- Epic Tanzania Safari!
April 13th-20th 2019 Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club ( http://www.photoflytravel.com/ ) have put an amazing, unbeatable Tanzania safari together! E-mail [masked] for the DAILY ITINERARY! Sign up here: https://www.photoflytravel.org/tanzania-safari-tour-group-travel/ It’s clear we just can’t get enough of Africa based on everyone’s requests and how quickly these trips are filling up! East Africa is known as the pinnacle safari experience and it’s been too long since we’ve visited Kenya’s famous neighbor, Tanzania! We’ve really gone to bat for our travel club on this one and created an epic safari in Tanzania for an unbeatable price (FREE single supplement for solo travelers!). Honestly, we have such awesome friends and partners in Africa these trips just can’t be beat! Tanzania is perhaps the most famous and sought after destination in East Africa to see the Big 5 and the tallest mountain in Africa: Kilimanjaro. This is going to be a photo dream trip in style with luxury boutique accommodations, all delicious meals included, and so much more! Email us to see the daily itinerary at [masked] * 7 nights/8 days Tanzania Safari * Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Every Day * Charming Boutique Safari Lodges with authentic African ambience throughout - Safari across plains and foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro! * Wild Life: Elephants, Buffalos, Antelopes, Water Bucks, leapords and more… * Safari in Tarangire National Park, well known for its huge herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as lion, cheetah and leopard. * Wild Life: Elephants, Lions, Leapords, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Zebras, 100′s species of birds, and more…. * Ngorongoro Crater (Unesco World Heritage & Natural Wonder of the World!) - Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact caldera (collapsed volcano). We descend the 2,000 feet into the crater by a 4-wheel drive vehicle for a half day safari. Over 30,000 animals live within this enormous natural bowl, the most densely packed concentration of wildlife in Africa! * Visit a local Masai Village for an authentic experience of life in the wild. -The Serengeti! *Sites: Olduvai Gorge, ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) as well as huge herds of zebra and wildebeest -Lake Manyara in the Great Rift Valley: * Game drive, and we may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Manyara’s famous tree climbing lions! * Our drivers & guides are some of the most experienced wildlife experts in the world whose knowledge and ability to spot the animals and birds will astound us! * All Taxes, Transfers, & Fees included * Airfare is not included but we will help you find a good flight! Flying in & out of Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) * Roommate Pairing to save money as always! *BUT-Check out the SWEET NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT TO HAVE YOUR OWN ROOM IF JOINING SOLO! * Email us to see daily itinerary at [masked] ------------- Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement: FREE *Limited single rooms available, first come first serve OR Deposit:[masked] Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/tanzania-safari-tour-group-travel/
- Amazing Australia
The Land Down Under March 27th - April 7th 2019 Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club (http://www.photoflytravel.com/) have invited us to this amazing new adventure! Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/australia-group-tours/ E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! This time we will explore the beauty, beaches, & iconic buildings of Sydney, The Great Barrier Reef around the stunning Whitsunday Islands, & the history, food, & cultural epicenter that is Melbourne! Our tour leader and travel club founder, Steve Juba, used to live in Sydney and has explored much of the “Land Down Under”. We’re excited to show you some of our favorite parts of the great country of Australia! * 11 nights/12 days throughout the best of Australia * Breakfast Everyday * 1 lunch, 2 Dinners Sydney: 3 Nights - Privately Guided City Tour throughout highlights of Sydney (Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge, Darling Harbor, “The Rocks” historic district, Parliament House, Kings Cross, Watson’s Bay, Bondi Beach) Port Stevens & Nelson Bay Full Day Adventure: The Whitsunday Islands & Great Barrier Reef: 4 Nights - Great Barrier Reef Full Day Adventure The Great Barrier Reef is truly one of the great wonders of the natural world and a “must-see” for any visitor to Australia. “Reefworld” Pontoon: Morning tea, afternoon tea and a sumptuous buffet lunch included Snorkel Gear (fins & mask, wetsuit) included Intro and certified diving options (additional cost) Scenic helicopter flights (additional cost) - Whitehaven Beach Cruise and Island Exploration beach in Australia and name “Queensland’s Most Beautiful Beach”. - Explore Hamilton Island * Entry into “Wild Life Hamilton Island * Relax and explore the beaches of Hamilton Island * Use of catamarans, paddle skis, windsurfers, and snorkeling equipment * Use of gym, spa, & sauna * Unlimited use of the scheduled ‘Island Shuttle’ service Melbourne: 4 Nights Enjoy Melbourne’s “Old World charm. - Private guided city tour throughout the highlights of Melbourne (eclectic architecture of central business district, Captain Cook’s Cottage in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens, Botanical Gardens, Queen Victorian Markets, Shrine of Remembrance, St Patrick’s Cathedral). - Unique, privately guided Lanes & Arcades walking tour: 4 handpicked venues: Uncover Melbourne’s cutest laneways. Wilsons Promontory Full Day Adventure: Australia´s best kept secret, Wilsons Promontory or “the Prom” as it is affectionately known to many people, is one of Victoria´s most loved and cherished natural attractions. - 3-4 hours of bush walking & exploring: Enjoy an amazing hiking experience and be astounded by some of Victoria´s best vistas on this bush walking adventure! - Wildlife: The prom is home to many marsupials, such as kangaroos and wombats, native birds and other native animals such as emus, which with a little luck we are able to see up close. Hike through some of the spectacular tracks such as Mt Bishop, Vereker Outlook or Pillar Point (easy – medium graded walks). Squeaky Beach: Be entertained by the pure white quartz ‘singing sands´ as we walk towards Tidal River. Breathtaking Coastal Views - One of a kind Farewell Dinner at the Colonial Tramcar * Tour Leader and photographer to help those interested in photography throughout these Australia group tours * 2 Domestic flights INCLUDED (Sydney –> Hamilton Island / Hamilton Island –> Melbourne) * International Airfare is not included. We are happy to help you find a good flight as always! (Flying into Sydney (SYD) & Departing from Melbourne (MEL) * All Taxes, Fees, & Transfers Included E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement:[masked] OR Deposit:[masked] Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/australia-group-tours/
- The Peru Adventure!
March 18th-March 27th 2019 Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club (http://photoflytravel.com/) have had some epic adventures here over the years and we’re invited for round 6! Don’t miss this one since the threat of Machu Picchu being shut down forever is real! Seeing this wonder of the world with your own eyes is truly mind blowing. More Info here: http://www.photoflytravel.org/peru-adventure-tour/ Email us at [masked] to get the daily itinerary and more details! * 9 nights/10 Days throughout the best of Peru * Boutique hotels and quaint lodging (Encompasses the feel, culture, & atmosphere of each destination) * Breakfast everyday * 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners * Guided walking tour of Cusco * Free day to explore the wonders of Cusco. Lots of great optional activities to choose from: * Weaving, cooking, and gardening classes, river rafting the Urubamba, Mountain Biking, silver workshop, and more in Cusco * Guided tour of the beautiful and historic Sacred Valley (Great photo opportunities here!) * Pisac market and Ollantaytambo village and ruins * Explore Maras village and salt pans and Moray archaeological terraces * Vista Dome train journey to Machu Picchu * Optional Inca Trail hike from Winay Wayna and the Inti Punku (sun gate), lunch en route. * Additional costs apply * Private guided tour of Machu Picchu * All Transfers & Taxes Included * Inter-trip airfare included * International airfare is not included. (We are happy to help you find a good flight as always! Flying in and out of Lima International Airport (LIM). Arrive on 04/18/18 and depart after 8:15 PM on 04/27/18) * Roommate Pairing to save money as always! * Email us to see daily itinerary at [masked] Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement: $535.00 OR Deposit: $600.00 Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/peru-adventure-tour/
- Sumatra and Cambodia: From Orangutan Encounters to Temples ( 3 seats left)
Feb 28 - March 13, 2019 Give Back with our Compassionate adventure! This year Destination Earth and team is bringing a life changing adventure to our groups. Have 60 seconds? SEE VIDEO OF THIS ADVENTURE HERE: https://youtu.be/jwPF4SZpBa0 We spent weeks on the ground on multiple scouting trips to create something truly exceptional. We discovered 4 star boutique properties not bookable online, Sourced the best restaurants in the countries, and enlisted engaging local guides that bring you into the heart of these entrancing regions with trekking itineraries guaranteed to put you face to face with Orangutans in a natural but safe environment. This custom curated intimate adventure has no more than 15 guests in order to blend in and build community. Join our cause and treat yourself to a one of a kind luxury giving back experience that will change your life forever. --In Cambodia, we will have an opportunity to deeply connect with the locals while making a true difference in the lives of these amazing people, staying in a village in the shadows of long forgotten temples. --In Sumatra we will take part in a project to plant trees to save Orangutans and their habitat, while getting up close and personal with these incredible creatures. Sign Up Here: https://www.destination-earth.org/trips/sumatra-the-forgotten-continent/ Want more info first? Just email Jud about this adventure at [masked] * 8 awe-inspiring days in each country * Mostly inclusive: unlike other trips to these regions most of your meals are on us! We prefer you pull out your camera, not your wallet. * 3 Complimentary Massages * Boutique hand crafted resorts * All in country transfers including air Absorb the whole experience for $3,895 or join us for just Cambodia at $2,195, or adventure into Sumatra for as little as $2,395 depending on budget and time constraints. _______________________________________________________________ CAMBODIA: Cambodia offers the largest Buddhist temple monument in the world, incredible food, and Non profits where we can make a huge impact. Dive in and prepare to have all of your senses engaged. Days 1 - 2 The temples and beyond *Immerse in 900 year old temples *Fly high over the temples in a hot air balloon (included) *Get art made by these creative Orphans from ODA orphanage *Eat at at award winning restaurants that are ran by street kids given a second chance! Days 3-7 Forgotten Temples and the Circus *Travel through the backroads of Cambodia to the original Angkor style temples of King Jayamaran the IV * Stay for one night in a traditional Khmer village and Give back in a way you never have,: this 7 minute video will inspire you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFy5H5blzS8&feature=youtu.be *Witness one of the best performances of your life! Join us for a touching story and unbelievable feats, as these formerly street kids out perform many Cirque Du Soleil acts. * Travel by boat through floating villages _______________________________________________________________ Days 8-15: SUMATRA From the Jungle to Calderas- 8 Day Sumatra mostly inclusive Extension: Day 8-11 Orangutans and rivers *Explore fabulous cuisine in Medan * Treck face to face with the orange "forest Man" * Make Tofu, see Palm Sugar made in front of you, and tour rubber plantations * Plant trees (for 1.5 hours) that will save the lives of these endangered primates Days 11-15 Volcanos, Islands and saving lives * Eat the best street food of your life * Hike live volcanos at sunrise * Bask in private hotsprings * Stay in 4 star villas on Island in largest volcanic lake in the world * Visit rehabilitation center where we give back to cleft palate kids in need Sign Up Here: https://www.destination-earth.org/trips/sumatra-the-forgotten-continent/ Want more info first? Just email Jud about this adventure at [masked] *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested.
- The Ultimate Vietnam Adventure
Details Our friends at Photofly Travel Club ( https://www.photoflytravel.com/ ) have planned an amazing cultural and visually stunning adventure to the whole of Vietnam! February 19th-27th 2019 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/vietnam-group-tours/ ***PLUS, don’t forget to check out our Best of Vietnam’s Tropical Paradise Optional Extension! Coming Soon…*** E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! This time we’ll be exploring both the South & North, which in many ways are like two different countries (visually and culturally)! From the one-of-a-kind floating markets along the Southern Mekong River Delta, to the world famous natural wonders at Halong Bay in the North, to the countries best beaches and tropical waters, we’ll show you our favorite parts (on & off the path!) that this strikingly vertical country has to offer on our Vietnam small group tours. ----------------------------------------- * 8 nights/9 days throughout this unimaginably diverse country: – 3 nights/4 Days of unforgettable Southern Vietnam (Saigon & Mekong Delta) – 5 nights/6 days of stunning Northern Vietnam (Halong Bay & Hanoi) – 4 nights/5 days Optional Extension to Vietnam’s tropical central coast with the best beaches in the country! (Da Nang & Hoi An) * Charming boutique hotels throughout * Breakfast Everyday * 8 Lunches & 4 Dinners Included Southern Vietnam (4 Nights): Covering the Mekong Delta, the extreme southern end of the river, and the area around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Southern Vietnam is unique and stands out as one of the most important regions in all of Southeast Asia. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is a “compelling clash of commercial clout and colonial grandeur, showcasing soaring skyscrapers next to tree-lined boulevards, and a lingering aura of French finesse.” -Frommer’s The whole region is a rich and lush area covered with rice fields thanks to the nutrient soil from the upper Mekong. It produces half of the total of Vietnam’s agricultural output (in fact the delta produces more rice than Korea and Japan altogether!). Timeless scenery of farmers planting or harvesting rice make for incredible photo’s here. The delta’s complex system creates a maze of small canals, rivers, and seasonal creeks interspersed with colorful villages and bustling floating markets. – Paraphrased from Wikitravel.org * Tour of Ho Chi Minh City (Notre Dame, Hotel d’Ville, Ben Thanh Market, & Dong Khoi street) * Cu Chi tunnels (Visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the American war) * Floating Markets of Cai Be & Cai Rang (Sampan ride through the floating markets colorfully congested with women and children jostling for space and vying to sell their wares) * Khmer Pagoda in Can Tho City (The most beautiful Khmer pagoda in the Mekong Delta!) Northern Vietnam (5 Nights): 6 days in Northern Vietnam will take us through the Old Quarter of Hanoi to an interesting and delicious street food tour. A 3 day exotic cruise in Halong Bay will complete this part of the journey in the best way possible! This breathtaking secluded harbour has 2,000 limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of the Bac Bo gulf. It is one of Vietnam’s most scenic regions and has been referred to as the eighth Wonder of the World. * Hanoi highlight city tour (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Temple of Literature (Awesome photographs of the grounds and architecture here!) * Unique Street Food Experience (Lunch and privately guided tour of the hidden but true taste of Hanoi on a discovery walk-through of Vietnamese street cuisine and culture) * Explore the Old Quarter- (Right outside our hotel, lots of great photos to be taken along the old streets, each well-known for a specialized industry. Silk clothing ready-made and tailored, embroidery, silver products, and so much more can be found at the different merchants.) * Hill Tribes & Rice Paddies (A full day adventure to Hoa Binh province filled with bright green rice paddies and colorful lowland ethnic minority tribes, mostly of nomadic Thai origin. We’ll visit the “White Thai” Minority village of Mai Chau. Amazing cultural and landscape photos to be captured here!) Cruise Halong Bay! A great way to see spectacular Halong Bay is a slow cruise through the seemingly never-ending bay of islands. Lay in the sun, enjoy a selection of the freshest seafood, and take photograph after photograph. On our itinerary, the aim is to get off the beaten track while maintaining a leisurely pace. The size of the vessel allows passengers to get much closer to Halong Bay’s natural wonders, such as its pocket lagoons and small fishing communities. * 2 night/3 Day all inclusive cruise of the best & off the path destinations in Halong Bay * Deluxe cabins w/ ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning on traditional Vietnamese style “Junk Boat” * Explore Bai Tu Long Bay (The largest part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, most beautiful, off the path, and by far least crowded!) * Explore, kayak, and swim among hidden beaches, lagoons, and magical sea caves! * As always this entire trip will be amazing for photography and one photographer will be on hand to help those who want to learn more about using their camera’s, taking better pictures, etc. (PhotoFly Travel Club adventures are laid back when it comes to photography. They are notworkshop style based tours and you do not need to be an avid photographer to join. All are welcome!) * All transfers & taxes Included * Domestic Flight Included from Saigon to Hanoi (SGN–>HAN) * International Airfare is not included. We are happy to help you find a good flight as always! (Flying into Saigon (SGN) onFebruary 19th 2019 and departing from Hanoi International Airport (HAN) on February 27th 2019) *Don’t forget to e-mail us for the daily itinerary of Vietnam small group tours ( [masked] ) ------------------------- Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement:[masked] OR Deposit: $600.00 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/vietnam-group-tours/ **PLUS, don’t forget to check out our Best of Vietnam’s Tropical Paradise Optional Extension! Coming Soon…**
- Wonders of the Galapagos
Our friends at Photofly Travel Club ( https://www.photoflytravel.com/ ) have planned an exotic adventure to keep warm this winter & experience the best nature has to offer! We're all invited! January 31st - February 6th 2019 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/galapagos-group-tours/ E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! We've built another extremely unique adventure! Anyone with a love for nature, science, wildlife, snorkeling, diving, hiking, photography, or just plain adventure, should have this iconic destination at the top of their bucket list. This Galapagos group tour offers a glorious blend of luxury, adventure, & up close and personal experiences! Our 2018 trip sold out in 2 days last year so get your deposits in ASAP and don’t miss this one in winter 2019! The Galapagos is an “up-market” destination but fortunately we’ve again been able to create something special at an amazing value! Take a look at the details below and you will see that our small group trip is arguably the best deal out their when you factor everything we have been able to include! * 7 days of Darwin’s Diversity * 3 nights/4 days at the unique and waterfront Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel * 3 nights/4 days aboard our very own luxurious private yacht the Coral II! * MOST Meals! (6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners) * Round trip domestic flight Included (Guayaquil (GYE) –> Galapagos (GPS),[masked] USD value) * All Snorkel Gear Included throughout Part 1: Santa Cruz Island & Her Nearby Gems Santa Cruz is the most important Island in the Galapagos archipelago with the only substantial port town of Puerto Ayora. The “bustling” town is home to the vast majority of all residents of the islands combined topping out at a staggering 12,000 people. This offers insight into the the amount of conservation and protected land on the island despite having the only major town in the whole volcanic island chain. From white sand beaches teeming with endemic marine iguana, lush highlands where some of the only giant tortoises in the world still roam, turtle coves, thriving reefs, ancient calderas, & of course, Darwin’s Finches all live in harmony with the small human population here (for once!). * Highlands & Tortoise Reserve: Journeying across Santa Cruz into the highlands, we’ll be delighted by the variety of life and geology. Santa Cruz Island offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild giant tortoises, both roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the El Chato Tortoise Reserve. Walk into the forest overgrown with lichens & ferns, and listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush! The pond at El Chato is surrounded by forest where short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes can also be seen. * Charles Darwin Research Station: An awesome and fascinating visit to give true perspective for the rest of the adventure! Founded in 1959, it has a Natural History Interpretation Centre and carries out educational projects in support of the Galapagos National Park Service. The Park has the following development programs: conservation of natural resources, management of flora and fauna, sustainable use of resources. Others are related to environmental education, marine resources, agricultural development, monitoring and vigilance. Their aim is to conserve this natural habitat and allow tourists to appreciate all these unique species. Day Boat Excursions *For our two full days staying on Santa Cruz, we’ll head off island on exciting day trips via boat and in search of biological wonders! * Santa Fe Island, White Sands, Cactuses, & Giant Iguanas: White sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies lined with endemic cactus forests is just one appeal to this natural wonderland. It is also home to the Santa Fe land iguanas, the largest in the entire archipelago. Other species which reside here are the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches, and one of the four mockingbird species on the islands. * South Plaza Islet, Land of Red & Yellow: An impressive cactus forest where colorful yellow and red land iguanas live will be our introduction to this small landmass. Another peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the unique, hybrid iguana (sea and land). During the time of year we’ll be here, the landscape should be gleaming with the vegetations glow of reds, greens, and yellows (Great landscape shots!) * North Seymour Island: Formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, this island is the home to large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies (awesome to photograph!), great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls. Land iguanas and Galapagos snakes can be encountered on a lucky day as well! * The tours to all islands listed above are subject to availability and regulation guidelines. The park service sometimes changes regulations and rotates the islands which tourists are allowed to access with little or no prior notice. The above islands are the most likely places we will get to visit and may be substituted with other nearby sites/islands which have similar and/or different flora and fauna. Part II: Private Luxury Yacht Island Hopping Our next experience is very special. We’ll board our very own private cruising yacht and embark on a journey throughout the eastern Galapagos Islands. Aboard the Coral II, we’ll live in the perfect combination of classic beauty and exquisite style. Built in Holland, the ship surpasses all the standards you would expect from a high-class yacht, providing a slightly larger than average (and therefore more stable) cruising vessel while maintaining the friendly atmosphere of a small expedition yacht. Every cabin features handsome wood decoration, along with air-conditioning, a private bathroom, safe deposit box, telephone, and your choice of background music. Additionally, the Coral has plenty of room to relax with three sundecks (some shaded), a jacuzzi, comfortable dining room, and lounge. Our very own naturalist guide, captain, and full board service staff will pamper us throughout! *Since we are chartering this amazing boat just for our travel club, the rooms range from standard, standard plus, & jr. suite. The first guests to sign up will automatically be placed in the standard plus rooms. The Jr. Suites have a total supplement of[masked] USD per person (a ridiculous steal!) and first to submit deposit & request these rooms will get them. *More details on rooms within the daily itinerary- E-mail us! ([masked]) AND, Check out this amazing 3D tour of our yacht! (https://www.gogalapagos.com/Coral_I_II/vtour_coral_II/index.html)( https://www.gogalapagos.com/Coral_I_II/vtour_coral_II/index.html ) * Dragon Hill: Bright, pink flamingos thrive as we walk by a brackish lagoon to the trail which leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Dragon Hill is an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, not to mention incredible views & photograph opportunities of the anchored boats and neighboring islands at the top. The surrounding forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves. * Bartolome Island: Formed by different volcanic parasitic cones known as lava bombs, spatter, & cinder cones, the combination will feel as if we are walking on the moon. En-route to the summit, impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock make for incredible & iconic panoramic photographs. We’ll alsoencounter & photograph marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies along the way. Next, we’ll make our way down to the beach for snorkeling and a chance to see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. * Rabida Island: Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of Rabida, home to thriving sea lions colonies. This island is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos due to thediversity of its volcanic geology. Nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can also be found here. We’ll take a dinghy ride along marine cliffs to observe nesting seabirds & then jump into the water for a snorkel off the coast where marine life is particularly active. * Santiago Island; “Buccaneers Cove” & Espumilla Beach: This is an amazing location due to the remains of an eroded shoreline, home to seabirds, fur seals, and playful Galapagos Sea Lions. Photograph these beautiful creatures along with the cove’s unique shapes created by wave and wind erosion. The white, sandy Espumilla Beach nearby is in James Bay where mangroves and a small palo santo forest lead to salty-water lagoons home to wading birds like pink flamingos. We’ll visit and photograph a nesting site for sea turtles in the upper dunes of this area before another great snorkel to search for rays! * Black Turtle Cove: Back on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island and accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd and form an internal lagoon & turtle sanctuary where sea turtles visit the calm waters. Peaking their heads above the surface, fish & rays circle below and White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat along with sea birds including pelicans, herons, and egrets. * As always this entire trip will be amazing for photography and our tour leader will be on hand to help those who want to learn more about using their camera’s, taking better pictures, etc. (PhotoFly Travel Club adventures are laid back when it comes to photography. They are not workshop style based toursand you do not need to be an avid photographer to join. All are welcome!) * Round trip domestic flight Included (Guayaquil (GYE) –> Galapagos (GPS),[masked] USD value) * International airfare not included but we’re happy to help you find the best flights as always. (Flying into & out of GYE) *Don’t forget to e-mail us for the day by day itinerary of these Galapagos small group tours ([masked]) _________________________________ Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement: $[masked] OR Deposit: $600.00 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/galapagos-group-tours/
- The Ultimate Mexico Adventure!
Our friends at Photofly Travel Club (https://www.photoflytravel.com/ ) have planned an amazing tropical adventure to keep warm this winter! We're all invited! January 19th-26th 2019 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/mexico-adventure-tours/ E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! * 7 nights/ 8 days of the best of the Riviera Maya * 4 Star Resorts & charming boutique properties on the beach *Breakfast everyday * 4 lunches, 3 dinners included * Private guided tours throughout (Explore the Coba ruins, tropical beaches, amazing reefs, snorkel with sea turtles, and that’s just the beginning!) * Cancun: A must for a first time experience to the Riviera (nightlife, great food, great beaches, need we say more?) * Optional Chichen Itza Adventure: The most famous Mayan step pyramids and temples in Mexico (private guided tour: “The Castle”, the Ballgame Grounds, the Observatory, the One Thousand Columns square, Jaguars’ Temple, and the Sacred Well) Experience Cozumel Cozumel is the largest island in Mexico, surrounded by a beautiful coral reef and stunning azure waters. Our excursion is the ultimatesnorkeling adventure along with a guided tour around the island. We’ll enjoy a lunch buffet and open bar on board! * Explore Akumal: This less visited coastal paradise has some of the best snorkeling and beaches in all of Mexico! We’ll stop at a famous beach to snorkel with the Riviera’s green sea turtles! * Playa Del Carmen: (days of relaxation, beach hopping, nightlife, and live music) * Off the path Cenote unique to the Mayan Riviera: These elaborate cave systems are filled with crystal clear water and stunning stalactites and stalagmites. We’ll go on a guided snorkel experience among amazing mineral formations. The absolute silence is a truly mystical experience. * Optional Tulum Ruins Experience: See and photograph the iconic ruins located right on the coastline cliffs with the beautiful turquoise waters below. Sian Ka-an Biosphere Reserve “In the language of the Mayan peoples who once inhabited this region, Sian Ka’an means ‘Origin of the Sky’. Located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula, this biosphere reserve contains tropical forests, mangroves and marshes, as well as a large marine section intersected by a barrier reef. It provides a habitat for a remarkably rich flora and a fauna comprising more than 300 species of birds”, as well *as” creatures that are rarely found elsewhere, including manatees, four species of marine turtle, howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles, the rare Jabiru stork, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, pink flamingos, toucans and tapirs. It’s arguably the most breathtaking part of the Yucatan peninsula! – Unesco.org * Discover Muyil: Within this great biosphere we’ll embark on a trek in the jungle to come upon this mystical Mayan temple. * Lagoon Crossing & Epic Snorkeling: We’ll take a boat across the idyllic lagoon and hop in the warm waters for a great snorkel adventure. * Float & swim in the mangrove channels: We even have the opportunity to swim and float on the freshwater stream through channels, where you will be amazed by the beautiful wildlife that calls this ecological & crucial phenomenon home. * Witness Coba: Coba is home to isolated Indian ruins miles from civilization and was once the largest Mayan city of its time. Climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the tallest pyramid of the region. From the top of the pyramid we will enjoy great views of the surrounding jungle. *Other great optional adventures include: Rent a bike and ride around town Rent a Paddle Board (or try out Paddle Board Yoga!) Yoga Massage Scuba Diving * All Taxes, Transfers, & Fees included * Airfare is not included but we will help you find a good flight! * Roommate Pairing to save money as always! * Email us to see daily itinerary at [masked] _________________________________ Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement:[masked] OR Deposit: $600.00 Go here to sign up: https://www.photoflytravel.org/mexico-adventure-tours/
- All Inclusive Costa Rica Safari!
