Price range
From $8530 per person
Upcoming Date
08-19 May 2022
Tour Time
12 Days (Inc. Arv./Dpt.)

Highlights

See Israel like a local- through the eyes of Israelis
Immerse yourselves in Israel's culinary and cultural landscape
Visit classic sites
Hike, Bike, Walk, Eat, Love, (Pray)

Itinerary

1 - Sunday (May 8) : Welcome to Israel

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Activities:

  • VIP arrival at Ben Gurion airport - Your VIP agent will be waiting to greet you at the sleeve of the plane. After assisting with arrival procedures, collecting your baggage, and relevant Covid testing, you will be taken to meet your driver.

  • Time TBD-Depart for the Dead Sea area - We will coordinate a meeting place and transportation based on arrivals and pre-trip plans.

  • Stop at an overlook for an introduction to the trip

  • Dinner and early to bed

  • Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel

Overnight: Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel
Meal Plan: dinner

2 - Monday (May 9) : The Lowest Place on Earth

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Sunrise hike up to Masada on the snakepath Masada National Park - Atop a lone rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert lies Masada, combining natural beauty and deep meaning. Tour King Herod’s private fortress which, following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 BC, became a base for a small band of Jewish zealots in revolt against the Romans. Although the rebels held their own, they were eventually overcome by siege, and according to historian Josephus, chose mass suicide over surrender. Masada has come to symbolize the fierce determination of the people of Israel, but its tragic history also raises questions about the price of freedom.

  • Breakfast and check out of the hotel

  • Dead Sea Boat Ride - Take a boat ride on the Dead Sea in a small group motorboat or in kayaks and see amazing salt formations and scenery. During this unique experience you will enjoy the wondrous muds, salt pearls, salt diamonds, water springs streaming to the sea and sink holes filled with sweet water. Learn about the ecosystem and the environmental issues connected to the Dead Sea.

  • Lunch will be provided - Option for time to float in the Dead Sea

  • Drive south and stop at Sde Boker-Desert Dreams - Visit the grave of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, whose vision for settling the desert is continuing to bloom. Throughout the day, you’ll see his vision come to life.

  • Dinner at the hotel

  • Beresheet

Overnight: Beresheet
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

3 - Tuesday (May 10) : I've Been to the Desert...

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Explore Makhtesh Ramon-National park - Makhtesh Ramon is a type of geological formation found only in Israel and northern Sinai. The steep rock cliffs surrounding a closed valley drained by a single wadi are the product of erosion. Ramon Crater is the largest of three in Israel.

  • Options for hiking, jeeping, rapelling, and off-road biking

  • Time to enjoy the hotel facilities

  • Deep in the crater, enjoy a pop-up desert dinner - Dine under the stars with the finest desert wines, music, and excellent food, around a beautiful table.

  • Beresheet - Beresheet

Overnight: Beresheet
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

4 - Wednesday (May 11) : Changing Landscapes

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Activities:

  • Beresheet - Beresheet

  • Leisurely morning at the hotel - Hiking option

  • Bread Baking at Lasha Bakery - Meet Hadas Meir of the Lasha Desert Bakery who will guide you in a bread baking workshop. “For Meir, baking is a spiritual thing. ‘I think bread is a blessed food. It is the most moving interpretation of combining matter and spirit. Even physically, bread is spiritual in essence. You’ll have a lunch of salads and bread.

  • Wine tasting at Tzora Vineyards - Visit Tzora Winery, a small boutique winery located on Kibbutz Tzora near Beit Shemesh. The winemaker holds the title “Master of Wine.” He is an experienced agronomist and vintner, and is involved in the entire process, from growing and tending the vines, to the harvesting and winemaking, to produce fine wines.

  • Ascending to Jerusalem with a stop at Khan Sha'ar ha-Gai - Khan Sha’ar HaGai, also known by its Arabic name Bab al Wad, is a national memorial site. The khan, on the main road connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem, was built as a resting spot by the Ottoman Empire. This strategic spot saw fierce battles during the War of Independence, and in memory of the men and women who took part in them.
    When visiting Khan Sha'ar HaGui, you meet the Palmach fighters who broke through the road to Jerusalem, hear their testimonies, and make fateful decisions alongside them.

  • Drive to Jerusalem and check into your hotel

  • Dinner at HaSadna Restaurant - HaSadna Restaurant's menu features fresh ingredients with a minimum of treatment. Part of the charm is the interior of this building which was once a warehouse that served the Jerusalem railroad and railway station built in 1892. Part of the Machneyuda group, HaSadna is a jewel of contemporary Israeli Cuisine.

