Category Archives: Tours

Cuba: People to People (2015-16) with Abercrombie & Kent

Cuba: People to People (2015-16)

Cuba 5

Embark on an unforgettable, enriching Cuba program, with full days of meaningful interactions and people-to-people connections, which reveal the spirit of this fascinating, culturally rich island nation long off-limits to American travelers.

  • Immerse yourself in Cuban culture, exploring its architecture, agriculture, music and dining during intimate, one-on-one experiences with residents
  • Discover Cuba’s and America’s great shared passion, baseball, at a game where you meet and engage with the players, and even have the opportunity to play a few innings with them
  • Engage in a stimulating discussion of the history of U.S.-Cuba relations with a former Cuban Foreign Services Scholar in Havana
  • Join a local architect for an education walk through Havana, discussing its historic styles, ongoing restoration efforts and their impact on the community
  • Explore Las Terrazas eco-community, and learn about Cuba’s environmental commitments at this unique UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Gain insight into Cuba’s well regarded public health care system during an informal-yet-engaging conversation with a local physician; discuss everything from physician training to research and production during an exchange of issues on the subject
  • Meet with local musicians during a private Buena Vista Social Club-style concert and cultural discussion

Itinerary

Day 1: ARRIVE MIAMI, FLORIDACuba Map

Arrive at Miami International Airport, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Meet your accompanying Abercrombie & Kent Program Director and fellow guests at your reception and briefing this evening.

Day 2: HAVANA, CUBA / Experiencing a Paladar

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Miami International Airport and check in at the dedicated A&K counter for your short charter flight to Cuba. Upon arrival at José Martí International Airport in Havana, complete immigration and customs formalities and meet your local Cuban guide. Embark on an informative tour of Havana’s historic and culturally rich neighborhoods. After lunch, check in to your Havana hotel. This evening, sit down to dinner in a private paladar (family-run restaurant), a unique, welcoming Cuban enterprise.   |   Meals: B L D

Day 3: HAVANA / Immersive Experiences

Havana Street Detail
Havana, Cuba

Today’s introduction to historic Havana begins with a brief presentation by a former Cuban Foreign Services Scholar, during which you are immersed in the history of Cuba-U.S. relations, from the colonial era to the present day. Take part in a thought-provoking question and answer session. Visit a day-care center, where you meet the teachers and get to know the students. Then, take part in an interactive cooking experience at a local paladar. Its owners share their passion for Cuban cuisine and discuss what is involved in running a private business in Cuba — an opportunity that, historically, was all but unheard of. After lunch, walk through the on-site botanical farm, as owners discuss their ongoing efforts to educate and enthuse children about organic farming. Continue to Finca La Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s former home, where The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls were penned. As you look through the windows and open doors of this remarkably preserved home, visualize the author’s life during the more than 20 years he lived there. |   Meals: B L D

Day 4: HAVANA / Spiritual Center

This morning, stroll through Old Havana with a local architect, discussing the challenges and successes of city reconstruction projects, all the while absorbing the vibrant, extraordinary architecture that surrounds you. After lunch, witness the storied Colon Cemetery. Founded in 1876, it is the site of more than 800,000 graves and one million interments. Under the guidance of a local specialist, gain insight into the cemetery’s history and its significance to the local community and pilgrims. Early this evening, transfer to the historic Hotel Nacional

Historic Hotel Nacional
Historic Hotel Nacional

for a narrative on its fascinating history. Considered a national monument, the hotel was built in 1930 and overlooks the Malecón (seaside promenade) and Havana Harbor. Over the years, the Nacional has hosted many international dignitaries and well-known entertainers, as evidenced by the photographic memorabilia displayed throughout the hotel. Here, enjoy a private concert of Buena Vista Social Club-style music, sponsored by the Cuban Institute of Music. Then, engage in a post-performance discussion with musicians — a great opportunity to learn about the impact music has had on Cuban culture and the ways in which it has influenced music in the United States and beyond. Later, take a tour by traditional “Yank tank” (vintage car) en route to dinner.  |   Meals: B L D