December 10th- December 18th 2018 Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/costa-rica-adventure-safari-tour/ Each year we have a wonderful experience traveling through Costa Rica. Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club (http://www.photoflytravel.com/) have masterfully planned this tropical adventure which is always a blast. New & exciting twists & turns each year! Check out the highlights below and email us for the full daily itinerary at [masked] 8 nights/ 9 day adventure tour through Costa Rica! Breakfast everyday 7 lunches, 7 dinners (All meals throughout) Private guide & driver (Local professionals with years of experience and qualifications) Awesome, unique hotels and lodges throughout Coffee! (Doka Estate Coffee plantation is not only beautiful with amazing coffee, we’ll also learn about the production, the harvesting, the processing plant and the roasting of the grain. Fascinating stuff whether you like the world’s most consumed beverage or not…) La Paz Waterfall Gardens:(Located in the mountains near Cinchona, this beautiful place is surrounded by butterflies, hummingbird gardens, an aviary, a serpentarium, frog exhibit, and orchid exhibit all surrounded by tropical gardens filled with exotic flowers! If this wasn’t enough we’ll then witness and photograph the impressive Waterfall on the La Paz River) Vida Campesina Farm (Organic farm lets us see real life in the Costa Rican countryside with a farming family) Arenal Volcano National Park guided Lava flow hike (lava rocks and occasional eruptions, this volcano is surrounded by lush rainforest and second growth that cover the old lava flows and river sides) Llanos de Cortez Falls: Considered one of the best waterfalls in the country! Great swimming by the falls no to mention amazing photographs! Optional Early Morning Bird Watching everyday (included and offered for the photo and bird enthusiasts!) Wetlands Boat Tour (Floating safari: variety of resident and migratory birds plus three different species of monkeys, iguanas, sloths, turtles and caymans) Malekus Indian Reserve (Unique history and cultural experience: medicinal plant garden, enjoy a reenactment of a traditional Maleku dance, and try out their version of archery!) Rincon de la Vieja National Park: Famous for its abundant volcanic activity, we’ll explore Las Pailas Trail within the National Park, not only for the volcano, but plenty of wildlife to photograph, and an impressive tropical forest. Hacienda Guachipelín: Positioned at the foot of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, adventure beckons at this boutique resort. Thrilling experiences include swinging like Tarzan on the many cables and ropes of the Canyon Canopy Tour, or cruise down the rapids of Rio Negro on a Tubing Adventure (optional). Relax your weary muscles in natural volcanic thermal springs or spectacular waterfall pools. Relax at one of best beaches in Costa Rica: Hermosa Beach (We’ll finish the adventure at this pristine, world renowned beach! The taupe sand beach is bathed by clear waters and some great waves (if the conditions are right). Many water sports can be enjoyed including fishing, swimming, and windsurfing, among others.) All Taxes, Fees, Transfers included (excludes airport departure tax) Airfare is not included but we will help you find a good flight! Roommate Pairing to save money as always! Email us to see daily itinerary at [masked] Join Us! Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/costa-rica-adventure-safari-tour/ *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement: $595.00 OR Deposit:[masked]
- Miraculous Morocco!
November 16th-28th 2018 Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club (http://www.photoflytravel.com/) have invited us to a one of a kind adventure throughout Morocco! E-mail [masked] for the DAILY ITINERARY! Sign up at: http://www.photoflytravel.org/morocco-group-tours/ Our Morocco Adventure has sold out in 48 hours two years in a row now, and for good reason. We expect it to fill quickly again this year because it’s truly a trip of a lifetime on so many levels. A one of a kind experience throughout the best of this stunning & diverse country, our Morocco group tours will take us from the beautiful Mediterranean port city of Tangier, to Fes (known as the “Athens of Africa”), along the stunning Atlas Mountain Range, to a luxury tented camp in the world famous Erg Chebbi desert, onto unique gorges & landscapes ripe for photography, & finishing in the imperial oasis of Marrakesh. Lots of amazing photography stops will be made throughout the journey and, as always, we’ve designed some really unique, off the path experiences. E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! * 12 nights/13 days throughout Marvelous Morocco * Private local english speaking guides throughout * Breakfast Everyday * 3 lunches, 7 Dinners (Including Welcome and Farewell Dinner Celebrations) Tangier (2 Nights) At the cross-roads of Europe & Africa and of the Atlantic & the Mediterranean, Tangier opens the door into Morocco. There is still an air of mystery about the city, going back over 2,000 years to the the time of the Phoenicians, and after WWII when it was made into an international zone attracting eccentric expats, colorful artists & hippies, and even spies! “Tangier the white”, the star of many films, the city of many stars – The city you fall in love with. – Mountain Road Trip: Pass splendid villas & gardens en route to Cape Spartel and it’s striking lighthouse. Great views & photographs from this north-westerly point of Africa. – Hercules Cave: Continually inhabited since the Neolithic period, we’ll visit the place where legend has it that the great Greek God rested after separating Gibraltar from Africa! – The Medina (Old Walled City): Privately guided tour through the labyrinth of paths that make up the cultural epicenter of the city. Visits include the Kasbah (Sultan’s walled fortress) via a walk through the old spice markets, the Dar El Makhze Museum, former governor’s palace buit in the 17th century, & Museum of Moroccan Arts (located in the former princes apartments within the Kasbah) The afternoon is free to grab lunch and wander around the Grand & Petit Socco (Gateways to the Medina with beautiful gardens, fountains, cobblestone streets, restaurants, cafe’s and shops) Chefchaouen (1 Night) Chefchaouen is an otherworldly escape nestled in Morocco’s Rif Mountains and founded in 1471 by Moorish exiles from southern Spain. This small town has a rich history, beautiful natural surroundings, and wonderful architecture. Known as the “blue” city due to its picturesque blue-glazed houses & buildings, they are a tradition that comes from the town’s former Jewish population. Andalusian Morocco: En route to Chefchaouen we’ll stop in Tetouan, known as the center of Andalusian Morocco. The city is famous as the place Spanish Jews came to settle after they were expelled from Southern Spain (Andalucia) along with the Arabs in 1492. We’ll explore the fascinating & authentic Medina which makes up the heart of the city while its nearby beaches are popular with both locals and visitors. – There is amazing photography through the unique, hilly city of Chefchaouen! Wander around and photograph the Kasbah, the Medina, Jewish Quarter, Berber Souk (open air market), and the Artisan Quarters. Get lost in the beauty on your own or follow our guide to the hidden corners for awesome shots. – Check out and buy native handicrafts not available anywhere else in Morocco, such as wool garments and hand woven blankets with intricate embroidery. The goat cheese native to the area is also delicious & a must try. Volubilis Leaving Chefchaouen en route to Fes, we’ll spend the morning exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site, 2000-year-old Roman ruins of Volubilis and get a picture of life (pun intended) during the Roman Empire. Our local guide will tell us about life in this well preserved Roman city as we peer into old bathhouses, marveling at the still-present mosaic floors, and gazing