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patagonia rachel kristensen

Chasing glaciers in Patagonia

On the southern tip of South America straddling Chile, Argentina and the Andes lies a wild and far flung region with little settlement but big landscapes.

Wide sweeping plains give way to mountains that tower in the horizon with granite peaks that scratch the skyline. Huge glaciers crash into the blue lakes that form at their melting point, and icy breezes blow icebergs to the shorelines.

In every direction of Patagonia paints a worthy sight.

It truly is a place you need to see to believe.

Here are just a few highlights from a recent tour of Patagonia, previously posted on tour leader Rachel’s instagram:


Take the long way home. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

All roads lead to adventure. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

If only there were some views on this walk. Said no one ever. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina || #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Trekking at the end of the world, Ushuaia. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

The more you know, the less you need. -Yvon Chouinard @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Just a little mountain day dream. A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Mother nature is a beautiful thing. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Ice, ice baby. Did I get that song in your head now? @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Don’t forget to look up. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on


These photos were taken on Adventures Abroad Tour of Argentina and Chile.

For more info on Adventures Abroad and small group tours, click here.

What a Tour of the 5 Stans Looks Like

For the adventurous, the list of worthwhile destinations is long. Usually near the top of that list, is the Five Stans.

Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The five former USSR nations are rich in history dating back thousands of years and for centuries this region was part of the major trade routes from Asia to Europe.

The traditionally nomadic people retain much of their culture to this day.  Cities with beautiful Islamic architecture mix with Soviet art museums that are in stark contrast to the vast wilderness of mountain ranges with locals living in yurts and sprawling deserts which are just some of the highlights in this far corner of the world.

A former resident, tour leader Jonathan Hodgson takes us along for the ride on his latest tour of the 5 stans with these beautiful photos on his instagram.




The necropolis of Chor Bakr. #Uzbekistan #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Ark. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Chor Minor medressah. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Bibi-Khanum Mosque. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #silkroad #centralasia #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Registan at night. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #registan #centralasia #silkroad #travel #night @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

For more information on our tours to the Stans, click here.

What is the history of the symbols of Portugal?

Not counting the flag or the coat of arms, there are a few symbols of Portugal that you will undoubtedly see on any journey here.

Here’s two.

symbol of portugal

The Rooster of Barcelos

The small black rooster is a curious object in Portuguese folklore.

The story acompanies a 17th century calvary, from the city of Barcelos. Today the ceramic rooster is found in nearly every touristy shop and on countless postcards. But it stems from a legend in Northern Portugal where a mans life was nearly determined from a cooked dinner.

A pilgrim was making the pilgrimage to St James’s resting place of  Santiago de Compostela, and passed through the Braga county in Northern Portugal. Unfortunately for the pilgrim, the whole town was on the hunt for a thief who had stole the silverware from a rich landowner.

Despite declaring his innocence, the court was unconvinced and sentenced the pilgrim to death by hanging. In his final request, he pled his case once more to the authorities, just as they were sitting for dinner.

It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me.” 

Unsatisfied with his defence, he was sent away to be hung. But, losing their appetites, the dinner was postponed and the rooster never was ate.

On the minute of his hanging, the rooster came to life, just as the man declared.

Luckily, St James had intercepted and the poor pilgrims life was spared not by a pardon, but by a terribly knotted rope.

symbol of portugal

The Sardine

Lisbon is home to the sardine trinket and the sardine festival, both of which honour St Anthony.

In the 13th century, St Anthony – the patron saint of Lisbon – left to Italy to preach his gospels. Unfortunately for him, only the sardines would listen.  While the people of Rimini, Italy ignored him as he spoke along the shoreline, it is said that the sea was filled with millions of sardines, heads above the water, listening to his every word.

Now-a-days the sardine is a symbol of love as well.

St Anthony also doubled as the matchmaker saint with boys and girls going crazy to invoke the saints help. A single person may hold water in their mouths for hours on end, waiting for the name of their love to be spoken. They may write the name of their crush only to put it in a bowl of water and hope St Anthony works his magic. Or, if all else fails, they’ll take the idol of St Anthony and place it upside down in the garden until he find them a true love.

The sardine festival in June is one of the most high spirited times in the old city of Lisbon, with the sardines being sold on every street corner and people joining for dancing and drinking at all hours of the day.

While both symbols developed from religious stories, today they both present symbols of good luck in life, love and fortune.




If you are interested in joining a tour of Portugal that takes you to some of the most historic cities, towns with a focus on food as well as past and present culture – follow the link for our tours of Portugal here.


Iceland and Greenland Tour: Photos of Lunar Landscapes and Barren Beauty

iceland and greenland tour

When you think of going on an Iceland and Greenland tour, images of icebergs, hot springs and waterfalls probably come to mind.

For good reason – the regions are brimming with them.

Last month, senior tour leader Jonathan Hodgson took a group and followed the path of Vikings. Circumnavigating Iceland, finding glacial lagoons, mineral hot springs, boiling mud pots, and almost too many waterfalls to count.

