Location: Cambridge
Wanted: Two friends want a 10-day adventure to an ‘Instagrammable’ destination. They’re flexible on dates and are thinking maybe Machu Picchu, but seeking recommendations.
Budget: £3,000 per person

Trailfinders
54 Sidney Street
89%
Photos of amazing trips greeted me as I entered the shop. The agents at first were all busy with calls, but once I’d sat with an agent, he didn’t pick up the phone when it rang. Enthusiastic and friendly, he showed me a Machu Picchu tour in the G Adventures brochure but ended up quoting me for a nine-night G Adventures Natural Highlights of Costa Rica trip for £1,964 per person including flights with BA and Iberia, departing September 8. The trip included San Jose, La Fortuna, Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, the Manuel Antonio National Park, options to surf or ride a horse, and a co-operative coffee tour. He tried to close the sale in a nice manner.

Premier Travel
29 Sidney Street
85%
The entrance was narrow, but the shop well-presented. An agent served me at once and asked me about my interests, budget and dates. I was given two G Adventures quotes. The first was hiking in Patagonia, with Norwegian flights to Buenos Aires on November 2 for seven nights, for £2,449 per person. The second was the Lares Trek in Peru, with Avianca flights to Cusco via Bogota on November 2, for £1,529 per person.

Thomas Cook
8 St Andrew Street
73%
This shop was clean and inviting. I was shown brochures for Thomas Cook, G Adventures and others. The agent
didn’t have a lot of knowledge of South America. I was given a quote for a G Adventures seven-night Inca Discovery tour in July, including three nights’ camping and four nights in hotels, with Avianca flights, for £2,339 per person. The agent wasn’t overly enthusiastic and didn’t push to close the sale.


Winning agent

Chris Cawthorn, travel consultant

“Costa Rica’s incredible natural beauty and wildlife make it ideal for those looking for Instagram opportunities. Using a group tour with G Adventures also helps the friends to maximise their 10 days away.”


Verdict 

G Adventures was suggested by all agents. The winner’s knowledge helped Trailfinders pip Premier Travel, but both offered ideas outside the box. Thomas Cook’s agent appeared to lack destination knowledge.


Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location