African Safari Family Cruise Tanzania Adventures Safari Cruises

Family Adventures

Belize China Costa Rica Turkey
Ecuador Egypt Panama Peru

Belize: Rain Forests, Ruins and Reefs

9 Days / 8 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

A Central American gem tucked between Mexico and Guatemala and bounded to the east by the Caribbean Sea. While Belize is a world apart, it is also close to home, just a 2-1/2 hour flight from Miami.

Your adventure begins high in the mountains where the lush, unspoiled beauty of the forest is highlighted by the colorful sights and sounds of exotic birds. Hiking, swimming and horseback riding are outstanding in the rain forests of Belize, but exploration of the fascinating Maya culture makes your trip truly exceptional.

View ancient Maya artifacts on an exciting canoe trip into a cave; visit the newly discovered ruins of Caracol; or choose to visit the massive ruins of Tikal, in nearby Guatemala. Tikal is the only place in the world that has been declared both a Natural and Cultural Heritage for Humanity.

Conclude your adventure on Belize's beautiful Caribbean coast. Relax on the white-sand beaches, venture into the mangrove cayes and admire the jungle. Or explore the Southern Barrier Reef - the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere! Swimming, snorkeling and kayaking will keep you active. Wildlife, including over 250 species of tropical fish, is magical.

Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive Mountain Pine Ridge  Welcome Dinner

Depart Miami or Dallas late in the morning for Belize, a short 2-1/2 hour flight away. We begin our journey westward into the Cayo District to our beautiful and tranquil lodge in the the Mountain Pine Ridge region. Get acquainted with your fellow travelers over a welcome dinner.  D

Days 2-4 Mountain Pine Ridge Caracol, Rio Frio Cave, Rio On Pools, Barton Creek Cave, Pen Pals

Caracol is the most extensive Mayan center in the country. Drive through pine forest and into rain forest, keeping your camera ready as we may see such rare birds as the keel-billed motmot, as well as a wide variety of orchids, vines, and trees. The high canopy rain forest is also home to several species of cat.

After lunch we drive back towards our lodge, stopping at the Rio Frio Cave, and finishing at the Rio On Pools for a dip in the cooling pools and waterfalls.

The following day we’ll visit one of the most wonderful river caves in Belize. The cave runs 3 miles through the mountain but we travel by canoe for 1.5 miles to a point where the stalagmites and stalactites make our passage deeper impossible. Mayan potteries and skeletons can be observed by flashlight. We maneuver by headlamps and spotlights and return to the opening 2 hours later.

This afternoon we transfer to San Ignacio. Once in town, you may spend time walking, shopping and absorbing the culture in this bustling Belizean town. Later in the afternoon your children will have the opportunity to meet their Belizean pen pals. Included is a visit to the Green Iguana Conservation Project.

Your final day in this region is set aside so you may explore on your own with the guides from the lodge. Options include: visiting the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala; visiting the smaller and closer ruins of Xunantunich; swimming; mountain biking; or exploring some of the 7‚200 acres Hidden Valley Inn is located on.  B, L, D

Days 5-8  Belize Reef and Beaches Cave Branch Tubing, Snorkeling or Diving, Monkey River, Free Day

Journey to the coast along Humming Bird Highway. We’ll stop mid-morning to don headlamps and float over seven miles along an underground river. Admire the unique and intricate limestone formations and gaze at the "crystal cathedral" of the Maya. Listen for the sounds of waterfalls that you cannot see. We return to the surface and continue on to our beachfront resort.

Snorkel or dive along the Southern Barrier Reef. At 185 miles long, it is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Here, your children might see some 250 species of magnificent tropical fish in their natural habitat, along with eagle rays, moray eels, dolphins, turtles and barracuda.

A free day of leisure is planned so that you may enjoy the activities and amenities of the resort.

Explore the Monkey River on your final morning. Glide up the river by boat or hike over newly cut hiking trails in the rain forest to get a close-up view of the howler monkeys, rare birds, crocodiles and, iguanas that call this fascinating river home. This afternoon you are free to venture into the mangrove cayes or simply unwind on Belize’s white-sand beaches. In the evening, say goodbye over a farewell dinner. B, L, D

Day 9  Return Home Take a short flight to Belize City this morning, where you'll connect to your flight home.  B


China: Great Wall, Gorges and Giant Pandas

15 Days / 14 Nights for Ages 10 and Up

Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of China, from cosmopolitan cities to rural villages. Fly kites and practice Tai Ji, hike in a Chinese national park, view fishermen plying the waters with cormorants, witness the astonishing Terra Cotta army of Xi'an and see the Giant Panda up close.

Interact with the locals: dining with a family in their home; visiting the classrooms of the next generation of Chinese artists; and meeting with the people of a local village. As your children prepare for the trip, they may choose to learn about Chinese culture by corresponding with Chinese pen pals. In Xi'an, the two cultures will connect, as your children host their pen pals at a pizza party.

