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National Geographic Traveler selects the 2012 Tours of a Lifetime

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Assistant Editor’s Note: The ATTA is proud to note that over half of the tours selected are run by ATTA members. The twenty-eight member companies are in bold below.

Washington, D.C. — Track lemurs in Madagascar. Bike, hike, and scuba dive in the Holy Land. Become a space cadet in Russia. Take the kids to Iceland. Cycle Civil War battlefields in the Mid-Atlantic. These are just some of the 50 guided tours selected by National Geographic Traveler in its seventh annual “Tours of a Lifetime” list featured in the magazine’s May 2012 issue. Look for it in print, on digital tablets, and on the web (live May 11 )

The editorial team combed the world to find the most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided, and most sustainable tours. “Our theme this year was transformation. The outfitters we selected are experts at creating trips that have the power to change lives—the lives of the traveler as well as the residents of the destinations,” notes executive editor Norie Quintos. “The trip is usually just the beginning.”

The 50 Tours of a Lifetime include:

*A cultural tour of Bulgaria with Cultural Crossroads, to explore the legend of the musician Orpheus and visit a 10th-century mountaintop monastery.

*Game viewing in Uganda with Deeper Africa, including a visit to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and its resident gorillas.

*A monthlong odyssey through six countries down the Mekong River with Journeys Within, with cultural stops such as a traditional dinner with a Laotian family or attending a service at a temple in Vietnam.

*A two-wheeled tour through the Mid-Atlantic states with Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters, to learn about the history that led to the Civil War 150 years ago.

*A volunteer trip to Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park with REI Adventures to help park rangers shore up eroded sections of the trail.

For a complete list of tours and outfitters, visit our website after April 12 at

National Geographic Traveler is the world’s most widely read travel magazine, with more than 7.5 million readers. Its readers love to travel, with the highest passport ownership, the most international and domestic trips, and the most outdoor-recreation spending of any other travel title.

Tours of a Lifetime 2012:

  • &Beyond: “Leopards, Winelands, and Rock Paintings,” South Africa.
  • Access Trips: “New Zealand—Adventure Multi-Sport Tour,” New Zealand.
  • Adventure Associates: “Journey to Chachapoyas,” Peru.
  • Andante Travels: “Japan Fiery Ceramics and the Citadels of the Shogun,” Japan.
  • Austin-Lehman Adventures: “The Real Cuba,” Cuba.
  • Backroads: “Iceland Family Multisport,” Iceland.
  • Big Five Tours and Expeditions: “Foundations of Faith,” Israel, Turkey, Morocco.
  • Boundless Journeys: “Tour du Mont Blanc,” France, Italy, Switzerland.
  • Costa Rica Expeditions: “Quest for Pura Vida, Limited Edition,” Costa Rica.
  • Country Walkers: “Portugal: The Azores,” Portugal.
  • Cox & Kings: “Primates & Birding,” Congo, São Tomé, and Príncipe.
  • Cultural Crossroads: “Cultural Splendors of Bulgaria: Art, Wine, and Traditions,” Bulgaria.
  • Culture Xplorers: “Argentina True North,” Argentina.
  • Deeper Africa: “Deeper Uganda,” Uganda.
  • DuVine Adventures: “Uruguay: Coast and Vineyards,” Uruguay.
  • Earthwatch: “Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge,” Canada.
  • Elevate Destinations: “Australian Outback Solar Eclipse,” Australia.
  • European Experiences: “Luberon Experience,” France.
  • Exeter International: “Treasures of Poland,” Poland.
  • Exodus Travels: “Lhasa to Kathmandu Ride,” China, Nepal, Tibet.
  • Extraordinary Journeys: “Island and People of Mozambique,” Mozambique.
  • G Adventures: “Thai Sailing Adventure—Koh Samui to Koh Samui,” Thailand.
  • Geographic Expeditions: “Treasures of Persia,” Iran.
  • Great Safaris: “The Great Wing Safari,” Botswana.
  • Greaves India: “Diamonds and Dynasties,” India.
  • H2Outfitters: “Slow Food, Slow Paddling: Sea Kayaking Italy’s Tuscan Islands,” Italy.
  • Horizon & Co.: “Active Israel Adventure,” Israel.
  • Immersion Journeys: “Ghana, Culture, Wildlife & Heritage,” Ghana.
  • Journey Mexico: “Chiapas: A Journey Through Mexico Less Visited,” Mexico.
  • Journeys International: “Trek to the Last Village,” Myanmar.
  • Journeys Within: “Mekong Experience,” China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.
  • KE Adventure Travel: “Treasures of Transylvania,” Romania.
  • Kensington Tours: “Signature Tunisia,” Tunisia.
  • Ker and Downey: “Path of the Polynesians,” Chile, French Polynesia, New Zealand
  • Lindblad Expeditions: “Columbia and Snake Rivers Journey: Harvests, History, and Landscapes,” United States.
  • Mango Safaris: “Contrasts of Madagascar,” Madagascar.
  • MIR Corporation: “Inside the Russian Space Program,” Russia.
  • National Geographic Adventures: “Morocco Camel Trek and Hiking Adventure,” Morocco.
  • O.A.R.S.: “Bosnia: Three Rivers,” Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • One World Trekking: “The Lost Valley of NarPhu Trek,” Nepal.
  • REI Adventures: “Torres del Paine Volunteer Vacation,” Chile.
  • ROW Adventures: “Middle Fork Salmon Rafting,” United States.
  • Sierra Club Outings: “Remote Canadian Rockies Ramble, Alberta and British Columbia,” Canada.
  • Tauck: “Yellowstone & the Tetons: American Safari,” United States.
  • Tofino Expeditions: Sea Kayaking the Costa Verde,” Brazil.
  • Wild Frontiers: “Columbia Explorer,” Columbia.
  • Wild Planet Adventures: “Zambia Ultimate Wildlife Safari: And Ensemble of Master Guides,” Zambia.
  • WildChina: “The Ancient Tea & Horse Caravan Road: An Expedition with Jeff Fuchs,” China.
  • Wilderness Adventures: “Namibia Expedition,” Namibia.
  • Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters: “9-Day Civil War Tour,” United States.

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