  • Mamilla Hotel

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

5 - Thursday (May 12) : Jerusalem- Holy to All

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Ramparts Walk - Discover the Old City on the Rampart Walls which were built in the 16th century for patrolling by the Turkish. Today you can enjoy a bird's eye view of the old city and the surroundings. Begin at the Jaffa Gate and walk north around the Christian and Muslim Quarters, descending at the Damascus gate.

  • Enter the Old City through the Damascus Gate

  • Tour the Quarters of the Old City - Walk through the Old City seeing the historical and religious sites of the Jewish and Christian Quarters. See some off-the-beaten track sites in the winding alleyways and enjoy some Jerusalem delicacies. Have a “taste of history” that interweaves stories and anecdotes, historical information and, of course, combine the senses of smell, taste, and sound

  • Conditions permitting- tour the Temple Mount - The Temple Mount, also known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif and the Al Aqsa Compound is a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site, in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike.

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre - The Holy Sepulcher is situated on the hill called Golgotha or Calvary. The Church contains the last five Stations of the Cross including the sites of Jesus' crucifixion and burial. Several Christian denominations claim ownership to various parts of the site so holy to Christendom.

  • Jewish Quarter - The Jewish Quarter is best known for the Western Wall, but there’s a lot more to see and do here. See archaeological finds from First and Second Temple periods, Roman ruins, and vibrant synagogues, learning institutions which jostle for space in these busy stone streets. The central plaza offers an excellent place to contemplate the power this quarter holds for so many.

  • Dinner at Hamotzi - Israeli Master Chef winner Avi Levy combines a North African cooking style with a Jerusalem flare to create a rich kaleidoscopic of flavors using local ingredients from the nearby Machane Yehuda market.

  • 'Shtisel' Tour - A taste of the Ultra-Orthodox world-walk the streets of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, get to know the people, and feel the vibrations of this life. On a busy Thursday night, when people are preparing for Shabbat, gain a more complex appreciation for the people by listening to their music, visiting synagogues, various institutions, seeing unique leisure, fashion, and art this world encompasses, and, of course by eating freshly baked challah.

  • Mamilla Hotel

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner, Tasting Tour

6 - Friday (May 13) : Memorials and Memory

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Dany Tirza - Tour the greater Jerusalem area with Colonel Danny Tirza, Security Expert and architect of the Security Barrier. View the city from many angles and engage in a conversation about the complexity of the barrier.

  • Yad Vashem - Visit the museum at Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Memorial to the Holocaust. Tour this memorial to the darkest moment in world and Jewish history, its children’s memorial, and exquisite gardens. Yad Vashem is an unforgettable place of tribute and remembrance. You'll be guided by a member of the Yad Vashem staff.

  • Mahane Yehuda Market Tasting Tour - Continue with an unforgettable culinary tour. If you really want to get the feel for Jerusalem, Machne Yehuda Market is the place to visit. In the colorful market, you will meet people of all nationalities, religions and ages. Listen to the special stories of the stall owners.

  • Option to return to the Kotel before Shabbat

  • Shabbat dinner in a private home - Enjoy a home-cooked Shabbat meal in a private home.

  • Mamilla Hotel

Overnight: Mamilla Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner, Tasting Tour

7 - Saturday (May 14) : Shabbat Abundance

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out

  • Meet the Israel National Trail at Sataf - The Israel trail traverses the length of Israel and was established as a National Trail in 1995. Walk the trail at the beautiful Sataf forest for a hike through the area. The Sataf is on the site of ancient agricultural terraces which date to the time of the ancient Israelites. If it’s warm enough, there’s even an option to take a dip in some of the natural springs. Along the way - forage for edible plants.

  • Lunch at Majda restaurant - Majda is a restaurant in the Jerusalem Hills village of Ein Rafa, famous for its innovative fusion cuisine, beautiful property and views from its rooftop and an appearance on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. The menu is full of creative local dishes all prepared by Yakub and Michal, the Arab-Jewish couple who own Majda.

  • Drive to the north

  • Explore the Hula Valley on bikes or golfcarts - The Hula valley sits in part of the northern Syrian African Rift Valley which stretches as far south as Mozambique in Africa. During every migration season over 500 million birds travel through the Hula Lake. This wetland paradise is the perfect stopover for small waterfalls, cormorants, heron, pelicans, raptors, storks, and cranes.

