021. With the ever-changing Covid requirements and protocols, planning a successful Italy trip nowadays depends more than ever on getting expert advice and assistance from a local travel agent based in the country."

Learn more: Italy Tours & Vacations | Italy Travel Guide

Croatia

Kayakers in around the city wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

One of the first European countries to open to American travelers, we have received nothing but glowing reviews from Zicasso travelers after their vacations this spring and summer. Island luxury, ancient Roman ruins, Venetian elegance, and mouthwatering rustic cuisine represent lasting traditions that create a welcoming ambiance.

Of the many travelers that have enjoyed Croatia over the last few months, this country surprises and delights all who visit.Catherine, a two-time Zicasso traveler, left this review after her trip to Croatia in mid-August.

“We wanted to thank our Croatia travel company for all that they did for us to make this vacation perfect. We really had a wonderful time. We just completed 11 days, 5 days in Split and 5 days in Dubrovnik which was amazing. The whole family enjoyed it, all the trips were such fun, and we especially appreciated that the logistics were all so well planned. Absolutely nothing went wrong, all tours were on time, all drivers, all cars, everything was flawless!

We valued their strong attention to detail, their communication both before, during, and after, the high level of quality in the guides and tour operators, and the hotel choices. The hotels and locations were perfect. We would HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!”

Itinerary Highlights: Sightseeing Tours | Blue and Green Cave Excursion | Island Exploration by Yacht | Kayaking Tour

Tips from Ante, Catherine’s Croatia travel specialist:

  • Keys to a successful trip: “We keep open lines of communication with both the travelers and suppliers, and everyone is working together to ensure a wonderful experience in Croatia.”
  • On last-minute trips: “A 2021 trip to Croatia is still a good idea! Croatia is going strong, and travelers are having a wonderful time! Even with the possibility of last-minute booking, we advise planning in advance for a greater choice of available services and experiences. When you make a last-minute decision to book, it is a matter of what is available when it comes to hotels and activities, rather than perhaps preferred. When you work with a travel specialist, you will have an itinerary made perfect for you, no matter when you visit."

Croatia travel tip from Brian Tan, CEO of Zicasso:

“Amongst the countries in Europe, some of the uniqueness of Croatia has been this combination of having it all. Charming coastal towns, over a thousand islands, and lots of beaches. You can sail from island to island more easily than many other destinations, and there is history, beautiful hiking scenery, national parks, great Mediterranean food, and more. In terms of friendly and hospitable people, Croatia is one of the best destinations we have ever experienced. Everyone is ready to extend a hand and make the travel experience the best it can be.”

Learn more: Croatia Tours & Vacations | Croatia Travel Guide

Spain

Pinchos on display at tapas bar in San Sebastian, Spain

Pinchos bar in San Sebastian, Spain

When it comes to a trip for the fall of 2021, Spain comes with our highest recommendation. With incredible countryside, villages and cities, there is something for every traveler. Lounge on a pristine beach or sip wine in a centuries-old plaza, witness masterful artwork in a museum or embrace the stunning landscapes of Spain’s natural world.

A multi-trip traveler with Zicasso, Ellen left us a review that sums up the experience of our travelers in Spain this summer.

“Thank you Zicasso! Once again you have provided me with an incredible trip that has created lifelong memories about the people and places we met on our trip to Spain planned by this travel company! I have completed close to ten trips that have been planned by Zicasso and this one must be at the top due to the personal attention we received from our travel planner. Prior to our trip she listened to our requests and made sure to include all our interests in the itinerary she planned for us! I personally spoke to her by phone several times and she was so kind and pleasant to work with. She was flexible when we needed to change our dates and was honest about the situation with COVID-19 in her country!

She planned an amazing itinerary for us which allowed us to explore the places we visited with expert guides with expertise in the sites we would be visiting. Her attention to all the details led to each day running seamlessly and smoothly.  She personally texted me each evening with the hour-by-hour plan for the following day and many evenings followed up with us to check in on how everything was going! This personal touch made such a difference to us, we felt like we made a friend rather than just a business relationship. She showed up at our first hotel to greet us upon our arrival which again, we had never had that experience in our prior travels. She arranged for an extra pinchos tour during our visit to San Sebastian and shopping in the market and cooking and eating in a gastronomy society with our guide who was a member! What a unique experience that was!!! She arranged for our Covid tests that we needed to leave Spain and again kept checking in to make sure that all went smoothly. All the private drivers and guides were so accommodating and flexible when we wanted to stop and shop for a while and helped us find unique souvenirs from excellent shops with good prices! I could go on and on about our travel planner and how she thought of everything to make this our most memorable trip with Zicasso.”

