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  • On the road in Uganda: Tour Leader Account

    Posted on January 21st, 2010 admin No comments

    From Serra Hughes, currently leading a group in Uganda:
    “Wow, you guys! It’s amazing here. Uganda is where it’s at! It’s just too beautiful for words and every day is a crazy adventure. My group has quite a few seasoned travellers and they’re up for just about anything, which makes for all the more fun! Things are so different; drivers just get out of the car during game drive and stand on the engine bonnet looking around, no binoculars, no guide books, no nothing. The people are so friendly and not jaded by tourists at all. They just wave and smile and want to shake your hand and talk and the chimpanzees were mad. Totally mad. There are no words to describe seeing them in the wild. They are show-offs and seem to love the attention. Most of them, at least. Some of them are shy and run off for no reason. At one point, at the end of the day, they were all lying around relaxing in the bushes and the trackers said to get ready because any minute, one of them would give the signal and it would be time to move. WOW. Suddenly, it was all action with the screaming and hooting that they do and one was making a racket drumming on the trunk of a hollow tree. The entire forest was filled with their maniacal sounds and they were all around us running and jumping and we were just trucking along with them. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.”

    View all our Uganda offerings here

  • Baltic States travel and culture

    Posted on January 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    Tour Leader Account: Thomas Egli

    Travelling in northeastern Europe, and in particular while touring the Baltic States, I soon came to appreciate the rich history of which my best friend’s Lithuanian family was a part. I recall her secretive father who had a basement full of strange documents and photos and her mother whose accent was the strongest of all our friends’.

    As I made my way through Lithuania, Lativa and Estonia, I heard the familiar words of a language group more closely related to Sanskrit than any other European tongue. There was something slightly different about the way the people there looked and spoke. Proud and resilient like the land, the peoples of the Baltics retained their distinct cultures and traditions through years of oppression in the former Soviet Union.

    If you’ve lived for some time in North America, chances are you’ve known someone whose ancestors were from the Baltic States. Perhaps a Lithuanian neighbour, or a Latvian piano teacher who instructed your child, or maybe an Estonian butcher who saves you the best lamb shanks; everyone has crossed paths with these people. What few have done, however, is bother to ask anything about this part of the world.

    Estonians invented Skype, Coco the Clown was born Latvian, and Leonard Cohen’s parents hail from Lithuania. Obscure references aside, these remarkable Baltic countries do offer some of the most unusual experiences of European culture.

    Kept behind the Iron Curtain for so many years, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have only recently come onto the world stage. The last pagan nations in Europe have a rich mix of traditions including song festivals, handicrafts, and cured meats. The food is hearty and sophisticated, with a strong influence by local traditions of hunting and mushroom gathering. Fine natural ingredients and a healthy dose of quality vodka complement the modern European cuisine through these northern countries. The cities are a blend of old and new, with one of the world’s best-preserved mediaeval town centres (Tallinn) and largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture (Riga). Young and vibrant, the capitals are quickly becoming new cultural meccas where you can see a world-class opera or organ recital before wandering the cobblestone streets to a late dinner. Mediaeval festivals and modern shopping highlight the painstakingly maintained old towns through the region. Towering cathedrals, ornate town halls, and wooden buildings beg to be photographed around every bend.

    As far as enigmatic Europe is concerned, there really isn’t much comparable to the recently independent nations bordering the Baltic Sea. The histories of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are born of knights, kingdoms, sacrifice and paganism. Nowhere will you find more brilliantly preserved mediaeval cities, castles and traditions. Experience the modern culture of a region blossoming on the borders of Europe.

    The well-paced Adventures Abroad Baltic States tour offers a unique insight to destinations little visited by North Americans. Enough time is spent in the capitals to give a sense of the different characters of each country, while effort is made to expose the traveller to the rich history of an area tucked away from mainstream Europe. If you think you’ve seen all that this awesome continent has to offer, think again.

