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:


Country

Interest Type

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Tour Length

Price

Sustainable Travel Tours

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President’s Pick: Mainland Ecuador 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Recommended

Starting Price: $7,150

1 in 4 - That is the ratio of people in Ecuador that still have indigenous blood lines, very few of whom live in the Galapagos Islands. This program highlights the rich heritage, the amazing nature and the tremendous beauty of mainland Ecuador. This adventure focuses on the lesser known areas and people such as the Huaorani community deep in the Amazon jungle. Big Five launched its South American division several years ago, beginning with Ecuador, and I believe the future goes through the past.


President’s Picks: South Africa 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

Starting Price: $9,000

“Change is the name of the game in Africa and this is especially true in South Africa. As a second generation native, I have witnessed everything from government changes to the rise of leaders such as Nelson Mandela. Through it all, South Africa has always carried a special place for me because of its dynamic blend of the modern metropolis of Jo’burg and small cosmopolitan Cape Town with the quintessential safari experience. And, it serves as a gateway to the entire continent. Some things never get old.”


President’s Picks: Adventure Australia 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended

Starting Price: $13,000

“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

Starting Price: $7,700

“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.”


President’s Pick: Ecuador & Galapagos 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended

Starting Price: $11,200

“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.”


Colombia & Guatemala: City, Country & a Volcano 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

Starting Price: $6,600

Colombia and Guatemala make a natural pair with their satisfying blend of culture, history and adventure. Go hiking or horseback riding in Colombia's Cocora Valley in Los Nevados National Park and hike up an active volcano with your volcanologist guide. Enjoy a walking tour of Antigua, Guatemala's charming colonial city, and take a helicopter flight over six different volcanoes to Lake Atitlan for a kayaking adventure. Discover Cartagena's old walled city, with its local markets. Experience Colombia's noted coffee culture. Walk the main plaza, pyramids, and temples of the ancient Mayan cities of Uaxactun and Tikal with your guide; and savor a rare experience - Glamping at Uaxactun, an overnight stay in the ruins that offers a unique way to experience this ancient Maya site in the comfort of your own private camp.


President’s Pick: Chile’s Patagonia & Mapuche Culture 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Family Travel, Recommended

Starting Price: $6,600

“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.”


President’s Pick: Namibia & Botswana 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended

Starting Price: $18,200

“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.”


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

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.


President’s Pick: Private Conservancies in Tanzania 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

Starting Price: $14,850

“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.”


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.


Australia’s Primeval Landscapes 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

Starting Price: $7,700

Australia offers unique natural wonders including Ningaloo Reef, an extraordinary yet largely unknown jewel, where you can, depending on season, swim with the giant whale shark, the world’s largest fish, and witness turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in summer. Discover Flinders Ranges, a timeless terrain molded by hundreds of millions of years of geological activity resulting in some of Australia’s most spectacular outback scenery during guided excursions highlighting the geology, history, wildlife and pastoral heritage of the region. Experience sophisticated Sydney with its eccentric history, beautiful harbor, fine dining, galleries and Adelaide's elegant tree-lined streets, stone churches, Central Market. Sample wines from more than 60 wine regions across Australia at the National Wine Center.


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.


Peru’s Amazon, Andes & the Coast 13 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel

Starting Price: $7,800

Explore some of Peru's extraordinary landscapes from the amazing Amazon Rainforest, where you stay in a treehouse and take an unforgettable journey from the Andes to the Pacific Coast on the brand new Interoceanic Highway. Encounter with river communities to learn how they coexist with the remarkable environment. Travel by train through simply spectacular mountain scenery as your train winds through dramatic scenery to reach the monumental mountain fortress of Machu Picchu... the Lost City of the Incas. Get an aerial look at the mythic Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines, ancient geoglyphs in the desert as well the oldest Chakana (Andean Southern Cross) that can be seen from the air.


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.


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