  • Check into the hotel

  • Elias House - Home Hospitality - Dinner at the beautiful home of Chef Gadi Elias, a holistic culinary and cultural experience of Galilee cooking.

  • Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel

Overnight: Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

8 - Sunday (May 15) : Spiritual and Physical Heights

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Activities:

  • Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel - Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Hike in Gamla reserve - Gamla Nature Reserve, with the highest waterfall in Israel, is in the ancient city of Gamla was made the capital of the Golan in the 1st century BCE and was conquered by the Romans in 67 CE after being subjected to a long siege. Walk the circular vulture trail with an observation point from which you can see Gamla Mountain. From this point, you can watch the 80 Griffon Vultures circling above.

  • Visit the stunning site of Umm el Kanatir - Visit the site of Um el Kanatir also known as Ein Keshatot, home to a Jewish village from the Period of the Mishna and Talmud, with a magnificent synagogue in its center. The ancient village is located above the Samekh Riverbed, looking towards the Sea of Galilee and the hills of the Galilee. Enter a synagogue that features the original Ark Complex – the most preserved and magnificent ever to be discovered in Israel. The synagogue was excavated and reconstructed with advanced technological methods, and today it stands at a height of one story. The Ein Keshatot site also offers a visit to the village spring, which flows into ancient pools, surrounded by shaded areas.

  • Natur Dairy Cheese - Lunch

  • Wine tasting at Chateau Golan Winery - At the Chateau Golan Winery meet winemaker Uri Hetz who will talk about the complexity of growing grapes on Israel’s border with Syria, why he does it, and what he sees for the future. The winery merges contemporary knowledge and technology with traditional European winemaking methods and produces complex and elegant wines.

  • Jeep tour - Geo-Political tour of the Golan with Ilan Schulman. Explore the terrain of the Lower Galilee by jeep. While traversing the rich landscape, learn about the history, flora, and fauna of the area.

  • Dinner at one of the hotels chef restaurants

  • Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel

Overnight: Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

9 - Monday (May 16) : What These Shores Have Seen

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Activities:

  • Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel - Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Check out and drive to Akko

  • Visit the Bahai Gardens in Akko - The Bahai religion originated in Iran and its followers decided to build their world center in Haifa when they came under persecution. Near Akko,the gardens form a wide circle surrounding the historic mansion where Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahai Faith, resided during the final years of His life and the shrine where His remains were laid to rest. The Gardens feature fountains, ponds, flowing water, flowerbeds, walkways, trees, shrubs, balustrades, and wrought-iron gates.

  • Akko city and market tour followed by cooking workshop - At Beit Elfarasha meet the true gems of the city, the local women. This program empowers women of Akko through cooking workshops and gives visitors to the Old City of Akko.

  • OR Fish Market with Osama

  • Caesarea National Park - Continue to Caesarea, built by Herod, was the Roman capital of Palestine as well as important seat of early Christianity. Although it boasted a Jewish community in late antiquity, in the 3rd c., Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law (Halacha) because by this time most of the inhabitants were non-Jewish. The extensive seaside ruins here date back to Roman, Byzantine and Crusader times. Explore the 2,000-year-old Roman theater, Crusader harbor and 12th-century ramparts.

  • Drive to Tel Aviv and check into the hotel

  • Dinner on your own

  • The Norman Tel Aviv

Overnight: The Norman Tel Aviv
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch

10 - Tuesday (May 17) : Tel Aviv Stories

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • The White City - Explore Lev Ha'ir, the Heart of the City, where the first roots of Tel Aviv were planted in 1909. Lev Hair contains some of Tel Aviv’s most beautiful buildings, being at the center of the UNESCO designated “White City” known for it’s Bauhaus, Eclectic, and International Style architecture. The area is densely populated, rooted in history, and with a glance towards the future with impressive skyscrapers, and a high concentration of start-up companies. Bordered by Habima Theater in the north and Florentin and Neve Tzedek in the south, Lev Ha’ir is a gateway to almost every district in the city. Lev Ha'ir is a cultural hub, filled with galleries, restaurants and parks.

  • Carmel Market and Yemenite Quarter Tasting Tour

  • Nachalat Binyamin - Nachalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts fair takes place every Tuesday and Friday in Tel Aviv. Each day artists display and sell their crafts surrounded by a beautiful, historical buildings, many in the process of being preserved.

