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BEST tour guide, travel agent, and Cappadocia recommendations

My husband (43), myself (38), and daughter (11) just returned from a SPECTACULAR private tour of Turkey! We were so thankful that a friend connected us with our top notch guide, Mert TANER, who is one of Rick's most requested in Turkey. We also used the travel agent services of Berna Argun at Oasis Travel, who went above and beyond her required duties to make sure we were comfortable and the trip went smoothly. Lastly, I want to recommend a particular place in Cappadocia, known as Cappadocia Estates, that was truly peaceful and definitely our favorite place out of all hotel stays in Turkey.

Let me start by talking about how Mert Taner managed to make our trip so incredible. His degrees in biblical and Turkish history, along with an extensive 25+ year career in the field were what initially impressed us. Since this was among my husband's top "bucket list" destinations, the two of them carefully planned an itinerary that included stops at most of the best historical sites in the western part of the country. In addition, Mert knew all the best restaurants, shopping spots (keeping our safety & budget in mind), and friends that we were able to enjoy along the way. From start to finish, it was an unforgettable journey that we can't wait to do again and will continue to recommend to friends!

Using Berna Argun at Oasis Travel was another recommendation that our friend made to us that turned out to be a great choice. She was so friendly and helpful every step of the way, including making all of our hotel and transportation reservations. We were initially scheduled for a 15 day trip and ended up deciding to quarantine in Sanliurfa when the delta variant of covid hit the US very suddenly. Berna helped us rearrange everything including two different flights to return home without any complaints or hesitation.

Lastly, I want to recommend a particular place in Cappadocia that we enjoyed the most out of all hotel stays in Turkey. It's called Cappadocia Estates and is located in the quiet yet charming village of Mustafapasa. Upon arrival, we got an opportunity to meet the owner, Lale Aran, and her wonderful family. (Coincidentally, I also learned later on that she's a dear friend of Rick's who is also one of his most trusted travel associates in Turkey). We were given the opportunity to stay in a larger cave room, which featured a walk-in shower, oversized jacuzzi tub, and bath robes in the bathroom. They were a relaxing treat after taking an early morning Butterfly Balloons flight, hiking around the region, and eating lots of yummy food! Oh, and a little hint - ask her hotel staff to make you an appointment for an in-room Turkish massage. It was heavenly!!!

I'm so glad we decided to go visit Turkey! We were so excited about this trip and quickly discovered that most of it is very westernized with people who are welcoming and eager to share their culture. We are planning to hopefully return there next year! If you're considering it, be sure to also watch Rick's documentaries and you may spot some of the names/people that I've mentioned. 😉

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for your hints for traveling in Turkey!
If you return to the Cappadocia area especially the village of Mustafapasa, I would recommend you check out the Upper Greek House for a CAVE Hotel experience. It is owned by my friends in Oregon and they have worked hard to make lots of improvements to make it comfortable and the rates are great! Also, check out the Old Greek House restaurant. I hear the food is great and it is owned by locals! Happy travels!

Posted by
9 posts

Hello @JMJTraveler!
Funny you should mention the New and Old Greek Houses. We actually ate at OGH the first night and hosted a big barbecue with their families on the last night before we left Cappadocia! They are such wonderful people and gracious hosts.
We definitely loved the charm of the village and the romantic "old world" vibes that the courtyard has at the Old Greek House. I look forward to returning there next time!

Posted by
1837 posts

I'm planning to be in Turkey next February if the planets all align appropriately. Thank you for sharing your recommendations.

Posted by
74 posts

Do the balloons fly over Mustafapasa (so you can see them from your hotel)?

Posted by
9 posts

No, you have to get a driver to take you to Goreme (about 20-30 minutes away), which is the main area that they fly over. But that city is also very busy, so we enjoyed staying in the much quieter village instead. Most of the balloon companies will pick up from the village