In barely a day and a half we will be flying to Cairo to visit Egypt for three weeks. The idea of visiting Egypt had been around for a while, but was it possible to make a trip to Egypt in our own way? Could you go without organized travel and survive the attempt? The first thing I did was visit a couple of travel agencies and take the catalogs, to see routes, prices, etc. In Egypt as soon as you leave the cruise package plus three nights in Cairo, the price skyrockets, so I entered The Forum of Travelers to find out if this going independently was viable (they had explained many stories about it was impossible and dangerous) and with great satisfaction I saw that there was a section in the forum of Egypt called “Free much better " After reading people's comments we decided to do it on our own.
Egypt is a totally unknown country for me, so for Reyes this year I asked for the Lonely Planet guide. The moment I started to organize it, I have to admit that it made me a whole world. Tons of information that I was not able to process. But everything became easier as soon as we booked the cruise.
The Nile cruise is one of the things that cost us the most to choose. Basically there are three types of boat: the faluca, the normal cruise and the dahabiya. The faluca is a sailing boat that crosses the Nile. It is the cheapest and most adventurous way to do it, but also the most uncomfortable. Having to sleep 3 or 4 nights in the open (with mosquitoes and bugs included, since it is a river), without a bath or shower ... it did not convince us. The typical cruise with guided tours in mega-group, the captain's reception and the night of the chilabas, we were terrified. Is there not an intermediate option? Yes, the dahabiyas, style ships of the early twentieth century that cross the Nile with a small group of people. Ideal, right? The bad thing is that the more than 1,500 euros per person (4 nights) is not so much. So in the end we opted for the cruise.
On the Nile they sail if not hundreds, very high tens of ships. And deciding on one is very complicated. You have them from 120 euros without excursions up to 1,200 euros per person. There are three types of itineraries: those of four nights that go from Luxor to Aswan, those of three nights that go from Aswan to Luxor and those of seven nights that are from Luxor to Luxor or from Aswan to Aswan.
We opted for the 4-night cruise that usually leaves on Monday. As they had explained stories of cockroaches and disastrous ships (and after the experience in NY), it was very difficult for us to choose the ship. The bad thing about cruises is that there are no “Tripadvisor” style websites where they give you opinions, and those who go with the packages are usually commented on the forums. After looking at several options we opted for Amarco I (one of the few with web conditions), which is one of the boats offered in the English Court catalog. We directly contact the boat and the 4-night cruise, full board and excursions included costs us 599 euros per person, a little expensive but it is the only luxury we have given ourselves.
Our ship docked in Luxor, as guests began to arrive.
About the hotels at the beginning I thought that chain hotels would be cheap, but no. A Marriott or a Hilton in Cairo will cost you about 200 euros a night. The truth is that we are not much of going to big chain hotels because they are very impersonal, so we are guided by Tripadvisor. In Cairo we stay at the Longchamps Hotel in the Zamalek neighborhood, which is the neighborhood where the embassies are, so at least we can sleep peacefully. The double room with breakfast costs 56 euros. It is a three star but it is very well valued. In Luxor we stay in the Mara House Hotel (50 euros / night). In Aswan it is the only night we spend in a super hotel, because that day we will have to get up early to go to Abu Simbel, so we have looked for a place to rest and the Mövenpick seems ideal (92 euros / night). Finally we will stay a week in the Red Sea, but instead of staying in the tourist hyper Sharm el Sheik, we will go up to Nuweiba / Tarabin to stay in a small beach hotel to relax and recover from the tute. The hotel is the Nakhil Inn and costs 35 euros / night.
Our itinerary was as follows: