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Travel Abroad

Cultural Travel and Tours

Small group tour in Guanajuato, Mexico
Photo by Lies Ouwerkerk of a sidestreet in Guanajuato, Mexico during a cultural tour.

Cultural Travel and Tours
Australia and Australasia
Europe (Western)
Europe (Eastern)
Latin America

Featured Cultural Travel Programs and Tours
Vacation in Spain with Instituto Hemingway
Trans-Siberian Railway Journey with ExploRussia

Cultural Travel Expert Articles
Small Group Travel The Practical Guide to a Successful Small Group Tour by Stephanie Dyson
If you are considering an cultural, adventure, or responsible tour to an exotic or otherwise inaccessible location, here is a guide to let you know what to expect.
Budget adventure travel Budget Adventure Travel: Do It Yourself by Tim Leffel
How to research and book budget adventure travel abroad on your own, as laid out by a long-time world traveler and author.
Biking around the world Tour the World on a Bike by Friedel Rother
The many ways to bicycle anywhere in the world—options ranging from independent to luxury group travel.
Travel by Cargo Ship Around the World Travel by Cargo Ship Around the World by Friedel Rother
Imagine for a moment that you are on the deck of a ship, sipping a glass of wine. You turn your head towards the water just in time to spot a pod of dolphins swimming by. After lingering in the sunshine for a while, it's time to head inside for a 3-course evening meal and a splash in the pool before retiring to bed. Now, what kind of vessel are you on?
Being an explorer
Four Ways You Are Already An Explorer by Amy Gigi Alexander
"Exploration today is about our own human potential—whether it is an inner journey or one based on discovery outside of ourselves."

