In February 2014, join us for a 15-day adventure in Central America. At the crossroads of two continents, this expedition reveals the wonders of five countries, including Belize, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama, and is ideally timed during the centennial year of the Panama Canal.
We are thrilled to announce that in honor of the 100-year anniversary of these historic locks, we have just enhanced this already-fascinating itinerary with a VIP tour of the five billion dollar Panama Canal expansion project that began a decade ago and is scheduled to be completed in 2015. You will go behind the scenes at the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center to observe the four billion cubic meters of structural concrete that is being poured into the ditches that comprise the new set of locks from a vantage point rarely visited by the public, plus meet one of the authorities currently working on the expansion project.
- Searching for Central America’s incredible diversity of wildlife during Zodiac cruises and nature walks—over 750 species of birds have been recorded in Costa Rica alone;
- Meeting the Kuna Indians of San Blas and the Emberá Indians of the Darién who proudly preserve their cultural heritage; and
- Snorkeling nearly every day, from Belize’s Half Moon Caye to one of the world’s largest marine parks in Coiba, Panama.
For more information, visit our trip page.
Looking for an interesting way to spend spring break (no run-of-the-mill Caribbean cruise or all-inclusive resort for this family!) that would inspire and educate their two middle school-aged children, Tobias and Kristin W. contacted our Private Travel team to plan a locally-hosted trip to Northern Norway’s Lapland region. The team went straight to work planning the perfect expedition for this adventurous young family. First, they secured one of Zegrahm’s ground operators as the family’s personal guide. Next, they arranged a mix of activities that would appeal to kids and parents alike. Here’s a peek at their personalized itinerary:
- A night in Kirkenes at the Snowhotel with a private dog-sledding lesson and tour to explore this Arctic wonderland.
- Snow mobiling through scenic wilderness for an overnight at a cozy backcountry lodge.
- A fjords cruise to stay at a charming guesthouse to view the northern lights.
- Three full days with Sven Engholm, an 11-time winner of Europe’s longest dog sled race and the family’s guide for immersing themselves in the Sami way of life, including meeting a reindeer herd and dog sledding.
- An overnight stay with a Sami family in a traditional lavvu; this communal tent made of reindeer hide is the base of operations for a reindeer-drawn sleigh and ski excursion.
To learn more, contact our Private Travel team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: We're thrilled to announce some very happy news we recently received from the South Georgia Heritage Trust:
"News just in of the discovery of the first South Georgia Pipit nest in an area cleared of rodents by the Habitat Restoration Project. The nest was spotted at Schlieper Bay on the south coast of the northwest baiting zone at Weddell Point. This area was treated in May 2013 as part of Phase 2 of the project. The nest, containing five chicks, was discovered by none other than Sally Poncet, a former member of Team Rat and expert on the wildlife of South Georgia. This thrilling news shows the rapid impact of the Habitat Restoration Project on this potentially endangered species."
Thanks again to Peter Harrison and our travelers for helping to make this project possible. Stay tuned for more updates as we receive them.
As a follow-up to our October 2012 post about Zegrahm cofounder Peter Harrison’s recognition from Princess Anne for the contributions from many Zegrahm travelers to the rat eradication project on South Georgia, we just received an exciting update from the South Georgia Heritage Trust. “Team Rat” just completed their second season of work in South Georgia and are now at home in the United Kingdom preparing for their third, and hopefully final, season of the project. Scientists estimate that once all of the rats and mice are removed from South Georgia, native birds will be saved from extinction and the island's bird population will increase by 100 million. Here is a full report of their progress: Newsletter of the South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project.
Named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) have inspired legends, myths, and superstitions for millennia. Like the magnetic fields that cause them, the beliefs surrounding these ghostly lights are polarized between positive and negative associations—as precursors of royal births on one hand, and of war and famine on the other.
The various people inhabiting Lapland had their own divergent theories: the Sami feared and respected the aurora, and placed auroral symbols on their magic drums, believing that the Northern Lights had supernatural powers to resolve conflicts; Finnish legends refer to mythical firefoxes, brushing up sparks with their tails; and in Norse mythology, some attributed the aurora to reflections from the shields of the Valkyries, warlike women chosen by Odin to guide fallen warriors to Valhalla, while others believed their glow came from the beautiful Viking goddess Freja, riding horseback.
It was not until the 1950s that the mystery of the Northern Lights could be explained by scientists. When an excess of charged particles from the Sun, often caused by solar flares, streams into Earth’s atmosphere, the particles are attracted to Earth’s magnetic poles, where they collide with gas particles that then emit light, causing a glow high in the atmosphere. Auroral displays appear in many colors; although pale green and pink are the most common, shades of red, yellow, blue, and violet have been reported. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains, or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.
Though sightings are never guaranteed, the appearance of Northern Lights has been predicted to reach an 11-year peak during the winter of 2012-13. Don’t miss your chance to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring events.