This exciting trip is evenly paced throughout your stay in China, so that your family may balance relaxation and adventure. Locally born guides accompany us each step of the way to ensure pleasant encounters and to reveal subtleties of Chinese culture.

Accommodations are not only clean and comfortable, but also welcoming and child-friendly. And every meal is healthy and delicious, with several Western-style dinners, plus kid-pleasing options on nights when we offer local Chinese cuisine.

Days  1-2 Depart U.S. / Arrive Beijing

Cross a day off the calendar as you fly over the International Dateline. Upon arrival in Beijing, your family will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel.

Day 3  Beijing Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace

Begin Day 3 with a lesson in Tai Ji. Then tour the heart of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world, and the Forbidden City, whose maze of palaces was forbidden to commoners for nearly 500 years.

In the afternoon, venture to the Summer Palace for a boat ride on Lake Kunming. Our child-friendly pacing provides a short rest break before your Western buffet dinner at the hotel.  B, L, D

Day 4  Beijing Great Wall of China, Ming Tombs, Boat Ride, Family Dinner

Head to the village of Badaling for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a walk on the Great Wall of China. Visit the impressive Ming Tombs, where 13 of the 16 Ming Emperors are buried. Later, cruise the city canals in boats lit with traditional red lanterns. The charming boats will carry you to local homes to experience the culture up-close during a typical family dinner.  B, L, D

Day 5  Beijing Chinese Kite-Making, Beijing Opera Training School, Performance

Learn the art of Chinese kite-making during a demonstration, then see kite flying in action at the Temple of Heaven. Pay a visit to the Beijing Opera Training School, where youngsters age nine and up study singing, dancing, acrobatics, kung fu and more. Following dinner, enjoy an acrobatic show or a performance of kung fu by monks from the Shaolin Temple.  B, L, D

Days 6-7  Xi'an Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Night Market Tour, City Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum

Fly to Xi'an, former capital of 11 dynasties. Visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 684 A.D. at the site of a Buddhist temple. After dinner, step out on a guided walk through the night market.

Begin the following morning with a walk or bike ride on the City Wall. Then, view the famous Terra Cotta army of Xi'an, an amazing army of life-sized figures created in 259 - 210 B.C. Admire the 6,400 soldiers, horses and ministers who guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Later, enjoy a visit to the Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum, one of China's best. In the evening, your children will meet their Chinese pen pals for a good old American pizza party. B, L, D

Days 8-9  Zhangjiajie Yanling Digs, Flight to Zhangjiajie, Whitewater Rafting

You’ll stop at the Yanling Digs, burial site of the Emperor Jangdi, to see archaeologists unearthing relics that date to the Han Dynasty. Late in the afternoon, fly to Zhangjiajie, China's first national park and one of the most beautiful regions of China.

Enjoy a gentle rafting excursion on the Maoyan River, famed for the almost supernatural beauty of its valleys, sheer precipices and overhanging rocks. In the evening, members of the Tu minority group will entertain your family by the campfire.  B, L, D

Day 10  Chengdu Golden Whip Brook Trails Hike, Flight to Chengdu

A motorcoach ride brings you to the Huangshizhai scenic area where you'll take the cable car to the top of the mountain for a short hike. After lunch, hike the Golden Whip Brook trails through a subtropical forest, as your expert guide points out the indigenous flora and fauna. A short flight tonight delivers you to Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province.  B, L, D

Day 11  Chengdu Panda Breeding Institute, Dazu, Embark on Cruise

You'll visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in the morning before the pandas' naptime. Perhaps your family will see one of the 30 baby pandas bred here. Continuing on to Dazu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll view the Reclining Buddha carved into rock. Following dinner, you’ll board Victoria Cruises and set sail on the Yangtze.  B, L, D

Days 12-14  Yangtze River Cruise "Ghost City", Wanzhou, Three Gorges Dam

First stop along the world’s third-longest river is Fengdu, the "Ghost City," where you’ll go ashore to admire the statuary at Mingshan Hill’s temples; or you may explore the ancient fortress city of Wanzhou. Day 13 is sure to be a highlight as you cruise among the rocky cliffs, misty peaks and swirling eddies of the famous Three Gorges, your ship rising and lowering through the locks. View the controversial Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project. Disembark in Yichang for a short flight to Shanghai.  B, L, D

Day 15  Shanghai / Return Home  

Crossing back over the International Dateline, you'll regain the day you lost and arrive home on the same date you left China.


Costa Rica: Mini-Sport Adventure

9 Days / 8 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

Friendly, tropical Costa Rica, a world leader in protecting natural resources, is the perfect spot for your family to explore the beauty and marvelous intricacy of the natural world.

Throughout this special adventure, we discover mountainside cloud forests, lush lowland rain forests and pristine beaches. We'll travel high in the rain forest canopy, an ecosystem all its own, and down at water level, rafting on the mighty Sarapiqui River.

On the Caribbean coast, we'll explore the still waterways of Tortuguero, a national park accessible only by boat. On the sunny Pacific, we'll enjoy the beaches and surroundings of Manuel Antonio National Park. And along the way we'll meet ordinary Costa Ricans, admirable people who honor, respect and work to maintain a harmonious relationship with nature.