Afterwards, the group explored the west coast of Greenland’s fjords and seaside towns. With human history dating back over 4500 years and few tourists that visit, our group enjoyed interacting with locals and discovering how the Inuits live today in their gorgeous scenery.

Here are a few highlights from the trip that Jonathan shared via his instagram account (cover photo from his Facebook account):

  Iceberg factory at Jokulsarlon. #Iceland #nature #glacier #Vatnajokull #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on



Amongst the icebergs at Ilulissat, Greenland. #Greenland #nature #travel #ice #icebergs @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Icelandic waterfall #2359. #Iceland #waterfall #foss #nature #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on


Gullfoss. #Iceland #waterfall #nature #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Steam vents at Hverir. #Myvatn #Iceland #nature #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

For info about our next tour to Iceland and Greenland, click here.

Introducing Everyday Middle East

As part of the Adventures Abroad’s family, Lindsay MacKenzie is a name you may know well as one of our beloved tour leaders.

Working also as a photographer and a multimedia journalist, Lindsay boldly started a project called Everyday Middle East to document life beyond the grueling headlines in both the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The project is beautiful and we can’t express how proud we are of her accomplishments with this.

Here is a quick look at the Everyday Middle East project on Instagram.


Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Wissam Nassar @wissamgaza @wissam.lens #Jerusalem #oldcity #everydaymiddleeast #everydayeverywhere

A photo posted by Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast) on

Waitstaff prepare to break their #Ramadan fast in #Dubai. Photo by @msomji everydaymiddleeast #uae

A photo posted by Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast) on

Explore the everyday Middle East yourself, join a tour to the Gulf Statestour Iran or explore many of our other Middle East tours.

7 incredible images of Argentina and Chile

If you’ve been, you know: Argentina and Chile, the southern end of South America, hold some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.

Deserts, volcanoes, glaciers and rainforests all in vast wilderness areas that give a stark contrast to the chic cosmopolitan cities the countries also boast.

These two countries are what dreams are made of. That is, if your dreams include nature, wildlife and exotic escapes. Here are seven incredible images that prove these two countries are simply the best:

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Patagonia: At the far end of Argentina and Chile, this southern section of the Andes is this a wilderness comprising of of mountains, lakes, deserts and grasslands. It is one of the most diverse regions of the world.



Mendoza Some forget that Chile and Argentina also boast one of the best wine growing regions of the world. What better way to relax on an adventurous tour than to enjoy vineyards and the fruit of the land.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Tierra del Fuego With so many photos of glaciers and mountains of Argentina and Chile, we hardly see photos of the forests. Here a look at the sub-polar forests in Tierra del Fuego.

Source: Trip Advisor

Source: Trip Advisor

El Calafate As the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, expect to see stunning icefields like this one on any day out in El Calafate.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia


A lakeside town full of chocolate shops and beautiful vistas. Need we say more?

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Torres del Paine

Home to one of the most iconic mountain trails in the world, thoughts are Paine stems from an indigenous word for the word blue noting the piercing colours of alpine lakes found in the region.


Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

Atacama Desert

The wild llamas aren’t the only thing special about the Atacama desert. Volcanoes provide the backdrop on red mars-like landscapes with thermal pools and lost lagoons dotting the park. It is also the driest non-polar region in the world.

Take a tour of Argentina and Chile this year, next tour leaves soon.

An extraordinary adventure in the Canadian Arctic

You asked, we delivered.

For over 25 years, Adventures Abroad has been taking groups to countries all over the world.

But what about those exotic and hard to reach locations within our homelands. Each year we update our tours to keep destinations fresh, and often we’ll prepare private or one-off tours to unique locations.

In 2015, one of these unique tours was to the Canadian Arctic with Martin Charlton.

Below are some of his extraordinary highlights, as documented on his Instagram.

Thank you for sharing Martin!


Arctic exploration at the top of Baffin Island. Near Bylot Island and the flow edge.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

Making our way across the ice to our camp at the floe edge. From Pond Inlet to Bylot Island.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

Exploring the Canadian Arctic… high above the Arctic Circle.

A photo posted by Martin Charlton (@travelbug1970) on

What to see in Central America

Deciding what to see in Central America can be overwhelming. Spanning seven countries, it is hard to decide whether to focus on Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Belize, or El Salvador. Allow us to break down what to expect while touring Central America.

Rachel Kristensen - Central America (4)

 Fire, ash and steam.

Located in the Ring of Fire, the Central American Volcanic Arc contains hundreds of volcanic formations.

No trip to Central America is complete without seeing a few of these dramatic landscapes, from watching actual lava to getting steamed with boiling mud.

Nicaragua’s Ometepe Island is picturesque with two volcanoes dominating its land, while the volcanoes surrounding Guatemalas colonial towns only add to the ambience.

These two countries offer the best in getting up close and personal to volcanic landscapes as well as far enough away to appreciate their scale.

