Astronomy Group Trip Testimonials

 Submitted to Spears Travel


From the Mexico Trip (2024)


"Excellent, Great reserved site for viewing the eclipse as well as a Plan B.  So many food choices! One of the easiest eclipse trips ever!"

"Loved it. The staff bent over backwards to help. I'm still smiling. Please schedule another eclipse there!"

"Excellent. I enjoyed Fred Espenak's pre-eclipse presentation. "

"Excellent location. At first I thought the hotel was a little run down, but I came to appreciate the number of restaurants and terrific staff. Overall, I was pleased! So much fun!!! Can’t wait to go to Spain!!"

"It was great having a reserved area set up for our group. The commitment to the alternative site was a great service. It turned out the visibility was comparable to El Cid but have the option to choose our site was a relief. Access to the Elite Lounge was a nice bonus."

" The overall experience was wonderful."

"Superb communication at every point leading up to the trip. Informative and timely. I'm a traveler who needs a lot of advance information, and Spears Travel provided everything I needed. Lovely hotel, delicious food, great views, wonderful and friendly service. Words can't describe the eclipse itself. The logistics were great: a generous, well-located space with plenty of room for everyone to set up in a way that worked for them.  If only I could take that papaya home with me...! I loved the balance of group activities and free time. My husband and I love to explore independently, and it was great that we were able to do that for most of our time in Mazatlan."

"Excellent. I felt completely informed and done in a timely manner. All done professionally. My room was outstanding. The elite status was very nice. I had a pretty good experience, thank goodness the weather worked in our favor. The breakfast buffets were very good. Service was excellent. The preparation and organization were excellent."

"Excellent. Great pickup from Mazatlan airport, Great hotel checking, nice hotel by beach, good communication about weather and viewing site. Nice people, good eclipse. Timely information on flights, trip insurance, Mazatlan airport pickup, check-in. Hotel right on nice beach. Food good. Nice room and people. So convenient viewing site. Clouds not problem. Fresh fish at El CID Marina restaurant was best. Restaurant by viewing site was our choice for most meals."

"Having Gary meet us in person at the airport was a great start! Careful planning, especially with two buses available on eclipse day if needed. That only 5 of us went to Copala on a big bus was much appreciated! (Copala was a highlight for us-- we loved it!) Always prompt answers to any questions, much appreciated! Good information provided as we needed it. The hotel was well-placed for the eclipse. Bus ride to and from Copala was very pleasant, with friendly tour employees. Great food at Alejandro's, the best of the trip! Lovely little village, low key crowd to watch it with, very enjoyable. Okay, so we missed seeing the shadow come across the ocean but being in Copala more than made up for that! Any successful viewing of a total eclipse makes for an excellent trip!"

"Everything was perfect; I was especially impressed with Gary's attention to detail: getting us Elite status so we could badger the ever-patient support staff, setting up the alternate viewing site, just in case, arranging airport rides at varying times, and actually being on site."

"Gary, Thank you for an amazing eclipse trip. The Whole thing was just seamless. Looking forward to future trips!"


From the Iceland Trip (2022)

The best was three consecutive nights of the aurora.   

Everything was wonderful. This was our first tour we’ve ever taken on a bus. We were very satisfied with how everything was handled

All the hotels were first rate and what a great tour group too. I think we made some new friends

The food and itinerary were wonderful. Overall, it was fantastic and would recommend to others

Would travel with the company again

From the Iceland Trip (2021)

Northern lights were the top item along with Elin’s narrative of Iceland.

very good food and great accommodations.

there wasn't anything I did not like about the tour. we saw many different aspects of Iceland

I really love visiting Iceland. The people are really nice

From the Iceland Trip (2019)

Tom was extremely helpful with a number of questions prior to the trip and a fun loving, knowledgeable, highly communicative tour leader

while providing a safe and comfortable environment for the entire tour...

A true subject matter expert. Kelley’s lecture and subsequent observations commentaries were educational with a contagious joy and excitement...

