Our tours are designed to be flexible, each offering a mix of excursions which you can add to fill your downtime however you’d like and create a tour experience that is truly your own. Take a peek at how three pairs of Go Ahead staffers each put their own spin on the same tour.
Can’t-miss excursion: The Rickshaw Ride & Market! The ride itself showed off the city in a fun and new way. And once you got to the market, you could experience something new and cool at every turn—like eating a bug!
Favorite down-time activity: Shop! It’s so easy and inexpensive, and the night markets were so much fun. There is a mix of things to see and feel and taste—your senses are on overload in the best way!
Can’t-miss excursion: I loved the Khantoke Dinner—the food was delicious, the open-air dining area was really pleasant and the dancers were so entertaining. We had such an amazing day at the elephant camp earlier, and it was nice to just relax with the group and dig into some traditional food (and a bottle of wine!). After dinner, we migrated over to a theater where there was more traditional dancing, including performances from local kids.
Favorite down-time activity: We really didn’t have a ton of free time on this tour, but when we did, I let myself really relax. We tried to squeeze in pool time whenever available (a novelty for a New Englander in November, and the hotel pools were seriously amazing). Also, the spas are open late in Thailand and I managed to fit in three massages and a facial over the 15 days.
Can’t-miss excursion: It’s a tie for me: Toledo and Morocco. Toledo was our first excursion on tour. It’s a small city, and I loved how we were able to see it up close and explore on foot. We had an incredible local guide who really brought the city to life. The biggest surprise for me was getting to see some of the art I studied in college, including a whole room full of El Greco’s and also a beautiful Titian painting! Morocco was such a contrast from the rest of the experience. The ability to go to another country for a whole day was something I just couldn’t pass up and it was the first time I went to Africa. We rode camels, had lunch in a traditional Moroccan restaurant and saw a traditional rug demonstration. My favorite part was walking through the streets, taking in the markets and experiencing their daily life, and I loved taking photos of the architectural details in Tetouan.
Favorite down-time activity: Sample Spanish food! We found the best paella place in Seville.
Can’t-miss excursion: The Traditional Spanish Evening! There was so much delicious food and wine, and it was really fun to get a taste of many different traditional dishes. Plus, a local tuna band provided great entertainment—they were so fun and playful.
Favorite down-time activity: On our first free afternoon in Madrid, a few of us went to the Mercado de San Miguel. The market was incredible! We wandered around looking at all the amazing options to eat, and then settled on a tapas and sangria bar. It was so fun to people-watch as we enjoyed our first glass of real Spanish sangria!
Can’t-miss excursion: Visiting an elephant sanctuary was definitely my favorite excursion. We got the chance to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures, feeding them, petting them and standing right next to them to get our photos taken. We also got to “walk them home” and watched as they “got ready for bed.” The image of us walking with the elephants into the setting sun is one I will never forget. Then, to top the night off, we enjoyed an absolutely terrific meal!
Favorite down-time activity: This tour’s itinerary is fairly structured, but one of my favorite experiences was visiting a township in Port Elizabeth. I was able to meet with some locals and learn about their day-to-day life. A close second was a fantastic lunch overlooking Cape Town harbor. The views were stunning and the company was fantastic as well!
Can’t-miss excursion: Hands down, visiting the elephant sanctuary as well. By this day of tour, we had been on several game drives and had been seeing animals in their natural habitat. The background of the sanctuary is incredible—they rescue elephants who are escaping from hunters, poachers and culling programs. They nurture the elephants and bring them back to full health in a controlled, free-range environment. The staff says that the elephants thrive on the love that they receive from their caretakers and the visitors to the park. After we fed them, they walked over to us—the younger elephants were about as tall as I was. My favorite was named Sally; at 24 years old this year, she’s the oldest elephant at the sanctuary. She let us touch her trunk, ear and skin. The end of the experience was us walking with the elephants up to the barn where they sleep. They walk in single file line—though some of the younger ones got rowdy and ran out of line to get one last drink of water or play in the mud for a few more minutes. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
Favorite down-time activity: The best thing I did on my own was go shark cage diving in Cape Town. By the time you get to the bigger cities—Port Elizabeth, Knysna and Cape Town—you have some afternoons and evenings free to explore. A handful of us would usually go for walks to wander around the area, others would relax and catch up on sleep or emails. At the beginning of the tour, a bunch of travelers who are extremely adventurous started talking about going shark diving and I actually laughed when they asked me to go. But after a week and a half of my trip, I was fully committed—I knew what and where Shark Alley was, and I couldn’t pass the opportunity to go… plus I knew there would be endless bragging rights. On the last day of the tour, we woke up at 4am to catch our ride two hours out to Shark Alley. I ended up going with the first five people that went down in the cage, and we were in the water for almost 45 minutes. We were lucky enough to see four Great Whites—I have so much respect for these animals after learning about them from the staff at Shark Lady. Afterwards, we all had soup and tea and watched the video of our entire experience. It was incredible.