Day 5: HAVANA / Cuba’s Capital

Cuba LifeThis morning at your hotel, meet a local physician and engage in a talk on Cuba’s well-regarded public health care system, followed by an illuminating question and answer session. Then, visit the Muraleando Neighborhood Community project, meeting members and seeing firsthand the art projects and significant restorations that are underway. In the afternoon, join an Afro-Cuban religions specialist at Casa de Africa, who reveals the country’s religious roots and how religion is practiced in contemporary Cuba. Later, meet a local salsa teacher to talk about the history of this native rhythm and the importance of dance in Cuban life, followed by a lesson under your instructor’s attentive eye.   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: LAS TERRAZAS / Art & Nature

Today, visit Las Terrazas community, just 45 minutes outside of Havana. At this pioneering eco-village — a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — interact with resident specialists, learning about its rare,

Las Terrazas
Las Terrazas, Cuba

endemic biodiversity and life amid the self-sustaining enclave. Engage with members of the local farming community during a reforestation discussion, which explores the positive impact of the ecological movement and the ways in which environmental efforts are similar or different to those practiced in the U.S. Also, visit a coffee plantation with a specialist and meet its staff to learn about the economic role of the coffee industry and its impact on Cuban society. Return to Havana in the afternoon, stopping at the whimsical studio of José Fuster, a renowned Cuban painter and ceramicist. Take part in a discussion about the artist’s work and the role the arts play in contemporary Cuba. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.  |   Meals: B L

Day 7: CIENFUEGOS / Architectural Marvels

Depart early from Havana. Arrive in Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South,” so-called for its stunningly beautiful bay. Set out on an informative city tour through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a stop at the Teatro Tomas Terry. Meanwhile, take the opportunity to talk with your local guide about Cuban life, be it about the two currencies used or the cost of living on the island. Take a stroll down the Paseo del Prado, the longest tree-lined boulevard in Cuba. After lunch, enjoy an orchestral performance at the Colonial Museum. Then, head to Cayo Santa Maria. |   Meals: B L D

Day 8: CAIBARIÉN & REMEDIOS / Cuban Industries Up Close

In Caibarién this morning, visit La Imprenta — a local print shop — where you meet with the shop manager and employees and discuss their experiences working with antique presses, which are still used to this day. During a visit to the nearby Sugar Museum, housed in the historically significant Marcelo Salado Azucarera (Sugar Mill), participate in a discussion with museum employees on the role the sugar industry played in Cuba’s history. Then, board an old steam train (formerly used to transport sugar cane to the factory), and travel to El Curujey for a traditional, authentic Cuban farm lunch. See a typical farmhouse as well as a demonstration of palm climbing, followed by a discussion with your host about what life is like on a farm in Cuba.

San Juan de los Remedios, Cuba
San Juan de los Remedios, Cuba

In Remedios, take a ride by bicitaxi (also known as a pedicab or rickshaw) through the town and into the bustling main square. Join the bicitaxi owners at a local coffee shop, gaining insight into their day-to-day routines and the ways in which they maintain their vehicles. Later, at the Remedios Tour Center, meet with the tour historian to discuss the town’s history and work of the parish priest who began community projects for all ages. Return to your hotel for dinner. |   Meals: B L D

Day 9: SANTA CLARA / Cuba’s Vibrant Arts

Drive to Santa Clara, stopping at the local stadium, where you engage in a shared pastime with Cuban residents: baseball. During the event, youmeet and talk with the players about sports in Cuban life, with the opportunity to play a few innings together. Cuban BaseballUpon arrival in Santa Clara, proceed to the Casa de la Cultura, where members of the Cuban musical group Melodias Antillanas performtraditional music on antique instruments. Hear a concert of Cuban classics, followed by a talk about traditional music and its role in local culture. Here, you also meet withmembers of a senior citizen community center, who perform a traditional Danzon dance, with an opportunity for you to join in. Its members also share engaging stories about Cuban life and social decorum. After lunch, tour Santa Clara, briefly stopping at the Che Guevara Memorial. Return to your hotel for a farewell dinner. |   Meals: B L D

Day 10: DEPART SANTA CLARA

Transfer to the airport to board your return flight to Miami.

