Ten Extraordinary Adventures
Want to start the new year off with a bang? Why not book the adventure of a lifetime? Here are ten tempting adventures that are virtually guaranteed to make 2010 unforgettable!
Backroads: Provence Walking — From Les Baux to the Luberon
Journey with Backroads through a landscape captured on canvas by Cézanne, Picasso and van Gogh, where leisurely strolls through timeless villages and rugged countryside await. Walk along the herb-scented trails of the Alpilles to the hilltop towns of the Lubéron, relishing dramatic vistas and enjoying intimate glimpses into the daily lives of the Provençal people. Savor Michelin-starred cuisine, and learn the ins and outs of French cooking during a class with a local chef! And all the while, you’re treated to gracious hospitality in exquisite accommodations – the perfect way to experience the charms of this distinctive region warmed by the Mediterranean sun.
Provence Walking — From Les Baux to the Luberon: May 10-15; June 21-26; September 13-18; September 27-October 2; $4,298.
Bushtracks: Family Adventure Vacation and Safari in Kruger and Victoria Falls
Take your family on an adventure vacation of a lifetime by private air! Explore Southern Africa on safari with all members of your family on an itinerary that promotes fun and education at the same time. Watch your children’s excitement as they encounter the “Big Five”: lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and buffalo. Experience some of the best national parks and reserves in Southern Africa. These include Mala Mala Game Reserve located in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park and Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana.
This great family vacation safari includes wonderful opportunities to interact with local school children in Zambia and make lasting friendships. Adults and children alike can brave the adrenaline-filled activities at Victoria Falls. Uncover the rich wildlife in Botswana’s world famous Okavango Delta. Our specialist tour guides travel with you throughout this luxury safari which will leave everyone in awe.
Family Adventure Vacation and Safari in Kruger and Victoria Falls: June 13-23; July 22-August 1; $12,495.
Canadian Mountain Holidays: Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboos
This short escape is a three-day heli-hiking adventure at the Bugaboo Lodge in the majestic Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. Three days of heli-hiking allow you to taste the wonders of mountain wilderness. The helicopter allows us to explore a variety of sights in a short time. We’ll show you ancient glaciers, alpine meadows, mountain ridge walks and lush forested valleys – on any other hiking or walking trip you’d see only one type of mountain terrain. Our three-day adventures are suitable for all guests — Families, Couples, Friends, Solo Travellers, Mountaineers, Hikers, Trekkers, Walkers and Amblers — and is the perfect introduction to CMH.
Let us warn you, however — this experience will leave you wanting more! Our three-day heli-adventure begins with transportation from Banff, Alberta, to the CMH helipad, followed by an exhilarating flight into the lodge. Two and a half days of guided hiking, walking and/or trekking follows with guests divided into groups based on ability and interest. Add in gourmet cuisine, luxury lodges and a relaxed, casual atmosphere and you have CMH heli-hiking in a nutshell.
Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboos: Numerous departures in July, August and September; $2,490.
Geographic Expeditions: The Last Days of the Incas with Kim MacQuarrie
Our world-class Peru expert Clark Kotula is spellbound by the sudden demise of the Incan empire at the hands of the motley bunch of Spanish ruffians we call Conquistadors. And so is his good friend Kim MacQuarrie, author of The Last Days of the Incas, an account of the historic cataclysm the Washington Post called “a welcome addition to the literature. . . lively and dramatic,” and Booklist praised as “definitive.” Clark and Kim agree that there is no place they’d rather be than “traipsing around Peru’s orchid-rich, mist-shrouded Vilcabamba Range, where the mysterious Incan empire seemed to have vanished into eternity, but luckily left behind a wealth of ruins to tug at our heartstrings and minds.”
Our minds and hearts will be well tugged on this unique, magnificently orchestrated trip led by Kim himself. We begin with a look at Lima, then fly north to the Pacific coast ruins of Chiclayo, where Pizarro and his gang first landed and began to realize that they just might have found a gold-rich civilization (emphasis on the gold). Then up to Cajamarca in the Andean foothills, where Pizarro overcame an Incan army of 80,000 men with his band of 168 soldiers, 27 horses, and 1 cannon. Wandering these history-drenched precincts with the amiable and erudite Kim MacQuarrie will be a deeply illuminating treat.
The second chapter of The Last Days tour takes us to what the Incas called Qosqo, the navel of the world. First to Cusco itself, then down to the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba, and over to incomparable Machu Picchu, and on to the remote village of Huancacalle, where we’ll stay in a hostel operated by the Cobos family, well known to the archaeologists, explorers, and anthropologists who are about the only outsiders to make their way up here. Now for a rare and beautiful mule-supported trek in the Vilcabamba’s orchid-scented cloud forests, visiting ruins on the way to Espíritu Pampa, where the Incan royal family spent their last days in hiding from the Spanish. Coming out of the mountains, we return to Cusco’s cosmopolitan whirl before heading back to Lima and home.
The Last Days of the Incas with Kim MacQuarrie: May 1-20, Sept. 1-20; from $8900.
Lindblad Expeditions: Baja California: Among the Great Whales
Each winter gray whales migrate south from their arctic feeding grounds to breed and rear their young in Baja California’s and Mexico’s sheltered lagoons, making it one of North America’s premier whale watching sites. During our Baja Mexico cruise in the breeding lagoons of Bahia Magdalena, we venture among them in Zodiac landing craft. This gives us a water-level perspective for whale watching that is a rare privilege in the natural world. And it positions us perfectly for the increasingly common friendly encounters with these mammals that we’ve shared with our guests.