Rachel Kristensen - Central America (2)

Churches and Cathedrals

Distinctly Spanish colonial architecture, most Central American cities were designed with a park or plaza with a beautiful cathedral located on its perimeter.

Eighty percent of Central America is Roman Catholic, the majority of the remainder are Protestant, which means even the smallest of villages often will have at least one house of worship.

Interestingly, in Guatemala, much of the Mayan population worships a fusion of Mayan gods and Catholicism which can be witnessed in both cathedrals and in personal houses.


Flora and fauna

The natural wonders of Central America are remarkable.

Those who enjoy exploring the underwater world will be treated to one of the most diverse and beautiful dive spots in the world, along the 2nd largest reef system.

Above water, standing underneath the lush green canopies with macaws and hundreds of other birds squawking, while monkeys swing from vines above you allows you to have your own imagination of a Tarzan lifestyle.

The best monkeys to encounter are the howler monkeys as, they give off this low growl noise that seems fit for a horror movie.  Just note that sometimes these monkeys have been known to throw things at people, so look up if you hear one!

Want a truly unforgettable experience? Mix in your explorations with a Mayan temples visit.


Temples, pyramids and ball courts

As one of the worlds great empires, Mayan structures are found all throughout Mesa-America.

In Tikal, enormous structures as high as 44m rise out of the forests and spread across the limestone and forested plain. Considering how amazing this place is and that dozens of temples still remain under dirt, I look forward to return in the years to come where more is excavated.

Copan, in Honduras, with its intricate carvings on the stone stellas are unlike any other Mayan site. Other than the scuba diving in the Bay Islands, most people give Honduras a miss, but Copan makes it well worth a visit.

Belize has Caracol and Lamanai temples close together that are both very rewarding visits.

For those looking for a look at modern Mayan life, there is no better place than the Sunday Market of Chichicastenango. The colourful fusion of Mayan gods, Christian deities and the smoking figure of Maximon is something you need to witness.

Ready to go? Get to know Central America better on our recently improved Central American highlights tour of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Quick facts about the Galapagos


Ever thought of visiting the Galapagos Islands, a group of volcanic islands that straddle the equator and sit 525 miles east of Ecuador?

Well if you did, here are some quick facts about your next adventure location.

Some may know that the Darwinian Theory of the Origin of Man was developed after studying the Galapagos Islands, but did you know that confluence of four ocean currents (Equatorial, Cromwell, Humboldt, and Panama) in this area is what gives it such an unpredictable and unique climate?

Think that penguins are only found in the Southern Hemisphere? Wrong. Penguins found in the Galapagos Islands are the only penguins known to breed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ever wondered why the cormorants don’t fly away from the islands? Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) for them they have evolved to grow too large to spread their wings and fly. The birds wings are only one third of what they should be for a bird of that size making this type of cormorant one of the rarest birds on Earth.

Speaking of birds that can’t fly, the marine iguana is the only lizard that is known to swim.

You knew the tortoises were another large animal on the island, but did you know they were almost 600lbs and can live up to 150 years?

No trip to the Galapagos ever takes place without learning a great deal about nature and wildlife.

Join us on a 22 day tour to Ecuador this once in a lifetime location and discover why so many people have fallen in love with the Galapagos. Click here for more information about our Galapagos tour and our shorter 8 day adventure.



The Best of Brazil Tour – A Quick Photo Journey

As the world changes, so do our tours. We’ve recently improved our best of Brazil  tour, allowing more time to explore and enjoy the top sights.

Our first run at the improved version ran in February and was hailed a success. Despite venturing to Brazil in what was supposed to be the rainy season, our group was gifted with sunny skies the entire trip.


For the first portion of the journey, we take you to an Amazon Lodge outside of the city of Manaus and inside the Amazon Rainforest. Explorations into the jungle are taken by boat and by foot with binaculars and cameras at the ready in case of any wildlife opportunities.

From the Amazon, we make our way south with a pause at Brasilia, the capital city.





Once a model town, this clearly 1960s creation is a social and architectural design experiment. We spend the day roaming from colossal political monuments to cement and stain glass churches, learning about Brazil’s modern history before moving to its largest wetland, the Pantanal.




Birders rejoice as we set up at a ranch for a few nights rest. Farmers take us to explore the sprawling grounds by foot, horse, and boat. Toucans, parrots, and anteaters are just a few of the friendly animals found in this part of Brazil and likely encounters.


Rio Brazil Rachel Kristensen (2)


After our rural get-a-way, our journey continues to the big city of Brazil where we enjoy all the famous sites. From the beaches to the Cristo, our tour of Rio includes a fully guided tour of all the iconic spots.


Brazil Side Iguazu Rachel Kristensen


Last but not least, our tour finishes with a roar. The roaring waterfall that is. Of all the large waterfalls in the world, Iguacu usually ranks number one as the people’s favourite. We take in the falls from all sides and get soaked by the mist in the meantime.

Join us on our next departure to tour Brazil this October or next February and click here for more info.