Tag Archives: g adventures

Client Trip Report: Why Antarctica continues to be the most Awe-Inspiring Destination

travel apps.png

Willamette Intl Travel booked an amazing trip for our long-time clients Doug and Diane. They sailed on an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica last December. So in the interest of sharing it with our readers, we’ve made up a presentation that we think you’ll love—chock-full of firsthand feedback, quotes, tips, and gorgeous photos. We hope you enjoy it!

Take Me on a Virtual Voyage to Antarctica!

 

Thinking about a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica?

Let us advise you!

We’ve sent dozens of clients to explore the lonely continent. Nothing prepares you for the sheer beauty of its nature. Call us for a consultation now: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

I had no idea that ice, mountains, icebergs, clouds, flat water, sky, and sun could work together to make such beautiful scenes.  I was in awe the whole trip.

–Doug D.

Leave a comment

Filed under Antarctica, Argentina, Cruises, G Adventures, South America

Embark on an Incredible Voyage on the West Coast of South America

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 4.20.55 PM

Looking for that adventure of a lifetime? In 2016, Canadian-based G Adventures is sending its MS Expedition to the West Coast of South America. The ship will voyage from Ushuaia up the Chilean coast to Peru, and onward to Panama and Colombia.

The Expedition carries a maximum of 134 guest passengers, not including crew, so you can expect a personalized, one-of-a-kind voyage. Trips often include pre/post nights in hotels, guided tours, land excursions, transfers, and educational programs onboard. Meals are international and provided by professional chefs.

The trip is comprised of 3 core legs. You can join any of them for a two-week expedition or embark on a longer adventure by combining two or all three.

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 4.18.21 PM

Leg A: 15 Days Chilean Fjords, Ushuaia to Santiago. Ushuaia – Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales – Angostura Guia – Laguna San Rafael – Puerto Chacabuco – Ancud, Isla de Chiloe – Talcahuano – Santiago/Valparaiso.

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 2.06.44 PM

Leg B: 15 Days Santiago to Guayaquil. Santiago – Valparaiso – Caldera – Arica – San Juan de Marcona – Callao/Lima – Trujillo – Salinas/Guayaquil. Between Lima and Trujillo, your guides take you on a 3-day included trip overland to the Sacred Valley and explore Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu (local flights are additional).

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 2.07.13 PM

Leg C: 12 Days Guayaquil to Cartagena. Guayaquil/Salinas – Isla de La Plata – Bahia Solano – Punta Alegre – Pearl Islands – Panama Canal & Panama City – San Blas Islands – Capurgana – Cartagena.

Combos:

28 Days Ushuaia to Guayaquil. Combination of the first two trips.

25 Days Santiago to Cartagena. Combination of the last two trips.

38 Days Ushuaia to Cartagena. Combination of all three trips.

Solo Adventurers: Traveling solo but want to bunk with a fellow voyager? G Adventures will guarantee a shared cabin with one of the other guests. If you’d rather have a private cabin, G Adventures can offer one at a supplement.

Read about G Adventures in Antarctica here: https://wittravel.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/g-adventures-in-antarctica/

Departures are in March and April 2016. Call your Willamette agent at 503-224-0180 to discuss options!

In the Portland area this Fall? Drop by our office on Wednesday September 9 at 6:30pm. Join staff from Willamette Intl Travel and G Adventures for an evening of adventure travel! We’ll highlight Galapagos and Antarctica as well as G Adv’s special Arctic Cruise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru, South America, Travel by Ship

Cruise to Antarctica

Antarctica is a land like no other. Covering almost one-tenth of the Earth’s surface, it’s one bucket-list destination never to be missed. Nowhere else on Earth has what Antarctica can offer—the largest concentration of marine wildlife in the world, dramatic scenery, massive icebergs and glaciers. Since you are venturing where few ever do (30,000 tourists per year), you will want to make sure your experience is well-planned and well-suited to your travel preferences. Our agents are careful in ensuring that we match client with company, taking close looks at crew expertise, ship features, expedition activity, and overall quality of experience.

