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National Geographic Traveler Selects the 2013 Tours of a Lifetime

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Assistant Editor’s Note: The ATTA is proud to note that thirty-five of the fifty winners are Members. We have highlighted them in blue below. Congratulations to them all!

Washington, D.C. — Track butterflies and whales in Mexico. Run the Inca Trail in Peru. Circumnavigate the globe by freighter. Take the kids to Turkey. Cycle Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. These are just some of the 50 guided tours selected by National Geographic Traveler in its eighth annual “Tours of a Lifetime” list featured in the magazine’s May 2013 issue. Look for it in print, on digital tablets, and on the web (live April 11 ). On social channels, look for #besttours @natgeotraveler.

The editorial team combed the world to find the most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided, and most sustainable tours. “This year marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The tours we selected capture that spirit of exploration,” says executive editor Norie Quintos. “They push the bounds of mainstream tourism, whether taking travelers to the far corners of the globe, or helping them dive deep into the culture of familiar destinations.”

The 50 Tours of a Lifetime include:

  • A volunteer trip in the Amazon jungle with G Adventures, where you’ll live with a Quichua family and participate in a shaman healing ceremony.
  • A two-wheeled tour through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with Adventure Cycling Association; you’ll carry your gear but stay in cozy inns in waterside villages.
  • Game viewing and volunteering in Namibia with Biosphere Expeditions. You may help collar a big cat and participate in other research duties.
  • Ride Icelandic horses through the meadows, sandy beaches, and lava fields of Iceland with Adventure Women.

And of course, here’s one from our own National Geographic family: An epic, 38-day cruise down the eastern coastline of South America, accompanied by world-renowned experts, with National Geographic Expeditions, part of the yearlong celebration of the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society.

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

Tours of a Lifetime 2013:

  1. Hidden Places Travel: “100 Miles for Elephants,” Kenya
  2. Global Sojourns: “Safari, Culture, and Philanthropy in Southern Africa,” South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
  3. Biosphere Expeditions: “A Game of Cats and Elephants,” Namibia
  4. Access Trips: “Morocco Desert Surf Safari,” Morocco
  5. Africa Adventure Consultants: “In Livingstone’s Footsteps: The Final Journey,” Tanzania
  6. Sanctuary Retreats: “Nile Adventurer,” Egypt
  7. Journeys by Design: “Trekking to Surma, Ethiopia,” Ethiopia
  8. Wildland Adventures: “Bedouin Trek to Petra,” Jordan
  9. Big Five Tours and Expeditions: “Caravans of the Bedu,” Oman
  10. Wild Frontiers: “Silk Road Odyssey,” Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  11. SeaTrek Sailing Adventures: “Ternate-Halmahera-Morotai-Raja Ampat-Sorong,” Indonesia
  12. Northwest Rafting Company: “European Body, Asian Soul: Chuya and Bashkaus River Expedition in Russia,” Russia
  13. One World Trekking: “Everest Base Camp 60th Anniversary Trek,” Nepal
  14. Mountain Travel Sobek: “Journey of Discovery in Timor-Leste,” Timor-Leste
  15. Myths and Mountains: “Untamed Cambodia,” Cambodia
  16. Nomadic Expeditions: “Across Mongolian Plains,” Mongolia
  17. Immersion Journeys: “East India: Temple Mythology and Mountain Peaks,” India
  18. WildChina: “Gastronomic Tour of China,” China
  19. Cox and Kings: “Dream Trip—Burma and Bhutan,” Myanmar and Bhutan
  20. Oxalis Adventures: “Nakasendo Trail,” Japan
  21. Academic Arrangements Abroad: “Sicily by Sea: Art Treasures and Ancient Temples,” Malta and Italy
  22. Adventure Women: “Horseback Riding in Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice,” Iceland
  23. Butterfield and Robinson: “Tuscany Biking,” Italy
  24. Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland: “Wild Irish Rover,” Ireland
  25. The Wayfarers: “Vienna to Prague,” Austria and Czech Republic
  26. Greenloons: “Swedish Timber Raft Adventure,” Sweden
  27. ROW Adventures: “Peaks of the Balkans: Peace Park Hike,” Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro
  28. Exeter International: “Treasures of the Crimea, Ukraine,” Ukraine
  29. Thomson Family Adventures: “Wonders of Turkey: A Smithsonian Family Adventure,” Turkey
  30. Ciclismo Classico: “Bike Across France,” France
  31. Polar Explorers: “Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island,” South Georgia Island
  32. Wilderness Travel: “In the Wake of the Bounty: Easter Island to Tahiti aboard the M.S. Caledonian Sky,” Chile, French Polynesia
  33. Active New Zealand: “Kauri,” New Zealand
  34. Timberline Tours: “Columbia River Gorge,” Oregon
  35. Restore Hetch Hetchy: “Muir’s March, Yosemite National Park,” California
  36. Arctic Odysseys/Alaskan Ventures: “Alaska’s Twin Lakes: In the Footsteps of Dick Proenneke,” Alaska
  37. Zegrahm Expeditions: “Wild Alaska and the Bering Sea,” Alaska
  38. Freewheeling Adventures: “Viking Bike and Hike,” Canada
  39. Adventure Cycling Association: “Great Lakes, Inn-to-Inn,” Michigan
  40. Journey Mexico: “Magical Mexican Migrations—Pacific Whales and Highland Butterflies,” Mexico
  41. Arawak Expeditions: “Sea Kayaking in the Virgin Islands,” British Virgin Islands
  42. Maris Freighter Cruises: “Short Around-the-World Cruise,” U.S., Canada (plus Malaysia, China, South Korea, and Japan)
  43. Ancon Expeditions of Panama: “Camino Real Trek,” Panama
  44. Andes Adventures: “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Running Adventure,” Peru
  45. Santiago Adventures: “Bikes, Wine and Patagonia,” Chile
  46. Country Walkers: “Brazil: Royal Route, Salvador, and Chapada Diamantina,” Brazil
  47. International Expeditions: “Nicaragua: Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” Nicaragua
  48. G Adventures: “Ecuador Jungle Local Living,” Ecuador
  49. National Geographic Adventures: “Belize: Reefs, Rain Forests, and Ruins,” Belize
  50. National Geographic Expeditions: “Epic South America,” Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina

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