Cultural Immersion Travel Participant Articles
Costa Rica rainforest Do It Yourself Travel in Costa Rica
By Ted Campbell
Sri Lanka health resort travel Kicking Back in Sri Lanka
Health Treatments in an Ayurvedic Beach Resort
by Senior Contributing Editor Lies Ouwerkerk
Porto, Portugal Going Local in Porto, Portugal
By Lies Ouwerkerk
Magdalen Islands in Canada Exploring the Remote and Rugged Magdalen Islands of Canada
By Lies Ouwerkerk
Dominican eco lodge Seeing the Real Dominican Republic: A Stay at Tubagua Eco Lodge by Lebawit Lily Girma
An illustrated description of an off-the-beaten path stay at a magnificent and award-winning eco lodge in the Dominican Republic, far from the usual all-inclusive beach resorts.
Small tours in Zagreb The Irresistible Lure of Zagreb, Croatia
By Lies Ouwerkerk
Visit Czech towns outside Prague Escape the Prague Tourists to These 7 Top Czech Destinations
By Tim Leffel
Travel to Poros, Greece Embracing Ancient Greek Traditions in Poros and the Peloponnese by Senior Contributing Editor Lies Ouwerkerk
A visit to the beautiful island of Poros and the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece allows for immersion in ancient Greek traditions going back thousands of years to the days of Homer.
Visit to Cuenca, Ecuador Top 10 Reasons to Visit Cuenca: "The Athens of Ecuador" is a Treasure by Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated visit to beautiful Cuenca, Ecuador, which offers colonial treasure and its own unique traditional cultural experiences, as well as a very warm, interesting, and colorful local population.
Visit authenic Mexico 5 Routes and Regions for an Authentic Mexican Visit by Ted Campbell
A miniguide to the top places to visit Mexico for an authentic experience.
Visit to Colombia Snapshots from Colombia by Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated visit to Colombia reveals the beautiful land and rich culture. The music, food, countryside, coffee plantations, and colorful colonial cities are now safe to visit.
Travel in Shanghai, China Under the Spell of Bustling Shanghai, Hotspot of Modern China by Lies Ouwerkerk
Shanghai is perhaps the most bustling city in modern China, with endless spellbinding attractions to see and things to do, and a very eclectic mixture of the old and the new.
Skyscape of Guangzhou 72 Hours Visa-Free in Guangzhou, China: A Packed Trip in a Fascinating City by Lies Ouwerkerk
While there are better-known cities in China to those in the West, Guangzhou is well worth the visit in so many ways, and you can now do so without a visa!
Guide to Guanajuato, Mexico Guanajuato, Mexico: Love at First Sight by Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated guide—with key background information in the form of a narrative—to one of the most beautiful cities in a country with a complex history, people, and a rich culture.
Costa Rican Adventures Adventures to Remember in Costa Rica By Lies Ouwerkerk
Travel in South Africa Five Unforgettable Adventures in South Africa by Ted Campbell
Adventures in South Africa, where the realities for a traveler far exceed what can ever be imagined
Woman in Cameroon Time Travel in Northern Cameroon: Living Among the Dupa by Lies Ouwerkerk
A visit to the Dupa tribe in Northern Cameroon is a magical experience. The author is invited to participate and observe colorful and powerful sacred rituals witnessed by very few from the outside world.
Beyond Goa's beaches 8 Fascinating Alternatives Beyond the Balmy Beaches of Goa by Lies Ouwerkerk
Goa is so much more than the beaches, with many cultural gems and other activities to explore, as here described and illustrated.
Summer travel in Montreal A Guide to Summer Pleasures in Vibrant Montreal by Lies Ouwerkerk
Slow Travel in Bucharest Slow Travel in Bucharest: Soaking up the Good Vibes by Lies Ouwerkerk
An exploration of the capital of Romania, Bucharest is a city with many faces which reveal a very rich and complex people, culture, and history.
Picking grapes in Andalusia, Spain Olive Picking and Traditional Cooking in Hidden Andalucía by Martin Li
In Southern Spain, the magical region of Andalucia offers options such as working on the olive harvest, learning to taste and distinguish the olive oils, while enjoying traditional cooking.
Street food in Istanbul Culinary Treats in Istanbul: Food by Foot by Lies Ouwerkerk
A culinary tour of the many and varied street foods in Istanbul turns into a feast without end among very hospitable locals.
Budget cultural travel in Tunisia Hospitable Tunisia and its Tantalizing Cuisine: "A Moveable Feast" For the Budget Traveler by Lies Ouwerkerk
Tunisia has so much to offer the budget traveler who loves great food, rich culture, varied landscapes, sophisticated architecture, and hospitable people.
Travel in North Sudan Cruising Through the Magical Desert of Northern Sudan by Lies Ouwerkerk
Travel through Northern Sudan reveals a wealth of historical and cultural surprises.
Martinique winter vacation 13 Reasons Why Martinique is a Great Winter Destination by Lies Ouwerkerk
A visit to the beautiful island country, Martinique, is ideal during a wearying winter. The warm local people, great food, sandy beaches and the complex culture are a revelation.
Monk in Myanmar Jungle Karma: How a Blind Musician in Cambodia Taught Me to See by James Michael Dorsey
The author visits a jungle in Cambodia and meets a wise blind musician. The man plays a unique instrument which he offers as a gift, which results in seeing life anew.
Monk in Myanmar Going in Circles in Myanmar by James Michael Dorsey
Taking the circle train from Yangon, Myanmar offers an entrancing inside view into a fascinating country.
Travel in South Africa Five Unforgettable Adventures in South Africa by Ted Campbell
Adventures in South Africa, where the realities for a traveler far exceed what can ever be imagined
Antigua, Guatemala Antigua, the Soul of Guatemala by James Michael Dorsey
Venture into the world of magical Antigua, Guatemala, where ancient Mayan ritual and culture remains at the core of the city.
Mekong river Bagan Rising by James Michael Dorsey
Over 1,000 ago Bagan — in what is now Myanmar — was created as a sacred city and is now an untouched archeological site. The author takes you to a spiritual place of beauty tourists and Buddhists come to revere.
Mekong river Life on the Mekong River by James Michael Dorsey
The Mekong River flows through parts of six countries, carries much commerce, and is where people live colorful lives. James Michael Dorsey paints in words and images an iconic region.
Solo Travel Tana Toraja Indonesia Cultural Travel in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia by Lies Ouwerkerk
A richly illustrated voyage to the land, culture, and people who practice a unique and very colorful form of animism.
Travel in Ladahk A Journey in Otherworldly Ladakh:
Monastic Festivals, Remote Villages, and Majestic Wilderness
by Lies Ouwerkerk
A visual journey and first-hand story about the daily and sacred rituals practiced by the people of remote Ladakh in the Himalayas.
Genghis Khan shrine in China The Spirit of Genghis Khan: The Stone Monoliths of Kanas, China by James Michael Dorsey
An exploration of the origin and meaning of sacred stone monoliths in Northwestern China, from the era of the legendary historical figure Genghis Khan — shaman and legendary leader.
Slow Travel Costa Rica A Guide to Slow Travel in Playa Samára, Costa Rica by Paul France
How to learn to enjoy slow travel and living in idyllic Playa Sámara, Costa Rica
Solo Travel Indonesia In the Footsteps of Field Biologist Alfred Wallace: Exploring the Islands of the Indonesian Archipelago by Lies Ouwerkerk
An extraordinary and visually compelling voyage following Darwin's contemporary and collaborator path through the islands of Indonesia on a "Pinisi."
Adventure Travel with Tuaregs in Mail Among the Blue Men: Travel, Ritual, and Adventure with a Tuareg Nomadic Tribe in Mali by James Michael Dorsey
A nomadic tribe in Mali graciously invite an adventurous author into their clan, where he witnesses their unique rituals and lives.
Early mankind in Tanzania The Hadzabe of Tanzania: Visiting My Own Ancestors by James Michael Dorsey
How often are you allowed into a clan who live as did early humanity, able to observe and even asked to participate in primordial rituals that represent the essence of our existence? The author describes the experience vividly.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in Kenya

Listening to the Silence: Climbing Kilimanjaro and Encounting a Maasai Elder in Kenya by James Michael Dorsey
Narrative Travel Writing Contest winning entry describing a life-changing adventure in which the author climbs Kilimanjaro and later meets a wise Maasai elder from a tribe in Kenya.

