I’m taking the 13 day tour next April. I see in some of the reviews that previous travelers had taken a hot air balloon over Cappadocia, but that is not on the 2022 itinerary (not sure if it was previously). Is this something we could possibly fit in? It looks like the day we’re in Mustafapasa, the first half of the day seems pretty free to do things off-tour. Has anyone reading this done that? If so, how did it go?
I took the tour a number of years ago. Probably 10 or so. It was an optional activity at the time. Our tour guide took the names of those interested and set it up. Van pick up early in the morning. It was still dark out. It was fun watching the workers inflate the balloons as the sun rose. Watching other balloons take off builds the anticipation and excitement. The ride itself is quite peaceful. Gently floating around with the wind. Spectacular views as we had a very clear day. Nice one gentle bump landing. Followed by a sparking wine drink and a van ride back. Arriving back maybe mid to late morning. I would do it again.
Enjoy your trip and the balloon ride.
Thank you Rocket! Hopefully they help arrange it next year too! I did a balloon ride over the Serengeti in Tanzania and it was definitely a life highlight! I’d LOVE to do it over Cappadocia!
It was offered five years ago but it is not part of the RS tour. The guide will set it up for you if you want. We chose not to as our travel insurance did not cover this sort of activity.
I have always assumed that most tours, including Rick Steves, do not include balloon rides because of liability issues. When I did a Turkey tour with Smithsonian in 2015, the balloon ride wasn't included, but our tour guide was happy to make reservations for anyone who was interested. We paid the balloon company directly.
Anyhow, balloon rides always happen early in the morning. The balloon company picks you up at your hotel at some ungodly hour, like 5 a.m. You will most likely have your balloon ride and be back at the hotel by 8 a.m. It doesn't interfere with the other events of the day.
I have done it twice, once in Cappadocia and again in Egypt. It was an amazing experience both times.
Thank you all for your responses. I definitely hope it’s offered as an extra! I can’t imagine being there and not doing it!
Just adding a more recent data point- I did the tour in September of 2019 and it was offered as an option. The ballon company came to the hotel on our first night in Cappadocia and took the bookings. ($200, if I recall correctly. Worth every penny!)
Good to know Scudder. You were probably on one of the last trips pre-pandemic, so it's making me hopeful they'll do that next year!
Looking at the itinerary, it would be the morning of Day 6. The guide told us the option several days in advance. Almost everyone on the tour opted for it and no one regretted the decision to do it. It was definitely worth the money and losing half a night's sleep. Like everything else on an RS tour it was well organized.