Adventures Abroad President: Chris Boycott

FEATURE – 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Adventures Abroad President: Chris Boycott

Adventures Abroad Managing Director and founder: Chris Boycott

Message from Chris Boycott, Managing Director and founder

Back in 1987 when I hatched the idea of hanging out my own shingle and starting my own tour company, it was hard to imagine what the world of travel—or the world in general—would look like in thirty years. “Small group” and “soft adventure” were new concepts gaining traction, advertising was limited to newspapers and word-of-mouth, the noisy telex machine clattering away in the corner was the best means of long-distance communication, and cutting and pasting an itinerary together actually involved scissors and a glue stick.

It was also impossible to imagine the challenges we would face. Volcanoes and earthquakes were always par for the course, as were infectious diseases and political insurrections. But terrorism was still a vague spectre on the horizon, and who could have imagined the fallout stemming from the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001? As we now accept taking off our shoes and discarding our water bottles before boarding a flight as a matter of everyday life, one can’t help but wonder what we have gained and lost, and how these things continue to shape the way of the future.

Challenging times will always be there, and I’m very proud that our staff and family of travellers have been such a resilient, flexible, creative, patient and, in many ways, philosophical gang of positive thinkers. I like to think that those of us who travel, who keenly seek out “otherness,” who not only accept diversity, but celebrate it, will one day, truly, inherit the Earth. To live, laugh, learn, and love through travel cannot help but make one a better person—a true citizen of the world. We at Adventures Abroad have always, and will continue to believe in the free movement of peoples and ideas, regardless of where they’re from and what values they hold dear. Moving forward under this ideal is what will see us through the darker days that always seem to lie ahead, and set a positive path for those who follow.

Through the years, I’ve had the honour and great privilege to see my two children, now adults, heading out to explore the world with us, and now on their own. In them and their passion for travel, I see hope for us all. I invite you to join me and the Adventures Abroad family in continuing to reach for this dream through the next 30 years and beyond.

Thank you for your support all these years—see you on the road!

Chris Boycott

Chris’s next trip:
Namibia & Botswana
NA2 | 19 Days | Details

UPCOMING TOURS

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Albania & Macedonia

We have enjoyed watching enigmatic Albania open and grow during the last 20 years that we have been offering tours here. Infrastructure improvements and greater reliability of visitor services has made exploring this small but fascinating eastern European state, which was, for many years, closed to tourists, much easier and more comfortable than was just two decades ago. We are also pleased to be one of the first operators to offer tours here, and are very excited about our numerous itineraries that combine Albania with neighbouring countries, including Macedonia, where we visit Ohrid—the “City of 365 churches”—an outstanding mixture of the Western and the Oriental. Albania/Macedonia can also be preceded by our hugely popular Adriatic tour (Slovenia & Croatia), which spends a night in Budva, Montenegro, en route to Tirana. Tours from 14 to 30 days; dates in spring & fall

Albania & Macedonia 
AL1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Jun 2017 - GUARANTEED

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Macedonia 
AD6 | 30 Days | Details
Departure date: 19 May 2017 – SIX SPOTS LEFT

 

“CZ Series”

Our tours beginning in the Czech Republic, with options to the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria (which we affectionately refer to as the “CZ series”), is one of our longest standing family of European itineraries, featuring amazing architecture, compelling histories, unique cultures, stunning landscapes, and great value-for-money. Variety is the name of the game here; it’s no wonder why this is one of our most popular series in Europe. The main problem here is how to choose!

Czech Republic 
CZ1 | 9 Days | Details

Czech Republic & Slovakia 
CZ2 | 13 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Budapest 
CZ7 | 15 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary 
CZ3 | 21 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary & Romania 
CZ4 | 28 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria 
CZ5 | 35 Days | Details

Other combinations, ie Romania & Bulgaria only, also exist; summer and fall dates booking now!