Excellent guide. Energetic, very knowledgeable... Seeing the northern lights was best...

Loved the whole trip... The tour delivered in terms of opportunities to view the Aurora...


From the Chile Trip (2019)

Eclipse day preparations and accommodations were the best

One of the best trips taken in a long time. Just terrific!

Everything was good. Wouldn't change a thing

The eclipse location and that entire day was outstanding


From the Chile Trip (2017)

I loved it all, I wouldn't change a thing, except a little more sleep.

The quality of the folks on this trip was the highlight for me. so many interesting discussions.

I have put Chile on my list of places to return to. Outstanding

I enjoyed every part of the trip and tours, and would not delete any part

The best parts of the trip were the access to observatories not normally available to "walk ins",

logistics and accommodations which would have been difficult for any traveller were well executed,

and the unique companion ship of such an accomplished group

Calls and emails with Spears Travel answered all my questions during the planning stage of the tour.


From the Iceland Trip (2016)

Guide and driver were excellent... The pace was comfortable. Days were full but not exhausting...

The site seeing was fabulous... The variety of landscapes we visited were the highlight for me.

Also, our centrally located hotel in Reykjavik was great...

I liked the presentations made by sky and telescope staff (JR) and I wished for more...

Best: The friendliness and helpfulness of the people of Iceland...


From the Iceland Trip (2015)
Booking in from Australia was as streamlined as possible. Spears Travel were prompt to reply to all our emails

I felt throughout the trip that Spears handled every detail superbly...

Our Icelandic tour guide, Erin was beyond superb... All the drivers were fantastic as was our guide Elin...

Liked seeing the Northern Lights and meeting some great people best... Met my hopes and expectations in every way...

I loved my week in Iceland... The best thing about the trip was the group!

I had a fantastic week in Iceland. I have so many fantastic memories and made friends with some awesome people!


From the Iceland Trip (2014)

Very pleased to have Bob and Tom as our helper guides.

They tried and succeeded to help anyone with their special needs. We appreciate them, especially Tom.

Driver was very professional and the guides were tremendous. Highly recommend

A good balance of activity and free time. Well organised. Communication was excellent...

Tom Reynolds was a great host, and instilled a feeling of camaraderie and fun.

He also was great at taking care of the details, while being flexible. Bob Naeye provided the intellectual background in a friendly, informative way.

Elin was a good guide I look forward to doing business with you in the future

I really enjoyed the trip and especially the chance to photograph auroras

Dear Tom, Dennis and I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for us these past couple of months.

Not only was the trip to Iceland the most spectacular trip but your assistance getting us back east made a very difficult time that much easier...


From the Chile Trip (2014)

My questions were always answered promptly and clearly

Always got immediate and thorough answers to all my pre-trip questions

My first tour so the little extras water and lunch were welcome I can say only thanks for patience and understanding.

An adventure of a lifetime!!! I would never have been able to arrange a tour like that on my own. I loved it!

Chile was a fascinating country, the skies were gorgeous,

and we had time to get familiar with southern hemisphere sky sights. 

It was very nice trip, very adventurous trip with much new pieces of knowledge.

All members of the group was very friendly The trip was fantastic!

I must say, I liked all activities best. I cannot say something was bad. It was my first way to the southern hemisphere.

The sky observation was for me unforgettable experience Most enjoyable for me was San Pedro and all the excursions and sky viewing there

I enjoyed the variety of venues I'd definitely go back to Chile again What I loved: every observing night


From the Kenya Trip (2013)

Gary and Tom were very professional and all travel plans went smoothly Helped me through with reminders when necessary and all went smoothly.

I also appreciated the background material that was provided Tour was well planned and expertly constructed

Gary took care of any problems that came up and Kelly was always available with answers to any astronomy questions.

I especially enjoyed the stargazing sessions and seeing the Southern Cross for the first time Everything was well thought out and played out smoothly.

Kelly and Gary were always there to anticipate a possible difficulty and smiled and joked to maintain the group's high spirits

Origins Safaris was first rate, not one slip up. They were very skilled at helping us see all of the variety of game available.