up at towering marble pillars. Meknes Two UNESCO World Heritage sites for the price of one this morning with another stop in the 17th century imperial city of Meknes. In the old Meknes medina we visit Bab el Mansour, the grandest of all imperial Moroccan gateways. We continue our tour to the small but impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Next we pass by the entrance of Meknes Royal Palace and end up at Moulay Ismail’s massive Heri es Souani, his personal stable & granary for his 12,000 horses. Fes (2 Nights) One of the largest medieval cities in the world and an UNESCO World Heritage site, Fes is Morocco’s oldest imperial city and the religious, spiritual, intellectual, and cultural center of the country. – Guided City Walk: Considered the “Athens of Africa” for its wealth of cultural, educational, and religious institutions, the walk begins at Fes’ fascinating medina, with stops to see and photograph the artisans’ quarters, 14th-century Koranic schools, Al Karaouine (medieval theological university), and the Potters District. The famous Fes tannery affords us great panoramic views over the men hard at work treating and dying the different hides. After lunch, head to the old Mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th century synagogue, royal gates, and Museum of Fez. – Unique Family Dinner in Traditional Home: Located in the heart of the Medina, we’ll enjoy a very special experience dining at a traditional house with a host family for a truly authentic glimpse into the lives and culture of the Moroccan people. Ask about their way of life, values, interests, etc and share with them ours! Not to mention, the houses traditional Moroccan Fessi architecture will be the perfect place to photograph & enjoy an incredible home cooked meal in the most authentic way possible. No better way to wrap up an adventurous day around the city! Erfoud & the Sahara Desert (2 Nights) Referred to as the “Gate of the Sahara”, Erfoud is perched on the edge of the Erg Chebbi – a 30 mile long and 3 mile wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 170 ft high, some of the highest in North Africa! En-route to this magical place we’ll be stopping at numerous points for awesome photographs. – Ifrane, the Swiss Alps of Morocco: This small mountain town located at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level is unlike any other city in Morocco with heavy European influence. The town shows off its buildings with neat, red roofs, blossoming gardens, lakes, parks, lush vegetation, pine forests, and snowy winters. – Scenic Cedar Forest & Barbery apes: We’ll drive through and stop to photograph a beautiful cedar forest and encounter a tribe of “apes”. These close relatives are actually a species of unique macaque monkeys which are the only ones found outside of Asia and have an extremely small tail. Erg Chebbi Desert Camp Our desert camp is the perfect place to enjoy a magical night in the desert under the stars. All luxury tents at the camp have air conditioning, en suite bathrooms w/ showers, and are beautifully decorated in the local Berber style. A large “dining room” tent will be the perfect meeting place for a delicious home cooked Moroccan feast. The center of the camp lights up at night with fires perfect for keeping warm while stargazing. Walk just a few feet away for absolute darkness for epic night shooting! – Camel ride into the desert: We’ll hop on camels at the edge of the desert and be guided to our luxury desert camp for an amazing sunset, Moroccan home cooked feast, & night under the stars! – Enjoy and photograph sunrise the next day before a specially prepared Berber breakfast and make our way back to Erfoud, famous for it’s date festival and ancient fossils. Boumalne Dades: Land of Valleys & Gorges (2 Nights) This remote town is sought after for it’s proximity to the stunning Dades Gorges & Valleys. Famous for it’s majestic, sand castle like rock formations, Dades Gorge offers a plethora of unique landscape shots. At 28 km long , the gorge is diverse in scenery with countless types of interesting & unusual geological formations. It’s set among a beautiful landscape with berber villages & plantations along the Dades River culminating in a deep, dramatic canyon. – The Route of 1000 Kasbahs: En route to Boumalne Dades we’ll have en epic road trip along one of the most beautiful drives in the entire country. The “Route of 1000 Kasbahs” as it’s commonly referred, is dotted with oases, ksours (fortified Berber villages), & of course lots of Kasbahs, or fortified homes of the ruling families. It continues up into the High Atlas Mountain range full of the highest and narrowest gorges in northern Africa. – Tinghir: We’ll stop at this old French fortification which used to be the base of the French Legion Army that controlled the southern tribes and roads. Today, the small city is at the center of one of the most beautiful oases in southern Morocco. We’ll walk through flowered gardens, ksours, and Kasbahs, then onto the Todre Gorge. – Todra Gorge: Lush palm trees cover 30 miles of wide tracts along this giant natural creation. We’ll walk among the palm and olive groves to the deep & narrow canyon of pink and grey rock towering 1,000 ft high on each side. – Dades Gorge & Valley: Explore the stunning gorge and valley to admire and photograph all sorts of interesting formations. One of the more well known is called “Monkey Toes”, a mountain ridge formation of rocks that have been eroded by wind and water into smooth toe like formations which intertwine in beautiful patterns. Over 150 species of birds can be found within the valley attracted by the Dades River and surrounding vegetation. Quaint, Berber villages dot the valley as we hike through to the dramatic canyon with lots of date and fig fields tended for centuries. – The Rose City: Stop in Kalaa M’Gouna in the heart of the Dades Valley, famous for its rose plantations. It’s home to the country’s largest rose water and rose oil manufacturers. – Ait Ben Haddou: On our way to Marrakesh we’ll visit this world famous Ksar (fortified village), now an UNESCO World Heritage site. A traditional Mud Brick city on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains, many classic & modern movies have been filmed here including Jewel of the Nile, Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Seven Years in Tibet, Game of Thrones, and The Mummy (just to name a few…). Marrakesh (3 nights) Once the southern capital, the “The Red City of Morocco” is an alluring oasis with a temperate climate, distinct charm, and fascinating sights in every direction. Referred to as “The Jewel of the South”, the city reached its prominence when it became the epicenter of trade for slaves, gold, ivory, and leather along the ancient caravan routes. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire with maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) still sell traditional textiles, pottery, and jewelry. In other words, get those cameras ready! – Marvel at the Bahia Palace: With its lush, Moorish style gardens, the structure was erected by the countries top artisans in the 19th century to be the greatest palace of its time. “Bahia” literally means “brilliance” and is a true nod to the beauty of traditional Moroccan architecture. Gilded woodwork ceilings of the stunning grand and petit courts, & the sultans “harem” rooms with silk panels, stained-glass windows, & intricate marquetry where his wives & concubines lived are just a couple highlights of the 150 rooms which make up the palace. – Explore the Saadian Tombs: Discovered in 1917, the tombs date back to the late 1500’s during the reign of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur who spared no expense creating his glamorous resting place. Three rooms make up the tomb with the most elaborate known as “The Chamber of the 12 Pillars”. The stele (columns) are made up of finely worked cedar wood & decorative stucco & the monuments are made of imported Italian Carrara marble. – Koutoubia Minaret and gardens: With perhaps the