Consumers should know, these are all the same company!
We had two guides on our day, and it was a good thing we did for a few reasons.
I think the Hilltop Treks van was made for cargo, not people. There was no heat and no ventilation (other than opening windows) which was problematic on a cold February day. The windows kept fogging up, and we were given a dirty rag to pass around the van to wipe down the windows. Some seats in the middle of the van have no visibility out the windows at all, fogged up or not!
We were lucky to have a second guide on this day because Michael, our main guide, could not safely both drive and wipe down his windshield. If it had not been for the second guide who kept wiping the condensation off the driver's windshield (so he could actually see out to the road), I think we would have been found in a ditch at the bottom of the mountain.
Admittedly, the snowstorm that nearly got us stuck in the Wicklow mountains was never in the forecast and nobody could have expected it. Michael drove the jalopy of a tour van slowly and as safely as possible, and we are very grateful for his caution driving downhill on the icy roads.
I would rate this tour a 4 or a 5, but I really feel the tour van is unsafe and gross. If the company gets a new van that is safer and has proper ventilation, I would highly recommend this tour!
Note that the walking/hiking portion of this tour is not for the unfit - some people on our tour could not handle the strain of the walk. Luckily we had a second tour guide who could take some on the tour back to the van so that the rest of us could continue as scheduled. Without this second guide to escort a few people on an easier path, I wonder how our tour might have been compromised?
Again, I cannot reiterate enough how grateful we are for Michael's caution. Getting us all home safely was clearly his priority. . . though he might have had an easier time with a proper van.
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