I just returned from the Costa Del Sol trip two weeks ago and it was wonderful. I would strongly suggest to those planning to go on this trip to sign up for all the optional tours if you have never traveled to this region before. Doing that does not allow much in the way of free time but what you experience instead is so worthwhile. My favorite towns on this tour were Ronda and Mijas. In fact, I enjoyed Mijas so much, that on our final day in Spain, I took the public bus back to Mijas and in exploring on my own, discovered a beautiful path that took you along a cliff edge (it was paved and had a wall along the edge for safety) where there were gorgeous views overlooking the charming whitewashed homes and of the Mediterranean Sea beyond. Along side the path was a wonderful linear garden. I was so glad I went back to do more exploring as I would have never seen that lovely section of the town otherwise.
My least favorite part of the trip was Gibraltar. It was fun seeing the apes but beyond that, it was way too crowded, the traffic was nuts, and there really wasn't enough time to explore the cave and scenic vistas while on the taxi tour. I'm glad I went to see it but my feeling about it is, "been there, done that, don't need to see it again".
My suggestion for hostess gifts for the home hosted meals is to bring something that represents the area where you live.
The Dine Around program was great. The food was delicious in every restaurant my friend and I tried. We especially liked Guadalupe's, where i had the best Sangria I have ever tasted, and Don Canape.
The location of the Bajondillo Apartments was great. We were right across the street from the beach with lots of shops and restaurants nearby. The room was clean. The bed seemed to be narrower than a normal twin bed but I found the mattress to be fine. The room was very plain. Word of warning - soap is not provided and neither are wash cloths. Grounds were pretty and well kept and staff was friendly. However, my one complaint, and for me it was a big one, the bar remains open until 1 a.m. and after the bar closes, people took their partying out to the outdoor patio. Even prior to closing, there were many people on that patio and the sound just echoes up to the rooms. Three times I complained about all the noise....laughing, singing, shouting, etc. that was going on as late as 2:30 a.m. While it was taken care of, each time I complained, I did not appreciate having my sleep disturbed, almost on a nightly basis, especially when we had early wake up calls for our touring the next day. I really think that GCT needs to look into other accommodations in Torremolinos. For me, I would not want to stay there again.
Our tour director, Antonio, was wonderful. I would say he was the best tour guide I have ever had.
This was my first GST trip and based on my Costa Del Sol experience, I would definitely travel with them again.