 

Eastern China & Hong Kong

There is still time to consider the spring departure of our ever-popular foray through Hong Kong and Eastern China is a guaranteed trip with last minute space still available. Past Adventures Abroad travellers to China have appreciated our small-group concept at a destination where much group travel is dominated by huge busloads of 50+ tourists who spend much of their time just getting on and off the bus and being herded into souvenir shops. Our Tour Leaders and local guides put the culture, sites, history and monuments of China first to ensure that your experience is as in-depth, authentic, and personalized as it can be. As a small group, we can get much more done in a day without feeling rushed, get to know our fellow travellers, and dine out at local restaurants to avoid the massive and characterless hotel buffet! Hong Kong, Guilin, Li River, Yangtze River, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing

Eastern China 
CN2 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

Hong Kong & Eastern China 
CN4 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

 

Switzerland

Our comprehensive rail tour of Switzerland is filling quickly for both summer and fall dates. This tour is a rich fondue brimming with highlights. Throughout we make use of the region’s uber-convenient (and scenic!) rail system, including the famed Glacier Express. We even pop into the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest states! We are also over-the-Alps excited with the popularity of and feedback from our recent Swiss hiking tours, which feature a well-paced combination of walking tours of towns and cities along with some of the country’s most scenic and famous mountain trails. Throw in a few rail journeys (including the world-renown Glacier Express) and spectacular cable-car journeys, and you have a highly-varied and quintessentially Swiss experience.

Switzerland 
SW1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 May 2017
Departure date: 13 Sep 2017

Hiking Switzerland 
XSW | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Jun 2017
Departure date: 01 Sep 2017

 

Microstates of Europe

Join us as we explore the unique culture, history and scenery of these fascinating corners of Europe. These less sizable nations tend to remain under the radar, but each one boasts a distinct culture and myriad attractions and sights. Most are so small that it is hard to even find them on a map, and few travellers know much about what they have to offer. We will examine the history, culture, and inner workings of these smallest independent countries in Europe. These are among the oldest states on the continent and, despite their diversity, they have much in common. San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City & Luxembourg

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017 – 4 SPOTS LEFT
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017 – 10 SPOTS LEFT

WHAT A SITE!

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

 Al Beidha

A short distance north of Petra, Jordan, lies an area of pale honey coloured rock – Al Beidha in Arabic, ‘the white one’ – the next most important site in Wadi Musa, also included in Petra’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here in the 1st century AD the Nabataeans established a commercial suburb, a place for trading caravans to stop en route between south Arabia and the Mediterranean.

Well before the Nabateans, however, area’s fertile land had been exploited for many millennia by Neolithic groups, who settled here around 7000 BC, hunting animals with flint weapons and gathering wild plants to eat. They also grew wheat and barley and kept goats and sheep. It was first excavated in 1957 when three periods of occupation were detected: the Natufian period in the 11th millennium BC, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B village with masonry construction in the 7th millennium BC, and a Nabatean period dating to the 1st or 2nd century BC.

Natufian Beidha is characterized as a seasonal encampment, repeatedly occupied over a long period of time. Evidence from lithics recovered along with the layout and position of hearths and roasting areas suggested the occupants were primarily engaged in hunting related activities. This was supported by the absence of permanent buildings, storage, burials and large stone implements.

During the Neolithic stage, the villagers used stone masonry and built a wall around the settlement of round houses with subterranean floors. Many of the materials recovered came from some distance and included Anatolian obsidian and mother of pearl from the Red Sea. Evidence shows it was destroyed by fire c. 6650 BC and then rebuilt with rectangular, overground buildings and specialized workshops. The transition to right-angled buildings shows an important development in human society that may have contributed the eventual development of cities.

Spending three nights in the region allows participants on our tour to explore this very special and important site, often overlooked by groups rushing through in a day. Spending two full days here allows for this very special visit and the chance to re-enter the main site of Petra for relaxed independent exploration on day two.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Visit Petra and Al Beidha on all of your tours that include Jordan:

Jordan 
JO1 | 8 Days | Details

Jordan & Israel 
JO4 | 17 Days | Details

Jordan, Israel & Egypt 
JO9 | 29 Days | Details

Israel with Petra Extension 
IS8 | 14 Days | Details

Egypt & Jordan 
EG5 | 21 Days | Details

All 2017 tours including EGYPT are discounted

NEW THINGS AND UPDATES!