Maasai tribe Walking with Markus by James Michael Dorsey
Markus, a warm and generous host, generously shares a glimpse into the material and spiritual lives of a Maasai community in East Africa.
An exorcism in Burkino Faso The Accidental Spirit: Experiencing an Exorcism in Burkina Faso, West Africa by James Michael Dorsey
A very rare first-hand experience by an westerner who becomes accidentally involved in an exorcism during a traditional ceremony.
Safari in Botswana Journey Botswana by Rob Sangster
A safari (Swahili for "journey") experience in Botswana reveals not only incredible wildlife but a new emphasis on ecology.
South Africa travel Cycling South Africa’s Cape and Winelands by Lies Ouwerkerk
A physical and cultural adventure on and around Cape South Africa combining cycling, wine tasting, and much more.
Stay in alberghi diffusi in Italy Localized Accommodation in Italy by Amy E. Robertson
Localized accommodation allow visitors interested in cultural travel to stay in apartments that offer more privacy than a B&B and more authenticity than a hotel. Here are some example experiences and resources.
In Wadi, Jordan Desert Sage Tea and Starlight in Wadi, Jordan by Amy E. Robertson
Family travel to a desert camp turns into a genuine physical and cultural adventure, guided by the Bedouins, and staying in localized accommodation—in this case a tent.
Travel in the Arctic Call of the Arctic: Voyage by Icebreaker Ship Along the Edge of the World by Lies Ouwerkerk
Traveling on an icebreaker had been on my wish list for quite a long time. Polar expeditions do not come cheap, however, as icebreakers are extremely expensive to run, due to high fuel costs and crew/staff—passenger ratio. But when an extra work contract fell unexpectedly into my lap this year, I jumped on the sudden opportunity to make my dream come true.
Pasta Making in Northern Italy Pasta Making in Northern Italy: A Journey to Learn a Traditional Culinary Art by Jeff Titelius
A journey to Northern Italy is highlighted by two unique experiences where the author learns how to make two different types of pasta by hand, in the traditional manner, at two different cooking schools.
Cuban street musicians How to Taste Daily Life in Cuba’s Bed and Breakfasts by Lies Ouwerkerk
Wandering through Cuba via its network of casas particulares, you can experience the incredible resiliance of the hospitable Cuban people and the richness of their culture, despite all that stands in their way.
Travel in Dolomites, Italy Slow Immersion Travel in the Dolomites of Italy by Lara Giavi
An Italian guide through the small region in the Italian Dolomites by exploring its many traditions while traveling slow.
Cultural tours in Latin America Top Mountain Towns to Learn Spanish in Latin America and Spain
Schools that Combine Language Learning and Cultural Tours
by Mary Beth Strawn 
Six of the top language schools to learn Spanish and experience cultural tours in Latin America and Spain.
Marrakech, Morocco Lost in Marrakesh, Morocco by Kevin Dimetres
A journey into the labyrinth that is Marrakesh, where ancient doors or all types and shapes, winding streets, and colorful traditional crafts suggest mysterious stories.
Haida Totems in Canada The Haida Monumental Totem Poles by James Michael Dorsey
A visit to a remote archipelago on the Northwest Coast of Canada where the Haida Nation creates the last of the free-standing totems.
Savor the Journey While You Travel Abroad
Jeff Titelius provides a collection of slow cultural immersion travel vignettes experienced in Europe, which are more about the journey than the destination, and are beautifully photographed.
Eastern Europe on the Run
Taylor Chase on why seeing Eastern Europe on the run is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture and ambiance of cities such as Budapest, Prague, and Krakow.
Biking in Eastern Europe
Tim Leffel describes some of the many cycling options in Eastern Europe. Biking options range from organizations which provide itineraries for independent cyclists to group cycling tours, and may include visits to wineries.
Discover Guatemala's Richness Through its People and Rituals
Jim Kane describes the powerful rituals and the proud people of Antigua, Guatemala as experience on a visit as a leader of a responsible travel group.
Barging Vacations Offer a Grassroots Taste of Europe
Senior travel editor Alison Gardner describes the options for a canal and river barging vacation which allows time for cultural exploration at a slow pace.
Intimate Glimpses of Canada's Wild West Coast
Alison Gardner on her trip aboard a historic boat which visits Canadas's west coast shoreline and culturally rich islands with Mothership Adventures tours.
Adventure Activities in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Shanie Matthews describes 10 adventure activies to be enjoyed in beautiful and eclectic San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina while providing resources.