most stunning minaret in the country, this mosque is the largest in Marrakesh and a great site to photograph. The minaret acts as a reference for almohad style architecture, is made of sandstone, and stands 250 ft tall. – Majorelle Botanical Gardens: A truly enchanting place, the gardens were designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years and are reminiscent of the famous Generalife gardens in Granada, Spain. The special shade of bold cobalt blue which he used extensively in the garden and its buildings is named after him, “Majorelle Blu”. – Dar Si Said Museum: A solid exhibition of historic and contemporary Moroccan art housed in a gorgeous palace. The building itself is full of intricate Byzantine designs and colors. – Jemaa el Fna Square: Wander around and photograph this UNESCO site and the heart of Marrakech. Jemma means “congregation” and the square does not disappoint as an entertainment hub for locals and tourists alike. At the end of the afternoon, storytellers, snake charmers, tooth-drawers, and dancers compete to entertain the crowd in a scene you’ll have to photograph and bring home for your friends and family to believe! – The Souks of Marrakech: Without a doubt the most colorful and liveliest in Africa, the souks, or marketplaces, are grouped by the different trades and services they offer: the Dyers, the Blacksmiths, and the Babouche (slippers) & shoemakers, spices, and fabric sellers etc. They’re nicknamed the “Kingdom of the 5 Senses” for their perfumes, colors, sounds, touches, and tastes. Tons of photographs to capture here as the joyous rush of locals and visitors only adds to the “show”. – Discover Hidden Sights of the Medina: A traditional public hammam (turkish bath), traditional oven, and a Foundouk (old hostel for travelers and their mounts). Lots of free time to explore the city on your own or sign up for a number of different optional tours: – Hot Air Balloon Ride: Superb panoramic views over small villages and the immense palm grove extending as far as the Tensift River; all with a backdrop of the Atlas mountains (optional) – Quad Biking in the Palm Grove: A thrilling experience throughout beautiful hills & countryside surrounding Marrakech. Experience the desert area of Marrakech and visit the Palmeraie (palm oasis) where we’ll be surrounded by millions of palm trees! Awesome views throughout and a tasty mint tea at a Berber’s house adds a nice local experience. (optional) – Full Day Trip to Essaouira: Visit the old fortified fishing port of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. The city was founded in the 16th Century by the Portuguese and occupied until the mid 18th Century when the trans-saharan trade routes fell apart. Photograph the impressive town fortifications combining Portuguese and Berber architecture. Explore the Souks and the carpentry workshops devoted to cedar and Thuya wood carving. Visit art galleries around every corner and the fortified harbor with its stalls of freshly caught grilled fish. Walk & relax on the beach before returning to Marrakech. (optional) – Cooking classes, Hamam (Spa), horse cart rides, and other optional activities also available… (optional) * Tour Leader and photographer to help those who want to learn more about using their camera’s, taking better pictures, etc throughout these Morocco group tours. (PhotoFly Travel Club adventures are laid back when it comes to photography. They are not workshop style based tours and you do not need to be an avid photographer to join. All are welcome!) * International Airfare is not included. We are happy to help you find a good flight as always! (Flying into Tangier (TNG) & flying out of Marrakesh (RAK) ) * All Taxes, Fees, & Transfers Included E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement: $625.00 OR Deposit: $600.00 Go Here to Sign Up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/morocco-group-tours/
- Wonders of Japan
Our friends at PhotoFly Travel Club ( http://www.photoflytravel.com/ ) have invited us to a one of a kind adventure throughout Japan! E-mail [masked] for the DAILY ITINERARY! Sign up at: https://www.photoflytravel.org/japan-group-tours/ Our Japan group tours are chock full of diverse activities including unique cultural experiences, fantastic landscape & people photography, and all the beautiful temples and architecture which make Japan so iconic. E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! * 9 nights/10 days throughout the highlights of Japan * Breakfast Everyday * 1 lunch, 3 Dinners (Welcome Dinner & Farewell Dinner) Tokyo: 2 Nights Everything that you have heard about Tokyo is true – and it is not. For if ever there was a city that you could not confine to one definition, this would be it. The never-ending hustle and bustle of the city creates an energy that is quite contagious. One minute you may be elevated 450 metres above ground overlooking Tokyo’s sprawling metropolis, the next you might be cheering on two sumo wrestlers tackle each other in the sumo stadium. Despite the presence of people and stores everywhere, there is an order that allows things to work efficiently, seemingly against the odds. Tradition and technology stand side by side in this city that can be whatever you want to make of it. Highlights: * Privately guided tour throughout Tokyo (Meihi Shrine, Harajuku Fashion District, Imperial Palace Plaza, Asakusa Kanon Temple, Ginza area): – The Electric Town: Experience Akihabara, an otherworldly place filled with bizarre “Japanime” oddities, neon signs, and streets & alleys lined with vendors selling every type of new and used electronics you can think of! - Asakusa Kanon Temple (Sensoji Temple): See and photography Tokyo’s oldest and most famous Buddhist Temple. – Shinjuku: Great restaurants, shops, neon lights everywhere you look, and everything in-between. The “Times Square” of Tokyo! Need we say more? Matsumoto & the Snow Monkeys of Hell’s Valley: 1 night Embraced by seven great peaks to the west (3 above 10,000 ft!) and three smaller sentinels to the east, Matsumoto (松本) showcases views of the regal Alps everywhere you look. Admirers from around the world come to enjoy its superb castle, pretty streets, galleries, cafes and endearing vistas. – From Lonely Planet. Not far from this great historic city lies Hell’s Valley. But the only thing reminiscent of hell is the red colored faces of the adorable snow monkeys who live amongst a world of frigid white snow! Highlights: * Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park: This is the only place in the world where families of red faced monkeys enjoy a hot bath in the middle of the mountains! The Snow Monkeys live at the foot of the Shiga Highlands in Jigokudani Valley, which translates to Hell’s Valley. Since it’s quite cold and snowy here in the winter, one wonders where this name came from? The area is also known for its abundance of natural hot water springs. We’ll go on a short hike to reach these amazing creatures relaxing and keeping warm in a beautiful Japanese Onsen (Hot Spring) just like us humans! The photography will be mind blowing. * Matsumoto & Her Castle: Matsumoto is an alpine city surrounded on all sides by the towering peaks of the Japan Alps, reminiscent of its European counterpart. The city is most famous for its original castle; one of the only original castles in Japan offering a sense of how the samurai used to live and fight. Explore and learn about the “castle” itself on an optional visit. The city also boasts a number of sake breweries hidden in the backstreets amongst the traditional buildings, a good museum of Ukiyoe woodblock prints, and is the home of soba noodles, the delicious local speciality. You can also try one of the city’s other local delicacies – raw horse! The city has a really relaxed atmosphere and a cosmopolitan feel befitting of a city renowned for its musicians and authors. The famous violin teacher, Suzuki (of the Suzuki method) originated from Matsumoto and you will find a commemorative statue on the street opposite the station. Takayama: 2 Nights