• Trekking in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Chile

    Escape to the Edges While Traveling Through Chile

    Sometimes, the best purpose of a vacation is to shut down the hubbub and plugged-in chatter of everyday life. It’s good, on trips like that, to spend some time with the big mysteries of nature and civilization. Oh, and to pause now and then to ponder it all over a fine glass of wine. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Chile </a>ticks all of those boxes, as you will quickly discover on our new itinerary that ranges from the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Atacama Desert</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Santiago </a>to enigmatic <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Easter Island</a>.<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SGm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BhJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Out on the edge of everything — in a tiny village huddled on a sky-high plateau or on a volcanic Pacific speck guarded by moai—it’s just about impossible to feel anything but awe. The ancient is always close. The gargantuan efforts that long-lost people made to leave a mark are humbling. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Chile</a>, even in the nation’s urban capital, the tallest skyscraper looks like a toy against a backdrop of the snow-crowned Andes. It’s an adventure rich with how-is-this-even-possible moments.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="View of Andes Mountains" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SGm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012DWh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>It’s hard to imagine the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Atacama</a> — even after you’ve been there. Here, it’s amazing business-as-usual to see flamingos tiptoeing in a lagoon up against a tumble of crimson rocks at the foot of a steaming volcano. At Pukara Quitor, you walk in the ruins of a 12th-century fortress that’s one of the first places where the indigenous people met the Spanish. And if you doubt for a moment that it’s possible to live in this near moonscape, you’ll learn otherwise when residents of a pre-Inca village invite you in for lunch.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SGm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012DWX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Heading south, you get a chance to explore Valparaiso. Native son Pablo Neruda gave it one of the all-time great descriptions: “Valparaiso … you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.” Words like Bohemian and “crazy” capture this city just about perfectly, as you discover on a guided visit. A miracle of how to squeeze great wine from a waterless land, the Casablanca Valley is home of some of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Chile’s </a>finest vineyards. You’ll spend time amid the vines on one of the most famous ones and sit down to the most scenic tasting of white varietals that are especially happy in this micro-climate. You also have two nights in Santiago with plenty of time to explore, join the locals for an evening promenade, and see some of the architectural treasures from the Colonial era. <br><br>Then, all of a sudden, time kicks into reverse as you cross a patch of the southwest Pacific Ocean to Rapa Nui, known to us as Easter Island. The first inhabitants came from the opposite direction — from Polynesia — nine centuries ago. You already know about the relics they left behind, the moai statues, but you honestly cannot begin to appreciate them until you see them in person, and you’ll have plenty of time for that on your two-night visit. You just want to let yourself soak in the solitude and the mystery of the island. There are gorgeous trails for walking, and the luxury resort where you settle in shows great hospitality that couldn’t contrast more with the glares cast by the moai. You’ll be well connected with experts who help you understand the unfathomable obsessions that created this place that’s unique in all the world.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Penguins in Chile" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SGm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012DWm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>We love the way that this view of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Chile</a> drives home just how small the world we inhabit every day really is. Out on the periphery – where an Andean breeze carves an Atacama moonscape, where stone faces five times as tall as you stand guard against who-knows-what — you get to feel what you’ve never felt, learn what you never knew, and have the time of your life in the process.<br><br><b>SEE THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN 2020 </b><br><br>As rare as total solar eclipses are, it’s even rarer to experience the event in a setting as dramatic as Patagonia. On December 14, 2020, the path of totality will sweep across a narrow sliver of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Chile </a>... and you can count on us to get you there. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more or call 800.200.3887 to speak with guest services. <br><br>Ready to reserve? You can make your reservation <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/reservations/" target="_blank">here</a>. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SGm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BhE" style="height: 355px; 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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  • Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands

    See More When You Travel in Ecuador

    <h2>A new adventure starts at sea level in the Galápagos then soars into the Andes.</h2>   <p>When you <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador/" target="_blank">travel in Ecuador, be sure to take in everything from the islands to the mainland</a> to see all this amazing place has to offer including the diverse wildlife. In the world of birds, there are no more unlikely cousins than the Andean condor and the blue-footed booby. One surfs towering thermals in South America’s highest mountains. The other <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank">dances on Galápagos beaches</a>. A condor is bald, and a booby has electric blue feet. One is a little comical. The other is as stern as a bird can be. About the only thing they really agree on is calling Ecuador home.</p> <p>As the unofficial mascots of the newest Classic Journey, they capture the mind-boggling diversity in culture, environment and history that you encounter when you <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador/" target="_blank">split your visit between the Galápagos Islands and the Ecuadorian highlands</a>.</p> <p>ISLANDS OF A FEATHER</p> <p>Chances are, you’re acquainted already with the idea of the Galápagos. Marooned on their remote islands, spiny iguanas and giant land tortoises defy time. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuadorfamily/" target="_blank">Sea-lion pups glide up to us in our snorkel masks</a>, not quite sure just what or who are — but totally unafraid of finding out. There are bays to kayak, lava trails to walk and a coffee plantation where we can always score a sip of something freshly roasted. While cruise ships prowl the coast and stage their daily invasions, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">we settle into boutique hotels with pools and room to knock around</a>. Of an evening, you can walk barefoot into town on streets paved in sand.</p> <p><img alt="Iguana on the beach" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oM3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3>FLYING HIGH</h3> <p>But get ready for a real re-boot when you <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador/" target="_blank">fly back to Quito and head two hours north into the highlands</a>. We base our time here at Hacienda Zuleta, a 4,000-acre working family farm. In a way, the hacienda is an island, too, afloat in a sea of Andean peaks. But the fittest survivors here are direct descendants of a past Ecuadorian president or two. The old family spread, parts of which date back to the 17th century, is as cordial an inn as you could imagine. Sprawling organic gardens feed the workers and guests. A 300-cow herd supplies a creamery with all the butterfat it needs to create great cheeses.</p> <p>Life here is rooted in human history, traced back through the Spanish conquistadores, the Incas and even earlier pre-Columbian people. Oblivious to the wars and crumbling civilizations below, Andean condors soared over them all. They are too rare these days, but the hacienda’s Condor Huasi Project fights for their preservation. On foot or horseback, we follow a trail up a valley lined with steep slopes and semi-tropical rainforest to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador/" target="_blank">reach one of the only places in the Andes where you can see these great birds today</a>.</p> <p>Other symbols of Ecuadorian culture thrive. Take the Otavalo Market. It’s an organized riot of ancient crafts with beadwork and textiles, as well as produce, fish and great baskets of quinoa. The local currency is now the U.S. dollar, but everything else about the scene is utterly Andean: the women in embroidered blouses with their heads wrapped in <i>fachalinas</i>, the suckling pigs with roasted smiles, the mix of ancient languages.</p> <p>Even if the people and places of Ecuador aren’t exactly birds of a feather that is fine by us. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador/" target="_blank">Nothing beats a week of travel in Ecuador</a> that lets us do a deep dive into natural history and get a taste of high-altitude Andean culture — all inside the borders of a single country.</p> <br> 

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