Meals: B

Limited to 24 guests
Days: 10  |  From: $5,695

For more information call Susan Hickman: 626 449-3220 or E-Mail: Susan@distantlands.com

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Bhutan & Nepal: Heart of the Himalaya (2016) with Abercrombie & Kent

Bhutan & Nepal with Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Small Groups

Tiger's Nest Monastery
Tigers Nest Monastery Bhutan

Discover Bhutan and Nepal, seeing Tiger’s Nest Monastery; embarking on an elephant-back safari in Chitwan National Park; and taking a rickshaw ride to Durbar Square.

  • Experience Bhutan’s age-old ways, discovering its rich artistic and cultural heritage
  • Feel the spirit of Bhutan on a hike to the spectacular Tiger’s Nest Monastery
  • Learn about the culture and lifestyle of local farmers by visiting a farmhouse
  • Embark on an elephant-back safari in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park for a unique view of wildlife
  • Enjoy a lesson in Nepalese cuisine during a Chef’s Table event in the home of a local resident
  • Witness a debate among nuns at the Kopan Nunnery, an unforgettable, age-old tradition
  • Ride Like a Local when you travel by rickshaw to visit Durbar Square and Teleju Temple

Itinerary

Nepal& Bhutan MapDay 1: Arrive Delhi, India

Arrive in Delhi, where you are met and transferred to your airport hotel.

Day 2: Paro, Bhutan/Thimphu | Welcome to Bhutan

Fly to Paro and receive a tashi khadda (traditional welcome). In Thimphu, visit the National Memorial Chorten. Later, see the Tashichhodzong Fortress, a 13th-century Buddhist monastery and fort, and then gather to attend a welcome dinner.   Meals: B L D

Day 3: Thimphu | Fine Weavers at Work

Thimphu
Thimphu, Fine Weavers at Work

Visit the Folk Heritage and National Textile museums and view Buddhist literature at the National Library. Meals: B L

Day 4: Punakha | The Divine Madman

Drive over the Dochula Pass, seeing the colorful prayer flags en route to Punakha. Stop at Punakha Dzong, continuing to the Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of the Divine Madman). Return to Thimphu for dinner.  Meals: B L D

Day 5: Paro | Monasteries, Rivers and Relics

Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong Monestary

Journey overland to Paro, stopping en route in Chuzom to view the religious thankga (scroll) paintings and the natural history collection at the National Museum. Continue to Rinpung Dzong, a monastery and fortress along a mountain river. Then, visit a traditional farmhouse to learn about local farmers’ way of life.  Meals: B L D

Day 6: Paro | Ascent to the Tiger’s Nest

Hike to the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, spending the day with the monks. Later, visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s most sacred shrines.   Meals: B L D

Day 7: Kathmandu, Nepal | Historic Durbar Square

Durbar Square
Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal

Fly to Kathmandu. Ride by rickshaw to Durbar Square and Teleju Temple, see the House of the Living Goddess (Kumari) and stroll through the bazaar, old city and Swayambhunath.  Meals: B L D

Day 8: Kathmandu | Learn Nepalese Cooking in a Local Home

Travel to Kirtipur and visit the temple of Adinath, the Chilamcho Stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav. Attend a Nepalese cooking class in a local home. Then, visit Patan, the Golden Temple and Krishna Mandir. Stop at Patan Museum to explore Nepal’s history.   Meals: B L

Days 9-10: Chitwan National Park | Elephant-Back Safari

Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park

Fly to Bharatpur and set out on an elephant-back safari. Attend a briefing from a resident naturalist. Start the next day with an early morning nature walk with trained guides. Enjoy an ox-cart ride through the village. Later, canoe down the Rapti River, and watch the sunset while enjoying a Scenic Sundowner along its banks.   Meals: B L D