  • Fashion as a lens - A fashion tour is a unique interactive way to introducing you to Israel and its culture. The tour addresses the relationship Israeli fashion has with the various aspects of living in Israel including identity questions, sub-groups in Israel, immigration to Israel, wars and cultural life and social entrepreneurship. During the tour, we will meet old and new fashion brands, designers who use ancient crafts and other professionals who use the best technology. We will walk, talk and shop.

  • Will include a visit to KitePride - KitePride is an Israeli, Tel Aviv based fashion social enterprise. They create functional, one-of-a-kind BAGS from upcycled kitesurfing kites, sails, parachutes, and wetsuits in order to provide jobs to survivors of human trafficking and prostitution. Through each bag sold, continuous jobs are created and fabric is saved from landfill.

  • Israeli Cocktail Workshop - Drink down a story of Israel! Travel the different regions of the country through the drinks. Through local spirits, quality Israeli produce, cultural design, and Israeli innovation, meet the staff of an Israeli cocktail 'start-up' and see how they translate this into amazing cocktails. Cocktails are mixed with Israeli alcohol, fruit in season, and wrapped into the Israeli story. You’ll have a chance to learn to mix the drinks as well.

  • Dinner at a restaurant

  • The Norman Tel Aviv

Overnight: The Norman Tel Aviv
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner, Tasting Tour

11 - Wednesday (May 18) : Borders and Boundaries

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Gaza Envelope-Border Tour with Grisha Yacoubovich - Explore the complexity of the security-peace conundrum with expert Grisha Yakoubovich. Visit Sderot, Asaf Siboni observation point, and Black Arrow.

  • Continue to Netiv HaAsara - Striving for Peace at Netiv Haasarah, a moshav on the western border of Israel with the Gaza Strip. Visit the Peace Wall on the border. Meet Tsamaret Zamir, an artist and the creator of the project who will talk about life in the moshav in the shadow of the ongoing security situation – and about the hope of a good and peaceful future. Choose a colorful optimistic tile on which to write a personal wish and later glue to the border wall.

  • Return to Tel Aviv

  • Meet the Start-Up Nation Center Founder Wendy Singer - Start-Up Nation Central is an independent non-profit that builds bridges to Israeli innovation. They connect business, government, and NGO leaders from around the world with Israeli innovation, offering Israeli innovators access to high-potential and previously inaccessible markets, through highly customized business engagements, and through Start-Up Nation Finder – an easy to use, up-to-date, free online platform for discovering and connecting with the thousands of relevant innovators.

  • Dinner at a restaurant TBD

  • The Norman Tel Aviv- Boutique Hotel

Overnight: The Norman Tel Aviv- Boutique Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

12 - Thursday (May 19) : Taking it Home

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Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel - You will have your rooms for the day with a late check-out

  • Gaga Workshop - Gaga is the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin, Artistic Director of the Bat Sheva Dance Company. Explore new ways to move through this intense experience.

  • Old Jaffa - In Jaffa discover the ancient and modern situated side-by-side. Stroll through the alleyways of the Old City filled with artist studios as well as archaeological discoveries. Discover which Jewish and Christian stories took place in the city. Time for lunch at one of the Jaffa Flea Market's restaurants.

  • Graffiti Tour - Enjoy a creative Graffiti workshop in the trendy neighborhood of Florentin, and experience fun and artistic freedom. Discover new and daring Israeli Graffiti Artists that are gaining recognition around the world.

  • Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square) - Renamed in honor of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in this square in 1995, Rabin Square is a public space at the heart of Tel Aviv. Ringed by trendy cafes, the square often hosts political rallies and demonstrations, parades, and public events.

  • Farewell Dinner

  • Transfer to airport

Overnight: Transfer to airport
Meal Plan: Breakfast and TBD

FAQ

What's the weather like in Israel?

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It is always best to check the weather forecast beforehand as the weather during Spring and Fall seasons can be unexpectedly warm or cold.

Spring (late March – May): Daytime temperatures are generally very pleasant - around 65-70°F, though it can still be hot in some areas (such as the Dead Sea and Eilat). There is a slight chance of rain, but it doesn't happen often. It can be cooler in the evenings in the North and Jerusalem - approximately 45°F.

Summer (late May - late September): Temperatures are usually in the high 80s-90s. At this time of year, humidity will be highest in Tel Aviv and Tiberias. Other areas such as Jerusalem are drier and cooler, particularly at night. The desert, Masada and Eilat are extremely hot, but dry. It will almost never rain in the summer in Israel!