They also assisted me with my second week of travel in Kenya and were very attentative to my every need. I felt very secure being in their hands

The fact that Gary Spears traveled with us made me and my wife confident in the safety of the trip and where we were going.

Gary was a great travel companion who added greatly to the experience I loved everything about this trip and will work with Gary again!! Thank you!!

For me nothing can surpass seeing the animals and learning about their habits. The guides were so great and made our visit memorable.

Kelly's expertise was wonderful and his inexhaustible willingness to educate and entertain us at the same time was a real bonus

Gary, the entire trip was amazing! The people on the trip were the best My favorite part of this trip was the professional yet personable way that Gary led the group.

Though at times I'm sure he was stressed, he allowed the trip to be exciting and adventurous without pushing us.

We had plenty to do, but could always opt out to relax, and I truly felt we had the freedoms to enjoy all aspects of the trip in our own time.

Two thumbs way up, Gary! Gary and Kelly helped keep everything moving along and paid attention to all of the details for us


From the Iceland Trip 2013

The Iceland trip was a great success, and I am very glad I was a part of it.

Spears Travel is to be commended (as is Sky & Telescope)...

You ALL did a great job. "applause" "applause" 

Both guides were knowledgeable, personable, and excellent at English 

Having never been to Iceland, my wife and I sincerely liked all of the destinations.

The country of Iceland is very unique. All of the day tours were fantastic in our opinion 

Liked best: northern lights and big waterfalls 

I have no suggestions. The trip was very well coordinated. Please keep up the good work!

And, we will definitely use Spears Travel for future trips


From the Chile Trip 2011
The Sky and Telescope Chile 2011 tour was a very pleasant tour,

a good combination of a close look at state of the art technology, real life evening observation and a taste of local experience.

Our group was an ultimate gathering of enthusiasts sharing a lot of fun in astronomy and traveling together.

I can, and will, certainly recommend this tour to anyone sharing this same kind of passion.  Thanks a lot for your effort and making this happen.

Very pleasant tour, may be also because of the group dynamic So little problems for such a great trip.

 25" is the biggest telescope I have ever looked through, and the view was amazing.

So was the view through my Very Large (and heavy!) Binoculars: in Sagittarius, I couldn't find any field of view that didn't include at least one globular or galactic cluster!

Paranal had to be the highlight, and I hope I live long enough to see the E-ELT!!! The best was the group. Nice and educated people.

Ornan and Gary always trying to do the best. Tololo and El Pange were fantastic. Elqui valley was also great... 


From the Southern China Trip (2009)

"Many Thanks for a well-organized Eclipse Trip. I've been to 14 trips before and this was one of the best, if not the best, of all I've participated in.

I mentioned well organized? Having the ability and resources to reorganize on the fly is a wonderful asset also. It served us well, as it assured us all the opportunity to take home a "Trophy".

Had we stayed with the original plan, you would have needed to provide a big supply of Kleenex for all of us."

"This was my 13th trip to see a total eclipse (only #11 was clouded out).  The day before the eclipse, we had to take a last minute airplane flight from Shanghai to Chongqing in order to avoid the clouds. 

Good thing we did, because it was raining in Shanghai at eclipse time.  We traded 6m 50s of clouded out totality for 4m 6s of hazy sky totality plus $350 airfare & lodging.  It was a good trade!"

"It was the best trip yet. We were happy with our guides, the buses (it was nice having two so we had more room), the hotels and even our last minute Chungching change.

Absolutely NO complaints from beginning to end. And please stay with the name tags, watching groups all wearing red hats was pretty painful

"The Chinese guides were amazing, and their ability to deal with the unexpected superb!"

"We were very impressed with your ability to move our eclipse site when it became necessary.

We were also impressed that you could make the decision to move when you had put so much effort into selecting the original site."

"Fantastic! Greatly supported by the Chinese agents, especially when rescheduling flight at very short notice" 


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