Sustainable Travel

One of the most important developments in tourism over the last decade has been the slow but inevitable movement towards sustainable travel practices.  Sustainable tourism best practices forms the core value of Big Five.   We believe in and are committed to nurturing that code of responsibility by developing sustainable itineraries and working with partners who share our corporate philosophy.  Beyond the hyperbole, there are real issues that have to be addressed if we are to insure that future generations will have the same opportunities to explore this remarkable planet.  The essential goals of sustainable tourism are:


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Interest Type

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Sustainable Travel Tours

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President’s Picks: Australia Unbound 32 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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"I am always amazed at how much of Australia is still undiscovered. When you look at where the largest cluster of hotels are, it represents less than half the territory. This itinerary is designed to remove you from those clusters, taking you to the frontiers where mass settlement has not yet happened. This is the real outback. Don’t go down under, go walk about."


President’s Pick: Costa Rica Authentic 9 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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"Costa Rica pretty much invented the phrase “eco-tourism” but we noticed that the destination has lost some of its luster in regards to the principles of innovative sustainable travel. I was very disappointed in a recent visit when I saw little of the Costa Rica I once knew. That motivated me to go back to the drawing board. We created this new Costa Rica journey to take you back in time to the place where the sustainable principles we use today were forged."


Ecuador’s Interiors: Volcano to Rainforest 10 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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Explore some of the fascinating variety Ecuador has to offer, including its distinctive cuisine - from the food markets in Quito and Otavalo to a culinary lesson in Quito, to sampling gourmet Ecuadorean fusion cuisine with a chef, who shares his secrets and famous recipes. Encounter some of Ecuador's amazing wildlife such as the high-flying condor of the Andes and the fabled pink dolphins of the Amazon. Delve into the Amazon rainforest during a three-night river cruise, and meet with Kichwa women as they share their customs, cuisine and everyday life in the jungles. Go horseback riding in the Andes past Caranqui pyramids, the largest and best-preserved archeological sites of the ancient Caranqui culture with 132 small earth mounds dating as far back as 700 CE.


President’s Pick: Natural Nicaragua 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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“Nicaragua has only recently come on the radar as an emerging destination for its wealth of nature-based activities. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast so hiking forests, swimming, kayaking, ash boarding and paragliding are all activities that I and my family enjoy. Add to this culturally and historically vibrant cities such as Leon and Granada, and the thriving coffee plantations, and Nicaragua is a fun and rewarding destination.”


Trekking Adventure in Ecuador’s Andes 7 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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In this high-altitude adventure, discover the traditional Indian village of Peguche and the family of artists there who specialize in crafting traditional musical instruments. Enjoy Otavalo’s indigenous food market to sample some exotic fruits in a market atmosphere. Walk the rim of the volcanic caldera. Take a photography lesson with a recognized photographer. Explore the Andes on foot during a three-day trek between mountain lodges for an amazing hiking adventure.


Custom Chile & Bolivia Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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Chile has a vast repertoire of adventure settings from icy Patagonia to far off Easter Island to dramatic Atacama Desert. Bolivia shares Lake Titicaca with Peru, and one-third of Bolivia’s terrain is spread across the Andean mountains. Bolivia became one of the furthest points of the Inca Empire. Both countries offer a wealth of culture and cosmopolitan cities, and both should be on your must-see list.


Australia Active 16 Days Precious Journeys® College Edition Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

Starting Price: $9,970

Explore Australia’s remarkable landscapes during trekking adventures in both the ancient Flinders Range and in the Scenic Rim region outside Brisbane. Join in active conservation projects to help conserve to valuable species - the koala and the Tiger Quoll. Experience sophisticated Sydney and take the Sydney Bridge climb challenge and scale stairs and catwalks never previously opened to the public for stunning panoramic views of the city and harbor. This journey is just the right mix of adventure for the outdoor enthusiast.


President’s Picks: Botswana & South Africa 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"Botswana is truly the last frontier, a pristine safari destination, with a mission to protect the pinnacle of sustainable tourism. This adventure goes beyond conventional safaris, introducing state-of-the-art facial recognition software as the means of identifying and tracking animals. This extraordinary Botswana safari takes place in and around the filming locations used by National Geographic’s Dereck and Beverly Joubert. You end your journey in South Africa's Winelands and with a photographic workshop in Cape Town."


Adventure Botswana & Victoria Falls 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Explore the varied landscapes and environments of Botswana that encompasses Savuti Channel, the Okavango Delta and the dramatic Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Encounter large herds of zebra, wildebeest, elephant and other wildlife. Enjoy outstanding bird watching. Take in the iconic Victoria Falls and explore the range of adventure activities available.


Guatemala, Colombia & Argentina: Graffiti Art Experience 16 Days Precious Journeys® College Edition Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

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Graffiti encompasses writing and drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, chiseled or painted illicitly on walls and other surfaces, usually within public view. The can be simple written words or elaborate wall paintings. The use of graffiti has existed since ancient times. Examples date back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The term graffiti originally referred to the inscriptions and drawings found on the walls of ancient sepulchres or ruins in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompeii. This unique and fascinating journey explores facets, framework and meaning of graffiti today in Latin America as seen through the eyes of artists in these countries. Specialist guides provide context, both historical and modern, to help you discover this compelling art movement.


South Africa Exploration 10 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Go on safari in premier game reserves such as Sabi Sands, featuring wonderful game viewing of the big five and more. Take a leap with a zip lining experience in a previously inaccessible UNESCO World Heritage Site. Savor a private tour of the wine estates of the Cape Winelands. Explore the stunning coast on a private tour of the Cape Peninsula. South Africa offers wealth of adventures.


