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La excursión como tal estuvo interesante, y es recomendable por al contenido religioso cristiano. Personalmente me resultó más interesante el hecho de que para ir a Belén que está a muy poca distancia de Jerusalén se entra a territorio palestino. Y estando allí se constata cómo coexisten judíos, musulmanes y cristianos en aparente calma.
Por esa cuestión territorial hasta le recuerdan al turista llevar su pasaporte, aunque a nosotros -ya en el sitio- nunca nos pidieron mostrarlo.
Una experiencia adicional. Contratamos el tour saliendo desde Tel Aviv y pidiendo guía en español. Nos recogió en el hotel un guía en inglés que no podía explicarnos bien lo que seguía y que lamentablemente entendimos después. O sea, que nos llevarían hasta Jerusalén junto con excursionistas de muy diferentes destinos y que una allí todos cambiaríamos a otros buses según fuera nuestro destino.
Esperando y recogiendo gente tardamos como tres horas en llegar a Jerusalén, cuando el viaje es de menos de una hora. Y para hacer la cosa peor, ningún guía nos explicó en español algo NO habíamos leído en la letra menuda : que nuestra excursión terminaba en Jerusalén y que debíamos regresar a Tel Aviv por nuestra cuenta!
En medio de nuestra sorpresa aparecieron individuos ofreciendo llevarnos en taxi de regreso a Tel Aviv, por un costo en dólares o euros mucho mayor que el de nuestra excursión. Como no aceptamos ese ofrecimiento en adelante los guías nos dieron un trato bastante displicente e inapropiado.
Gracias a otro turista que iba con nosotros en el tour a Belén no al personal de la empresa operadora del tour! encontramos una forma económica y ágil de regresar a Tel Aviv.
Y aprendimos la lección: leer bien la letra menuda de los que se compra.
READ THE FINE PRINT...sure they pick you up at your hotel in Tel Aviv and that is nice, but don't just assume that they will deliver you back there! Without a word, I was totally abandoned in front of a hotel in Jerusalem. I repeatedly asked the driver and the guide about transportation back to Tel Aviv and none had an answer beyond, I am just the driver and I don't know your arrangements... They knew full well that it was up to me to get myself back to Tel Aviv...fortunately, I am not thrown by adventure. I walked to the tram station. People were helpful and pointed me in the right direction. I took the tram to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem and there, for about 16 Shekels less than 5, I were driven to the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, where I were totally shellacked with a 50 Shekels cab ride to my hotel about 18 minutes away! The tour was very interesting although I was whisked through everything fairly quickly, similar to being on a conveyer belt. The guide was exceptional in Palestine. IF Viator had made it very clear that the trip was a one-way to Jerusalem, I would have probably not gone. Life is an adventure and I am up for all, but probably not when I have been in a foreign country for less than 24 hours. Again, READ THE FINE PRINT!
Impressive and heart-wrenching at the same time, as the tour leads you through the border between Israel and Palestine. A shared history and a divided present time. The tour was very informative, even for me, being an atheist. Go and see it! Thanks to lovely Osama who picked us up behind the border and introduced us to Bethlehem and Palestine!
It was just ok. Nothing spectacular about the tour. Its just a pretty good way to get around places. Less time spent on each destination except the gift shops that they want you to spend your money on (typical tourist trap). I did three consecutive days with this company and its all the same.
The half day tour was exciting and the tour guides, especialy the Palestinian guides were excellent. To be commened. The only issues were it was running very late and they forced a certain gift shop and restaurant upon the group. It was as if they were getting a cut of the service. They should have put a time limit on the gift shop and ended the tour immediately after, not forced the restaurant. Not many wanted to go.
Dont forgot you passport, you definitely need it as you are entering an Arab city. This was another excellent trip with "Isaac" (Zahi Shaked), and a Palestinian guide, both were very knowledgable and friendly. They took us around Bethlehem, including the lactation grotto church and church of the nativity. They provided local food at a reasonable cost, which we ate nearby and had a chance to buy the locally crafted figures made from the olive trees growing in the picturesque hilly landscape around Bethlehem. This gives you an idea of how the shepherds lived during Jesus's birth and the part they played in communicating the news of the birth of Jesus. As this is a half day tour, you will be dropped off in Jerusalem, so you have to make your own way back to you accomodation.