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:
President’s Picks: Adventure Australia 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“I have been traveling to Australia for more than a decade now, and it keeps drawing me back again and again because I discover more to enjoy single every time. The country is vast and has so many facets, so many nooks and crannies as yet unexplored by travelers that the opportunities to find something unique, something off the beaten track are almost endless. This journey fits in well with our other adventures in this country in terms of Big Five being fully sustainable in Australia.”
President’s Picks: Morocco 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“The long drives that are involved in traveling in Morocco have always bothered me; especially when they yielded disappointment. Over last 10 years of travel to Morocco, repeatedly searching for new places and exciting opportunities, I can say “success.” Finally, I have found the Morocco no one else knows – even the carpet salesmen. And it begins with original Van Gogh art in Marrakech and culminates in the Agafay Desert. I invite to discover unexplored Morocco.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Ecuador & Galapagos 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“Remember 25… That represents roughly the percentage of Ecuador’s population on the mainland who are indigenous. For years, I have been concerned that Ecuador was seen only through the lens of the Galapagos Islands. Virtually all travelers were being funneled into the islands, putting pressure on the island’s resource while bypassing the rest of the nation. Yes, the islands are genuinely amazing and worth exploring, but there is more to the country. The pre-Incan cultures of Ecuador, which were later unified in the interior, all exist in areas outside the few gateway cities. These cultures still exist today, but for how much longer? Many are leaving their communities and often their traditions behind to find work in the cities. This has the effect of disrupting, sometimes permanently, their heritage for future generations. By including these traditional communities in the tourism equation, we create a win-win for all, and help us fulfill our sustainable promise. In the Galapagos, we bring the African experience to the islands using a family-owned luxury tented camp deep inside Santa Cruz National Park combined with a small vessel cruise through the outer islands. What results is a perfect marriage.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Colombia & Guatemala 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family 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.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Chile’s Patagonia & Mapuche Culture 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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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.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Namibia & Botswana 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“Conservancies are the future of Africa. There is no stronger example of the conservation model put to use in southern Africa than in Botswana and Namibia. 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 offer a different view to than the crowds of Chobe experience.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Australia & New Zealand 29 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“There are so many choices across so many spectrums to see Australia and New Zealand. In 2003, our CEO and founder, Mahen, asked me to launch Australia and New Zealand. My first visit to the region left me, well, disappointing, and feeling that the journey was contrived. What I saw in the luxury realm was simply the same bus tour routes adapted with luxury hotels. Like you, I crave authenticity, and that sense of personal discovery. Over the next 13 years, my team and I worked to develop a sustainable product for the region. It was really a lot of fun doing the research and the countless visits led to epiphany after epiphany. We redefined the idea of luxury travel in Australia and New Zealand. What resulted is an authentic journey that fits our model of sustainability as well as provides you with an exceptional experience.” Ashish Sanghrajka
President’s Pick: Private Conservancies in Tanzania 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
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“When a country struggles for tourism the way many in Africa have in the last 18 months, there is something special that comes out of that journey – innovation. Over the last decade, the resistance to poaching and the need to preserve indigenous cultures became so strong that the notion of community-based conservancies was born. It was pioneered in countries like Namibia and Kenya. That same idea spread like wildfire into Tanzania, where the commitment to the conservancy model of safaris is now thriving. We hope that the cliché of the mass of tourist buses surrounding animals and Maasai villages that are more like gift shops become a thing of the past. This safari is an example of what the future of safaris in Tanzania will look like in the years to come. Why wait for the future when it can be your present.” -- Ashish Sanghrajka, president
Luxury Peru Adventure for Hikers 20 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $19,820
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.
Australia’s Abundant Adventures 15 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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Australia’s adventurous personality shines in this journey that takes in breathtaking lands, unique flora and fauna, and adventure activities from diving the Great Barrier Reef to climbing Sydney’s Harbor Bridge. Explore Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast, with its white sand beaches, dramatic wilderness and breathtaking vistas. Enjoy the cosmopolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and so much more. Experience Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake, from Pumphouse Point, where explore by canoe or hike the internationally known Overland Track hiking trail in the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Wilderness.