Mountains in Japan were once believed to be the sacred dwelling places of divine spirits. The Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi ranges, known collectively as the Japan Alps, rise majestically in northern Honshu. Takayama lies in the heart of the Hida Mountains. Established in the 16th century as a castle town of the Kanamori family, it’s now famous throughout Japan for its old town area of narrow streets containing many well-preserved inns, tea houses, shops and merchants houses with latticed windows and overhanging roofs characteristic of the Edo period. The town has many shrines and temples of its own, giving rise to it’s nickname: ‘Little Kyoto’. Just on the outskirts of the town is the fascinating Hida folk village where old farm houses from across the Hida region have been brought together and rebuilt (beam by beam) on a hillside overlooking the town. A stay in Takayama is a chance to get a feel for a way of life that really has all but disappeared from modern Japan. Highlights: * Privately guided tour throughout Takayama: - Takayama Morning Market: Located on the bank of the Miyagawa River, the market is famous and well worth a visit to see the stands selling local farm produce, flowers and crafts. We’ll get some awesome photographs of the local culture here. There are also great micro sake breweries where we’ll have the chance to sample the beer, Takayama’s most famous product! - Takayama’s Old Town : Visit and photograph Takayama Jinya, the old government house. Head back in time as we walk the streets of this merchant town filled with old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries. Other highlights include the Kusakabe Folk House & Floating Museum, & Yatai Kaikan (Festival Float House). - Optional Hida Folk Village Tour: This open air museum exhibits over 30 traditional houses from the Hida region, the mountainous district of Gifu Prefecture around Takayama. The houses were built during the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) and were relocated from their original locations to create the museum in 1971. In a village-like atmosphere, the museum features buildings such as the former village head’s house, logging huts, storehouses and a number of gassho-zukuri farmhouses. These massive farmhouses are named after their steep thatched roofs which resemble a pair of hands joined in prayer (“gassho”). They were moved here from nearby Shirakawago; these gassho-zukuri houses are the reason for the region’s World Heritage status. Hiroshima & Charming Miyajima Island: 1 Night Hiroshima is a city that needs little introduction. It is of course well-known for being the site of one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the Second World War. Despite its tragic past, Hiroshima is now a bustling and vibrant city which has risen phoenix-like from the ashes. No visit to Hiroshima would be complete without sampling okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake. Choose the ingredients and one of the cooks makes it on a hot plate right in front of our eyes. If the smell doesn’t tickle your taste buds, the taste will leave you screaming for more. While in Hiroshima we’ll take a ferry ride to Miyajima Island where the world famous Itsukushima Shrine is located. Hiroshima: *Privately guided tour of Hiroshima: – Memorial Peace Park, Museum, & A-Bomb Dome: Experience the poignant reminder that caused Hiroshima’s fame. An afternoon in this part of town might be sobering, but well worth it. The museum tells us the story of this tragic day and we’ll get to walk around the park and see and photograph the A-Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome), the the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. - Miyajima Island: Miyajima is small sacred island located in the Inland Sea. It has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. Here we find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan; The Floating Torii Gate, designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s considered one of Japan’s ‘3 Most Beautiful Views! – Vermilion Torii Gate & Optional Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima: After a ferry ride to this sacred island we’ll visit the world famous vermilion torii gate at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. If we’re lucky, we’ll see the shrine and gate during high tide when it looks like it’s floating in the middle of the sea. Entrance to the shrine itself is optional (not included) but it’s not necessary to go inside to experience the incredible surroundings and views of the torii gate. Miyajima has been selected as one of Japan’s three most scenic places. Though the island itself is unfairly overshadowed by its beautiful gate, the semi-wild deer, gorgeous temples, and superb nature trails are more than worth the experience even it wasn’t there… Kyoto: 4 nights Oozing with tradition, Kyoto is the ultimate destination for anybody who wants to soak up time-honoured Japanese culture. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts an array of world-class gardens, majestic festivals, and delicate cuisine. Together, they make up the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons. On first glance however, visitors will see that like any large Japanese city, grid-like Kyoto has its fair share of neon and concrete. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, time-honoured teahouses nestled among modern businesses, and mysterious geisha scuttling down backstreets among the tourists and souvenirs. Kyoto’s charm lies in the details and the closer we look, the more we’ll discover. Highlights: * Privately Guided Tour of Kyoto: – Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion): Covered with 18 carat gold leaf, this three story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. – Jingoji Temple: Famous for the beautiful autumn colors which enshroud the temple, a long set of stone stairs make for an impressive approach with great photo ops. The temple grounds feature a large entrance gate and multiple halls, as well as a path to an observation point with views over the valley. – Kiyomizu Temple: Visit and photograph the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as skyline view of Kyoto in the distance. – Gion District (The Old Geisha Quarter) & Optional Authentic Tea Ceremony:Experience the world famous Geisha’s in their ancient district of Gion. At a local machiya (tea house) in this area we’ll begin our tea ceremony (optional, not included). “The way of tea” is one of Japan’s traditional cultural practices, and is a name given to an art that synthesizes the preparation and drinking of tea together with spirituality, history, architecture, the appreciation of handmade tea utensils. This is a truly unique experience for our time in Kyoto. – Free time in Kyoto to explore on your own – Fushimi Inari Shrine: Visit and photograph the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as skyline view of Kyoto in the distance. *Japan is wonderful country to see by train and of course they are world famous for their advanced bullet train system. For many of our journeys between each city we visit, we’ll use this fun and efficient way to travel the country. This is one place where local public transit is a lot faster than using a vehicle! * All Transfers, All Rail tickets, All Public Transit Passes, All Entry fees and activities as listed in the daily itinerary, & Taxes included! * Tour Leader and photographer to help those interested in photography throughout these Japan group tours * International Airfare is not included. We are happy to help you find a good flight as always! (Flying into Narita International Airport in Tokyo (NRT) and departing from Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka) E-mail us at [masked] for the daily itinerary! Join Us! *For our solo travelers I will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested. Price: $[masked] *Single Supplement:[masked] OR Deposit: $600.00 Go here to sign up: http://www.photoflytravel.org/japan-group-tours/