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THE TRAVEL PROJECT USA

The absolute best thing about Contiki is that you never know what to expect but it always ends up being a wonderful time and you quite literally leave smarter after the tour. You also get to meet new people, make new friends, try and experience new things and create amazing, everlasting memories.

Travelling around New York, Miami and New Orleans with Contiki (parts of the Grand Southern tour) was nothing short of amazing, as always, the Contiki crew manage to never miss a beat. Our tour manager Charity was absolutely amazing! As was Cameron, our tour manager on our last trip. They are like the really genuine cool people who know all these amazing facts about everything and they always have your back!

Our trips are always based around food so it made complete sense that the one we went on was to America. Food has no boundaries, and if there was one place on earth that could prove this fact, it’s definitely New York City. The street food we ate in New York was a definite highlight. We were fortunate enough to be able to experience a food cart tour thanks to Contiki and you could honestly argue that the street food in New York is superior to that of any restaurant. This is not to say that the food in New York eateries is not good, the food everywhere is amazing. However, the food carts possess a certain energy about them, there is rich history and meaning to the food served within them. When you hear their stories, you instantly feel a connection with the people who work in them, which makes the food very special. It is amazing how all of the foods served are so unique and totally different in terms of nationality, yet in such close proximity to each other.

New York is without a doubt one of the biggest cities we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. There are of course many amazing things to do in such a city like visit the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station or go to the top of the Empire State Building all of which we were able to do with Contiki!

Miami, on the other hand, really impressed us with its ‘Miami’ vibe, just like in the movies! We found the bike tour we did with Contiki to be the best way to fully grasp the essence of Miami. You ride the bike down the beach, whilst taking in all its iconic Miami sights! The preserved architecture, the people and the food all contribute to the Miami vibe and culture which is so diverse and so powerful. All of these aspects make Miami the colourful and fun city that we have all seen on our TV screens. If we could give one piece of advice about Miami it would be to go out and see and do as many things as possible. From Little Havana to some of the best Cuban and Haitian food we have ever had in our lives and the most incredible nightlife. Also make sure you do not miss out on the Speedboat tour and try to spot some celebs! It’s one of the added options on the Contiki tour and we we’re not going to miss out on it! You know we love our celebs! We also loved visiting Wynwood Walls, a collection of graffiti and art in the design district, which is usually the first stop when Contiki arrive in Miami. That’s what is so good about the tour, they take you to genuinely cool places.

Finally, if you are looking to visit a city full of vibrant culture and traditions, look no further than New Orleans. There is so much rich history to New Orleans and you can feel it as soon as you arrive! A great example of this is its iconic Creole food culture which has been around for centuries. Also, almost everyone who lives in NOLA knows a ghost story, which is not as scary as it sounds but it really sheds light on the fact that its unique history is embedded into all who live there. It is not flashy like Miami or fast paced like New York, New Orleans really sets an indescribable tone that is crave-able. NOLA is also home to the highlight of our trip, the swamp tour! This is part of the Contiki tour and we highly recommended it. In fact we look forward to going back and doing it again! The word swamp does little for the natural beauty that is evident in this experience. You literally feel like you are in a nature documentary. We fed alligators and saw the most breathtaking scenery. Another must do is, Frenchmen Street where the coolest jazz bands play on the streets and in the restaurants. It is hard to put into words the amazing feeling you get when being in such a lively and eclectic environment. New Orleans, is definitely a bucket list city, that you won’t wait to tick off!

America, what a place!

If you want to find out more about what we ate and the places we loved and will be visiting again, click here to read our article for Contiki’s Six-Two blog.

Rochele Hanna