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

A couple of special Tour Leader-designed trips, this time from the desk and imagination of Jonathan Hodgson. In addition to many of our regularly-scheduled he’ll be leading for us in 2017/18, Jonathan is excited to launch two new additions to the special “JH” series of itineraries:

Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova  NEW TOUR!
JHBU | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Australia – Featuring Western & South Australia and Tasmania  NEW TOUR!
JHOZ | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Oct 2017

 

Our re-designed Mongolia tour, featuring the famed Naadam Festival and comfortable ger accommodation with private bath facilities, is now a guaranteed tour with limited space available!

Mongolia
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 Jul 2017 – GUARANTEED

 

West Africa is back on the roster with a refreshed itinerary through five diverse countries, including the reintroduction of Gambia into the fold. This a true off-the-beaten-path adventure through Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Togo and Benin over 19 highlight-packed days.

West Africa  NEW TOUR!
WF2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017
Departure date: 11 Feb 2018

 

We’re delighted with the feedback from this season’s first three run-throughs of our new tour of Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia. This is an up-and-coming region and, with thanks to suggestions from our travellers and Tour Leaders, we have ironed out some wrinkles and re-tooled the itinerary for November onward. We have also confirmed dates for 2018! This is one of the most exciting tours we’ve added to our Africa roster in years and we’re pleased to be one of the only operators offering a trip like this.

Ethiopia, Djibouti & Sudan
SD1 | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017 – LIMITED SPACE

 

We have made an improvement to our tour of ‘The Guyanas’, made possible by the elimination of some now unnecessary backtracking which has allowed us to add another night at the superlative Kabalebo Nature Resort, a nature’s paradise with a level of service and luxury that belies its extremely isolated locale deep in the southern Surinamese jungle. This improves an already popular tour that now includes both Guyana and French Guiana.

“I truly enjoyed the stay at Kabalebo Nature Resort. It was a wonderful mix of comfort and nature, and the staff at the resort were lovely.” Daniele D, San Antonio, TX

“Fantastic! I think the highlight of my trip.” Kathleen S, Edmonton, AB

Guyana, Suriname & French Guiana
GY1 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017

 

One of our long-standing flagship tours is still going strong after 30 years, and we have managed to secure some scarce additional for our September Northern Italy dates, which are already booking up.

Florence to Venice
IT8 | 8 Days | Details
Departure date: 15 Sep 2017

Rome to Florence
IT7 | 10 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Rome to Venice
IT1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

 

We have just guaranteed our 2-week, full circumnavigation of Ireland, including both the Republic and Northern Island, for this spring. Though Ireland is rarely associated with more “exotic” destinations, this is a delightfully compelling journey with surprising variety in art and architecture, culture, history, cuisines, landscapes, accents, and, of course, pubs! This itinerary showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly of this ancient and modern land and, in springtime, its famous ‘40 shades of green.’

Ireland & Ulster
IE1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 May 2017 – GUARANTEED

 

Our Balkan Explorer tour is probably the most varied trip we offer in Europe. Over 19 days we immerse ourselves in seven countries that comprise this culturally rich and politically complicated region. Click below for full details and a full listing of countries covered.

Balkan Explorer
BK1 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 May 2017 – GUARANTEED

TOUR LEADER NEWS

Tour Leader: Rachel Kristensen

Tour Leader: Rachel Kristensen

The following Tour Leader assignments are for confirmed tours coming up soon with space available, as well as some new and exciting things a little further down the road. This list is not exhaustive—watch this space every couple of months for news about our leaders, simply the best in the business.


In addition to our regular scheduled trips throughout the year, Jonathan Hodgson has designed a couple of new one-off trips that he will be leading late summer / fall:

Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova  NEW TOUR!
JHBU | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Australia – Tasmania & Western Australia  NEW TOUR!
JHOZ | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Oct 2017

Australia
AU1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017


Chris Tripodi has just been assigned to head back to the South Pacific this June; after that he’s all over the map!