    Visit the magical European capitals of Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga…and so much more on our Baltic tours series:
    Read More

  • View of San Francisco 1958

    Posted on October 27th, 2009 admin No comments

    San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, check out what it looked like in 1958 with this cool video!

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/fry-cook-on-venus/2009/10/san-francisco.html

    San Francisco 1958 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

  • Bhutan

    Posted on October 14th, 2009 admin No comments

    Bhutan

    Landlocked Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalaya and is mostly mountainous and heavily forested. The snowcapped Himalayan Range reaches heights of over 7,500 meters above sea level and extends along the Bhutan-China border. Bhutan is comprised of a mosaic of different peoples who continue to live in valleys isolated from one another and the outside world by formidable mountain passes. Differing ethnic groups are also distributed according to the varying environments within the land’s borders. It is possible to divide the population into three broad ethnic groups, though the distinctions blur in places. Southern Bhutan is inhabited mainly by Nepalese farmers who arrived at the end of the 19th century. They brought the Hindu religion with them as well as the Nepalese language, which is still spoken today over much of Southern Bhutan. A Bhutan trip is a journey to a land of supernatural legends, ancient monastery / fortresses. Ruins said to be haunted by ghosts, old Dzongs as reminders of the Bhutanese defence against Tibetan invaders, animals believed to have flown from Tibet to Bhutan and assuming the shape today of huge rocks, stories about the abominable snowman; both true history and myths are fascinating and an inherent part of Bhutanese culture.

    The country’s ancient history is a story of struggle between reincarnate rulers, feudal lords and differing Buddhist sects vying for power, until late last century when the old orders were swept away and an hereditary monarchy was established.Each of our Bhutan trips has been timed to arrive in the country for the climax of the spectacular tsechu (monastery festival) at either Paro or Bumthang. Our tours also include a visit to Bhutan’s most venerated monastery, the Tashichho Dzong in Thimpu, the remarkable medieval monastery that now houses the National Assembly and the King’s Throne Room. These Bhutan trips are offered in combination with other countries in the region: Sikkim & Tibet.

    The magical aura that pervades the area around the Himalayas is so potent, it is almost tangible. This vast region that separates the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau numbers among the destinations that many travellers visit only to find that their preconceived notions that have long been nurtured by fanciful flights of the imagination are indeed a reality. Journey with us amid looming, white-rimmed peaks, among traditional, colourful peoples and into the heart of a land where Nature’s most spectacular endeavours complement an already bewitching destination.

  • Chile Tours

    Posted on October 13th, 2009 admin No comments

    Chile Tours

    Traveller Testimonial:
    I really wanted to see South America and this tour itinerary sounded very interesting. All the excursions were first rate, especially the Argentine glaciers and Iguazu Falls. Rapa Nui: what an experience! The Chileans went out of their way to ensure our comfort and the meals were all good value.
    -Betty Swindelehurst   Tour AR9: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama, Indescribable Iguazu and exhilarating Easter Island)

    With the mighty Andes mountain range towering over one side and the big blue of the South Pacific Ocean lapping at the other, Chile lies snugly amid two extremes and its interior topography covers every degree in between. A tour to northern Chile would reveal one of the driest locations in the world, where, in some places, there has never been record of any rainfall-the arid Atacama desert. Though even the most avid of sun-worshippers may think twice before touring this sparsely-inhabited region, they may yet be lured by the fact that it is also the location of several important archaeological sites, of impressive geological spectacle and of intriguing remnants of lost civilisations. The features of Chile’s southern regions lie in stark contrast to the characteristics of the north. Aridness gives ways to fertile and lush forests and grazing lands, and, complementing the quaint scenery of the intricate myriad of lakes, canals, inlets and fjords, the south is perforated by a string of volcanoes.

