Author Archives: Serra Hughes

Serra Hughes

About Serra Hughes

Serra Hughes has been working for Adventures Abroad since 2005 as both a tour leader and an in-house Destination Specialist.

Cuba in Transition

The time is now!  May 2nd departure filling up fast….new May 16th departure added….

With the recent announcement of impending changes to the USA’s relationship with Cuba, this island nation has been making a big splash in the news, especially with respect to the future of tourism in the laid-back and charming destination. Every travel operator will be keen to get in on the excitement, though we’re happy to note that Adventures Abroad has been running small-group cultural tours to Cuba since 2002.

It is Cuba’s long isolationism that proves one of the main attractions for travellers, as destinations untouched by Western influence are now so few and far between. So if you have ever dreamed of going to Cuba, now may be the time—do it before it loses its rustic charm; do it while the old classic cars still outnumber the new ones and before tourists overrun the historic centres. We spend 15 days exploring this surprisingly varied island, exploring the cobbled streets and colonial architecture of lively Havana, friendly Trinidad, vibrant Santiago, and laid-back Baracoa. The changes taking place in Cuba are inevitable and necessary; make time to experience Cuba now during this unique moment in its history. Additional dates added for 2015/16:

Tour code: CU1 | Duration: 15 Days |Full Itinerary
Departure dates: 2015 - May 2, Oct 10, Nov 7, Nov 21                                                                                                2016 - Jan 30, Feb 27, Apr 30, Oct 8, Nov 5, Nov 19


Cuba: A Step back in time

By Adventures Abroad

Tour leader Rachel Kristensen captures the beauty and magnetism of Cuba.

  • The Malecón, Havana, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    There is no better feeling than a cruise down the famous Malecón, with the sea salt breeze blowing through your hair and the sun soaking down on you as you ride in a 1950's convertible.

  • Old Havana, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    Touring the back streets of Havana Vieja; where vintage taxis wait to whisk you away to plazas full of music and salsa.

  • Callejon de Hammel, Havana

    By Adventures Abroad

    The murals of Callejon de Hammel: an intersection for religion, art and rumba.

  • Viñales Valley, Pinar del Rio, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    Sweeping views of karst mountains surrounding tobacco and yucca fields, easily explored by our guided walking tour.

  • Viñales Valley, Pinar del Río, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    A place in Cuba truly unaffected by time. Our tour travels by dirt path passing farmers' simple houses, while they tend to ox-trodden fields of tobacco and yucca plants.

  • Playa Ancon, near Trinidad, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    The lure of the Caribbean sea is strong as it laps onto Cuba's white sandy beaches.

  • Guantánamo Province, Cuba

    By Adventures Abroad

    Far from the tourist trail, our tour travels by boat in Guantánamo province, an area so rich with flora and fauna that Columbus deemed it "the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen".

 

 

 

Tour Leader Updates

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON VICTOR ROMAGNOLI

This upcoming May you will find Victor in Greece leading a unique and specially-designed itinerary that showcases all that is ancient and modern in this beautiful, venerable corner of Europe. This journey will take the traveller through a variety of different regions in order to showcase the ancient and modern diversity of Greece. We will travel to the Peloponnese, to Epirus and Macedonia, Thessaly, Attica, and Crete — the nation’s largest island — as well two contrasting Cycladic islands. Space still available due to last minute cancellations! Tour code VRGR.

Victor Romagnoli

Victor Romagnoli

 

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON MARTIN CHARLTON

This Canadian Arctic safari is a one-time departure for Adventures Abroad. Departing in June, this adventure is being led by senior tour leader Martin! Using an Arctic Safari yurt-style camp as a base the group will observe tusked narwhal & polar bears; Journey by snowmobile to traditional Inuit hunting grounds; Enjoy tea made of melt-water from hundreds of year old icebergs along the route; Visit the Bylot Island bird cliffs with 200,000+ birds; Tour Iqaluit – Canada’s coolest arctic city. An Arctic experience like no other. Tour code MCCA Space still available

©Martin Charlton

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON LAURA RUDDERFORTH

This February you will find Laura leading the ultimate highlights tour of Australia & New Zealand! From flashy and historic Sydney to Ayer’s Rock and the Red Centre;, this efficient and well-paced itinerary also gets our travellers to the Great Barrier Reef, Auckland, scenic Queenstown… and ends with a stunning Doubtful Sound cruise! Tour code AU4Space subject to confirmation

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON JONATHAN HODGSON

In The Footsteps Of The Vikings’ – designed and led by Jonathan, this summer departure is a very attractive combination of our new tour of the Northern Isles of Scotland (Orkney & Shetland), Denmark’s Faroes Islands, and our long-standing tour of Iceland & Greenland (IC4). This one-time offering is a comprehensive regional odyssey as unique in its diverse history and cultures as it is visually stunning in its rugged natural beauty. Tour code JHVKSpace still available

 

