• Tourists Hiking Coast of Normandy, France

    Private Tours: Your Wish is Our Command

    A few months ago, a lifelong band of friends came to us with a regal request. We all want to go on your <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Ireland </a>trip, but our fantasy is to only stay in castles and posh country manor houses. Can we do that? They could ... and they absolutely did on the stately <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank">p</a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank">rivate trip</a> we created for them, based on our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Emerald Isle itinerary</a>. <br><br>You may know how they felt. You discover a trip, and the experiences it offers really speak to you. Except that it doesn’t begin and end on dates that match your calendar. Or you’d really jigger the plans so that you could visit the old world village named for your family or satisfy an unquenched urge to sip the Brunello of your dreams at the very vineyard where it’s grown. Our advice: Ask us how we can make it happen for you. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SFo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BeA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Since our very first month in business 23 years ago, travelers like you have been asking us to curate itineraries just for them with departures on special dates. We do that all the time—but even better, we can kick the experiences up a notch with bespoke details inspired by your particular interests and tastes. You could end up like the quartet of sorority sisters who were determined to celebrate their milestone birthdays together at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a>—which we made happen with a champagne toast right among the megaliths while the legendary site was closed to the public. <br><br>Last summer, we drove family members right up to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank">Norwegian </a>farmstead on the shores of a remote fjord where their grandfather was born. You’re forgiven if you envy the group that claimed all the rooms in a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">luxury villa-hotel</a> on the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a> for a week of what they describe as ridiculous amounts of fun. We’ve even pulled off surprise fireworks displays perfectly timed to cap dinner on a terrace overlooking the sea. Believe it or not, we’ve arranged a private visit to the Sistine Chapel where the guests were invited to lie on the floor for a head-on look up at Michelangelo’s legendary ceiling. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SFo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BeF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Your trip could start with a vow to eat at as many <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuisines/" target="_blank">Michelin-starred restaurants</a> as can be fit into a week. If you’re bird watchers, ask us to arrange a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a> trip for peak migratory season. <br>But you don’t need a theme either. It’s enough to ask for our usual handcrafted visit to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos </a>or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland </a>on a trip departure just for you, your family or your group of friends.  <br><br>Putting together a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank">private trip</a> is simpler than you probably imagine. It starts with a phone call on which our experts listen to you brainstorm, daydream and lay out your wish list of places, activities, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">hotels </a>and the like. Then we put together a complete program including all of the land arrangements—so you don’t need to juggle hotel communications, track down guides or scratch your head over how to make transfers. Pricing is based on the amount of customization, but prices are often less than you would pay for other companies’ standard tours. <br><br><u><b>2 WAYS TO GO PRIVATE </b></u><br>  <div style="margin-left: 40px;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank"><b>1 - Handcrafted Originals </b></a><br><i>READY FOR YOU TO BOOK </i><br>Pick any <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank">original Classic Journeys itinerary</a>. Then just name the date when you would like your vacation to begin. It’s the simplest way to arrange a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank">private vacation</a>. Bonus point because you can align your trip to a special occasion.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank"><b>2 - Custom Crafted</b></a><br><i>EVERY MOMENT DESIGNED JUST FOR YOU </i><br>The sky’s the limit with a Custom-Crafted trip. A candle-lit dinner in the heart of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">Angkor Wat</a>... two weeks in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Peru </a>and the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>... or a summer-long tour with your extended family. If you can wish it, our team can make it happen.</div> <div><br>If you dream it, you can do it ... and it doesn’t cost anything to find out how. To begin your journey, call us at <a href="" target="_blank">800.200.3887</a> or fill out the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private-tour-request/" target="_blank">private journey request form</a> online. </div>