    Traveller Testimonial:
    The highlights for us were Puerto Madryn (very good local guide), Ushuaia, Calafate, Santiago (again, an outstanding local guide), Hacienda Los Lingues, Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas and Atacama. -Elizabeth Huss   Tour AR7: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama & Indescribable Iguazu)

    The vast majority of Chile’s over 2,000 volcanoes are now dormant, with only 55 remaining active and of the 12 great lakes situated in the country’s south, one holds the title as the continent’s fourth largest-Lago Llanquihue. One of the world’s great national parks, the Torres del Paine National Park, though only accessible by boat, plane or a scenic trip through Argentina, is a popular tour destination and one that promises a wealth of memories. The south is the perfect tour destination for those looking to experience Chile’s memorable sites, diverse landscape or more energetic activities in more temperate climes.

    Traveller Testimonial:
    My interest in Chile and Argentina and a friend’s recommendation of the company made me sign up for this tour. There were some truly unforgettable highlights: Patagonia, Chile’s wine region and some of the hotels and restaurants in Punta Arenas. I would’ve liked more time in Santiago, but the transportation, meals and local guides were generally very good.
    -Dennis Huss Tour AR7: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama & Indescribable Iguazu)

    From some points on the extensive and serene sandy beaches of the east coast, it is possible to see the gargantuan peaks of the Andes dominating the skyline to the west, and in theory, travellers can take to the piste high in the mountains, then bask in the sun on the beach all in the same day. Chile’s offshore territories-the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, which was once the refuge of marooned Scotsman Alexander Selkirk, the man who inspired the classic Daniel Defoe novel ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ and the world-renowned Easter Island-are equally as impressive as its mainland regions. Where the Juan Fernandez Archipelago is a national park and its plethora of plant species have warranted the island’s designation as a World Biosphere Reserve, Easter Island is home to Rapa Nui National Park, a park that exhibits relics of an ancient desert-dwelling civilisation, and to Ahu Tongariki, where 15 of the country’s famous moai statues stand at attention on their rock platform. With so great climatic and geographic distinctions between all its poles, and a culture as unique and welcoming as its people, a tour to Chile, the longest country in the world, guarantees a holiday that will stretch the imagination.

    Patagonia
    Straddling the border between Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is the definitive destination for the outdoorsperson. Our Patagonia tours whisk travellers away to one of the world’s last great wildernesses to take in its mountains, glaciers, hotsprings, wildlife and eclectic European-based culture. To experience a region of South America unlike the rest of the continent, yet one that is easily equally as rewarding, try our Patagonia tours.

  • Ethiopia – Horn of Africa

    Posted on October 7th, 2009 admin No comments

    Ethiopia

    The landlocked Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa is more commonly associated with its troubled history than with its abundance of unique charm that makes it a praiseworthy tour destination. It is a country that has endured more than its fair share of strife in the relatively recent past, stemming from war, famine and drought in the region, and though travellers may be forgiven for opting for an alternative travel destination in light of the negative headlines Ethiopia often elicits, they will be sacrificing an opportunity to explore one of the most fascinating and rewarding countries in Africa.

    Ethiopia prides itself in being one of the oldest independent nations in the world, as well as being one of the few countries to have never been fully colonized; aside from a five-year stint during which the country lay under Italian occupation, Ethiopia has remained entirely autonomous throughout its long history. As a result, the land that awaits travellers is one unaffected by the Western influence found in countries with a colonial history and one wherein upwards of 77 different ethnic groups, many with their own unique cultures, languages and customs, live predominantly traditional lives. An apt reflection of Ethiopia’s distinctiveness and separateness can be seen in the country’s continued use of the Julian calendar at a time when most societies have long since switched to the Gregorian calendar. This, along with having its own written system and notation system means that where many destinations can boast a uniqueness of identity in some aspect or another, Ethiopia surpasses most by retaining an untouched individuality of extraordinary depth, a quality that it has been nurturing since the beginnings of civilisation itself.

  • HK – Hong Kong

    Posted on October 6th, 2009 admin No comments

    Undoubtedly, it is the range of choices in Hong Kong that makes it so popular among travellers, as even the most discerning of visitors is sure to find some aspect that suits his or her needs or wants. For the less discriminating traveller, the options lent by the wide variety on offer in Hong Kong mean that boredom never factors into the equation; there’s always something new or different to try.