Days 11-12: Kathmandu | A Spirited Nuns Debate

Boudhanath
Boudhanath Stupa – Kathmandu, Nepal

Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a lecture by a Mount Everest summiter before dinner. The next day, visit Boudhanath, site of the world’s largest Buddhist shrine. Proceed to Pashupatinath to meet a local artisan, and stop in Bhaktapur. Tonight, visit Kopan Nunnery to witness a spirited debate among nuns, before your farewell dinner.   Meals: B L D

Days 13-14: Depart Kathmandu or Delhi

On Day 13, either fly to Lhasa to begin your post-tour extension or fly to Delhi, where you enjoy the use of a dayroom, available through early morning on Day 14, until you depart.   Meals: B

Limited to 16 guests
Days: 14  |  From: $7,495

If you would like more information or would like to book this journey, call: Susan Hickman: 626 449-3220 or E-Mail: Susan@distantlands.com

Discover the Real World of Westeros in Northern Ireland

Home of Thrones – 8 Day Self-Drive Vacation

Murlough Bay
Murlough Bay, N. Ireland

Charming seaside villages, mysterious landscapes and a ton of Game of Thrones locations, Northern Ireland is the   place to be if you’re a fan of the hit HBO series. Explore the real-life Westeros with caves, castles, forests and the famous Dark Hedges used as the location for the Kingsroad.  Explore the locations at your own pace, knowing that all of your travel plans are taken care of.

Your Self-Drive Vacation Includes:

  • Private Airport Arrival & Departure Transfers
  • 1 night in Dublin at 4-star Camden Court Hotel
  • 2 nights in Belfast at 4-star The Europa Hotel
  • 1 night on the Antrim Coast at 4-star Ballygally Castle
  • 1 night in Coleraine at the Breezemont B&B
  • 1 night in Londonderry at the 4-star Maldron Hotel Derry
  • 1 night in Dublin at the 4-star Camden Court Hotel
  • Hertz Car Rental Standard Automatic – based on Group G rental for 6 days
  • Full Breakfast Daily
  • Sightseeing Activities: Dublin City Walking Tour, Guinness Storehouse, Belfast City Sightseeing Hop on Hop off bus tour, Titanic Experience, Londonderry City Walking Tour

Interested in finding out more about the epic Game Of Thrones® filming locations?  Here’s a quick guide to all the spectacular locations in Northern Ireland.

GAME OF THRONES MAP

1) Dragonstone, Downhill Beach, Co. Londonderry

Downhill, Beach, N. Ireland
Downhill Beach on the Causeway Coast

Downhill Beach is used in the filming of Game of Thrones as Dragonstone, where the Seven Idols of Westeros were burned and Melisandre, flames dancing into the night sky, proclaimed: “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”

2) The Stormlands, Larrybane, Carricka-Rede, Co. Antrium

Larrybane was the dramatic spot chosen for Renly Baratheon’s camp in Season 2. This is where Catelyn Stark agrees a treaty with Renley on Behalf of her son Robb.

3) Pyke, The Iron Islands , Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim

This pictureque coastal nook is where Theon Grejoy arrives back in the Iron Islands and where he later admires his ship, the Sea Bitch. This is also where he first meets his sister Yara.

4) Storm’s End, Murlough Bay, Co. Antrim

Murlough Bay
Murlough Bay, N. Ireland

Murlough Bay becomes the Iron Islands in Season 3. This is the spot where Theon Greyjoy rides on the horse with his sister Yara. It’s also the spot where Davos Seaworth is shipwreked after the battle of Blackwater Bay.

5) The Stormlands, Cushendun Caves , Co. Antrim

In Seaon 2, Crushendun is where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow baby after being brought ashore by Davos Seaworthy.

6) The King’s Road, Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim

Dark Hedges
Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, N. Ireland

The Dark Hedges live up to their haunting name in Season 2. These spectacular trees line the King’s Road as Ayra Stark makes her escape from King’s Landing.Disguised as a boy, Ayra travels with Yoren, Gendry, Hot Pie and all the others off to join the night watch.