photo by John Lester, Creative Commons

It’s important to be familiar with the ships and routes. Antarctica ships tend to fall in three main categories: small expedition ships with ice-hardened hulls, medium-sized ships and large cruise ships. Smaller ships carry inflatable landing craft (zodiacs) so passengers can venture off the ship and onto land. Itineraries typically sail from Ushuaia across the Drake Passage, and a sailing often includes the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, around Cape Horn, and the Falklands (though recently some cruise lines have pulled from the Falklands due to territorial disputes). Here are some companies who offer expedition travel to Antarctica, used and approved by our agents:

LINDBLAD

Lars-Eric Lindblad founded Lindblad Expeditions in the late 1950’s, combining his passion for uncharted travel and eco-tourism. The company is dedicated to finding creative ways to explore areas already mapped. Trained naturalists onboard strive to connect their guests with amazing and incredible places through adventure and education. Their partnership with like-minded National Geographic experts on the top of their field allows them to lead the most experienced Ice Team on the National Geographic Explorer. Your ship will be escorted by a team of veteran Naturalists, who will take you on hikes through the icy wild, kayaking in coves and around ice floes, and zodiac cruising among icebergs. Travelers choose Lindblad because of the on-ship innovative technology, all-inclusive rates, up close and personal experiences, informal atmosphere, hand-crafted itineraries and ecologically minded experts. Their partnership with like-minded National Geographic experts in the peak of their field certainly doesn’t hurt!

photo by 23am.com, Creative Commons

HURTIGRUTEN

Hurtigruten offers a step up in exploration travel, combining luxury and expedition. Sail in the wake of historical explorers in the technologically advanced ship MS Fram, and spot the millions of penguins, thousands of seals, and pods of whales that inhabit the waters and shores during the austral summer. The ship’s expedition team will give a series of lectures as you cross the Drake Passage. Each voyage is unique, and the final choice of landings will be made in the course of the sailing. Included with each booking are the cabin, full board meals, flights between Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, and the excursion to Ushuaia National Park.

photo by tonyforster2, Creative Commons

G ADVENTURES

G Adventures has a number of itineraries that delve into the heart of Antarctica’s wilderness and history. They have expeditions from 11-days to intensive 23-days, all of which include: meals, zodiac excursions with expert expedition teams, educational programs, transfers, expert guides and accommodation on board the MS Expedition. Venture out to Shackleton’s final resting place, and sail through the penguin rookeries and seal colonies of Antarctica. Some itineraries even include South Georgia and the Falkland Islands in the sailing, and you can even add on Buenos Aires or Iguassu Falls bookends to your itinerary. G Adventures also supplies waterproof boots for all passengers, and a special Canada Goose expedition jacket for each guest in a Category 5 suite!

Photo by winky in the uk, Creative Commons

GENERAL TOURS

General Tours offers a 15-day itinerary for small, intimate groups venturing deep through Antarctica. The ship’s unique open bridge policy allows passengers to join the ship’s officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, whale watching, enjoying a front-row-seat view of icebergs and snow-capped mountains. Trace the 1901-1903 route of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, visit Hope Bay and Snow Hill Island, and sail across the peninsula’s remote eastern coast into the remote Weddell Sea. Enrich your sail with insightful lectures on the on board Ship Naturalist. This itinerary includes nights in Buenos Aires and Tierra del Fuego.

photo by Liam Quinn, Creative Commons

SILVERSEA

The medium-sized Silver Explorer was especially designed by Silversea Cruises to navigate the waters of remote destinations. A strengthened hull with an ice-class notation for passenger vessels allows the ship to push through ice floes with ease. An expert Expedition Team will accompany passengers via zodiac ships on to the dramatic continent of Antarctica. Itineraries run from 10 to 22 days, and explore Antarctica as well as the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Shetlands, and Tristan da Cunha.

