Travel on dirt roads and experience Ecuador’s wildlife with DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. // © 2016 DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.
Feature image (above): Clients will search for the Northern Lights near the Arctic Circle. // © 2016 iStock
As 2016 winds down and travel planning for 2017 kicks into high gear, many tour operators are refreshing their adventure and experiential offerings. Following are just a few of our favorite tours and excursions — just in time for the new year.
Ecuador and the Galapagos for Thrill Seekers
Cycling and adventure tour operator DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. recently introduced a nine-night tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands that will expose adventurous clients to some of the most thrilling activities the region has to offer. The itinerary features ample time to interact with the area’s vast array of wildlife; hikes to both Frigate Hill and Cuicocha Crater Lake; and a boat trip.
Other highlights include a kayak and snorkel excursion on San Cristobal and time to tour Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about conservation and management efforts within the Galapagos.
The rate begins at $6,195, and a single supplement is available for an additional $1,100.
See Botswana Via Helicopters and Horses
Guests who stay at the recently refurbished Belmond Eagle Island Lodge in Botswana can partake in the property’s new Horse and ’Copter tour. During the excursion, clients will track animals during their daily migrations via an open-sided helicopter, bypassing the challenges of traversing the rivers and terrain in a traditional safari vehicle. After locating wildlife such as zebra, buffalo and giraffes from above, clients will continue the tour on horseback, where they may race alongside a herd of buffalo or elephants. Travelers who book the tour must be comfortable riding horses for 10-minute stretches.
Those who are under 12 years old may not join the tour, and those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Explore the Arctic by Private Train
Hunt for the Northern Lights, visit a snow hotel and more during MIR Corporation’s new Arctic Explorer: Quest for the Northern Lights tour. During the 12-day itinerary, which travels from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Moscow on the Golden Eagle deluxe private train, guests will cross the Arctic Circle to the Norwegian town of Kirkenes. In addition to finding the Northern Lights, clients will embark on a dogsled ride across frozen lakes; visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral; see the world’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker; tour the open-air museum of Kizhi Island and more.
The trip takes place from Dec. 29, 2016, to Jan. 9, 2017, and begins at $11,995.
New North America Tours From Backroads
Adventure tour operator Backroads has announced seven new North American itineraries. Next year’s tours include a heli-hiking tour of the Canadian Rockies, which takes clients across inaccessible terrain from Banff, Alberta, to the Bugaboos mountain range in British Columbia; a biking excursion through New York’s Hudson Valley; a multisport vacation in the Adirondack Mountains; and a relaxing cycling trip in Napa Valley, Calif., and Tucson and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. In many cases, the excursions offer both adults-only and family options.
Other new itineraries span Hawaii, Utah and Colorado.
Bicycle Adventures Launches 2017 Tours
Cycling operator Bicycle Adventures has recently announced its 2017 tours, with itineraries in New Zealand, Hawaii, California’s Death Valley National Park, Chile and more. During the New Zealand Bike Tour, guests will experience the country’s coastline, traveling from the north end of the South Island to Queenstown and more. Other highlights include riding through Buller Gorge; visiting the town of Fox Glacier; and seeing the pancake rocks of Punakaiki, with many opportunities to admire nature along the way. Cyclists will traverse a broad range of terrain, including rugged coastline and dense foliage.
The price of the trip begins at $5,186, based on double occupancy, and a single supplement is available for $1,399. If booked during the month of December, a $100 discount will apply.
Sail Antarctica’s Frigid Waters
G Adventures’ 2017 Antarctica Classic trip is designed to place guests in the center of the world’s southernmost region. During the 11-day itinerary, adventurers ages 10 and older will embark on the G Expedition and sail the Drake Passage. Icebergs, whales and large albatross may be spotted en route to the South Shetland Islands, where guests can visit several penguin rookeries. Other wildlife sightings in the Antarctic waters may include orcas, humpback whales and leopard seals. When not marveling at the passing glaciers from the ship, guests can brave the polar plunge or discuss wildlife with local experts.
The price of the trip begins at $5,999.