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  • Tahiti

    International Destinations You Can Visit Now + How

    We’ve covered which states are open (read <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/open-usa-states-how-to-travel/" target="_blank">here</a>), and which U.S. destinations offer the  experience most similar to a number of famed international locales (read how Alaska’s an awesome wildlife tracking alternative to South Africa and The San Juan Islands’ lavender will have you thinking you are in Provence, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/us-alternatives-to-international-destinations/" target="_blank">here</a>). <br><br>But that’s all within the U.S. What if you cannot contemplate not using the passport once this year?  A) you’re not alone and b) it’s actually possible. Our tour operations team is talking to local and federal governments and our local guides in every one of our regions weekly. And we’re seeing border updates and new destinations available every time we check. <br><br>And if some international borders are open, is a culturally-rich, crowd-free experience achievable? It appears to be the case. Look at Croatia as an example. Its National Tourist Board is projecting tourism to be at 30% of 2019 levels in 2020. And with the Center for Disease Control and the Cruise Line Industry Association extending their ‘no cruise’ ban until deeper into 2020 (or possibly into 2021), it means even fewer travelers at the most popular tourist sites during prime visiting times. The result may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik with just locals, or to explore the ruins at Ephesus without ever seeing a crowd of 100 passengers following an activities coordinator with a tall flag leading the masses. <br><br>Even before COVID, the biggest travel trend of 2020 was the continued migration from large group tourism to small group tours to micro-groups and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tours</a>. And now, the driver for this trend continuing is that micro and private groups are adaptable to social distancing, support local businesses, allow for travel within your household or in a very small group of likeminded travelers (who have all been tested negative), so that everyone feels safe and comfortable in their micro group.<br><br><b>We’re keeping an eye on the world and talking to our guides, hoteliers, and local municipalities daily. Here are five favorite destinations you can travel to this summer.</b><br><br><b>St Lucia</b><br>It’s long been legendary for its Piton peaks, but <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">St Lucia</a>’s been praised this year for its absence of peaks in infection. The island has seen only 22 cases and zero fatalities and its phased approach for slow, safe reopening is setting the benchmark for travel in the ‘new normal’. Hotels and businesses are having to qualify for certification by meeting several set criteria for sanitization and social distancing, and while reopening only began recently, requirements and restrictions have already been eased (as opposed to increased, as seen elsewhere). The next phase, expected to further ease restrictions by allowing more activities and excursions, begins August 1. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Caribbean St Lucia Island Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter St Lucia? </b>Yes, negative PCR test results must be provided, taken within 7 days of travel (formerly 48 hours). All passengers will be screened and temperature checked and must also complete a pre-Arrival Travel Registration Form.<br><b>Does St Lucia require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No<br><b>Which airlines fly direct to St Lucia? </b>American Airlines (Miami, Charlotte, Philadelphia) JetBlue (New York, Boston) Delta (Atlanta) United Airlines (New Jersey and Chicago)<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to St Lucia? </b>A local guide gives you insider island knowledge you just can’t get from a guidebook. Like where to get the best view of the Piton peaks…which beach you’ll have to yourself at sunset…which fisherman will catch the meatiest marlin for the perfect Caribbean picnic. Plus, they’ll have alternative activities should any plans change thanks to an island-wide network of friends and family. <br><b>When can I travel to St Lucia?</b> Whenever you like. The island is open to international visitors and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/st-lucia-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">private St Lucia tours</a> can be arranged on your preferred travel dates. <br><br><b>Belize</b><br>Paradise on the world’s second largest barrier reef. The colorful Central American country has maintained its position as one of the world’s destinations with the fewest number of coronavirus infections (total cases stand at only 37) and the Prime Minister of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-luxury-tour/" target="_blank">Belize</a> recently announced that international flights will resume from August 15th.  <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-luxury-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Caribbean Belize Diving Luxury Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Belize? </b>Yes – PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. At the airport, travelers will undergo shoe sanitizing and a thermal imaging camera check. Anyone whose temperature falls under 100F may proceed.  Travelers will also need to register for the Belize Health App, where they will be allocated a unique number. <br><b>Does Belize require visitors take a 14-day quarantine? </b>No<br><b>Which airlines fly to Belize? </b>American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Belize?