February 20, 2009

Our Top 5 best adventure tours

Many of our travelers like to complement cultural touring with soft adventure activities. The following tours in Asia, South America, the Himalayas, the South Pacific and Africa have just the right balance of soft-adventure and culture—and they all include private touring and the best luxury hotels in the world.

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1). Journey Through Morocco
A highlight of this popular tour is a camel ride through the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert to a private Berber camp for an overnight stay. At night, we arrange a traditional feast under the stars accompanied by live Moroccan music. This tour also includes private touring of the souks in Fez and Marrakesh, visiting oasis towns on the edge of the Sahara, exploring the remains of ancient caravan routes, admiring the photogenic red walls and crenellated towers of atmospheric kasbahs, and browsing local markets in the Atlas Mountains.

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2.) Best of New Zealand & Australia
This tour is almost too decadent—an abundance of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in two countries rich with unique landscapes, wildlife and culture. In New Zealand, fly by private helicopter through stunning Milford Sound and land on a glacier in the Southern Alps; explore geothermal attractions around Rotorua; spend time on a working sheep station; go fly-fishing on a secluded lake; and perhaps opt to add an unforgettable helicopter flight to White Island, an active volcano.

In Australia, explore Ayers Rock (Uluru) and other monolithic masterpieces of the Outback with a private guide; walk through the mystical Daintree Rainforest with an expert naturalist; and snorkel or dive among the undersea wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. The adventure activities can be customized to include the Sydney BridgeClimb, deep sea fishing, a day excursion by plane to one of Australia’s most impressive Aboriginal rock art sites, dinner at a working cattle station in the Outback, shark diving, or sailing in the Whitsunday Islands.

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3.) Journey Through Argentina
This extensive private tour optimizes the experience of the best of Argentina’s incredibly beautiful and diverse landscapes: the thundering chasms of Iguazu Falls; the volcanic peaks, salt lakes and wild vicuna of the high puna (Andean high plateau) in Salta; the peaks and lakes around Bariloche in the Lake District; and the pampas, condors and eerie blue ice of Perito Moreno Glacier in southern Patagonia.

Many of our outdoor-loving travelers like to add a few more days in Patagonia to hike on a private estancia or hike with their private guide among the spectacularly rugged landscapes around Cerro Fitz Roy, a legendary 11,000-foot tall granite spire. Travelers with less time should consider our Patagonia in Depth, Patagonia: Argentina & Chile, or, for an experience of similar landscapes on the other side of the Andes, our Exclusive Chile tour, which features the Atacama Desert in the far north and the Torres del Paine in Patagonia.

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4.) Journey Through Indochina
Delve deep into Southeast Asia’s irresistible blend of compelling cultural attractions and exotic sights, sounds and flavors on this private tour through Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Experience the wondrous culture, cuisine and chaos of Bangkok, then slow to the rhythms of daily life on the Mekong River among the Buddhist temples, French colonial architecture, hill tribe villages and traditional silk weavers in and around Luang Prabang. Tour beautiful Hanoi by cyclo and explore the ancient streets of the Old Quarter. In spectacular Halong Bay, cruise among limestone islands in a luxurious, traditional-style boat, go kayaking, visit caves and floating villages, and dine on fresh seafood caught in the surrounding waters. In Hoi An, bike through the backstreets and visit lively riverside markets. Tour important historic sights in Saigon and visit a less-touristed part of the Cu Chi tunnels. End in Angkor, the mystical, jungle-swathed ruins of the Khmer empire. We can also include additional adventure activities on this tour, including hiking, cooking classes in local homes, yoga lessons, and flights to remote temples in Angkor.

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5.) Beauty of Bhutan
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is perfect for adventure travelers who love traditional culture, meeting friendly locals, and being surrounded by beautiful mountains. One of the highlights of this tour is a two-night trek in Gangtey, a region of snow-capped peaks, forests of rhododendron and bamboo, and secluded monasteries. The tour also features touring of the top sights in Paro, Thimphu and Punahka, including hiking to Tiger’s Nest Monastery and private visits to important temples, and staying in luxurious traditional-style villas at the Uma Paro and other luxury resorts. Many travelers like us to arrange special activities such as private fly-fishing or archery lessons, visits to local farmhouses, and meetings with local politicians, monks and other notable figures.

Destinations:  Africa, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chile, Europe, Himalayas, Laos, Morocco, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Vietnam

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