This peaceful, modern country is an ideal place to visit with your children. Just a few hours from the U.S. by plane, it's a world of exotic, unspoiled beauty. Our long time Costa Rican friend, Tamara Budowski, has worked closely with us to develop this trip and it remains our most popular.
Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive San Jose

Days 2-3  Sarapiqui Rainforests Rafting, Hiking, Swimming, Meet the Locals

Explore the trails of the enchanting La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and then continue on to your lodge for a hike with a naturalist guide to the natural pools and cascades that flow from forested hills nearby.

Explore the Sarapiqui River on a wild whitewater rafting trip or opt for a slower paced float trip. Meet local children and their parents for a barbeque at the lodge, as well as fun and games by the river and at the pool - a wonderful time to connect with local people and their culture.  B, L, D

Days 4-5  Tortuguero National Park Wildlife Viewing, Boating, Jungle Kayak

Travel to Costa Rica’s scenic Caribbean coast and explore the rich lowland rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, named for the endangered Atlantic Green Sea Turtle.

Explore the waters that run through the primary forest, seeking out local wildlife on boat expeditions.

Learn how you can adopt a Green Sea Turtle, stroll the "tiendas" in Tortuguero village and kayak through the calm jungle waterways where boats can’t venture. B, L, D

Days 6-8  Manuel Antonio National Park Canopy Adventure, Nature Walks, Outrigger Canoe Trip

Flying to the Pacific coast, your home for the next two nights is nestled within one of the most pristine areas near Manuel Antonio National Park.

You’ll enjoy exceptional opportunities to view a variety of curious critters including coatimundis, agoutis, squirrel monkeys and sloths while walking the park’s trails that lead to white sand-beaches.

Discover the magic of the mangrove forests on a fun and easy kayak tour of Damas Island, passing through coastal habitats on a protected inlet.

Explore the treetops of the rain forest on an exhilarating canopy tour. Secured to steel zipline cables with the help of our experienced guides, you’ll glide from platform to platform for a unique opportunity to see the forest from a bird’s eye view.

En route to San Jose, take some time for swimming, exploring tide-pools and spotting fossils on an Outrigger Canoe trip to a secluded Pacific cove. These Polynesian-style canoes have long arms that keep it balanced for a smooth ride to the beach for activities and lunch. Celebrate with a special farewell dinner upon arrival in San Jose.  B, L, D

Day 9  San Jose / Return Home


Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & Beaches

9 Days / 8 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

Join us on a special trip designed for fun-loving families seeking out the treasures of friendly, tropical Costa Rica. This peaceful, modern country is internationally acclaimed for its efforts to protect and preserve the environment. And Costa Rica is ideally situated, just a few hours from the U.S. by plane.

Our trip begins in the magical area surrounding Arenal Volcano. We explore the rain forest from the amazing Hanging Bridges, allowing us to enter the dense canopy from high above the ground. Enjoy spectacular views of Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano as you admire the wildlife.

 

In the Monteverde Region, we visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in Central America. We'll learn about the birds, butterflies and insects that thrive in this mysterious ecosystem. Optional adventures include skywalks, horseback riding and more.

Our trip concludes at a beach resort in Punta Leona, a land of lush tropical rain forest, pristine white sand beaches and the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. We're free to explore the rain forests and enjoy the many adventures offered, from swimming and snorkeling to volleyball and rollerblading.

Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive San Jose

Day 2  Arenal Volcano Area Welcome Breakfast, Hot Springs

Welcome breakfast at the hotel, then drive to the Arenal area, stopping for lunch en route. Along the way you'll visit Hidalgo's Family Hot Springs. Dinner tonight is at Brasitas Restaurant.  B, L, D

Day 3  Arenal Volcano Area Rain Forest Exploration, Free Time

This morning you'll explore the rain forest from the Hanging Bridges at Arenal. Enjoy spectacular views of Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano as you walk through the treetops on stationary and suspension bridges. Later, you are free to choose from the many optional activities in the area.  B, L, D

Day 4  Monteverde Region Butterfly Garden, Nature Center

Transfer to a comfortable lodge located near the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. En route from Arenal, you will have the chance to meet your pen pals! Visit a butterfly garden and nature center this afternoon, where you will learn about the butterfly lifecycle as well as other local insects.  B, L, D

Day 5  Monteverde Region Private Reserve, Artisan's Center, Optional Adventures

Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in Central America. In the afternoon visit an artisan's center that helps support local families. Or you may try optional activities available at your lodge including skywalks, horseback riding tours and more.  B, L, D

Days 6-7  Punta Leona Rain Forest Exploration, Wildlife Viewing

Head to Punta Leona, a land of tropical rain forest, white sand beaches and the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Here you'll be free to enjoy walks through the rain forests, view the crocodiles in the Tarcoles River, watch the macaws flying overhead or enjoy the activities at the lodge including swimming, snorkeling, fishing, volleyball, rollerblading and many more. Also included during your stay is a waterfalls canopy tour.  Day 6 - B, L, D  ⁄  Day 7 - B, L

Day 8  Punta Leona / San Jose Free Time, Farewell Dinner
Your morning will be free after breakfast. Later you'll return to San Jose for your final evening and a special farewell dinner.  B, L, D

Day 9  San Jose / Return Home


Ecuador: Galapagos Islands & Andean Highlands

9 Days / 8 Nights for Ages 7 and Up

Experience the rich culture of the Andes and the amazing natural history of the Galapagos on this thrilling family adventure.