Trekking in Morocco's Magical Sahara Desert
Friedel Rother provides inside practical information for those who wish to partake in a memorable cultural and physical adventure in the desert.
Pilgrimage Travel in the 21st Century
Senior travel editor Alison Gardner describes the history to date of spiritual travel, and goes into the nature of the motives and cultural experience. Alison describes how spiritual travel has changed in the 21st century while providing ample resources.
Learning about Burgundy Wines on a Budget: Combine Cycling Through the Vineyards and Drinking Fine Wine
Experienced oenophile and tour guide Michael Kerwin takes you on a trip through Burgundy and offers tips for drinking great wine on a budget while cycling to enjoy the beautiful countryside of this region of France.
Cycling and Wine Tasting in Bordeaux
Michael Kerwin takes you on a trip through Bordeaux and offers tips for drinking great wine while cycling through the countryside.
Slow Travel and Living in Palma de Mallorca
How to practice slow travel and living in Palma de Mallorca, by Paul Graham France.
An Adventure Surfing on the Cheap in Cornwall, England
Ben Keene on learning to surf at a surfing school in Penzance, a port in Cornwall, England.
4 Ways to Travel the World by Bicycle
Friedel Rother describes the many solo and group options to bike your way through countries worldwide while meeting the locals.
Cycling and Learning About Wines in New Zealand
Michael Kerwin takes you on a trip through two areas of New Zealand and offers tips for learning to find great wine while cycling and enjoying the countryside.
Exploring the Diversity of Provence: The Foods, Wines, Markets, and Cultural Life of Avignon
Beebe Baharmi, Ph.D. explores the culinary and cultural diversity of Provence from one of its richest historical centers in Avignon, France.
How to Plan Your Own Tibetan Trekking Adventure
Andris Bjornson describes options for trekking adventures in Tibet. He provides excellent practical survival resources and travel advice.
The Three Best Hot Spring Resorts in Japan
Stephen Carr describes the top hot spring resorts in Japan and provides inside tips on enjoying a unique Japanese cultural experience.
Educational and Cultural Travel in the South of Spain
Regina Winkle-Bryan describes some of the many educational travel and cultural travel options available in the south of Spain, including dancing schools, horse-riding schools, and language schools offering many activities.
Studying Flamenco and Spanish in Granada, Spain: Experience the Rich Culture with a Short Immersion Program
Mariette Tachdjian decribes her experience studying flamenco in the rich cultural city of Granada, which lies at the heart of the Andalusian region of southern Spain.
Cooking Thai in Chiang Mai
Michelle McCue describes her experience at a cooking school in Thailand.
The Markets of Oaxaca
Ron Mader describes the many and varied markets in Oaxaca, Mexico and provides tips for shopping responsibly.
A Desert Escape in Egypt
Nicole Feliciano found an escape from the bustling streets of Cairo on a private desert safari.
Adventure on Samos Island in Greece
Artist Donia Lilly provides a tour of the natural and cultural attractions of the relatively unknown island of Samos, Greece and describes how adventure sports tourism may help contribute to sustaining its natural beauty and economy.
Travel to Learn in France: Vacation Courses Offer Opportunities for Immersion 
Anna Gibson describes the many vacation and cultural travel options in France.
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey
Alison Gardner describes her exhilarating trip in a hot air balloon over the volcanic landscapes and stone-house communities in Cappadocia, Turkey. She also provides resources for ballooning in beautiful locations around the world.
Travel to Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon 
Martin Li on responsible cultural travel in the still unspoiled and magical Kingdom of Bhutan.
Tuscan Women Cook
Ann Woodyard reports on a rustic cooking school in Tuscany.
Love and Tango in Argentina
Andrea Gourgy provides tips based upon her experience learning to dance the Tango in Buenos Aires.
Spanish and Whitewater Kayaking in Chile
Ann Beman describes her learning adventure in Chile, where she participated in whitewater rafting while improving her Spanish.
Adventure Travel With a Group
R.M. O'Brien, a tour leader, on the pros and cons of leaving decisions to others when traveling abroad.
Rafting to a Jungle Lodge in Costa Rica: Indulge in a Sustainable Adventure
82-year old Katherine McIntyre describes an adventure tour on a great rafting river in Costa Rica where the destination is a sustainable lodge down the river.
Camping in Africa
Janet Williams says that camping in Africa is the best form of immersion with the people, the culture, and the wildlife and provides tips and resources on how to do so respectfully.
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