7) Winterfell, Castle Ward, Co. Down

Castle Ward is the prime location for Winterfell and the lands surrounding Winterfell in the North. This is where King Robert Baratheon and his retinue arrive and are met by the Starks in Season 1. This is also the place where Bran and Osha’s scenes in Season 1 take place.

8) Robb Stark’s camp, Audley’s Field Strangford Lough

Audley’s Field was used during Season 1 as King Robert Baratheon and his retinue arrive at Winterfell. It’s the backdrop of Robb’s camp in Season 2 and the place where he first meets Talisa. Later on, Audley’s Field is where Alton Lannister is imprisoned with Jamie ( and doesn’t live to tell the tale).

9) Riverrun, River Quoile, Co. Down

River Quolile
River Quolile, N. Ireland

The River Quolie features at a couple of key points in Season 1. This is where Robb’s army needs to cross the Trident, so Catelyn Stark goes to bargin with Walder Frey to seek permission. In the next episode, it’s the place where Catelyn and robb learn of Ned’s beheading and declare ” We will kill them all”.

10) The Haunted Forest, Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down

You might remember this haunting forest from the scene in which a member of the Night’s watch rides through the snowy forest and stumbles upon dismembered Wildling bodies. It’s also where ed Stark and his boys come across the gored stag and find direwolf pups.

11) Beric Dondarrion’s Hideout, Pollnagollum Cave, Mable Arch Caves Global Geopark, Co. Fermanagh

The exterior of Pollnagollum Cave was used to film Beric Dondarrion’s hideout in Season 3.

If you would like more info contact: Susan Hickman (626) 449-3220 or e-mail susan@distantlands.com

 

 

 

Splendors of Morocco with Abercrombie & Kent

Morrocco ArchTravel back to a slower time of aromatic mint tea in cool courtyards and sun-drenched bazaars overflowing with handmade jewelry and colorful tagines during an A&K Morocco luxury journey. With a history stretching back nearly 10,000 years, Morocco has been crisscrossed by Roman legions, Berber caravans and Muslim scholars. The country’s great cities – Marrakech, Tangier, Fez and Rabat – offer a delicate balance of ancient traditions and modern-day conveniences.

Delve into Morocco, from its historic cities to its mysterious desert, staying in an A&K Exclusive Desert Tented Camp by the Erg Chebbi dunes and spending three nights in Marrakech.

  • Discover all that wonderful Morocco has to offer, from the historic cities in the north to the mysterious desert, ending with three nights in Marrakech
  • Experience the Sahara in style when you sleep under the stars at an A&K Exclusive Desert Tented Camp alongside the stunning Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Experience life like a local with a ride on camelback and by horse and carriage; you also learn the secrets of Moroccan cuisine at an exclusive Chef’s Table experience
  • Explore Meknes and Volubilis, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to unveil Morocco’s unique culture and past
  • Stay in the “Red City” at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, your home for three nights

Save $1,000 per person on select Fall departures when you book by July 31, 2015.

For more information contact: Susan Hickman (626) 449-3220 or info@distantlands.com

Attention all educators do you want to travel for free

Kids1Experience is a great teacher. It takes standing in the middle of the Colosseum to truly appreciate the significance of Roman times. You need to be able to run your hand across the names engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC to comprehend the loss. Travel has the power to open young minds, unlock possibilities, and unveil understanding where the classroom just can’t. On Student Discoveries travel programs, students pay attention, ask more questions, and actually learn more. From the sub-culture of New York City’s Chinatown to Italy’s world-changing architecture, students’ minds opens further when they’re filled with the sights and sounds of important places around the world. And what they learn on the streets of Boston or in Tower of London won’t just be filed away for a pop quiz, but for something much more important—life itself.

It’s never too early to start planning your student trip and there has never been a better time to book student group travel with Student Discoveries. For teachers, when 10 students travel on a trip you travel for free and teachers receive a single room at no additional cost.

For more information contact:  Susan Hickman 626 449-3220 or e-mail: susan@distantlands.com