Our journey begins in the highlands of the Ecuadorian Andes. We visit villagers and artisans, learning about their ancient culture and shopping for crafts in colorful markets. We'll have fun, too, with opportunities to ride horseback and hike at our friendly hacienda.

Then we head west into the Pacific for our nature cruise among the Galapagos Islands, one of the planet's most fascinating ecosystems. Each day we disembark on a different island to explore, swim and view the almost-tame wildlife. We offer two cruises, including a 5 day / 4 night cruise for those times of the year when families have longer vacations.

Get the most enjoyment - and the most value - from your family's trip to South America by adding an exciting optional extension. Discover the monuments of the Inca Empire on our trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, experience the Amazon Basin with a stay at a jungle eco-lodge or explore the natural beauty of Ecuador on an active vacation featuring rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking.

Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive Quito

Days 2-4  Quito / Andean Highlands Lake Cuicocha Hike, Pen Pals, Condor Project, Otavalo Market

Set out today for the Ecuadorian highlands, an area of forests, farmland, villages and volcanic peaks a few hours from Quito. Head straight to Lake Cuicocha for a hike with a naturalist. Meet your pen pals upon arrival at your hacienda.

Visit Hacienda Zuleta for a tour of the Condor HUASI Project, where Andean condors are raised for reintroduction to their natural environment. If you're feeling active, there is an optional 4-mile hike from the community of Angla to Zuleta.

Enjoy a relaxing morning at the hacienda before visiting the famed Otavalo Market, where you can experience the color and whirl of a regional market and shop for local crafts, weavings, sweaters and Panama hats. Later, we visit several nearby villages where you can peruse local crafts.  B, L, D

Two Galapagos Cruises Are Offered:
4 Day / 3 Night Cruise

Day 5  Quito / Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal Island Beach Exploration, Snorkeling

Fly to the Galapagos to begin your cruise. Board ship and settle into your cabins. Your seagoing home is the M/V Galapagos Explorer II, a 293-foot, first-class ocean-going cruise ship that carries 100 passengers.

Comfortable cabins feature air-conditioning, private bathrooms and a small sitting area. Experienced naturalists lead shore expeditions to seek out wildlife and help us learn about the fascinating natural history of these volcanic islands.

Visit Ochoa Beach, where you can hike a short trail to a beautiful beach known for snorkeling, swimming, sea anemones, beach vegetation, sea birds, seashore birds, lagoon birds and mangrove trees.  B, L, D

Day 6  Galapagos Islands Cruise: Española Island & Santa Cruz Island Wildlife Viewing, Hiking, Charles Darwin Research Station or Santa Cruz Highlands

This morning we visit Española, southernmost island of the archipelago. Because it is so isolated, Española has a large population of indigenous wildlife. Look for sea lions surfing the breaking waves and groups of iguanas basking in the sun. Further inland, masked and blue-footed boobies nest beside the trails. Hike a trail towards the cliffs to the Blowhole, a fissure in the lava cliffs where seawater jets high in the air.

In the afternoon, we visit Santa Cruz Island, landing in Puerto Ayora Town. You'll have a choice of two activities:

  • Visit Darwin Station to learn about the research conducted on the island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a Galapagos tortoise breeding and rearing center, where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. Afterwards, you can stroll through Puerto Ayora, largest town on the islands.
  • Board a bus for a 45-minute ride through changing vegetation zones to the Santa Cruz Highlands. Here, about 40 giant tortoises live in the wild. By approaching quietly, you can find and observe a turtle on your own.  B, L, D

Day 7  Galapagos Islands Cruise: Genovesa Island Wildlife Viewing, Birding, Swimming, Snorkeling, Hiking

Visit horseshoe-shaped Darwin Bay, created by the curve of a collapsed volcanic crater. Observe frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies, wandering tattlers, whimbrels, lava gulls, fiddler crabs, lava and black-crowned night herons. We may also see yellow warblers on the beach and swallow-tailed gulls swooping around the cliffs.