Itinerary Highlights: Private Tapas Tour | Museum Tours | City Tours | Market Tour | Gastronomic Society visit | Winery Visits | Gaudi Tour | Walking Tours

Tips from Raquel, Ellen’s Spain Travel Specialist:

  • On how a travel specialist can help: “I’m quite obsessive and tend to check and recheck everything several times! As we say in Spain, 'El hombre propone y Dios dispone,' which roughly translates as 'A man can plan, but God will decide.' With that in mind, communication is the key. I am personally available 24/7 and in touch with travelers, guides and drivers. If something comes up, we can always solve it quickly and smoothly, or find a satisfying alternative.”
  • Advice for last-minute travel to Spain: “Paraphrasing Audrey Hepburn, Spain is always a good idea! Museums and tourist sites are open, as are most restaurants and cafes, and we have very few restrictions in place with very few entry requirements. All tourist destinations are less crowded than usual, and travelers are more welcome than ever!”
  • Spain Travel Tip: “Leave your worries at home and come with an open mind and a wish to enjoy. We will take care of everything else for you. If you are looking for a more practical tip: bring comfortable shoes. Keep in mind that many villages and old towns in Spain are cobblestoned, so a couple of walking tours in high heels or flip flops, and your memories of Spain will not be so fond. We look forward to helping you plan a perfect trip!"

Learn more: Spain Tours & Vacations | Spain Travel Guide

Portugal

Vineyards in Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

An emerging destination with Zicasso travelers, interest in Portugal has been high throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Fairytale castles, colorful artisan crafts, the lingering sounds of fado, and the golden sands of the Atlantic coast capture the essential beauty of Portugal no matter the time of year.

Travelers report a very enjoyable travel experience, and this review from Tim, a two-time traveler with Zicasso, represents the thoughts shared by many who have just returned from a summer vacation to Portugal.

“We had a terrific trip to Portugal visiting Porto, Lisbon, and the surrounding areas. This travel company specializes in Portugal and was very responsive to both our budget parameters as well as to our unique interests in food, art, and culture.

Everything from the lodgings to the tours to the guides and drivers was extremely professional. We stayed in the cities and did day trips in Porto to the Douro Valley and in Lisbon to Sintra, Cascais, and to an organic farm on the outskirts of the city. Each outing was well planned making optimal use of our time. We didn't need to think about ground transportation or timing and our travel planner even allowed for sufficient free time so that we could explore the cities on our own.

Our visit was slightly complicated by requirements for EU proof of vaccination (as opposed to CDC vaccination documentation). However, nothing was insurmountable and our travel planner facilitated testing appointments for our return to the USA (72 hours in advance was required).”

Itinerary Highlights: Private Market Tour | Cooking Class | Farm to Table Dinner | Farm Excursion | City Tour | Beach Day

Tips from Marco, Tim’s Portugal travel specialist:

  • On how to ensure a smooth trip: “We rely on our many years of experience and our amazing staff on the ground to ensure that we can design and execute the best travel experiences in Portugal. With all the technology available today, it is the human connection that makes traveling such a unique and rewarding experience.”
  • Advice for a 2021 trip: “Prioritize what is most important to you when traveling. Some travelers prioritize adventure versus luxury or food and wine experiences versus visits to museums. The more focused your itinerary is on what you enjoy will result in a highly personalized and enriching experience for you and your family.”
  • Travel Tip for Portugal: “Portugal is an amazing country that offers an unparalleled natural beauty and over 900 years of history and culture. Connect, and interact with the people of Portugal throughout your vacation. Try a locally owned family restaurant to have the most amazing dining experience, enjoy a tile-making experience where you learn century-year-old techniques and traditions from a local artist or overnight at a family-owned vineyard in the Douro Valley and explore the local family vineyards, tour the wine cellar and enjoy private wine tastings with the owners that welcome you as part of their family.”

Learn more: Portugal Tours & Vacations | Portugal Travel Guide

Costa Rica

Man hiking to waterfall in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

One of the first countries to open to American travelers, Costa Rica offers a wonderland of biodiversity that can immerse you in wild rainforest, uncover embracing cloud forest, or reveal perfect beaches.

A four-time traveler with Zicasso, Melanie shared this review after returning from Costa Rica just a few weeks ago, and many others have offered similar feedback.

“My husband and I have just returned from a three-week stay in Costa Rica, and couldn't have been happier with our trip! Costa Rica is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on earth; and their people are some of the nicest, and most welcoming we have ever met. Our travel company went over and above to make sure that our visit was perfect, calling throughout the trip to make sure everything was alright, and always ready to help if we needed it.