    Hong Kong has been under the dominion of Britain, China and Japan since it came into being and each civilisation has left its indelible mark on the landscape and culture of Hong Kong. The territory’s name literally translates as ‘Fragrant Harbour,’ and Hong Kong certainly lives up to the name, with pungent and distinctly varied aromas wafting through its bustling, cosmopolitan streets. The territory is often considered an ideal gateway for travellers since they can enjoy the pleasures of the East without a complete departure from the comforts of the West; a place where travellers can get a rich taste of wholly different cultures and lifestyles in a somewhat familiar environment. Sights of interest abound in this, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, and for those reluctant to experience the at times hectic and overwhelming nature of urban Hong Kong, there is always the option to stray further afield and take in the splendour of the surroundings from a distance. The shimmering neon lights that illuminate the entire city at night are truly a sight to behold.

  • Peru

    Posted on September 30th, 2009 admin No comments

    Sixteenth-century Spanish soldiers described it as a land filled with gold and silver, a land of untold wealth. To the Europeans who heard these stories it was a place of tantalizing mystery that mirrored dreams and desires unsatisfied by the Old World. Nineteenth-century travellers wrote of soaring Andean peaks plunging into luxuriant Amazonian canyons of orchids, pythons, and jaguars. The richest treasures, the bloodiest conquests, the most advanced civilizations-all have been attributed to Peru.

    Peru is a large, mountainous country on the Pacific coast of South America. It has borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north. Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west. There are three natural time zones, running roughly north to south: Costa, Sierra and Selva (Amazonian Jungle).

    The Costa region, which contains Lima is a narrow coastal plain consisting of large tracts of desert broken by fertile valleys. The cotton, sugar and rice plantations and most of the so far exploited oil fields lie in this area. The Sierra contains the Andes, with peaks over 6000 m (20,000 ft), most of the country’s mineral resources (silver, zinc, copper and gold) and the greater part of its livestock. The Selva, an area of fertile, subtropical uplands, lies between the Andes and the jungles of eastern Peru. Many countries have mountain ranges with beautiful scenery and Peru is certainly richly blessed in this respect. However, the scenery is only one of the elements responsible for the magic of the Inca Trail. Can there be any walk anywhere in the world with such a combination of natural beauty, history, and sheer mystery with such an awe-inspiring destination? The various ruins along the way serve to heighten the hiker’s sense of anticipation as he or she approaches what would surely find a place in any new list of archaeological wonders of the world– Machu Picchu.

    The population is largely Indian and Mestizos with a noticable influence from European (mainly Spanish), Chinese, and African settlers.

    Traveller Testimonial:
    It was truly an adventure tour and not simply a vacation. It’s what I’d hoped for and Adventures Abroad really came through.
    Inca temples: Machu Picchu was simply breathtaking; Ollantaytambo was wonderful to see!
    Train rides: To Machu Picchu and Puno were absolutely fascinating. I didn’t expect the great fashion shows onboard!
    Lake Titicaca: The Floating Islands, and especially Isla del Sol, were fun experiences. The hiking and views at Isla were outstanding.
    La Paz: An absolutely gorgeous city. I loved its beauty.
    -Gary Wong   PE2: Peru & Bolivia (Incan Secrets and ‘The Tibet of the Americas’)

    Traveller Testimonial:
    It’s not often that you get to experience a trip like this. Going back into the Andes– NO TOURISTS; JUST US! It was amazing hiking and only running into indigenous people and experiencing the culture. It was majestic and humbling…I wanted an adventure and got it….Machu Picchu was all that I expected–glad they got us there early before all the tourists arrived!
    -Debra L. Ewens   Tour XIT