</b> This is a new normal, but decades of running trips to Belize before that—and guides who’ve been on the ground throughout—are the key to ensuring a trip is socially distant as well as smooth and spectacular as ever. We’ll show you where to eat the best ceviche, which beach has the best snorkeling and take you on private tours with friends who are cacao farmers, to Mayan sites without the masses and alongjungle trails with heaps of wildlife but hardly any people. <br><b>When can I travel to Belize? </b>Belize will be welcoming guests from August 15, 2020, after which you can visit on any date that suits you with a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-luxury-tour/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys private tour</a>. <br><br><br><b>Croatia</b><br>For those of us craving Europe’s fairy-tale coastal charm, Croatia’s been a leader in flattening the curve and is now welcoming travelers from America under the category of ‘Third party countries’. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Croatia Luxury Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzo" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Croatia? </b>Yes, negative PCR test, taken within 48 hours of border crossing. You will also need to present proof of your hotel booking or a tour operator voucher. <br><b>Does Croatia require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No, unless you refuse to take a test. <br><b>Which airlines fly to Croatia? </b>Delta, American, United<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Croatia?</b> On a carefully curated tour with our Croatian guides, who have been named best in the country and guide the Croatian president and family. Their local knowledge will bring you to the best bits of Dubrovnik, and lovely, lesser-known areas where you can get a truly authentic experience (or even the perfect Game of Thrones photo op). Intimate interactions woven into your itinerary might include exclusive winery visits, the best table of the best restaurant booked on your behalf, or a picnic in a picturesque spot of the Dalmatian coast that tourists haven’t discovered. We will also ensure you have the necessary documents to present at the airport so that you can proceed with your trip.<br><b>When can I travel to Croatia? </b>The country is open now and our Croatia guides have already been hosting US travelers. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia/" target="_blank">Dubrovnik to Split Culture + Walking tours</a> depart on September 6 and October 4. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Private tours </a>put you in charge of whatever dates and details work for you, and for 2020 they don’t cost more than scheduled tours for groups of 6 or more.<br><br><b>Turkey </b><br>Rich in history, rivetingly pretty, cuisine worth crossing continents for. Turkey has shown a steady decrease in cases of COVID and is reopening for tourism along the guidelines of the country’s ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’, which sets in place standards for cleanliness and safe social distancing. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Turkey Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yKzy" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Turkey? </b>No, unless screening on arrival shows a high temperature.<br><b>Does Turkey require visitors take a 14-day quarantine? </b>If tested positive for coronavirus.<br><b>Which airlines fly to Turkey? </b>Turkish Airlines (Houson, LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC).<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Turkey?</b> There’s no need to write off the sensory spectacle that is Istanbul because of crowd concern—not with the total absence of cruise ship passengers who normally flood the capital city and your own local Classic Journeys guide who knows the backroads like the back of their hand and has a plan b and c for every part of your trip, just in case. And you can’t social distance more spectacularly than in your own yacht, cruising the Turkish coast. Sail between secret coves, sleepy villages and stunning islands, stopping to take a coastal walk or visit an ancient attraction—all handpicked and planned to give you the most authentic, crowd-free experience possible. <br><b>When can I travel to Turkey? </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank">Turkey</a> is open for US travelers now. Pick your dates, tell us your preferences, and we’ll put together the perfect <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey/" target="_blank">private Turkey tour</a> for your group. <br><br><b>Tahiti</b><br>The off-grid gorgeousness of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Tahiti</a>’s islands is open to all travelers arriving by air, and the abundance of outdoor activities—hikes to waterfalls and blue lagoon bike rides, paddle boarding, canoes—makes social distancing second nature. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="French Polynesia Tahiti Island Luxury Private Tour Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yL03" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Do you have to take a COVID-test to enter Tahiti? </b>Yes, negative PCR test results must be presented, taken no longer than 3 days prior to travel. Then another self-test has to be taken 4 days after arrival (this will be given to travelers at the airport). Each visitor will also need to complete a ‘Sanitary Entry’ form. <br><b>Does Tahiti require visitors take a 14-day quarantine?</b> No<br><b>What&#39;s the best way to travel to Tahiti?</b> With a guide—and local islander—in the lead throughout your trip, you’re in safe hands when it comes to recommending restaurants for the best French cuisine, showing you the best sunset spots and much more. <br><b>When can I travel to Tahiti? </b>Tahiti is open now and<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tahiti-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"> private tours</a> can be totally tailored to your preferences when it comes to the date you arrive and depart.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/contact/" target="_blank"><img alt="Reserve a 2020 tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q6Pv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yLQQ" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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  • Lake of the Poas, Costa Rica,

