July 12th 2015
My wife and I have taken tours with many companies and we’ve yet to find one we didn’t like, but our experience with Shalom Israel Tours exceeded any expectations we had entertained. After our flight we (four adults and a teen) were met by a company representative who guided us through the airport, bypassing long lines at customs, and delivered us to a waiting van. We were whisked from Tel Aviv to our hotel in Jerusalem and arrived with plenty of time to explore for the rest of the day.
The tour proper started when we met Pitch (Abraham Maayan), our guide, the following morning. If there are better tour guides in this world, I have yet to meet one. In spite of his extensive knowledge of history, geography, politics, religion, even food, he is completely unpretentious. We didn’t get a predetermined mechanical presentation with Pitch; this man carried on a conversation with us. He was patient when we bombarded him with naive questions, offered advice when it was needed (e.g., he dissuaded me from ascending at Masada without water and a hat), displayed a welcome sense of humor, and carried on without the condescension characteristic of so many guides. Traveling with Pitch was like traveling with a good friend. He made all the difference in the world on this trip.
Our accommodations were first rate, Shalom Israel Tours responded quickly to our questions, and they checked with us during our stay in Israel to ensure that we were satisfied and doing well. I would recommend the company to anyone, especially if they have more guides like Pitch.