    Traveller Testimonial:
    For me, the highlights were Sipan [a Moche archaeological site in northern Peru] and Machu Picchu, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything else. City tours of Lima and Arequipa, museum visits, ancient sites–it was all fascinating. Loved the Puno-Cuzco train trip and flying over the Nazca Lines!
    -Linda Clark   Tour PR2 Peru: North & South (Peruvian Explorer – featuring the mystifying Nazca Lines)

  • Tunisia

    Posted on September 29th, 2009 admin No comments

    Tunisia

    The mighty Atlas Mountain Range dissects the country into two distinctly defined regions. The northern territory is itself mountainous and far more fertile than its southern counterpart. Where the north, with its sparse population, dense forest and manageable inclines makes for ideal tours for exploration, hiking, mountain biking and nature-rambling, the arid deserts in the south provide the perfect opportunity for camel trekking and the chance to experience the largest hot desert in the world: the vast Sahara. Those determined not to stray too far from the lapping Mediterranean might opt instead to try scuba diving or one of the many watersports available off the coast. Moreover, Tunisia’s climate that varies from Mediterranean to African allows holidaymakers to select a tour destination whose temperature suits them best.

    A country with a long and distinguished history, Tunisia has within its borders a wide variety of fascinating historic monuments and buildings. Over the ages, the country has been subject to the influence of a string of civilisations — Phoenicians, Spanish Vandals, Arabs, Turks, the French and Romans — and each have left their mark on the landscape and culture of Tunisia.

    Perhaps the most famous aspect of North African history is the Carthaginian Empire, which was the arch-nemesis of the great Roman Empire in the second and third centuries BC, and though the Romans effectively destroyed the city of Carthage in the third Punic War, it retains to this day much of its splendour of old and is now a designated World Heritage Site. Many Roman buildings such as the Antonine Baths and the amphitheatre in modern-day Carthage are sights not to be missed, and a tour to the Bardo museum reveals one of the largest selections of mosaics in the world, as well as antiquities that date from prehistoric times through to present-day Tunisia.

  • Trinidad Trip

    Posted on September 28th, 2009 admin No comments

    Check out more about Trinidad Tours

    Day 2 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Georgetown – Baganara

    Early this morning we will have a brief tour of Georgetown’s principal sights. We start at the Seawall and learn about the working of the sluice gates. We then drive to the historical center and view St George’s Cathedral, one of the world’s tallest free standing wooden buildings, and the Parliament building, completed in 1833. We continue to the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo and finish with the Hibiscus Craft Market and the Post Office. (Depending on timing and schedules, Georgetown sightseeing may occur at different point in our tour). We also see the Victorian Law Courts and Town Hall, as well as the historic Starbroek Market. We depart Georgetown and travel to Baganara Resort. Pre-eminent among the three hundred and sixty-five islands in the mighty Essequibo is this wonderful little paradise with one hundred and eighty-seven acres of lush green foliage and colourful tropical flowers. This is the gateway to the unspoilt rainforest of Guyana and the junction where the great Essequibo and Mazaruni Rivers meet. This evening, as the sun sets, we make an excursion up the Essequibo River by motor boat to Parrot Island. As the warm tropical day ends, myriad stars of the equatorial zone appear and thousands of Amazonian parrots arrive to roost for the night. We will walk on the edges of this mangrove island listening to the sounds of these intelligent birds preparing for the night. The flocks of parrots arriving at twilight is unforgettable. Overnight at Baganara Resort. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 3 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Baganara Resort

    We rise early this morning for a pre-breakfast nature walk. Our walk takes us through the humid swamp forests that cover much of Baganara Island. This is a perfect opportunity to identify some of the region’s numerous tree species and watch for some of the more than 200 bird species recorded in the surrounding area. After breakfast you can take a swim in the warm, clean waters of the river, or perhaps the soft sand beaches that surround the island. Kayaks are available for those wishing to explore the river on their own; alternatively, you may choose to curl up in a hammock and relax. Later today we board a motorboat and take an exciting journey to the town of Bartica. An Arawak word meaning “red clay”, it is home to many people who work the mighty rivers. The Mazaruni has many granite quarries–the stone is sent all over the Carribbean. The Cuyuni leads to Venezuela and has numerous gold, silver, diamond and bauxite mines. An isolated nearby island is still the site of Guyana’s largest prison, continuously used since built by the Dutch several centuries ago. * Cuyuni and Mazaruni river cruises may be replaced by other sightseeing if water levels are not high enough. Overnight at Baganara Resort. All meals.

