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.

Escape this Holiday Season

For many, the holiday season is the ideal time to get away and check another destination off the bucket list; avoid the pressure of holiday family plans, the over-crowded shops and the endless Christmas carols blaring everywhere you go. It is also a unique time of year to experience a destination and see how the traditions of the season translate to other cultures. We have two tours, Costa Rica, CR1 or CR2 and Vietnam/Cambodia, VN2, that traditionally fill up quickly for the holidays and we still have space available on both.

Costa Rica and Nicaragua, 14 days

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADiscover how Costa Rica earns its reputation as a natural wonderland on this two-week adventure through one of the most exciting and striking countries in Central America, and indeed, the world (shorter tour option available, 8 days). Literally translated as the ‘rich coast’, Costa Rica is a land of varied topography and broad spectrum of ecosystem; between its borders, Costa Rica encompasses white-sand Caribbean beaches, volcanic mountainscapes, lush, velveteen jungle, low-lying plains and swampland, all of which combine to house enormous populations of diverse wildlife. A short foray into Nicaragua gives us the opportunity to see historic churches, cathedrals and stone-carved statues, as well as enjoy some first-rate animal sightseeing and birdwatching, and it’s back to Costa Rica for yet more wildlife adventures in Manuel Antonio National Park and to enjoy leisure-time sightseeing in San Jose.

Tour code: CR2| Duration: 14 Days |more details
Holiday dates: 20 Dec to 02 Jan.

Tour code: CR1| Duration: 8 Days |more details
Holiday dates: 20 Dec to 27 Dec

Vietnam and Cambodia, 20 days

iStock_000003215966XSmall-Halong BayFor a full 20 days, you will experience all the splendour that is Indochina; from Hanoi, Vietnam, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Discover Vietnam’s natural beauty with a cruise in Halong Bay, a stroll through the Hoi An World Heritage Site of the My Son complex that contains many Hindu relics; a walk through the underground tunnels of Cu Chi near Ho Chi Minh City, where 10, 000 people lived during the war. We then head into Cambodia to see many attractions of antiquity, including busy markets in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and Angkor Wat, one of the most famous religious structures in the world.

Tour code: VN2| Duration: 20 Days |more details
Holiday dates: 20 Dec to 08 Jan.

Tour code: VN1| Duration: 15 Days |more details
Departure dates: 20 Dec to 03 Jan

Contact us to make your reservation on any of these tours or book online here.

Exciting New Tours and More

This month, we are very excited to launch three new itineraries for 2015 and beyond. All of these tours feature some of our favourite destinations, either brought back from hiatus or re-imagined and improved based on client feedback and demand. We have also listed a few other tours below that have just become guaranteed, are filling up quickly or are of general interest. Please contact us for more information or to book on these or any other tours we have on offer.

*NEW TOUR – Peru and the Amazon, 10 days

Machu PicchuDon’t have a lot of time but want to take in the highlights of Peru in one shot? All of the highlights are here in this exciting new combination—Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and now a new extension to the Peruvian Amazon! Three departures in 2015.


Tour code: PE10 | Duration: 10 Days |more details
Departure dates: 26 Jan, 04 May and 09 Nov 2015

*NEW TOUR – Turkey and Greece, 21 days

AcropolisThis is where it all began for Adventures Abroad, with our first trips to this region in 1987. The re-vamped combo is the perfect 3-week package featuring the must-see highlights of Western Turkey, the Greek Isles, and a taste of the Greek mainland. Travel from Istanbul to Athens!
Three dates for 2015


Tour code: TG1 | Duration: 21 Days |more details
Departure dates: 24 Apr, 17 Jul and 11 Sep 2015

*NEW TOUR – The Channel Islands, 15 days

guernseyJersey, Guernsey, Sark & Herm. A surprisingly varied and exotic exploration of some of Europe’s most charming locales, an intriguing blend of British and French, with other continental influences that make them truly unique. Three dates in 2015.



Tour code: IL3| Duration: 15 Days |more details
Departure dates: 28 Apr, 23 Jun and 01 Sep 2015

*NEW DATE – Hidden Gems of Africa, 19 days

©Jonathan Hodgson

©Jonathan Hodgson

We have a group on tour right now with Jonathan Hodgson and by all accounts it is the journey of a lifetime! This exploratory itinerary takes you to places where tourism is in a completely embryonic stage. Mozambique has had a troubled history but is now very safe with excellent hotels and lodges. Malawi remains southern Africa’s undiscovered gem. Gabon, sub-Saharan Africa’s most prosperous nation, has a large percentage of the country under its National Park system. The island nations of Sao Tome & Principe and Cape Verde are two of Africa’s most peaceful nations with colourful Portuguese heritage. 2015 date now available.