QUARK

Quark Expeditions is based in Seattle. Since 1991 Quark has specialized in polar expeditions, and their ships are specially designed ice-strengthened vessels made for high latitude cruising. They are unique in that they have the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger ships, and deliver more departures and itineraries than any other company. They have itineraries that run from 8 days to as long as a month! Explore the Antarctic Peninsula, visit research stations on Adelaide Island, hike up glaciers and visit penguin rookeries; or see the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as “the Galapagos of the South.” Learn about the continent’s unique geology, history and wildlife from an expert team.

It’s never too early to book a sail to Antarctica. Ships and space are limited. Call us now to find out more about a particular sailing or vendor that has one on offer. WIT Agent Christina has traveled to Antarctica and can give you a firsthand account. Call us at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Antarctica, Cruises, G Adventures, General Tours, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions, Quark, Silversea, Travel by Ship

Vendor of the Month: G Adventures

Top 3 Highlights

In celebration of Earth Month, we will take a closer look at our vendor of the month, G Adventures, and its nonprofit, Planeterra.

Willamette International Travel is proud to be a partner of G Adventures. This exceptional company offers unique travel opportunities that combine small, escorted tours with cultural immersion, tailoring trips to your taste and budget. Here are WIT’s Top 3 Highlights of G Adventures:

1.     Customization

No matter your tastes, G Adventures can offer you the type of travel you prefer. Their team of experts can customize any trip for you regardless if your niche; services range from youth travel, outdoor activities, overland, polar expeditions, family travel, to Limited Edition themed itineraries offering activities from from biking and hiking to rafting and touring festivals. They also work with partners Discovery Channel and Canada Goose to add exclusive excursions to explore wildlife and landscapes while accompanied by teams of naturalists and historians. With such a variety in focus, destinations, and services, there’s bound to be a G Adventures trip for everyone.

2.      Immersion

G Adventures strives to create unique opportunities, weaving in the unexpected and the meaningful with any one excursion. They encourage travelers to step outside the box, to immerse and involve themselves with their host culture. Their trips can include activities ranging from culinary delights, language lessons, market visits, to wildlife safaris, catamaran sailings, swimming, tastings, visits to architectural masterpieces, and even riding elephants. Each trip is fully escorted in small groups averaging 10 people, allowing for members to have a truly intimate and informed experience.

3.      Accessibility

To find out more what G Adventures can offer, check out their website. They showcase an impressive homepage, easy to navigate and connect through social media channels. One of the main features is their blog, the Looptail Beta, which includes postings from so-called “Wanderers in Residence” – travel bloggers from around the world who reveal their home bases in a series of lively pictures, captivating prose and surprising anecdotes. In 2012, these bloggers have started working with G Adventures’ offshoot project, Planeterra.

PLANETERRA

Planeterra is a nonprofit that promotes voluntourism—merging volunteering with travel. They aim to connect concerned travelers—looking for an immersive and productive experience beyond mere “observational” travel—with the preservation, support and development of places and people.

As stated on their website, “We take a serious, holistic look at how we can help these iconic destinations emerge from being exploited, to using the tools it takes to support happy communities living with proper healthcare, education, and protected environments. This means finding better jobs, sending their children to better schools, drinking cleaner water and caring for their environment.”

Travelers assist in cultural and environmental programs for a period of 3-7 days before or after heading out on the sightseeing leg of their trip. Volunteers can visit and participate in the Bifengxia Panda Breeding Centre, the Conservation and Community Tourism Project on Phra Thong Island, the NGO New Hope in Cambodia, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, Cape Peninsula and Thailand schools, conservation projects protecting Costa Rica sea turtles, and many others.

Thinking of going on a G Adventure or participating in a Planeterra Project? Willamette International Travel have travel agents on hand who have worked with this unique travel company. Call us at 503.224.0180 or email us at info@wittravel.com.

1 Comment

Filed under Vendors, VOTM