One night we wanted to try a new restaurant, and rather than call a taxi, Alex offered to pick us up and take us there! We ended up having dinner with him and his lovely wife, learning about their life in Costa Rica, and just having a wonderful evening. All of the guides that we encountered were a joy to meet, and so appreciative to be able to welcome tourists back to their country. Everyone there is very proud of their country, and rightly so. Pura Vida!!!”

Itinerary Highlights: Coffee Tour | Volcano Tour | Lagoon Trekking | Waterfall Excursion | Hiking | Whitewater Rafting | Canyoneering | Zip Line | ATV Excursion

Tips from Pablo, Melanie’s Costa Rica travel specialist:

  • On how a travel specialist can help: “First, we listen carefully. Then, with heart, we talk the talk and we walk the walk 24/7.  They can feel it. We are very dedicated, always available, organized and we spare no effort to enjoy detailed up-to-date information at all times.”
  • Advice for a 2021 trip: “Just about anything truly world-class and unique to Costa Rica takes place in our magnificent and safe great outdoors. We do recommend that travelers take advantage now to reconnect with the tropical nature to enjoy and rebalance before the crowds get here.”
  • Costa Rica Travel Tip: “Please read the most recent reviews from people who have just traveled to Costa Rica with Zicasso.  They are inspiring and full of advice for a wonderful trip! We are ready to help you enjoy Costa Rica and cannot wait to see you here!”

Learn more: Costa Rica Tours & Vacations | Costa Rica Travel Guide

Kenya & Tanzania

Female black rhino with her calf in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

The enticing wonders of Kenya and Tanzania immerse you in the renowned wilderness of the savanna, reveal the charm of roaming lions or a hidden rhinoceros, the adrenaline rush of watching the Great Migration or the serene silence of sunset at a remote lodge.

Over this last year, Zicasso travelers on safari have been pleased with the safety protocols in place, outstanding service, and the incredible opportunity to enjoy spectacular nature and wildlife.  James, a first-time Zicasso traveler, had this to say upon his return.

"We had such an amazing experience that exceeded our expectations! Dan and Mandy were very responsive and a pleasure to work with from the beginning to the end. We put so much time and money into this trip and it was all worth it. Even with the additional complexities of covid-19. Dan and Mandy truly made it as seamless as possible for us and we couldn’t be happier!"

Itinerary Highlights: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Lewa Conservancy | Naboisho Conservancy | Ngare Ndare | Walking Safari | Game Drive | Zanzibar

Tips from Mandy, James’ safari specialist:

  • On how a safari specialist can help: "When we plan a custom journey for our clients, we include all necessary arrangements to carry them through their journey from start to finish. In addition to our 24/7 support, our clients also have the support of a dedicated team on the ground where they travel. Together, we monitor our clients' progress and remain available throughout their journey. This ensures a seamless travel experience and provides peace of mind as they enjoy their safari adventure!"
  • 2021 travel advice: “Traveling is definitely a personal decision, and we always suggest that clients honor their comfort zone when weighing whether to begin planning a last-minute safari. With this said, it is very possible to travel to Africa right now. Countries have opened their borders and put strategic entry and departure requirements in place to allow tourism to resume with the safety of their communities, visitors, and wildlife as a top priority. Local teams and accommodations have also implemented important safety measures, creating seamless and comfortable travel experiences. In remote wilderness areas, safari camps and lodges that we recommend are all intimate and naturally create opportunities to social distance and enjoy vast open spaces and fresh air as you explore!”
  • Safari Travel Tip: “Advice we’ve been sharing with clients looking to plan a safari, especially in the near future, is to consider dedicating their trip to one or two countries. Clients sometimes have the urge to cover as much ground as possible and hop between different countries to make the most of their trip. There truly is so much to see and so many diverse experiences to be had within each country, there’s not always an added benefit to crossing additional borders. We love helping our clients make informed decisions on what destinations and experiences fit them best, while weighing logistical considerations. With new entry and departure requirements in place, it really is the perfect opportunity to spend less time traveling within a trip, freeing up time to experience more!”

Ready to Plan Your Next Vacation

Sailboat moored along the coastline of Trogir, Croatia

Trogir, Croatia

From the famous culture of Italy to the radiant landscapes of Costa Rica, witnessing the wildlife along the great plains of Tanzania or sailing the coastline of Croatia, Zicasso travelers have taken the time to experience their preferred trip now.

Our Countries Open to American Travelers has updated information on where you can travel now to help navigate the logistics of making your trip a reality. Complete a Trip Request or call us on 1-888-265-9707 to speak with a Zicasso travel specialist for free who can offer insight and support for planning a vacation perfect for you.

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