Adventure Australia 13 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Australia is vast and has so many facets with opportunities to find something off the beaten track. This journey explores the desert Outback of the Gawler Ranges and the oldest rainforest on the planet - Daintree. Spend a night stargazing from a hammock as you float on a pontoon on the outer Great Barrier Reef after a day of underwater discovery. Take in Sydney on a private bicycle tour and, for the adventurous, climb Sydney Harbor Bridge for an exhilarating 360 degree views of the city and its famous harbor. Australia eccentric and exceptional and should be on every serious traveler's list.


Magical Morocco 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Explore ancient Marrakech and its colorful bazaars, Spanish Moorish architecture and iconic sights as well as the small Berber villages of the High Atlas Range. Enjoy a mobile tented camp experience in the lunar-like landscapes of the Agafay Desert and hike the rugged Atlas Mountains dominated by Djebel Toubkal. Venture out on excursions into the desert by 4x4 vehicles or mountain bike; by mule, horse or camel; or by quad bikes or buggies.


Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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On this adventure, you will explore the lush cloud forest of Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve and travel into the highlands of Ecuador to the historic Hacienda Zuleta. Explore the Tulipe Archaeological Site, originally built by the Yumbo people between 800 and 1660 CE. Enjoy a five-night cruise of the Galapagos Islands aboard the M/C Athala II, and encounters the endemic wildlife from iguanas to seals both on the volcanic islands and in surrounding waters. Savor an island stay at a safari camp and see one of the few Scalesia forests that remain almost intact. This is a spectacular journey for nature lovers.


President’s Pick: Colombia & Guatemala 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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“I am a self-admitted history buff, and can’t get enough of it. In much of Latin America, the Incas and Mayans occupied so much of the space, it was difficult to see beyond. I wanted to examine the empires that came before, after, and in between these groups. Enter Colombia, a destination we helped launch in North America almost 10 years ago. Being a pioneer to this area is one my proudest moments. With Guatemala as one of our core products for so long, we were constantly looking for ways to combine Colombia with Guatemala as a way to complete the bridge between the Mayans and early Colombian empires before the Incas came to power. We had access to glamping equipment in Guatemala, which allowed us to offer our guests something more. This allowed them to stay overnight at an ancient site to really feel the Mayan spirit that is imbedded in the ruins, making this a much more compelling experience. I am proud to say Big Five was one off the first combine these two countries, and now I invite you to join us in being a part of history.”


President’s Pick: Chile’s Patagonia & Mapuche Culture 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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“Everywhere I look when I see itineraries for Chile, I keep seeing the same four or five locations over and over. For quite some time, I felt that something more existed, an experience or interaction that not only showed me something new about Chile, it also met a personal requirement of mine regarding sustainability. Enter the Mapuche communities, one of the oldest indigenous cultures in a country. There is tremendous history in Chile dating back to the Incas and beyond that reaches beyond Chile’s tourist locations that everyone already visits. I am delighted to be able to take our guests off the track to see the real Chile.”


Namibia & Botswana 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Conservancies are the future of Africa and Botswana and Namibia are on the leading edge of this movement. From the intentional cap on the number of visitors through pricing in Botswana, to the constitutional amendment for sustainability in Namibia, southern Africa is facing a new frontier for remote safaris. The open ranges of northern Namibia, where the real Namibia can be found, to northern Botswana’s Selinda Spillway, where you witness the lesser-known zebra migration, this safari offers you a different view, an authentic experience.


Classic Australia & New Zealand 29 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

Starting Price: $29,000

This distinctive Australia and New Zealand exploration takes you into Australia's cities from iconic, sophisticated Sydney to Melbourne with its mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture, trams and boutique shops. Enjoy a jaunt to Kangaroo Island to discover the vast wilderness of Flinders Chase National Park. New Zealand's stunning islands encompass the South Island's beautiful Christchurch and continue to Queenstown, where you savor a hot air balloon with views of the Southern Alps. North Island's Rotorua is a thermal wonderland is one of New Zealand's most colorful volcanic areas. Stay in some of the most exclusive and luxurious lodges in the South Pacific that offer adventures ranging from star gazing, to jet boat journeys, to trekking and wildlife viewing.


Private Conservancies in Tanzania 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Discover some of the next generation of private wildlife conservancies in Tanzania, where the wildlife, the local communities and guests all benefit from your visit. In Burunge Wildlife Management Area, experience a “slow safari” that allows you to look beyond the limits of a vehicle, where you go into the wild on foot to see, feel, touch and smell the African bush. Encounter the Serengeti Plains in depth, tracking Africa’s famous Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. Be one of the few to stay in a beautiful region of the Serengeti that has been closed to tourism for more than 20 years. This extraordinary safari offers you plenty of adventure.


Luxury Peru Adventure for Hikers 20 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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Hikers explore the Andean landscapes of Peru during a dramatic lodge-to-lodge adventure that encompasses treks in altitudes of 3,868m/12,690 ft to 4,636m/15,213 ft. As you end your mountain trek, you will savor a distant but spectacular view of the mountain fortress of Machu Picchu from the southeast. Then experience this ancient Incan fortress. You also explore the classic colonial cities of Lima and Cusco and enjoy a scenic flight over the famous Nasca and Palpa Lines. This is a luxury hiking journey for active adventurers seeking an unrivaled, high altitude experience of the Peruvian Andes.


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