Prince Phillip’s Steps is the breeding ground for the red-footed booby and the masked booby, and home to four species of finch. Genovesa is also home to the indigenous Galapagos mockingbird and the Galapagos dove. If there is time, you can snorkel at El Barranco on the west side of Darwin Bay.  B, L, D

Day 8  Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal Island/Quito Wildlife Viewing, Swimming, Walking

This morning you’ll visit the Interpretation Center. Donated by the Spanish Government in 1998, this state of the art facility offers a complete education on the Islands.  B

After lunch we return to the airport and fly back to Quito. Say goodbye over a special farewell dinner.  L, D

Day 9  Return Flight to the U.S. from Quito

5 Day / 4 Night Cruise

Day 5  Quito / Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal Island Beach Exploration, Snorkeling, Swimming, Hiking

Fly to the Galapagos to begin your cruise. Board ship and settle into your cabins. Your seagoing home is the M/V Galapagos Explorer II, a 293-foot, first-class ocean-going cruise ship that carries 100 passengers.

Comfortable cabins feature air-conditioning, private bathrooms and a small sitting area. Experienced naturalists lead shore expeditions to seek out wildlife and help us learn about the fascinating natural history of these volcanic islands.

Visit Cerro Brujo, a beautiful beach located on San Cristobal Island, where you can hike, swim and snorkel.  B, L, D

Day 6  Galapagos Cruise: Bartolome Island & James (Santiago) Island Wildlife Viewing, Hiking, Swimming, Snorkeling

Bartolome is an island of varied volcanic formations with a 350-foot summit and a fabulous 360º view. Land in a cove to see a small colony of Galapagos penguins - the only penguins north of the equator. Sea lions are also found here. Behind the beach can be found red and white mangroves, salt bush, morning glory and prickly pear cactuses.

This afternoon you’ll visit Puerto Egas on James Island, landing on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. Hike the trail where the remains of a salt-mining enterprise can still be seen. Intertidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms. Land iguanas are scattered around, and the trail leads to the fur seal grottos, one of the only places in the islands where fur seals can be seen.  B, L, D

Day 7  Galapagos Cruise: Fernandina Island & Isabela Island Wildlife Viewing, Hiking, Swimming, Snorkeling

Land on Fernandina Island at Punta Espinoza. Look for penguins diving off the rocks into the water and sally lightfoot crabs, herons, sandpipers and wimbrels. Marine iguanas are everywhere: basking in the sand, swimming near the shore, grazing on the exposed seaweed in the lava and blocking the way at the landing dock.

Located on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island, the visit to Punta Vicente Roca is completely by dingy, on a ride that skirts 400 to 500-foot cliff sides. Blue-footed boobies, masked boobies and pelicans can be seen here and sea turtles and sea lions feed along this shoreline. You’ll continue along the sheer cliffs to a secluded cove where there is a large cave that allows for snorkeling or sight seeing.  B, L, D

Day 8  Galapagos Cruise: North Seymour Island & Baltra Island Wildlife Viewing, Hiking, Swimming, Snorkeling

North Seymour is a small, flat island composed mainly of rocks and a long sandy stretch where sea lions and marine iguanas hang out next to the surf. The interior has a small Palo Santo tree and Opuntia cactus forest with blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate bird colonies.

This afternoon we'll go for a panga ride inside a mangrove lagoon to look for sea turtles, rays and sharks in the clear calm waters.  B, L, D

Day 9  Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal Island / Quito  

This morning we disembark the Galapagos Explorer II on San Cristobal Island where we’ll visit the Interpretation Center. Donated by the Spanish Government in 1998, this state of the art facility offers a complete education on the Islands.

After lunch, we disembark the M/V Galapagos Explorer II and fly back to Quito. Tonight we bid goodbye to Ecuador and our traveling companions at a special farewell dinner.  B, L, D

Day 10  Quito / Return Home


Egypt: Valley of the Nile

10 Days / 9 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

Discover the power and mystique of ancient Egypt. See the pyramids in the morning light… explore the great temples of the Nile Valley… experience the silent majesty of the desert. Or simply relax at a beach resort on the Red Sea.

Our journey begins in Cairo, where we'll explore the world-renowned archeological collections of the Egyptian Museum, including those of the Royal Mummy Room where the golden treasures of King Tutankhamun may be found.

Museums are great, but there are treasures to be found everywhere you look in Egypt. And we'll be sure to visit all of them, including the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and medieval Khan el Khalili Bazaar.

Departing Cairo, we fly to Sharm el Sheik on the Red Sea. Here, we explore the world-renowned coral reefs. The snorkeling and diving here are extraordinary. Next, in Luxor, site of ancient Thebes, we view the great temples and monuments of the Upper Nile. This region is home to Egypt's most impressive archeological sites.

Finally, we make our way back to Cairo for a farewell dinner as we cruise the majestic Nile River.

Days 1-2  Depart U.S. / Arrive Cairo

Days 3-4 Cairo Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Khan el Khalili Bazaar

Your day begins with visit to the ancient locations of Memphis and Sakkara. Then behold the Pyramids of Giza, including the 450-foot Great Pyramid and the Sphinx. You'll also visit the Solar Boat Museum to see a royal barge built to carry the pharaoh's soul on its afterlife journey.