    Day 4 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Baganara – Kaieteur Waterfall – Georgetown

    An aircraft will pick us up at Baganara for our day tour of the Kaieteur Waterfall. Kaieteur thunders over a precipice, plummeting 224 m (741 feet), making it the longest single drop waterfall in the world. This is Guyana’s trademark and one of the most impressive and beautiful sights in Guyana, a solid column of water in a perpendicular drop into cascading foam and spray over the great boulders at the foot of the cliff, producing breathtaking rainbows across the gorge (hopefully the weather will be clear!). The aircraft circles the Falls, giving views to both sides of the plane, and then lands nearby. We walk through a tropical gorge, stopping at a number of viewpoints, before reaching the very edge of the top of the Falls. There are many legends of Kaieteur, but the most enduring tells of a great old Chieftain of the Patamona tribe whose name was Kaie. To save his people from being destroyed by the savage Caribishi, Kaie sacrificed himself to the Makonaima, the Great Spirit, by canoeing himself over the falls. We then fly back to Baganara for lunch before proceding by plane back to Georgetown. The flight provides breathtaking views of the endless canopy of tropical rain forest sliced by huge rivers, and Georgetown’s location, at the mouth of the Essequibo. Overnight in Georgetown. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 5 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Georgetown, Guyana – Paramaribo, Suriname

    We have an early morning start, setting out by road to the Corentyne River which forms the border between Guyana and Suriname. We pass through the mainly agricultural areas crossing the Berbice River by ferry before arriving at Moleson Creek, where we join a second ferry to cross to Southdrain on the Suriname border. We continue on to Paramaribo and check in to our hotel. (This is a long though interesting journey. Possible lengthy waits at the ferry crossing requires patience.) Paramaribo originated in the 17th century around an old trading post and Fort Willoughby, which was renamed Fort Zeelandia after the Dutch conquered it in 1667. The Dutch made the settlement near the fort the colony’s capital, calling it Nieuw Middelburg. This name for the new capital has never been accepted. The popular name for the capital is still ‘foto,’ derived from ‘fort.’ Some months later, the British took over the fort again, but under the Peace of Breda, Suriname became a Dutch colony again. The name Paramaribo is derived from ‘Paramurubo,’ the name of an old Arrawak village, which means ‘city of parwa blossoms.’ Overnight in Paramaribo. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 6 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Paramaribo – Commewijne River Cruise – Paramaribo

    This morning we have a tour of this historic capital. Sights in Paramaribo include: The Central Market where you can find tropical fruit and vegetables galore; here one can meet a cross-section of Suriname’s ethnically-diverse population. The Palm Garden, which is behind the Presidential Palace, is famous for its stately palm trees. Waterfront / Independence Square is the centre of activity during national holidays. There are also several foodstands along the Waterfront. The historic Fort Zeelandia has been turned into a museum, which highlights Suriname’s history and arts (NOTE: Paramaribo sightseeing may occur at a different point of our tour if overall timing warrants). This afternoon we have a cruise on the Commewijne River, directly opposite Paramaribo city. Our tour will take us along the river, past former colonial plantations of which most are abandoned and no longer active. A visit to the open-air museum at Nieuw Amsterdam and Marienburg, the oldest former sugar plantation in Suriname, will carry you back in time. The agricultural projects in Alkmaar, Katwijk and surroundings will offer you a view on how the plantation industry transformed itself in modern times. The river which takes in a dominant place in Commewijne, provides a way of earning a living to many fishermen in the area. Overnight in Paramaribo. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 7 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Paramaribo, Suriname – Port of Spain, Trinidad

