River cruising brand Vantage Deluxe World Travel has decided to branch beyond river cruising to offer adventure land excursions and small ship cruises with a new brand called Vantage Adventures. The brand will appeal especially to younger boomers (ages 50-70) who crave a little adventure and also seek an enriching cultural experience. As there are many people under 50 that may still only want “soft adventure” (as opposed to strenuous adventure), we may also see the age group skewing younger than 50.
The goal: Culture-focused and “soft adventure” trips
Vantage Adventures will take travelers to experience South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Antarctica, the South Pacific, and even Cuba. Travelers will come back with a memorable experience of culture, soft adventures and perhaps most importantly, insider experiences away from crowds so guests don’t end up feeling like tourists.
“We show what everyone else shows [on Vantage Adventure trips] but in a different way,” said Pedro Porqueras, regional manager of Latin America for Vantage Adventures. “We go to the sites when all the crowds are gone.”
That’s something we can all truly appreciate: getting the insider experience without feeling like a tourist.
Popular Vantage Adventure tours to date include a seven-night river cruise on the Amazon River into Pacaya Samiria Reserve and a 12-day trek across Patagonia: Chile’s Lakes, Mountains & Wildlife. The most popular trip right now at Vantage Adventures happens to be a 16-day trek to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.
Trip spotlight: Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands
It’s easy to see why the 16-day trek to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands is the most popular in the Vantage Adventures catalog.
Travelers will explore Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands. You’ll have a traditional meal with a host family in Cuzco to immerse yourself in the local culture. You’ll also experience an authentic Andean healing ceremony.
And perhaps the most memorable experience might be in the Sacred Valley, where you’ll visit the town of Chinchero. In addition to engaging with the locals as they go about their daily routines, you’ll participate in a weaving demonstration on the traditional “backstrap loom.” Here you’ll get to shop goods that are directly made in this community and also sample chicha, the local maize beer. Through a program called Vantage Cares, immersion activities are brought to Vantage trips and also the company can support the local community financially.
With this trip and others, you’ll clearly do more in each community than just hit a point on the map and their small group size gives access them to places that larger groups won’t be able to go.
The unique advantages of Vantage Adventures
According to Pedro Porqueras, regional manager of Latin America for Vantage Adventures, travelers are split up into small groups of 18 to 26 people to get a more hands on journey and more time with locals.
“The best way to learn about a place is to have the extra time to spend,” said Porqueras. “We can become better people when we understand the world around us. It’s about sharing with the people.”
Having the right adventure leader (tour guide) can also really make a difference because they know their communities best and they have the knowledge and ability to know everyone at the places they take you so guests feel like insiders instead of a tourists.
Even the host families are hand-picked for a reason. Porqueras said families have to truly have something unique to share with the travelers in order to be chosen as a host family.
Porqueras also explained Vantage Adventures consist of about 70% walking (or physical activity) and only about 30% bus tours and rides. It’s the other the way around for other tours at Vantage Deluxe World Travel.
Other perks of using Vantage Adventure include getting closer to nature for wildlife views from smaller vehicles and boat cruises due to smaller group sizes. And since some trips include a mixture of land and cruise, the company chooses to stay at high-end boutique lodges and luxury hotels that keep the cost for the trip reasonable.
One of these days, I’d truly love to experience the Peru trip the way Vantage Adventures does it because I want to experience the real Peru like an insider, while at the same time giving back to the local community.
For more information on Vantage Adventures, visit vantageadventures.com or call 1-800-848-5773.
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