Northern Italy
IT1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 06 May 2017 – ONE SPOT LEFT (Female to share)

The South Pacific
MCSP | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Jun 2017 – FIVE SPOTS LEFT


And Rachel Kristensen will be hot on Chris’s heels with a second June date of the same tour:

The South Pacific
MCSP | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jun 2017 – FIVE SPOTS LEFT


Serra Hughes returns to her beloved Greek Isles this spring:

The Greek Islands
GI4 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 May 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT

Classical Greece
GC2 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 May 2017

Classical & Isles
GR7 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 May 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT

Madagascar
MG1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Oct 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT


Eastern / Central European specialist Ondrej Strejcek takes another swing through Poland, the Baltic States & Russia this May:

Poland
PL3 | 11 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

Poland & the Baltics
PL5 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

Poland, the Baltics & St Petersburg
PL9 | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

The Baltic States
BS1 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 May 2017

The Baltics & St Petersburg
BS2 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 May 2017


 Andres Fernandez

Morocco
MO5 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 May 2017 – 3 SPOTS LEFT


Claude Morency, our West Africa veteran, takes us back to the region with a new itinerary that now includes the Gambia!

West Africa  NEW TOUR!
WF2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017


Peter Barathan will be heading up our spring tour through the Microstates:

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017


martin

Martin Charlton just returned from leading our venerable Egypt & Jordan combo, an assignment that helped celebrate our 30th anniversary (and his 23rd with us), and returned Martin to one of his old stomping grounds where he led his very first tours for us in the late 1990’s. Upon his return we asked him to share his thoughts about the experience:

“For 14 days we toured the country from north to south, or from ‘Lower Egypt’ to ‘Upper Egypt’. The sights don’t get much more iconic than Abu Simbel, Karnak Temple or the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza. Having the chance to sail along the Nile and explore the ancient antiquities is always a dream come true for every traveller, but for each traveller in my group the true ‘highlight’ was often something different. For many the fondest memories will come from one of those unscripted moments, like capturing the smells wafting from a local bakery during an early morning stroll through a back-alley souk (market) in Aswan, or the smiles of the local women as we enjoyed a donkey ride through the small villages on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. We ventured to ancient monasteries by camel in Aswan, gazed at the extraordinarily beautiful new library of Alexandria, and sipped tea beneath the shadow of the minarets of the Al-Hussein Mosque at the Khan El-Khalili bazaar in Cairo. The number of memorable experiences is simply too long to list here, and picking a single favourite is next to impossible.

Since the start of the Arab Spring back in February 2011, times have been tough for the average Egyptian. In a country so dependent upon tourism (and the influx of foreign currency), it has been difficult to watch the population struggle to ‘hang on’ for the past few years. So, there was some comfort in the thought that perhaps my group of 17 travellers would bring a small glimmer of hope to those who wonder when the tourism numbers in Egypt will get back to normal. We all felt safe at every step along the way, and it really seemed as though there was no better time to be leading a group to the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’.

Egypt is a complicated yet fascinating country, and truly a destination that offers something for everyone. As a friend of mine in Alexandria once said, ‘You may not be able to travel back in time, but exploring Egypt is close enough.’”

Booking now for fall 2017 (leadership TBA):

Egypt
EG3 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Oct 2017

Egypt & Jordan
EG5 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 15 Oct 2017

 

All 2017 Egypt dates are discounted!

 

Next for Martin…

Portugal, the Azores & Madeira
MCPO | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 18 Sep 2017 – WAIT LIST ONLY

CLICK FOR CURRENT DISCOUNTS

OUR CURRENT TOP 10

Looking for inspiration in choosing your next adventure? Click here for our top 10 best sellers—the list changes constantly, check back often!

 

Have your eye on a tour but it never seems to be ‘guaranteed’ early enough to plan? Looking for an itinerary or destination we do not yet offer? Email Justin in our Sales Department and he’ll add your name to a watch list of like-minded travellersjbiehl@adventures-abroad.com

ACCOMMODATION UPDATE

Traditional Mongolian Landscapes and ger home

Traditional Mongolian Landscapes and ger home

The Mongolian Ger

A traditional ger (Mongolian) or yurt (from the Turkic languages) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs, and a wheel (crown, compression ring), possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large gers may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting gers is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern gers may be permanently built on a wooden platform; they may use modern materials such as steam-bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation.