Tour code: AF6| Duration: 19 Days |more details
Departure date: 01 Sep 2015 (one date only)

*GUARANTEED – Cuba with the Museum of Anthropology at UBC

MACUThe University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is pleased to launch a new cultural travel program. During the journey, an experienced local guide will unveil mesmerizing Havana and the Cuba beyond. Meanwhile, Orlando Hernández, host and guest-curator of MOA’s exhibit Without Masks, will grant exclusive access to galleries, artists’ studios, marketplaces, and unparalleled cultural experiences. Join us for an unforgettable journey to Cuba. Space is limited.

Tour code: MACU| Duration: 11 Days |more details
Departure dates: 20 Nov, 2014

*JUST THE HIGHLIGHTS – Argentina and Chile, 13 days

Lago Pehoe in Torres del PaineAs a more affordable alternative to our longer tours in the region, this is a highly-satisfying partnering of these two friendly, diverse, and spectacular neighbours in a nice neat 2-week package. Escape the dreary northern fall / winter and experience the natural splendour of Patagonia and the glitzy sophistication of Buenos Aires and Santiago—two departures for 2015.

Tour code: CL9| Duration: 13 Days |more details
Departure dates: 04 Mar and 21 Oct, 2015

*POPULAR NEW TOUR – Botswana, Victoria Falls, Cape Town, 13 days

iStock_000006391556Medium-Okavango Delta, BotswanaThis is a very attractive new program that combines the fabulous safari destinations of Botswana—Okavango & Chobe—as well as Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Cape Town, South Africa. Luxurious and remote lodges add to the overall appeal; comprehensive Cape Town sightseeing reveals the beauty and intrigue of one of the world’s most spectacular and isolated cities.

Tour code: BW7| Duration: 13 Days |more details
Departure dates: 06 Jun and 22 Sep, 2015

*ONE TIME ONLY – Cruise and Tour Combo to the Canary Islands, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, 19 days

Camel Caravan in the Sahara DesertTravel to Morocco’s ‘Imperial cities’ of Meknes, Fes and Marrakech; wander through the ruins of Volubilis; drive through the magnificent Atlas Mountains; spend time on the dunes at the edge of the Sahara Desert and end up in the seaside town of Essaouira.

Next you will fly to the Canary Islands and board the award winning Voyager ship which avoids the excesses of today’s mega-liners and focuses on tour content rather than ultra luxury. Visit the Canary Islands, Lisbon in Portugal, Spain’s Galician coast town of La Coruna and the pilgrim town of Santiago de Compostela with its stunning cathedral before ending your voyage in Portsmouth, England.

Tour code: CRMS| Duration: 19 Days |more details
Departure date: 11 Feb, 2015 (***DEADLINE FOR BOOKING IS October 8, 2014)


Yvette Haakmeester is a professional Tour Leader, with over 17 years of experience. She holds an MA in Classical Archaeology, and specialized in the countries of the ancient Mediterranean. Born Canada, she has lived in Turkey, Greece, and now Tunisia. She has designed and will lead the below series of tours in 2015.

TUNISIA with YVETTE, 16 days

YHTSExperience Tunisia reborn …We have created a unique itinerary, in striving to experience the best of the culture, people, history & nature and provide you with an insider’s view of this multifaceted society. You will see everything from some of the finest Roman archaeological sites in the world, the Sahara Desert, the green rolling hills of the Northwest, scenic villages and the rugged beauty of the Berber south.

Tour code: YHTS| Duration: 16 Days |more details
One date only: 25 Apr to 10 May, 2015

TUNISIA and MALTA with YVETTE, 21 days

YHTMMalta has much to offer the visitor: the warm climate, unspoiled coves, beautiful landscapes, historic cities and traditional villages, and the unique customs and hospitality of the Maltese people. On this journey, we will visit both the islands of Malta and Gozo – similar but distinct from one another in all respects.

Tour code: YHTM| Duration: 21 Days |more details
One date only: 25 Apr to 15 May, 2015

Contact us to make your reservation on any of these tours or book online here.



Culinary Adventures: India

One of the major highlights of small group travel is the opportunity to sample local cuisines; our Tour Leaders pay special attention to ensuring that travellers experience the fullest range of local specialties. When our product manager, Rick Unrau returned from a recent trip to India, he hosted a special dinner featuring some of the flavours he encountered on his trip. Indian food does not have to be intimidating, and is rarely complicated, nor does it always have to be “hot.” Though this masala is “spicy,” Rick (and his less-adventurous parents), promise that it will not burn even the most delicate palate.

Indian Lamb Curry

indian curry












Lamb curry is delicious served with plain rice and raita (a cold cucumber salad). If you thicken the gravy, it tastes just as good with hot, freshly made chapatis. It is also the perfect recipe for your slow cooker.