Fall (late September – November): Same as Spring, but the rain can begin towards the end of the season.

Winter (December - early March): Winter can be mild and sunny, or severe and overcast. There's often heavy rain and, in January and February, even snow at times! Temperatures will be in the 50s-60s most places, but in the 40s in Jerusalem and the Galilee hills, and cold at night. Pack layers and be prepared for anything!

Weekly weather forecast

What are check-in /check-out times?

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Sunday through Friday, check-in time is generally 3PM. On Saturday, check-out is usually one hour after sunset (the end of Shabbat). These times may change depending on the season. It is important to note however, that check-in on Saturday will be at night (usually 2 hours after Shabbat ends - sunset). Check-out is generally before noon, no matter the day of the week (except Shabbat). Please take into consideration the check-in / check-out times when scheduling your flights. In most instances, we are able to arrange for early check-in / late check-out when needed.

What's the local currency?

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The New Israeli Shekel (NIS), comprising 100 agorot, is the local currency. Currency can be exchanged either at the airport, at exchange stores located all over the country and are easy to find  - or - with the Via Sabra touch, just tell us how much you need, and our staff will have cash waiting for you when you arrive, to save you valuable time. Just remember to mention it us before your trip.  

General guide for tipping

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Tips are not included in the cost of a tour and are always at your discretion. Having said that, in Israel, it is customary to add a gratuity of 15-20% at a restaurant and to tip your guide and driver. For all groups ranging from 2-6 people, it is suggested that you tip the tour guide $70 -$100 (from the group) per day. For groups larger than 8, it is recommended to tip $8-$12 per person, per day + 50% for your bus driver. Please note! Unless stated otherwise, on our group tours, the hotels, restaurants with meals included and serving staff is being generously tips by our staff - on your behalf. If you are not sure, check with your guide or operator for further details.

What clothes should I bring?

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Israel is a very informal country and the most formal you'll have to be is "business casual". Religious sites require long pants for the men and clothing that covers the knees and shoulders for the women. Men and women may be requested to cover their heads at Jewish and Muslim religious sites, while at Christian sites men are usually required to remove their hats. It's important to have comfortable walking shoes for the touring days. Summer in Israel is hot and during the peak months of July - September, it is very humid. Natural fibered clothes are best. We recommend bringing layered clothing as the night and day temperatures can vary greatly, regardless of season. The winter can be cold and wet, in particular in Jerusalem and the Northern part of the country. Bring long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, a warm coat / raincoat, as well as T-shirts - we do have lovely sunny days as well, even in the winter. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen is highly recommended for all seasons. Check out our article about Israeli clothing here (link) Also - check out how you can support others by donating your coat at the end of your trip (link)

Terms of Payment

Deposit is due immediately to secure the booking.

Balance for the trip is due no later than 45 days prior to first day of trip.

Please refer to our full Terms and Conditions here.

Cancellation Policy

Bookings can be cancelled within 48 hours, with a full refund.

Full refunds or changes will be possible for cancellations made as a result of force majeure circumstances, or due to Israel-imposed governmental or air flight restrictions related to COVID-19.

Cancellations up to 45 days prior to departure, the deposit per person will be charged (non-refundable).
Cancellations between 45 to 30 days prior to departure, entail a cancellation fee of 50% of the tour cost per person.
Cancellations between 29 to 8 days prior to departure, entail a cancellation fee of 75% of the tour cost per person.
For 7 to 0 days prior to departure entail a cancellation fee of 100% of the cost of the trip

Should members of a group booking cancel their participation, their deposits cannot be applied to the balance payment of other group members.

All cancellation requests must be made in writing.

Testimonials
“This was my first time to Israel and it was truly an incredible way to experience everything this beautiful place has to offer. We focused mostly on culinary tours in markets, and our tour guide Orit know everything and was so organized getting us from place to place so we wouldn't miss anything. She even was able to make adjustments on the spot when things didn't go exactly as planned, and the whole trip felt very smooth for us- we didn't have to worry about anything! We also somehow managed to eat 3 dinners a night, there is no shortage of delicious food to taste. We learned so much from our guide and she had the best advice for where to explore in our free time. I would 100% recommend this experience to anyone who wants to get off the beaten path and experience the cultures in a whole new way. Can't wait to come back! ”
Meredith
2020

Early bird special - $200 off per person.

Available only between October 1-10, 2021!!

Registration for the trip will open on October 1. Fill out this form to be notified when registration for the trip opens, so you can take advantage of early bird special pricing!

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