New and Improved Tours

2015/2016 DATES NOW AVAILABLE

We now have published dates ready for booking through the end of 2016. Some highlights worth noting:
· Ethiopia (ET2) Jan 2016 featuring the annual Timkat festival is already filling up—to be led by Serra Hughes!
· Mongolia (MN1) featuring the Nadaam Festival summer 2015 now confirmed—visas no longer required for Canadians!
· Cuba (CU1) – additional dates added (see below for details)
· Japan (JP1, JP2)—new spring 2015 date added (azalea season!)
· Norway & Finland (MCNF)—a “one time only” tour added to our regular roster
· North Korea—coming soon (dates TBA)

ADRIATIC HIKING TOUR—IMPROVEDXAD

This popular entry (XAD) on our European roster of hiking tours has just been improved with the help of past travellers, tour leaders, and our local partners in the region. The call was for more activity and less independent time, and we’ve delivered with new hikes in Montenegro and Croatia, including Lovcen National Park, the Peljesac Peninsula and Paklenica National Park. Broken up with non-hiking sightseeing in coastal and inland towns and cities, this is a nicely-paced exploration of this diverse and visually stunning region. 07 May 15 – one spot left; NEW DATE 21 MAY – 03 JUN

Tour code: XAD| Duration: 14 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - May 7, May 21, Sep 18                                                                                                            2016 - May 5, Sep 16

GREECE, MACEDONIA & KOSOVO

GM1This new itinerary featuring northern Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo (GM1) is attracting a the attention of our intrepid travellers looking for a comprehensive treatment of this little-known corner of Europe. Our May 2015 date is already booking—the Monasteries of Meteora, Thessaloniki, Lake Ohrid, Skopje, Prizren & Pristina—round out this fascinating 15-day regional exploration of this complex and unique region.

Tour code: GM1| Duration: 15 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - May 25, Sep 28                                                                                                                      2016 - May 23, Sep 26

THE CHANNEL ISLES and the ISLE OF WIGHT

IL3They’re not English, they’re not French, they’re kind of European, but kind of not… they’re the Channel Islands! Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Jersey and the Isle of Wight (not technically a Channel Isle, but since we’re in the neighbourhood…), feature on this new itinerary (IL3) of those tiny semi-autonomous and cultural distinct islands the lie between England and France. Surprisingly varied in their geography, history, traditions and cuisines, this isolated little piece of Europe remains much as it has been for generations. Our June/July date is nearing guaranteed status.

Tour code: IL3| Duration: 15 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - May 5, Jun 23 and Sep 01                                                                                                      2016 - May 3, Jun 21 and Aug 30

THE SCOTTISH ISLES, THE FAROES, ICELAND & GREENLAND—WITH JONATHAN HODGSON

JHSFThis is a ‘modulized’ series that can be done in sections, or all in one big 28-day, three-destination trip-of-a-lifetime that will offered only once in summer 2015. This tour was conceptualized by senior Tour Leader, Jonathan Hodgson, and features two of the Northern Islands of Scotland (Orkney & Shetland), and well as Denmark’s Faroe archipelago, a rugged and isolated island group located half-way between Iceland and Norway. Loosely built around a common Viking / Norse theme, this tour will also feature the stunning landscapes and unique flora and fauna of all locations, as well as myriad distinct cultures, languages, and cuisines that have evolved over centuries. Your choices:

Tour code: JHSF SCOTLAND & FAROES| Duration: 11 Days |more details
Dates: Jul 21 – 31, 2015              

Tour code: JHSI SCOTLAND, FAROES & ICELAND| Duration: 23 Days |more details
Dates: Jul 21 – Aug 12, 2015   

Tour code: IC3 ICELAND| Duration: 12 Days |more details
Dates: Aug 1 – Aug 12, 2015 or Jul 30 – Aug 10, 2016

Tour code: IC4 ICELAND & GREENLAND| Duration: 12 Days |more details
Dates: Aug 1 – Aug 17, 2015 or Jul 30 – Aug 15, 2016

***Tour code: JHVK – ALL OF THE ABOVE!| Duration: 28 Days |more details
Dates: Jul 21 – Aug 17
                                                             

TAIWAN

TA3We are delighted to add Taiwan—‘La Isla Formosa’—to our Far East series that can include South Korea and Japan in various combinations of varying lengths. Nature has packed a lot into this small island nation; the Taroko Gorge and our drive to Sun Moon Lake showcases the amazing breadth of natural wonders over a small area. Taipei is also considered one of the world’s most “liveable” cities, with arguably one of the best selections of culinary experiences imaginable, as well as the world’s largest repositories of Chinese artifacts. Your choices:

Tour code: TA3 – Taiwan| Duration: 8 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Oct 7  2016 - Oct 5

Tour code: TA4 – Taiwan and South Korea| Duration: 16 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Oct 7  2016 - Oct 5

Tour code: TA5 – Taiwan, South Korea and Japan| Duration: 28 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Oct 7  2016 - Oct 5

Tour code: TA6 – Taiwan, South Korea, Japan (extended)| Duration: 35 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Oct 7  2016 - Oct 5

MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE & TOUR

TN1The ancient sites of Ephesus in Turkey and Carthage in Tunisia, the windmills of Akrotiri in the Greek Isles, Roman amphitheatres in Cartagena and Malaga in Spain and highland villages in Andalucia and Mallorca — these are highlights that would complete any tour to the Mediterranean. Combine these with an exploration of Albania and Montenegro and of Croatia’s stunning Adriatic coast including the historic cities of Dubrovnik and Split. Top it up with a scenic train journey in Croatia and a day visiting the churches of Malta. Finally add ten days of luxury stay aboard the Nautica, one of Oceania Cruises newer ships. This 20-day program (CRMD) is part of Adventures Abroad’s exclusive new portfolio of smaller ship cruises combined with select land tours that have sold out very quickly in the past. This is a last minute time-limited offer – departure 12 May! An unbeatable tour with the added bonus of airfare included. Call for details. Book by February 16th in order to ensure availability!

Tour code: CRMD| Duration: 20 Days |more details
Dates: May 12 – 31, 2015

SPRINGTIME IN GREECE

GR8Once again, wildflower season in Greece is proving irresistible for those who have always dreamed of exploring the ruins, labyrinthine villages, herb-scented island trails, and golden beaches of this amazingly varied country, with the longest coastline in Europe and some of the most compelling human history ever recorded. May kicks off our 2015 season with only a few spots left.  Go for just the islands (GI4, GI6) or combine them with the legendary sites of Ancient Greece in our Classical Greece tour (GC2 or GR7/GR8). Summer and fall dates available as well, please see our website for details.

Tour code: GI4 – The Greek Isles| Duration: 9 Days |more details
Dates: May 5 – May 18

Tour code: GI6 – The Greek Isles (with Crete)| Duration: 14 Days |more details
Dates: May 5 – May 18

Tour code: GC2 – Classical Greece| Duration: 9 Days |more details
Dates: Apr 29 – May 7

Tour code: GR7 – Classical Greece  and Isles| Duration: 15 Days |more details
Dates: Apr 29 – May 13

Tour code: GR8 – Classical Greece and Isles (with Crete)|Duration: 20 Days |more details
Dates: Apr 29 – May 18

Festival Spotlight – Ethiopia

Meskel – The Finding of the True Cross

One of the most vibrant and important festivals in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar is the celebration of Meskel, on September 26th and 27th in the capital, Addis Ababa. Meskel means “the cross” and celebrates the finding of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. It is a time of celebration, renewal, music, dancing, colourful costumes and, most importantly, bonfires.

The most common version of the story is that St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I, traveled to Jerusalem in search of the cross where she was advised to light a fire. The smoke from the fire then pointed toward the area where the cross was buried and St. Helena then gave parts of the cross to all the Orthodox churches. The Ethiopian Church still claims to have its own piece, but it is hidden from public view at the monastery of Gishan Mariam.

Every year, thousands upon thousands of Ethiopians and visitors cram into Meskel square in Addis Ababa to celebrate the finding of the cross with a huge bonfire. Celebrations start in the early afternoon when a huge procession of people bearing torches approach Meskel Square from all directions. There are lively and musical performances throughout the day by choirs and youth groups representing various churches. It’s also the time of year that the yellow meskel daisy is blooming and people bring flowers attached to a pole to contribute to the ever growing bundle that will eventually be lit in the evening. Dancing, feasting, merrymaking, bonfires and even gun salutes mark the occasion. Truly a unique and rewarding experience to witness. Our September Ethiopia tour is set to coincide with the Meskel festival. Another benefit to our September tour is that the rest of the country is relatively quiet and you will encounter few other tourists as most descend upon the country during the more famous festival of Timkat in Lalibela.

Tour code: ET1 – Ethiopia – The Historic North| Duration: 13 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Sep 26 and Nov 24  2016 - Jan 10, Sep 25, Nov 23

Tour code: ET2 – The Historic North & Omo Valley| Duration: 22 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Sep 26 and Nov 24  2016 - Jan 10, Sep 25, Nov 23

 

 

 

What a site!

The Arktikum exhibitions

©Arktikum Science Museum

©Arktikum Science Museum

The Arktikum exhibitions, located at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland, lead guests on an adventure to Finnish Lapland and the Arctic region, which are examined in light of the Arctic research of today and the future. The “Arctic in Change” exhibit presents the conditions, nature, cultures and adaptation to extreme circumstances that occur in the far north as well as showcases multidisciplinary Arctic research in an interactive way. The exhibition highlights the developments, such as climate change and the status of indigenous peoples in an evolving world, that affect the North. One of the top attractions is the northern lights theatre, where guests can lie back and enjoy a 3D animation of the Aurora Borealis projected onto the ceiling. The exhibition also includes a cold room, which is fitted with blue ice all year round! Arkitkum features on our new tour of Norway & Finland, highlights of which include Lapland and a Hurtigruten coastal cruise, tour code MCNF—one departure a year.