Guatemala’s Jungles, Jaguars & Peanut Butter 8 Days Precious Journeys Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $4,370
From making chocolate and peanut butter, to climbing a volcano, to ziplining in the rainforest, this amazing family adventure encompasses some of the best experiences Guatemala has to offer. Go on a jaguar footprint scavenger hunt, and wander the stone monuments of the Mayan city of Tikal. This is a journey your family will long remember.
South Africa’s Unique Lodges 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $11,350
South Africa is home to a variety of outstanding and unique lodges and tented camps. This adventure offers three very distinctive properties that give travelers experiences ranging from the classic African safari in search of the 'big five' in Sabi Sands, to the rare and unique fynbos plant kingdom of Grootbos, with its remarkable whale watching opportunities, to grass lands of the Kalahari, home to the traditional San people.
President’s Pick: Australia’s Primeval Landscapes 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
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“When I first visited Australia years ago, I admit I came away disappointed. What I saw was the same problem I had seen elsewhere – there was no separation between private tours and rings of buses all headed to exactly the same places. There was no distinctiveness. Australia is currently enjoying one of the biggest tourism booms in its history but its tourism industry has focused all their marketing efforts on the same handful of places. Indeed 95% of the travelers are still being funneled into the same molds, whether they were private clients or mass market. I have never been one to follow others. I want to find a way to make a difference, even in a first world country. This is ingrained our entire Big Five team, so we serve the five percent of travelers who share our vision. And we look deeper and farther afield to give our guests something more and at the same time give back to the people who live there.” Ashish Sanghrajka
Tanzania: Into the Wild 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $16,290
Explore Tanzania's unique ecosystems and abundant wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plains. Travel into Mahale Mountains to discover the world of chimpanzees.
President’s Picks: Peru’s Amazon, Andes & the Coast 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
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“When I look at Peru, I see more than Machu Picchu. I see a country that is only showing 10% of its true character. There is so more to Peru then one empire, more than three or four stops. It’s time to reinvent the way we think about Peru, change our view. This journey is about blending history with nature, about bringing out the active historian in you.” Ashish Sanghrajka
Discovering Northern Chile 7 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $3,900
Discover Northern Chile and travel through the unique landscapes and small villages of the Andes in Chile’s northern reaches; encounter ancient indigenous cultures; and take in fascinating ecosystems, from the Salar de Surire Natural Monument salt flat to Lauca National Park with its rich biodiversity.
The Galapagos Islands: Of Fish & Fishermen 7 Days Precious Journeys Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $3,450
The Galapagos Islands: Of Fish & Fishermen is geared towards families with young children, and is full of engaging and fun educational experiences for both parents and children. Hand-picked naturalist guides understand the need for flexibility, patience and down time. Experiences include going out with local fishermen to learn about sustainable fishing, snorkeling with some of the marine creatures and spotting wildlife including tortoises, iguanas and blue-footed boobies.
Ecuador: From Machalilla to Zuleta 10 Days Precious Journeys Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $2,880
This Precious Journeys adventure takes your family into the heart of Ecuador's mainland to experience its landscapes, wildlife and people. Discover the thrill of working with an archeologist on a dig; snorkel and swim in clear waters of Drake’s Bay; and explore Zuleta's culture and search for the endangered Ecuadorian condor.
South Africa – Cape Town & Eastern Cape 9 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $4,395
This South African adventure features a safari in the private, malaria-free game reserve of Kariega; an exploration of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the lovely Cape Peninsula; and visits to some of the vineyards in the country's famous Winelands.
President’s Pick: Chile & Argentina 17 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
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“When we think of Argentina or Chile, we think of three things – Patagonia, Iguassu Falls, and Buenos Aires. This itinerary breaks all those molds, showing you what few others see. Heading into Chile, we embrace the Mapuche community, integrating their culture and preserved land into your visit. While in Atacama, we feature an experience that goes beyond the desert, showcasing the history of the ancient cultures including the Incas, reaching back in time like no other location in Chile. End your journey at the cultural epicenter of the Aymara culture Argentina, a location where everything can be found in place – Salta.” Ashish Sanghrajka