In the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, enter the Royal Mummy Room and view the golden treasures of King Tutankhamun. Tour the narrow passageways of the medieval Khan el Khalili Bazaar, where gold, silver, carpets and wooden handcrafts are bartered and sold.  B, L, D

Days 5-6  Sharm el Sheik Red Sea Snorkeling, Mt. Sinai and Monastery of St. Catherine or Desert Safari

Fly to Sharm el Sheik, located at the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheik and the coral reefs offshore are a world-renowned snorkeling and diving location. Here you can snorkel or swim along the reef to look for parrotfish, sea urchins and sea turtles.

After a late night drive you'll walk before dawn to the summit of Mount Sinai to witness the sunrise where it's believed Moses received the Ten Commandments, and later visit the famous Byzantine Monastery of St. Catherine. Or venture out into the Sinai Peninsula in 4-wheel-drive vehicles in search of the lush Oasis of Ein Khudra, the burial chambers of Nawamis and the beautiful coastal village of Dahab.  Day 5 - B, L, D  ⁄  Day 6 - B, L

Days 7-8  Luxor Temples of Karnak and Luxor, Valleys of the Kings and Queens, Sailing

Ride in a horse-drawn carriage to the Temple of Luxor, a remarkable structure with massive statues of Pharaoh Ramses II and a ceremonial avenue lined with sphinxes. You also visit the Temple of Karnak with its great hall supported by 134 columns.

Visit the other side of the Nile to explore the great burial areas of the pharaohs, including the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. In the afternoon you'll sail in a traditional felucca. This evening board a first-class night train that takes you to Cairo.  Day 7 - B, L  ⁄  Day 8 - B, D

Day 9  Cairo Shopping, Farewell Dinner Cruise

In Cairo you're free to relax, shop or swim at the hotel pool. This evening you'll have a farewell dinner on a Nile cruise, complete with belly dancing (Rated G!).  B, D

Day 10  Cairo / Return Home

Panama: A Family Adventure

9 Days / 8 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

As our world gets smaller and more interconnected, there's one problem in particular that faces the travel industry: where on earth to take people to next! Especially a travel company that specializes in adventures that are fun and informative for all ages—from kids to adults.

That's why I'm especially delighted that Thomson Family Adventures has created a wonderful new adventure to one of the last undiscovered destinations available today: Panama. Known for its famous canal—one of the great engineering marvels of all time—Panama offers a look at how human technology can work in harmony with the mysteries of nature.

Even more than that, though, Panama offers a wealth of possibilities for active families: a largely untouristed system of natural parks, an abundance of plants and wildlife to rival neighboring Costa Rica, easy access to both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and a welcoming indigenous people, the Emberá who live a traditional lifestyle alongside the canal. Not only that, but Panama is just a short plane ride away from the U.S.!

Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive Panama City Arrive and Settle In

Our representative meets you at the airport for transfer to your hotel.


Day 2  Chiriqui Highlands Hike Baru Volcano National Park

Encompassing both the highlands and the beach, this idyllic region of Panama offers a glimpse of native cultures as well as world-class rafting, kayaking, birding and hiking. We’ll fly to David, the provincial capital, then enjoy lunch at our hotel before hiking into Baru Volcano National Park. On this easy hike through the cloud forest, we’ll skirt Panama’s only volcano—extinct for 500 years—and keep our eyes peeled for the resplendent but elusive quetzal, which makes its home here.  B, L, D

Day 3  Chiriqui Highlands Whitewater Rafting, Swimming, Pen Pals

Embark on a family outing down the gently flowing Esti River on a Class II whitewater rafting expedition. Our safety-conscious, professional crew will lead you on a two-and-a-half hour river journey that showcases the wonders of a tropical forest. Perhaps you and your children will spot otters (called "water cats" by the locals), cormorants, kingfishers and orchids along the way. We’ll also stop for a swim in the river. Don’t worry—the water’s never too cold! Later this afternoon, your children will experience a slice of local life as they mingle with their pen pals.  B, L, D

Day 4  Bocas del Toro Transfer to Bastimentos Marine National Park

Early this morning, we’ll fly to Bocas del Toro. In this largely English-speaking haven on the Caribbean coast, near Costa Rica, you’ll find palm-fringed beaches, lush rainforests and a welcoming town with a relaxed ambiance. Take a light rain jacket or umbrella as you explore the wooden townhouses of the United Fruit Company that once was headquartered here and settle into the Bocas Inn, our launchpoint for exploring the Bastimentos Marine National Park, home of night monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, pacas and more.  B, L, D

Day 5  Bocas del Toro Snorkeling at Bastimentos Marine National Park

Established in 1988, the Bastimentos Marine National Park is Panama’s first marine park. Here amid the pounding surf are some of the most spectacular coral reefs of the Caribbean. As you and your family snorkel among them, watch for colorful tropical fish and marine invertebrates.  B, L, D

Day 6  Bastimentos Marine National Park / Panama Canal Hike Red Frog Trail, Fly to Panama City, Visit Miraflores Locks

Red poison dart frogs are popular among visitors to Bastimentos Marine National Park. Perhaps your children will spot one as we hike the narrow trails along the beach this morning. In the afternoon, we'll board a flight for Panama City, stopping en route for our first glimpse of the amazing Panama Canal.