Our Baja Mexico cruise expedition also offers naturalist-guided walks on uninhabited desert islands, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking in the Sea of Cortez. The itinerary remains flexible to make the most of whale watching and wildlife sightings. Whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds such as blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds, huge cardon cacti, mangroves and sand dunes are among the wonders you’ll experience.
Baja California: Among the Great Whales: Multiple departures in January, February and March; from $4850.
Micato Safaris: The Hemingway Wing Safari
Big game, unabashed luxury and the enthralling vistas of Africa are sure to dazzle even the most avid traveler on the Hemingway Wing Safari. This 14-day adventure takes the road less traveled, journeying to the remote and dramatic Samburu region. You’ll also visit the legendary game parks of Kenya and Tanzania, including the fabled Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the Maasai Mara. Spend your days in pursuit of elephant, lion, giraffe, leopard and cheetah. At night, relax in cozy comfort at two luxurious tented camps. Micato’s Hemingway Wing Safari is consistently voted “the perfect classic African safari” by our travelers.
The Hemingway Wing Safari: Departures weekly; from $7975.
Natural Habitat Adventures: Classic Polar Bear Expedition
Our “flagship” polar bear expedition features polar bear watching in the polar bear capital of the world! See the world’s greatest concentration of polar bears, just outside Churchill, Manitoba. Experience the frozen wilderness on Hudson Bay from the comfort of warm tundra vehicles. Discover the challenges and joys of life in the far north in the outpost town of Churchill. Alternately regal and whimsical and always awe-inspiring, polar bears in the wild offer a natural encounter charged with drama and magic. Yet a warming climate and melting ice sheet are affecting Arctic ecosystems, threatening the future of all polar bears. Natural Habitat Adventures is responding with measures like our carbon offset program, and we have faith that humanity will rally to protect the frozen home of these engaging beasts. There’s no better time than now to see these kings of the north in their natural habitat.
Classic Polar Bear Expedition: Six-day and seven-day trips; multiple departures in Oct. and Nov; from $4,595.
NOLS: Patagonia Backpacking & Fly Fishing
For the backcountry fly fishing expedition of a lifetime, come to NOLS Patagonia. You will find the fabled wild brown and rainbow trout of Patagonia’s Aisen region swimming in the pristine rivers and freestone streams that rush through these beautiful valleys. The fundamental travel and expedition skills that are the hallmark of a NOLS experience are coupled with a tailored fly fishing progression based on students’ individual knowledge and experience. Whether you are picking up a fly rod for the first time or have been fishing for years, this is the course for you. NOLS provides a remote, self-sufficient, educational expedition in what is quickly becoming one of the hottest fly fishing destinations on the planet.
Patagonia Backpacking & Fly Fishing: March 6-19; $3375.
OARS: Main Salmon River Rafting on the River of No Return
For next year, O.A.R.S. went back to the drawing board to save you more than $300 per person on our most popular Idaho rafting trip. Featuring miles upon miles of protected wilderness where little has changed since first appearing on the U.S. map, the Main Salmon offers a rich river experience including free-flowing Class III whitewater that’s great for any age and experience level. The adventure includes big sandy beaches perfect for camping and playing, beautiful mountain scenery, abundant wildlife and a natural hot spring. On the Main, we run the full gamut of O.A.R.S.’ river vessels so you can experience them all! Riding in an oar boat one day and a wooden dory the next, then challenging the whitewater hands-on in a paddle raft or inflatable kayak, ensures a diverse and exciting river adventure for each member of your party. Dubbed the “River of No Return” by early prospectors, the Salmon is in fact a river you’ll want to return to again and again.
Main Salmon River Rafting on the River of No Return: 6 days, 5 nights; multiple departures in June, July, August and September; from $1588 adult, $1435 youth.
Off the Beaten Path: Inside Guatemala — Semana Santa, Nature, and Mayan Spirit
This insider’s journey connects you with the spirit of the people, art of the culture, and nature of the place. Learn about Guatemala’s famous textiles and folk art from local artisans, many of whom are Mayan. The Mayan culture is alive and well here, and you’ll explore the ancient foundations of this influential civilization at the fabulous sites of Yaxha and Tikal.
The UNESCO World Heritage City of Antigua is another real highlight of the journey. It’s very special to be in Antigua for the Easter celebration of Semana Santa, when men and women carry enormous religious floats through narrow streets, over elaborate carpets of flowers, pine needles, and brightly dyed sawdust.
From the colorful markets and colonial ruins to the slopes of Pacaya volcano, “Inside Guatemala” offers a very personal view of a fascinating country. Highlights include: Antigua — nestled in a mountain valley with three volcanoes on the horizon, idyllic Antigua features Spanish colonial architecture and manicured parks; Semana Santa — Antigua is famous for its celebration of Easter Holy Week, and the entire city participates in the dramatic and colorful event; Mayan ceremony — within the Iximche ruin is an extremely important site where a local shaman will perform a ceremony in a Mayan language; Pacaya Volcano — drive most of the way up the volcano then scramble the last mile or so to peer into the active crater and take in the unforgettable views of the valley and three other volcanoes.
Inside Guatemala: Semana Santa, nature, and Mayan spirit: March 27-April 3; from $3,095.