· 1 kg boneless lamb shoulder or stewing lamb, cut into 1 and a 1/2″ chunks
· 4 tbsp vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
· 2 large onions sliced thin
· 2 large tomatoes diced
· 2 tbsp garlic paste
· 1 tbsp ginger paste
· 2 tsp coriander powder
· 1 tsp cumin powder
· 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
· 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
· 2 tsp garam masala powder
· Salt to taste
· Chopped cilantro to garnish
Serves 4-6 people

· Heat the cooking oil in a heavy bottomed pan, on medium heat.
· When hot, add the onions. Sauté till the onions begin to turn a pale golden brown in colour. Now remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Turn off heat.
· Grind the onions into a smooth paste (adding very little to no water) in a food processor. Once done, remove into a separate container.
· Now grind the tomatoes, garlic and ginger pastes together, in the food processor, into a smooth paste. Remove into a separate container and keep aside for later use.
· Heat the oil left over from frying the onions, again and add the onion paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
· Now add the tomato paste and all the powered spices. Mix well.
· Sauté the resulting masala (onion-tomato-spice mixture) until the oil begins to separate from it. This can take up to 10 minutes to happen.
· Now add the lamb pieces to the masala, season with salt to taste and stir to fully coat the lamb pieces with the masala. Sauté till the lamb is browned well.
· Add 1/2 a cup of hot water to the pan, stir to mix well, simmer the heat and cover the pan, or place in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Cook till the lamb is tender. You will need to keep checking on the lamb as it cooks and adding more water if all the water dries up. The dish should have a fairly thick gravy when done.
· When the lamb is cooked, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot chapatis (Indian flatbread), naans (tandoor-baked Indian flatbread) or plain boiled rice.

South Pacific Photo Journal – Jonathan Hodgson

Jonathan Hodgson is one of Adventures Abroad’s most popular and experienced tour leaders. Anyone who has travelled with him will know that he is as passionate about photography as he is about travel. The best ways to follow him are on Instagram (OWILYBUG) or like his Facebook page: He shared with us some of his favourite images from his recent South Pacific Odyssey, tour code MCSP.


South Pacific Photo Journal – Jonathan Hodgson

By Adventures Abroad


60 countries in 7 years of tour leading, Jonathan Hodgson is a beloved tour leader and an incredible photographer. View more photos  on Facebook or Instagram (OWILYBUG).

  • Rock Islands, Palau

    By Adventures Abroad

    Explored by boat or by air, the Rock Islands are limestone islets rich in marine and coral life rising stunningly from the Pacific.

  • Fish at Central Market in Honiara, Solomon Islands

    By Adventures Abroad

  • To Sua Ocean Trench, Solomon Islands

    By Adventures Abroad

    Must be seen to be believed! This all-natural swimming hole is located in the village of Lotofaga (population: 1,089) on the south coast of Upolu island in Samoa.

  • Idyllic beach on the island of Upolu, Samoa

    By Adventures Abroad

  • Centenary Church, Nuku’alofa, Tonga

    By Adventures Abroad

    A visit to this conservative Christian country isn’t complete without a visit to Centenary Church to hopefully catch a glimpse of the royal family including Tupou VI, the King of Tonga.

  • Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands

    By Adventures Abroad

    Just a snapshot of life in paradise, taken on the west side of Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands

  • Yasur Volcano, Tanna, Vanuatu

    By Adventures Abroad

    A once in a lifetime experience! After traveling to the summit by 4WDs, walk right up to the rim of the world’s most accessible active volcano located in one of the most unspoilt places on earth.

  • Local villager, Vanuatu

    By Adventures Abroad

    In Vanuatu, we have several chances to encounter local people and learn about ancient traditions of the islanders and their way of life.

  • Greeting by Vanuatu warriors

    By Adventures Abroad

  • Central Market, Honiara, Solomon Islands

    By Adventures Abroad

    Local man selling cords of wood in the central market.

  • Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila

    By Adventures Abroad

    With 17,206 graves, it has the most graves of ANY cemetery worldwide for U.S. personnel killed during WWII and the dramatic setting has views of Laguna de Bay and towards the distant mountains.

  • WWII plane, Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands

    By Adventures Abroad

  • Stone Monoliths, Babeldaob, Palau

    By Adventures Abroad

    Palau’s largest island is a mysterious place shielding enigmatic archaeological highlights such as mysterious terraced hillsides, Stone Monoliths, and the Stone Faces of Ngerchelong.

  • Belau National Museum, Palau

    By Adventures Abroad

    The oldest museum in Micronesia has indoor and outdoor exhibits from all eras of Palauan life, including artworks, photography, sculpture.

What a site!

Our product manager, Rick Unrau, recently travelled to India on a familiarization trip featuring some of the highlights of north and the ‘Golden Triangle.’ On a tour that included Jaipur, Agra, and Varanasi, he listed Orchha as one of his favourites:

The medieval city of Orchha seems to have frozen in time, its palaces and temples still retaining their original grandeur. Orchha had the distinction of being the capital of one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms of Central India. This impressive, well-preserved complex of temples and forts is a delight in its location and aspect, made all the more special in its lack of crowds and opportunities to absorb the atmosphere in relative peace.”

©Rick Unrau©Rick Unrau

Orchha features in 15 different recently re-designed itineraries, including our extended north program and combinations with Nepal. Most of our India tours have been reduced in price for 2015.

Contact us to make your reservation on any of our India tours or book online here.