Africa is home to some of the world’s friendliest people, most significant historic treasures, and famously wild places. From the Pyramids of Egypt to the colorful streets of Cape Town, there’s an African destination for every kind of traveler. And no matter which country you visit, you’re certain to be welcomed with a sense of warm hospitality. Perhaps you’ll share a shisha pipe with a local resident in Cairo … or journey to South Africa’s scenic wine country. Once you’ve come this far, you’ll be surprised to find that you have more in common with Africa’s people than you think—and once you leave, you’ll likely yearn to return.
Think of Asia, and images of ancient history and timeless spirituality likely come to mind. China’s famed Terra Cotta warriors, standing guard for eternity. This part of the world has been shaped at every turn by the beliefs of its devout people and the mind-boggling diversity of its cultures—and therein lies its appeal. It is also a land of great natural beauty, from the soaring limestone canyons of the Yangtze River Valley to the mist-enshrouded landscapes of Guilin, China. Or Thailand’s glittering Buddhist temples sitting side by side with Bangkok’s modern skyscrapers. Japan’s modern skyscrapers and peaceful, timeless shrines, epitomizing the aesthetic ideals of Shintoism and Zen Buddhism. Regardless of which destination you choose, you’re certain to leave inspired by what you find here.
A journey to Antarctica is a travel milestone, and a hard-won milestone at that. To reach this continent of looming glaciers and abundant wildlife, you must travel through the wild landscapes of Patagonia and embark on a cruise through the legendary Drake Passage. Named after the 16th-century English navigator Sir Francis Drake, this notoriously rough passage is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet and winds swirl unchecked by land. Keeping company with albatrosses, whales and dolphins, you'll sail past the South Shetland Islands, populated with vast penguin rookeries, Antarctic fur seals, and wallowing southern elephant seals. Some of the most beautiful waterways lie ahead, including the flooded caldera of Deception Island and the Neumayer and Lemaire channels, narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. South of these lies Petermann Island, where adélie and gentoo penguins, skuas, and blue-eyed shags nest. And everywhere, vistas of towering ice sculptures and endless blue sky remind you that you are in a place that is like no other place on Earth—one you won't soon forget.
Central America is an historic crossroads for North and South America and for Europe and the New World as well. The population is diverse: indigenous people, European, African, and West Indian among others. And the Spanish influence is everywhere – from the central square you’ll find in almost every town to a society based on Roman Catholicism – where the cultural focus is on family. Central Americans are a warm and outgoing people, and you’ll discover that the daily pace here is very relaxed. Costa Rica is a window into the region and of its neighbor countries—though unlike its northern neighbor’s there are no Mayan or Aztec ruins here. Whether your Program Director is a friendly Tico from Costa Rica or a biodiversity specialist, you're sure to see, through their eyes, a region rich in history, culture, and particularly in Costa Rica, in natural beauty. Columbus christened the land "Costa Rica," meaning "rich coast," after being greeted by gold-adorned natives, but the real treasures here are natural: fiery volcanoes, black sand beaches, tropical dry forests and mangrove jungles. You'll encounter up-close the natural wonders of one of the most biologically diverse nations on earth here. Your journey to Central America is sure to be an adventure.
Europe is a living history museum, a place to immerse oneself in the ancient churches and ruins of the world’s most influential civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find the storied destinations you’ve been reading about all your life, there in full color: fairytale villages lining mountain slopes and riverbanks, glittering city lights, venerable castles, cobblestoned streets. You’re certain to be inspired by the beauty, both natural and man-made, to be found on this continent, whether you’re traveling overland through Tuscany's rolling hills or cruising down one of the rivers that have connected its countries for centuries: the Rhine, the Danube, the Seine. And as you immerse yourself in the European lifestyle—enjoying good wine and conversation over dinner, sampling croissants and coffee in a local café, strolling along the waterfront—you’ll understand why our vacations to this continent are among our most popular, year after year.
Ever since the first European settlers arrived in North America, pulling up on shores from Canada’s high arctic, travelers have been captivated by the rugged grandeur and unlimited promise of this varied continent. In the north, Canada boasts many delights, from the European-inflected cities on its Atlantic shore to its majestic national parks. In the United States, you might discover the Northeast’s historic cities, craggy American Rockies, or striking wild landscapes of Alaska. From coast to coast, it’s a varied and vibrant country. And the sights of Mexico are equally—yet uniquely—varied, from the colorful settlements of Copper Canyon to the diverse ruins of Paquimé—proving it’s a worthy cultural destination, as well as one rich in natural beauty.
South America is a land of stunning beauty and contrasts. Here, you can traverse the famed Andes of Chile, dance the tango with abandon in Buenos Aires or travel to the southernmost tip of the Americas in breathtaking Patagonia. Across the continent, sophisticated cities with European flair brush up against lush rainforests filled with wildlife found nowhere else on earth. Each country on this continent boasts its own cultural traditions, informed by the ancient indigenous cultures who came before and the modern heroes who have shaped their present—but they all share a sense of warmth and joy that is distinctly South American. As you explore its blend of cosmopolitan cities and traverse its stunningly beautiful landscapes, you’ll come to understand why our experienced travelers feel such a strong sense of amor for South America.
Images from the South Pacific always seem to appear in bright Technicolor, from the electric yellow fish of the Great Barrier Reef to the striking Southern Alps of New Zealand. And colorful experiences are what you’ll have when you visit Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, whether you’re meeting koalas face-to-face on a wildlife preserve, strolling through the eclectic neighborhoods of Sydney, or sampling the flavorful Polynesian cuisine of Fiji. Famously settled by British outcasts and adventurers, this region of the world feels at once familiar and wholly refreshing, with traditions and words that are uniquely indigenous to these countries—and your friendly Kiwi and Aussie guides will explain it all to you as they reveal their home countries to you on our discovery-filled excursions.