    Introducing Coast-to-Coast Travel in Costa Rica

    <h2>Atlantic to pacific, the diversity is off the charts.</h2>   <p>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank">soundtrack of a day in Costa Rica</a> is a crazy mash-up. The macaws caw in a different key than the howler monkeys that are totally out of tempo with the tree frogs. But somehow, all of the twitters, raspy roars, buzzes, hoots, whirrs, howls, soprano trills and chuffs work just fine together until — as if somebody flipped a switch — they fade in unison at dusk.</p> <p>That’s the sound of biodiversity, and there’s more of it in this West Virginia-sized country than anywhere else on earth. That’s what makes <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">coast-to-coast travel in Costa Rica</a> so amazing. After all, this is a nation where a “transcontinental” flight takes about an hour. It’s a land with Afro-Caribbean culture and cowboys. Don’t even try to count the keeled-bill toucans, orchids and river otters or the surprisingly different habitats where they live.<br><br><img alt="Toucan" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Coast-to-coast is how we took in Costa Rica’s diversity on our latest trip,</a> and now we’ve transformed our gee-whiz week into the newest Classic Journey. We start on the Caribbean side at Tortuguero National Park, a coastal landscape laced with freshwater creeks and lagoons. On a single kayak ride, you could spot white-faced Capuchin monkeys, caimans, tiger herons and … well, you get the idea. The local beach is one of the world’s most important nesting sites for sea turtles. In season, you may see the hatchlings emerging from the sand and making a break for the waves. In an isolated village (no cars, no streets), we hang out with the locals, visit their school and learn about their Afro-Caribbean heritage.</p> <p>Even a quick morning flight comes with a built-in geography lesson like no other. From the window, you get an egret’s-eye view of the rainforest and a trio of volcanoes … and you appreciate in a way no textbook ever taught you just how skinny Central America is. By early afternoon, you’re in a raft on the Tenorio River near the continental divide, ready to take on Class III/IV rapids or taking a walk to Llanos de Cortez waterfall. By dinner, you’re <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">in a Pacific-view room at a resort in Guanacaste National Park</a>, on one of the country’s most pristine beaches.<br><br><img alt="Whitewater rafting" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Up there in Costa Rica’s northwest corner, the climate’s a little dryer, and ranches stretch toward the Nicaraguan border. In season, we check out the cowboy and rodeo festival. In these parts, we go for a<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank"> guided walk near the volcano in Rincon de la Vieja National Park</a>. The forest is ideal for a quintessentially Costa Rican zipline ride through the treetops. And this is habitat for a full cast of monkey species, sloths, tapirs, collared peccaries and even jaguars and pumas. Just in case you haven’t already racked up enough unique experiences, we’ll also head out for a catamaran-based snorkeling trip or, alternatively, you can go for a surfing lesson on Pacific waves.</p> <p>Sound like fun? Here’s a bit of news that will make you even happier. Every activity on the trip is included in the price you pay upfront; you won’t run into a single surcharge or equipment rental fee the way you do on cruises or some other tours. We’re also offering the trip two ways: as a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Luxury Eco-Adventure</a> and as a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoastfamily/" target="_blank">Multisport Family Journey</a>. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Coast to coast, Costa Rica has more than enough variety</a> to spice up your life like no vacation ever has!</p>

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