Gers have been a distinctive feature of life in Central Asia for at least three thousand years. The first written description of a ger used as a dwelling was recorded by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. He described ger-like tents as the dwelling place of the Scythians, a horse riding-nomadic nation who lived in the northern Black Sea and Central Asian region from around 600 BC to AD 300

The design of the Mongolian Ger developed from its ancient simple forms to actively integrate with Buddhist culture. The crown—toono adopted the shape of Dharmachakra. Also the shapes, colours and ornaments of the wooden elements—toono, pillars and poles of the Mongolian ger are in accord with the artistic style found in Buddhist monasteries of Mongolia.

From 2017 and beyond, we have fully re-worked our itinerary to more easily and comfortably access the delights of this enigmatic destination. Previously, our accommodation in traditional “gers’ was charming but rustic; we can now deliver gers with full en-suite bath facilities, a rarity in Mongolia.

Sleep in a ger on our exciting tour:

Mongolia 
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 Jul 2017 – GUARANTEED

Famous Meroe pyramids

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELED

Famous Meroe pyramids

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Before air travel became overly popular, it was easy to feel you were on the road less travelled. Since the development of the jet engine in the 1950s flying has become more commonplace, making it quicker and easier each year to see destinations you’ve been yearning over.

However, that means everyone else has been able to get to those far flung destinations too. We all know the feeling of arriving and finding out that you are undoubtedly not alone. The unbearable throngs of people all trying to see that one monument, places bursting at the seams as unending streams of people flow in and out of its city walls.

To shine a little light on places still under the radar, we wanted to share our top five underrated destinations where you’ll likely have the monuments, museums, beaches and nature paths all to yourself.

 

  1. Sudan and Djibouti Tours

    With more pyramids than Egypt, Sudan shines when discovering the ancient Pharaonic civilizations.

    Sandy hills engulf much of the landscape, which is broken up with patches of acacia tree forests, the black basalt mountains in the Bayuda Mountains, a red sandstone holy mountain found in Jebel Barkal and the twisting turning Nile Rivers that flow along the country until converging in Khartoum.

    On the banks of the Nile, local life blossoms alongside archeological sites. Nubian culture, which has inhabited the Nile Region since 2000 BC, is one of the oldest civilizations known to inhabit the African continent. Relics, such as the temple dedicated to Amon at the base of Jebel Barkal, were once the religious centre of Nubia for 1000 years, whereas the political centre was spread to numerous locations, such as the ancient city of Napata with a royal necropolis decorated fully with colourful hieroglyphics.

    Modern Nubian culture thrives in hospitality, and joining a village for a cup of tea is an experience that still feels natural.

    Near to Sudan and included in our tours to the region, Djibouti‘s well off the beaten track. Often compared to Iceland in terms of diverse landscapes, the small country has scenic salt lakes, extinct volcanoes, recessed plains, basaltic plateaus and impressive canyons.

  2. Mayotte – Comoros Islands 

    Far flung islands within the Indian Ocean, the Comoros archipelago doesn’t attract the traveller looking for a typical beach holiday. The remote location sees few tourists but locals enjoy plenty of natural beauty in what many consider the most scenic island in the Indian Ocean.

    Mayotte inherited a very diverse culture. Conquered in the 15th century by the Arabs, visited in the 16th century by the Portuguese and French, and invaded in the 18th century by the Sakalava, a Malagasy tribe from Madagascar. The French gained colonial control over Mayotte in 1843, and, together with the other islands of the Comoros archipelago and Madagascar, Mayotte became part of a single French overseas territory in the early 20th century.

    Find sprawling beaches with soft white sand, while inland active volcanoes create fertile lands producing crops such as vanilla, ylang-ylang, coffee, banana and coconuts. Spot lemurs and giant fruit bats near the baobab trees, a tree species which appear as though the roots are growing into the sky which is endemic to Mayotte, Madagascar and parts of the African continent.

  3. The Balkans: Macedonia and Kosovo 

    The Balkan Peninsula is the last corner of Europe to see tourists.

    Located near the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Black Seas, The Balkans have been at the crossroads of great civilizations since antiquity. Greek, Roman and Ottoman relics are still visible to this day.