Inaugurated in August 1914, the Panama Canal is truly one of the great feats of human engineering. Overcoming flooding, malaria, yellow fever and countless other obstacles, the turn-of-the-century visionaries who built it changed the world by creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—and most of all proving the power of the spirit of ingenuity.

Today, we’ll visit Miraflores Locks and the canal exhibit there before continuing on to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, a luxury resort located on the Panama Canal, in the heart of the lush Panamanian rainforest known as Soberanía National Park. 

Just 30 minutes away from Panama City on the Pacific Coast, and 30 minutes from the Colon Free Zone on the Caribbean, it also lies along the banks of the Chagres River and Gatún Lake, the main water sources for the Panama Canal and part of Panama's most precious assets. Here you’ll find a carefully designed array of educational and adventure experiences.  B, L, D

Day 7  Panama Canal Ride Dugout Canoes, Visit Emberá Tribe

The day begins with a drive to Madden Lake, where we’ll board traditional pirquas (dugout canoes) for a thrilling journey along the Chagres River. At journey’s end, we will meet the indigenous Emberá people of Panama, who are striving to preserve their traditional culture by setting up villages in the rainforest. As we mingle with these friendly people, we will learn from men and women in traditional clothing about their return to Panama from Colombia and Ecuador during the 1980s and 1990s—and how they are surviving today. We’ll also learn about the medicinal uses of native plants during a short walk.  B, L, D

Day 8  Panama Canal Jungle Boat Adventure

Today, we will board an expedition boat for a voyage across Gatún Lake—the centerpiece of the Panama Canal and once the largest manmade lake in the world. During our journey, we’ll pass some of the 35 gigantic cargo and passenger ships that transit the waterways every day—a total of over 12,000 a year. We’ll also be on the lookout for green iguanas, sloth, crocodile, snail kite and osprey hunting for peacock bass. Other wildlife we’ll search for include white-faced capuchin, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and the endemic red-napped tamarain.

In the afternoon, we’ll stop on a picturesque island for a picnic lunch before returning to our resort hotel in the early afternoon. Enjoy time at leisure to relax, perhaps swimming in the pool or setting off on your own for a tram ride through the rainforest.  B, L, D

Day 9  Return Home This morning, you’ll be transferred to the airport, where you’ll connect to your flight home.  B


Peru: Land of the Ancient Inca

8 Days / 7 Nights for Ages 8 and Up

Five hundred years ago, Peru lay at the heart of a vast empire that stretched over 400,000 square miles from northwest Argentina to southern Columbia. A legendary kingdom, this Land of the Inca came to an untimely end, the victim of colonizing Spaniards who swept across South America.

For our journey through Peru, we'll return to the ancient lands of the Children of the Sun, exploring massive ruins, age-old villages and spellbinding landscapes in the Sacred Valley. The highlight of our trip is a train ride to mysterious Machu Picchu, famed Lost City of the Incas.

Previously, we offered Peru as an optional extension to our acclaimed trip to Ecuador. Peru's popularity has inspired us to feature Land of the Ancient Inca as one of our new family vacations. Of course we'll continue to offer this exciting trip as an extension to Ecuador for families wishing to see even more of South America!

Day 1  Depart U.S. / Arrive Lima

Days 2-3  Sacred Valley Pisaq Marketplace, Picnic, Rafting

Fly to Cuzco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire. Visit the mystical Sacred Valley of the Inca, and enjoy a picnic with a view of the Pisaq Ruins, including one of the largest known cemeteries from the Empire. The village of Pisaq boasts a dynamic marketplace.

The following morning you embark on a whitewater rafting trip on the Rio Vilcanota that is both exciting and suitable for first-timers. After lunch we head to the village of Chinchero, where you see living history as Quechuan weavers demonstrate the age-old craft they have passed down through generations.  B, L, D

Day 4  Machu Picchu Ollantaytambo Archaeological Site, Train Ride, Ruins

Visit Ollantaytambo, where your children will experience what a typical Inca community was like. Then get on board for a train ride to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll check into your hotel. Machu Picchu is right nearby, as you’ll discover after lunch.

Perched high in the mountaintops, Machu Picchu was built in the 1400s, but was mysteriously abandoned around the time of the Spanish Conquest and disappeared from all written records. Spend the afternoon exploring these fascinating ruins, departing in time for dinner.  B, L, D

Days 5-6  Machu Picchu / Cuzco Hiking, Ruins, Spanish Cathedral

Return to Machu Picchu in the morning to spend more time exploring the ruins, or join your guide on a hike. Return to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then return to Cuzco.

