Australian tour operator Intrepid Travel is one of my favourite tour companies. Not only do they stand out with their B-Corp certification, they also offer a great line of tours that really allow you to immerse yourself in local culture. These so-called Original-Style tours are the perfect choice for those after a great mix of included activities and insights from a local leader, as well as free time to explore a destination on their own.
During our mid-April webinar, Kaz from Intrepid and myself shared stories from ten of these trips we had been on and how they impacted the local community as well as ourselves.
Here are ten small-group adventure tours that really immerse you in local culture.
8 days from CA$2614
Italian cuisine, with a pedigree stretching back to antiquity, is characterized by its simplicity, with most dishes consisting of four to eight ingredients. Savour cicchetti with a glass of local white wine in Venice, prepare an authentic tagliatelle al ragu in Rome and get an insight into wine and olive production in Tuscany. Find out why Italy is the land of la Vita Bella!
18 days from CA$2193
A breathtakingly beautiful country, Vietnam is at once incredibly exotic and utterly compelling; welcoming
people and stunning landscapes make it a haven for adventure travellers. Combine it with Cambodia and you have the trip of a lifetime. There are few experiences on earth matched by the setting of the sun at Angkor Wat, the famous temple complex a stunning blend of spirituality and symmetry. This adventure tour of Cambodia and Vietnam lets you get under the skin of these countries, discover their cultures, enjoy delicious food, and mingle and laugh with the engaging locals.
Imagine a country so remote you may feel at times like you are the only person
on earth in it. Add the stunning scenery of rolling grasslands, snow-capped mountains, ice-blue lakes and giant sand dunes. Now take that feeling of
remoteness and amplify it by going into the furthest corners of this remote land. That is what this trip is designed to do. Then there are the nomadic people who have a natural affinity with travelers and who will invite you into their gers for a meal and an overnight. Join Kazakh eagle hunters at their celebrations and uncover the true spirit of Mongolia.
10 days from CA$2499
Travel from Kenya's capital Nairobi to Tanzania's most famous parks, Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. After spotting all the wildlife you want, head off to the tropical island of Zanzibar. Here you'll explore the alleyways of Stone Town before making for the coast for a spot of sun-tanning and beach bumming. This is one fast-paced, fun-filled safari in East Africa!
22 days from CA$5285
This three-week adventure tour through Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine takes you from stately Budapest through the small towns of Hungary, Maramureș and Transylvania to the capital of Romania, Bucharest. From there it travel through the wetlands of the Danube Delta to Moldova, one of Europe's most traditional countries and a true quilt work of ethnicities. Via the breakaway republic of Transnistria you travel to the lively port city of Odesa and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone before ending in Kyiv. This tour shows you the highlights of five countries and there is lots of free time for your own explorations.
12 days from CA$2754
While the desert is never far from you in Egypt, it is the Nile that is the lifeblood of this dry country, the river that gave us one of the world's oldest civilizations. Witness the pyramids, citadel, mosques and museums in Cairo, the towering Pharaonic temples and Valley of the Kings near Luxor and the masterpiece of a temple Ramses II built in Abu Simbel. Join a Nile cruise and visit edifices where time has stood still for centuries and soak up a modern cosmopolitan vibe in Alexandria.
14 days from CA$3005
Iran must be one of the friendliest countries on earth. This nation which has seen the likes of Darius the Great, Alexander and Genghis Khan? This land of ancient civilizations, aesthetic beauty and exquisite architecture; where mosques, palaces and mansions stand proud; where history gazes down upon you in the ruins of Persepolis, the bazaars of Shiraz and the palaces of Esfahan; where poetry lives in the gardens of Kashan... Sit down for tea or share a meal in someone's home and let Iran and its wonderful people embrace you. This adventurous tour of Iran has you travel through all the highlights and is sure to change your perceptions of this wonderful country. (A women's only version, showing you a side of Iran otherwise off-limits to mixed-gender groups, can be found here).
15 days from CA$1241
Soak up the bustling, exotic atmosphere in ancient souqs; join a camel trek into the Sahara and camp under expansive star-studded skies; witness traditional lifestyles in kasbahs; walk to hamlets high up in the Atlas mountains; get lost in winding alleys. All that and more awaits you on this free-wheeling adventure tour of Morocco. From Fez, the Islamic world’s largest medieval city, to the sea-side romance of Essaouira; from glorious Marrakesh to the oases of the interior and from traditional bath houses to wonderful meals, this adventurous tour of Morocco really lets you delve into the history and culture of Morocco at your own pace.
13 days from CA$3235
This two-week adventure tour through Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine takes you from lively Bucharest through the wetlands of the Danube Delta across Europe's frontier into Moldova, one of Europe's poorest nations and a true melting pot of ethnicities. Via de-facto independent Transnistria, where you get a sense of what life was like in the USSR, you travel to the lovely city of Odesa. Finally, an overnight train takes you to Kyiv from where you journey into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This tour gives you impressions like few other trips do and there is lots of free time for your own explorations.
10 days from CA$3815
Two world class cities await you on this South American adventure tour through Argentina and Brazil. Start of in Buenos Aires where European elegance and Latin passion seamlessly blend. From here, travel to the Ibera Wetlands, the size of a small country and home to otters, alligators, deer, wolves and black howler monkeys. Next, you get to spend two full days at Iguazu Falls - wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara they are surely the most impressive waterfalls in the world. Discover both the Argentine and Brazilian side before flying to Rio de Janeiro. Discover its favelas and its glitz, see the sunset from Sugarloaf Mountain and the spectacular view from Christ the Redeemer. This tour offers plenty of free time for your own discoveries, and some unexpected gems as well, like a Guarani community visit and a traditional local Farmer's Market in Rio.