    In Kosovo, a newly recognized country since 2008, one can view Ottoman legacies such as the Sinan Pasha Mosque built in 1561, the Carshia Mosque in Pristina constructed in the 15th century, and the Ottoman clock towers built in the 19th century in the city of Pristina. Showcasing the Serbian Orthodox minority are monasteries such as the Decani Monastery, which is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in Kosovo or the Gracanica Monastery, built in 1321 and representing the height of Serbian Byzantine tradition.

    Follow twisting mountain roads to peaceful cobblestoned town squares with beautiful vistas. Cafe culture is alive and well in Kosovo, and while evidence of the conflicts from the 1990s are visible across the country, it feels as though that time is well in the past.

    In Macedonia, the country transitions seamlessly from the jigsaw puzzle of buildings in Skopje, which has been ruled at various times by ancient Rome, Byzantium, the First Bulgarian Empire and the Ottoman Turks, to the stunningly scenic towns such as Ohrid. Perched on the northern slopes above Lake Ohrid, the “city of 365 churches” is home to monasteries dating back to the 9th century which were once the cradle of arts and literature, even creators of the Cyrillic language.

  4. South Pacific Islands – Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati (

    You’d be forgiven if you had to reference a map to discover where the islands of Nauru, Tuvalu and Kiribati are.

    In Kiribati, fewer than 6000 visitors reached its shores, making it the 4th least visited country in the world. Tuvalu sees even less tourists, just under 1000 per year, while Nauru holds the distinction of being the least visited country in the world with fewer than 160 visitors per year.

    Extremely remote, these near inaccessible islands are found between New Zealand and Hawaii, and boast a wonderful Polynesian culture. In Kiribati, Micronesians speak the same Oceanic language since perhaps as far back as 3000 BC. Throughout history, arrivals from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji have impacted the ‘cultural landscape’.

    Climate change is a real issue facing all three countries. Rising sea levels are expected to submerge the islands completely. Kiribati recently made headlines after it bought land in Fiji to relocate its 100,000 inhabitants. Tuvalu will be extremely hard hit as its highest point is a mere 4.6 m above sea level.

    If you like stunning coral reefs surrounding small atolls with palm fringed beaches in truly off the beaten path locations, these South Pacific Islands are ones to consider.

  5. Bhutan

    When a country measures itself against a ‘gross national happiness’ index, you know it is somewhere unique.

    A true Himalayan Kingdom, majestic monasteries cling to the hillsides of snowcapped mountains overlooking deeply cut gorges and pine-filled valleys in postcard-perfect settings.
    Bhutan‘s official name, ‘Druk Yul’, means the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, and the country has taken a sustainable approach to tourism by highly regulating the numbers of tourists allowed into the country. This means plenty of space to explore for those that venture there.

    Explore the dzongs, a distinct fortress structure, such as the Punakha Dzong built on the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in 1637, the Tashicho Dzong with over 2000 monks in residence, or the Paro Dzong which each spring sees the Tsechus Festival. The Buddhist religious festival includes masked dances depicting the events from the life of Padmasambhava, the eighth-century Nyingmapa Buddhist teacher.

 

TOUR LEADER & STAFF NEWS

m3

Martin Charlton

To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we have just assigned senior Tour Leader and destination specialist, Martin Charlton, to our iconic Egypt and Egypt / Jordan combo series for January 2017! This is where AA got it’s start, and Martin can’t wait to share one of his all-time favourite tours.

Egypt   DISCOUNTED TOUR
EG3 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Jan 2017

Egypt & Jordan   DISCOUNTED TOUR
EG5 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Jan 2017


Jonathan Hodgson

In keeping with his recent obsession with island-based natural history and cultures, Jonathan continues the trend with a fantastic 2-week tour of one of the most remote and distinct corners of North America, the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador—viking sites, icebergs, teeming wildlife, charming villages, stupendous mountain and coastal scenery, and one of the most interesting histories and cultures in the Western Hemisphere. Rounding out the intrigue is a visit to St-Pierre & Miquelon, a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France just off the coast of Newfoundland.

