Antarctic Peninsula cruise and flight back

“Prepare for high altitudes and nights in mountain huts and rural villages as you embark on a week of snowshoeing as part of a small group within unexplored areas of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.”

Highlights

Valbonė | Kukaj village | Rragam Valley | Tropoje village | Bucaj, Koshare and Padesh villages | Visoki Decani Monastery | Rugova Mountains | Hajla mountain hut | Hajla Peak | Ro˛aje |

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Date
Price
Basis
11 Jan 2019
US $ 1825
excluding flights
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01 Feb 2019
US $ 1825
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Feb 2019 departure
15 Mar 2019
US $ 1825
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Mar 2019 departure
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Antarctic Peninsula cruise and flight back

Local Craft and Culture:
There is a rich history and culture on offer in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, and although much of our time is spent snowshoeing on pristine, remote peaks, we make time to appreciate the customs and traditions of local people. In Gjakovė, we time to visit one of the biggest bazaars in Kosovo, where we can purchase local crafts.

Community:
By using local accommodation, restaurants and shops, we are supporting the community hugely by boosting businesses in low season. Our accommodation used throughout the trip employ locals from the area, local produce is usually available to buy too. In Gjakovė we stay in a beautiful family-run hotel close to the bazaar. The restaurant also serves up tasty local cuisine too. In Valbonė we stay in a charming but somewhat rustic alpine hotel surrounded by some of the highest mountains of the Albanian Alps. Our guesthouse in Tropojė belonged to our local partner's grandfather and has been lovingly renovated. During our snowshoe walks in the valley of Valbonė, we visit local families where we can buy tea, coffee and local produce. By eating in small, locally owned restaurants we get the best, most seasonal food from the nearby farms and can be sure that our investment stays in the area.

A Fair Deal:
Our guides are all people who live and work in the areas in which we operate our tours. This gives extra support to the local economy and offers our clients a level of expertise which would be otherwise unattainable. These guides are particularly skilled in that they have explored this terrain for many years and have extensive knowledge of the area. Our local partner is the first snowshoeing company to work in this area, so they have had a significant impact on local employment opportunities. Our leader was born and raised in the Albanian Alps and has been walking in this region all his life.

Waste Management:
Waste management is a big problem in Albania and so we are very careful not to exacerbate this issue, operating with a ‘leave no trace policy.’ We encourage our suppliers and guides to minimise plastic waste in the mountainous areas by distributing paper bags for waste disposal. We try and drink water fresh from the streams or taps where water is drinkable, so we also encourage our clients to re-fill a bottle or canister to drink from. This prevents the needless buying of several plastic bottles. Some of our accommodation has also installed better insulation in order to reduce energy waste.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.


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