Take a walking tour of Cuzco for a closer inspection of its Inca ruins. Stop along the way at Cuzco’s magnificent Spanish Cathedral, featuring a bell made of silver, gold, and bronze that can be heard over twenty-five miles away! Day 5 - B, L  ⁄  Day 6 - B, L, D

Day 7  Lima Gold Museum

Return to Lima to visit the city’s Gold Museum, where you can view the private collection of the Mujico Gallo family, including hundreds of solid-gold plates and glimmering pieces made from gold, silver, emeralds, and pearls.  B, L, D

Day 8  Lima / Return Home


Turkey: Secrets of the Mediterranean

16 Days / 15 Nights for Ages 6 and Up

Parents and children alike will feel the ancient magic of Turkey as we travel deep into the heart and soul of this exotic land. Our journey takes us through Istanbul’s scented bazaars on hikes to ancient Crusader castles and crumbling ruins, through the passageways of an underground city and along the stunning Mediterranean Coast.

We’ve always felt that diversity is the key to a successful family adventure. With that in mind, we’ve designed a trip to Turkey that has it all, from fun family activities to historical explorations into Turkey’s past and warm cultural encounters with its delightful people.

A highlight of the trip is our sailing cruise on a gulet, Turkey's traditional wooden yacht. We'll spend six days meandering along the Mediterranean Coast, with frequent stops to swim, hike, snorkel and explore hidden ruins.

We’ll also experience village life in the Taurus Mountains, enjoying traditional meals and staying with friends of Thomson Family Adventures who'll treat you like one of the family.

There's no end to the adventure as we explore magnificent landscapes and coastal regions with lots of time for fun in the sun and soaking up the beauty of this magical place.

Days 1-2  Depart U.S. / Arrive Istanbul Welcome Dinner

Arriving in Istanbul after an overnight flight, you'll be met by your guide and taken to your hotel. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and orientation.  D

Day 3  Istanbul History and Culture, Exotic Markets

Discover Istanbul, the remarkable city that has been a crossroads of history for three millennia. Istanbul's narrow streets reveal the Spice Market, Covered Bazaar, the historical Sultanahmet District, and such architectural treasures as the Basilica Cisterns, Topkapi Palace and the Hippodrome.  B, L, D

Days 4-5  Cappadocia Troglodyte Villages, Underground City, Hiking

We travel to Cappadocia, a region in Turkey's central highlands noted for its frescoed cave churches, remarkable underground dwellings, conical "fairy-chimneys", and even whole villages carved from soft volcanic stone.

Our route takes us through villages of modern-day troglodytes where locals ride donkeys and dry apricots on their rooftops. We hike through fantastic canyon landscapes and vineyards, witnessing timeless native culture of the region.  B, L, D

Days 6-7  Urunlu Village Mountain Village Homestay, Hiking, Rafting, Swimming

Driving out over the great Anatolian plains, we visit Sultanhan Caravanserai, where ancient camel caravans stayed, before reaching our destination, the forested Taurus Mountains. In the village of Urunlu, we sleep and eat in local fashion, meeting new friends who share their homes and daily routines with us. The next day we’ll undertake a challenging hike down to the headwaters of the Manavgat River to swim or fish, then raft into the Grotto of the Golden Cradle.  B, L, D

Day 8  Urunlu to Antalya River Rafting, Picnic Lunch, Ruins

We head toward the Mediterranean Coast and reach Koprulu Canyon National Park for a rafting adventure on the clear waters of the Koprulu River. After a picnic lunch, we proceed to Aspendos, a second-century Roman theater widely acknowledged as the best-preserved ancient theater in existence.  B, L, D

Day 9  Antalya Historical Exploration, Pen Pal Visit Spend a relaxing day on the Mediterranean Coast in the old-town section of Antalya. Your morning is free. In the afternoon we meet our Turkish pen pals or explore the city’s narrow lanes, historic buildings and ancient port area.  B, L, D

Days 10-15  Mediterranean Yachting Eternal Fires of Chimaera, Snorkeling, Swimming, Ruins

After visiting the Eternal Fires of Chimaera, we board our very own private yacht - a Turkish gulet - the perfect vessel for exploring Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast. Gulets are traditional, 68-foot double-masted wooden sailboats. For the next five nights, we meander slowly along the coast. Dropping anchor at quiet coves, sheltered beaches and small harbor towns, we’ll have opportunities to swim, snorkel, hike and explore.

Enjoy an evening hike to a hilltop Crusader castle. Visit Lycian Cliff Tombs and a Roman theater. In Aperlea, snorkel over sunken ruins. Near Kalkan, swim or snorkel, and then hike through olive groves and fragrant herb gardens. Sail to the island of Gemiler for a hike around a monastery with breathtaking views. On our last evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner at Dalyan then fly to Istanbul where we overnight.  B, L, D

Day 16  Istanbul / Return Home

 

Belize China Costa Rica Turkey
Ecuador Egypt Panama Peru

 

WinWin Vacations, Your Travel Solution, PO Box 30903, Seattle, WA 98113-0903
phone (206) 297-7179,
WinWinVacations@comcast.net

Web site designed by Tom Trowbridge 
Copyright 2000-2009 WinWin Vacations. All rights reserved
Email webmaster Tom@winwins.com