Newfoundland & Labrador
JHNL | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 Aug 2017

Coming soon: Western Australia & Tasmania, Ukraine, Belarus & Moldova, with Jonathan


Victor Romagnoli

In spring 2017, Victor will be heading back to one of his favourite parts of the world for a fantastic walking tour along El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain (VREC). His summer 2017 tour of Germany (VRDE) is sold out (waitlist only), as are our two tours of Papua New Guinea in fall 2017. Victor will also be heading back to Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia (SD1) in November 2017, in addition to many regularly-scheduled tours as yet unassigned.

El Camino De Santiago
VREC | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Apr 2017

Germany SOLD OUT (Waitlist only)
VRDE | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 30 Jul 2017

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Nov 2017



Chris Tripodi

Chris just finished leading the second running of our Microstates of Europe tour (MCMS)–two dates offered for 2017 (leaders TBA). Of course Chris will be leading many of our regularly-scheduled trips throughout the year.

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017
Departure date: 09 Sept 2017



Lorna Lissner

Lorna is currently leading our Ethiopia tour featuring the Meskel Festival, an event increasing in popularity and filling our September 2017 departure very early. ET1 & ET2

Ethiopia
ET1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Sept 2017

Ethiopia
ET2 | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Sept 2017



Serra Hughes

Serra just concluded the first running of our tour of Atlantic Canada to rave reviews:

Enjoyed the tour, excellent tour leader, great group” – Walter J. Edmonton

It was a privilege to travel with a Maritime native and especially to go ‘home’ with her to PEI. We enjoyed all the local flavour she was able to bring to the group in the dining venues and meal selections, especially for appies.” Grant & Paula S. Calgary

I had a wonderful time- the leader, guides and bus driver were a pleasure.

There was variety and activity for the 2 weeks.” Ticia W. Plymouth, MA

[Guide] Maureen on Cabot Trail excursion was knowledgeable. The volunteer guides on Grand Manan Island, a father-daughter team, are not official guides but were delightful as they showed us around Gr Manan’s highlights. Guide in Saint John was elderly Scotsman who also knows the area well and added humor to his tour. Highlight on Campobello Island was Tea with Eleanor. The two women who did the presentation on Eleanor Roosevelt were able to convey with passion and thoroughness the essence of Eleanor. Wonderful time and highlight of the trip.” Mark & Barbara B, Aurora, CO

Thanks again for a quality trip, exceptional tour leaders and support service.” Ruth H. Oakdale, CA

Atlantic Canada
AP1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 13 Jun 2017
Departure date: 28 Aug 2017

HEAD OFFICE NEWS

Product Manager and former Tour Leader, Rick Unrau, recently uploaded a bunch of his photos from his trip to Sudan – WOW! Click here to see his amazing photos and for full details about this sensational tour. SD1, January (two dates), and Nov 2017

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017
Departure date: 09 Nov 2017

And we are pleased to introduce and welcome Sierra Searing to our head office team. Sierra comes to us with 40 countries under her belt and an enthusiasm that is more than infectious. Sierra has studied in Chile and managed a hostel in Sri Lanka, among other exotic adventures. Hers will be yet another friendly voice on the line in our Consulting and Sales departments.

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LINK TO CURRENT DISCOUNTS

OUR CURRENT TOP 10

Looking for inspiration in choosing your next adventure? Click here for our top 10 best sellers—the list changes constantly, check back often!

ACCOMMODATION UPDATE

NUBIAN REST HOUSE

Travellers on our very first foray into North Sudan this November (and three dates next year) will have the distinction of staying at Sudan’s first and only boutique style accommodation. Located in the friendly northern town of Karima, the Nubian Rest House is an immaculate, well-placed, and sprawling property boasting a unique and traditional Nubian style, first-class amenities, stunningly landscaped grounds, and mouth watering regional meals. This comfortable lodge is the perfect base for our four-night, three-day exploration of the fascinating sites that make this place so special. Pamper yourself in Karima on this 17-day, three country odyssey!

For photos from this trip and other accommodation used, click here.

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia 

VRSD | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 Nov 2016 SOLD OUT

SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017 AVAILABLE, led by Jonathan Hodgson
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017 ONE SPOT (male willing to share), led by Jonathan Hodgson
Departure date: 9 Nov 2017 AVAILABLE, led by Victor Romagnoli