Tauck World Discovery is an award-winning tour operator that has offered high quality escorted tours for over 85 years. Lora Schapiro, Business Development Manager with Tauck in the mid-Atlantic region, answers questions about a new kind of guided travel: Culturious.
Q – Tell us about what makes Tauck’s new “Culturious” trips different from your traditional escorted groups.
A – Culturious, which stems from being “curious about culture,” is about using your five senses in a destination. They are smaller groups (no more than 20 people), enhanced freedom & flexibility, “zoomed-in” itineraries which means minimal transport time and multiple-night stays in boutique hotels. But what really sets Culturious apart is the total engagement with the local culture in our destinations such as wine tastings, cooking classes, lectures and language lessons. Combine those elements with some soft adventure such as walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding – makes for the perfect vacation!
A – We are very excited to have doubled our itineraries for 2011. They include: Provence; Paris & the Loire Valley; Tuscany & Cinque Terre; Venice and the Veneto; Costa Rica; South Africa & Namibia; Yellowstone & the Tetons; and the Four Corners (Colorado, Utah, Arizona & New Mexico).
Q – What kinds of travelers choose Culturious? Are there age requirements?
A – Culturious is custom-made for the inquisitive baby boomer traveler, but could really be appropriate for almost any age. Since we do include some active elements, people should be in good health or at least have the open-mind to perhaps trying something they’ve not done before, such as zip-lining or white water rafting. These trips are not recommended for youngsters. We have a fantastic brand of family tours called Tauck Bridges that are perfect for children and adults together.
Q - How big (or small) are the groups?
A – We will have no more than 20 people per trip, but some trips will carry only 16 guests.
Q – What is the difference between a Tour Director and a Local Guide or are they one in the same?
A – Your Tauck Director is with you for the entire trip and is there to educate, entertain, and handle all the details to ensure a smooth vacation. In many destinations, we use local guides to give us even more in-depth knowledge about a place, an activity or a skill. Combine these people and you will learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your dream destination.
A – We will introduce you to a French art scholar who is a Van Gough expert, a marine environmentalist who leads kayak cruises, a South African who recounts poignant tales of the Apartheid. Participate in (not just watch) cooking classes with award-wining chef’s who share prized recipes, sommeliers who will teach you the art of making and drinking fine wine and meet locals who welcome you into their homes with open minds and open arms.
Q – Are activity levels strenuous or are there any fitness requirements?
A – The pace of the physical elements is up to you. You are not required to participate in any of the activities (however, they’re all included in the trip) but many of the activities are designed for beginner-level experience. There’s biking on relatively flat roads, beginner kayaking, walking or hiking, sometimes on tough terrain. I had the pleasure to taking our Costa Rica journey and don’t categorize myself as an “active” person and must say I absolutely loved all the adventure elements, especially the zip-lining and white water rafting!
A – Unlike our regular Tauck itineraries, we’re able to use small, luxury, boutique hotels because of the small group size. These hotels only add to the experience because of their locations, amenities and fine cuisine. Some of the hotels include Bushmans Kloof in Africa which has been rated “World’s Best Hotel,” a Pacific Ocean beachfront resort in Costa Rica called Tango Mar , as well as French inn’s and Tuscan villa’s.
A – On a Culturious vacation, we turn dining into art, with tastes of local flavor wherever we travel. You can visit a local French market and choose your ingredients for a private cooking class. We include wine and oil tastings, braai barbeques and beach parties with margaritas. All of your breakfasts are included as well as many lunches and dinners, but we do give guests the opportunities to dine on their own and enjoy the delicacies they have longed for and learned about.
Q – What extra or optional charges should Culturious travelers expect?
A – That’s the great thing about Culturious – just about everything is included! Airport transfers, on- tour transportation, admission fees, daily activities, luggage handling, hotels, most meals. The only thing that’s not included is your airfare to/from the destination and gratuities to your Tauck Director.
Thank you Lora! For details about a specific tour, please contact a Covington advisor. Tauck World Discoveries is Covington’s featured monthly sponsor and has graciously provided the information and images for this post.