    Today we fly from Suriname to Trinidad,* a romantic island, home of calypso and the steelband with a wonderful blend of blue-green waters, golden sands and lush tropical jungles. On arrival we will have an orientation tour. We visit the capital, Port of Spain, where gingerbread-style houses are found side-by-side with a variety of modern structures. The seven grandest examples of colonial Victorian houses lie in a row along St Clair’s border with the Savannah. Known as the ‘Magnificent Seven’, the houses are each in a different style but vie to outdo each other in form and decoration. We visit the nearby Botanical Gardens. Later we see the impressive President’s Residence; the leafy suburbs of St Ann’s lie behind. We will view the Red House (Parliament), the Hall of Justice, and Woodford Square. The garden in the square is the setting for open-air political debate: the topic of the day is written on a blackboard each morning. The Woodbrook area is dotted with restaurants and bars, many of which are in small ‘gingerbread’ houses, fringed with fretwork and delicately painted. Then it’s a short drive to Lady Young Lookout for an excellent panoramic view of Port of Spain. We’ll head for Santa Cruz Valley with its endless cocoa and coffee plantations. The drive through this valley is approximately 20 minutes and from here we continue along the scenic North Coast Road where we will take in a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea at Maracas Lookout. On reaching Maracas Beach, Trinidad’s most beautiful and popular, you can swim, sunbathe or relax before returning to the hotel (changing facilities are available). NOTE: Flight schedules and / or weather considerations may require that we have today’s Port of Spain sightseeing on one of the following days, or mix up the order of our sightseeing in Trinidad. This day is also subject to flight schedules that can change without warning. If today’s flight is cancelled or discontinued, we may have to drive back to Georgetown and fly from there. Overnight in Trinidad. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 8 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Trinidad: Central Trinidad & Caroni Nature Sanctuary

    This morning our island tour takes us through the plains of Central Trinidad, vast mangrove swamp and rice fields. Trinidad being a mixed society, of all different races; we will see many Hindu flags in front of private residences and Hindu temples and hear about their significance. We also visit the remarkable “Sadhu” Hindu Temple, built under great sacrifice out in the sea. We visit the lively and colourful Chaguanas fresh produce market and busy bazaar street with a break for lunch and shopping. We then continue to the the Caroni Nature Sanctuary, a mangrove swamp covering an area of 40 square miles at Trinidad’s North West Coast. We board a large flat-bottomed boat and slowly travel along the beautiful peaceful waterways and lagoons admiring the bizarre beauty of the landscape and a variety of birds and other wildlife. The most astounding among these birds is the scarlet ibis, a large bright red bird feeding and nesting here. This tour is world renowned among ornithologists as it offers the observer an opportunity to see this rare protected bird with very little effort. After this relaxing boat ride we return to the main landing and make our way to Port of Spain. Overnight in Trinidad. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 9 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Trinidad: Asa Wright Nature Centre

    Today we drive to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, home to hundreds of species of birds, as well as other local flora and fauna. The AWNC is a “Not-for-Profit” Trust established in 1967 by a group of naturalists and bird-watchers to “protect part of the Arima Valley in a natural state and to create a conservation and study area for the protection of wildlife and for the enjoyment of all.” Our guided walk will explore the Discovery Trail and conclude on the verandah. Colourful birds like the brilliant green shining Honeycreepers and the Jacob Hummingbirds visit the nearby feeders just below the verandah. This is one of the best places for birding in the tropics. The original estate house of the former coffee-cocoa-citrus plantation has been beautifully remodeled over the years as a comfortable headquarters where guests gather to watch the incredible birdlife from the verandah. Overnight in Trinidad. Breakfast and dinner.

    Day 10 of Guyana, Suriname & Trinidad Tour

    Departure

    Departure from Trinidad. Breakfast. BON VOYAGE!!