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Special adventure tours set for 2017, 2018

Photo courtesy of Gondwana EcoTours.

Photo courtesy of Gondwana EcoTours.

By Bob Schulman

Attention explorers and wanna-be explorers: If adventure turns you on, here are five chances – put together by leading tour companies – to spend your next vacation tracking the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers.

First is a 24-day Asian trip across the Silk Road followed by Marco Polo.

Packaged by the MIR Corporation, you’ll visit Kashgar, rated as one of the most exotic cities in the world, skirt the infamous Taklamakan Desert on camelback and sample the breathtaking views of the 12,000-foot Torugart Pass in the Tian Shan Mountains near the border of Kyrgzstan and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China.

Trip dates are next May 3-26 and Aug. 16-Sept. 8. The tab will set you back $7,995 per person, double occupancy. Check out the trip details at http://www.mircorp.com/trip/chinese-turkestan-central-asia/.

Or perhaps you’d like go sightseeing in Greenland on paths where Dano-Norwegian Lutheran missionary Hans Poulsen Egede once trekked.

Photo courtesy of Adventure Life.

Photo courtesy of Adventure Life.

You’ll come back talking about the thrills of calving glaciers, palatial icebergs, dogsledding, hut camping with Inuit people, checking out wildlife, a speed boat tour of the fjords surrounding Greenland’s capital at Nuuk and kayaking around icebergs, among other jaw-dropping adventures. Trip dates: June 16-25, 2017.

Cost of the nine-day tour starts at $8,000 per person. You’ll find all the details at Big Chill Adventures’ site, http://bigchilladventure.com/trips/greenland-june-2017/.

Picture yourself on a bicycle, peddling from Barcelona to Rome on roads once trod by Hannibal and his Carthagenian army in the Second Punic War. Along the way you’ll sample the cultures of Spain, France and Italy along with their gastronomical delights and wines from the vineyards of Languedoc, Provence, Piedmont and Tuscany.

Ride & Seek’s two-stage, 29-day Hannibal epic tour is slated for next Sept. 3-Oct. 1. An option is to sign on for either the first stage (Barcelona to the ancient Italian town of Alba (once known as “the city with 100 towers”), set for Sept. 3-18, or just the second (Alba to Rome), set for Sept. 18-Oct. 1. Check out the tour’s website (http://www.rideandseek.com/epic/hannibal) for details, prices and related activities.

Photo by Mindy Cambiar, Bill Chill Adventures.

Photo by Mindy Cambiar, Bill Chill Adventures.

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic.

You’re invited to join an Adventure Life tour on a 30-day voyage tracking Shackleton”s explorations, starting at the Port of Bluff on the South Island of New Zealand.

There, you’ll board the Spirit of Sonderby to cruise to places like The Snares Islands, North East Island, the Aukland Islands, Macquarie Island, Antarctica’s little-visited Ross Sea Region and Campbell Island.

The yoyage ends where it starts, at the Port of Bluff. Sailings are slated to start next Jan. 11 and on Jan. 10 and Feb. 8, 2018. Prices start at $20,000 per person. See Adventure Life’s website at http://www.adventure-life.com/new-zealand/cruises/2961/in-the-wake-of-scott-shackleton.

Photo by Mindy Cambiar, Bill Chill Adventures.

Photo by Mindy Cambiar, Bill Chill Adventures.

Despite the fact that indigenous people had been living in the Amazon for at least 10,000 years, the Amazon River was officially “discovered” in 1541 by Spanish explorer and conquistador Don Francisco de Orellana.

Gondwana EcoTours puts you on some of Orellana’s pathways for a 10-day tour of Ecuador. Among highlights of the adventure is a visit to the Achuar, a tribe of 6,000 local folks still living traditionally in small Amazon communities along the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border.

Trip dates: Nov. 3-10, 2016; and in 2017 Jan. 8-15, Aug. 3-10, and Nov. 2-9. More details:  http://gondwanaecotours.com/tour/amazon-rainforest-ecotour/

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