WASHINGTON, D.C. – Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution – the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex – and a leader in authentic and enriching small-group travel, introduce a new collection of culture-rich trips developed for travelers who seek to explore the world more actively on outdoor excursions such as walking, hiking, and biking. Smithsonian Active Journeys will be available to book in May 2023 at smithsonianjourneys.org, and the first trips of the new collection will depart in February 2024.
As with all Smithsonian Journeys these active programs are rooted in cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of further inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel. “Our dedication to lifelong learning and our passion for exploring the world drives us to continually develop authentic, enriching experiences for our travelers,” said Lynn Cutter, Senior Vice President, Smithsonian Travel. “These active trips will offer an intimate and meaningful way to connect with a destination and its people – and to be immersed in the wonders of nature. We are pleased to provide another high-quality travel option for our intellectually curious, sophisticated, and adventurous Smithsonian travelers.”
With a maximum of 18 participants on each trip, Smithsonian Active Journeys will be led by knowledgeable local guides and feature a variety of ways to experience the world actively, from hikes amid Iceland’s glaciers and waterfalls to a bike ride through Chile’s wine country. The new collection will launch with 10 itineraries that range in pace and activity level. Each program will have three to five departures available in 2024, with the majority priced between $3,300 to $5,600.
Costa Rica Treetops and Trails: An Active Journey – Explore the tropical forests of Costa Rica from the base of Arenal Volcano to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, to the beach-lined jungles of Manuel Antonio National Park. Venture into the wilderness on naturalist-led hikes and walks, discovering an astonishing range of flora and fauna and learning about efforts to protect them. Sample coffee fresh off the tree and sit down to a farm-to-table lunch at a local farm. Along the way, indulge your sense of adventure on canyoneering, zip-lining, and hanging bridge excursions.
Irish Walks: An Active Journey from Dublin to Dingle – Experience Ireland’s natural treasures up close, discovering the spectacular landscapes and traditional villages of the Burren, the Dingle Peninsula, and Killarney National Park on a range of hikes, walks, and bike rides. Between your outdoor adventures, soak up Irish culture, listen to local musicians in historic pubs, visit a centuries-old distillery, and explore medieval Kilkenny.
Walking the Camino de Santiago: An Active Journey to Spain – Hike the most picturesque portions of the Camino Francés, a World Heritage-listed route of the Way of Saint James pilgrimage route. Travel by foot and private vehicle from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela and the coast of Galicia. Sample the flavors of Castilla y León and Galicia, from wines to delectable regional dishes, and explore hilltop castles, historic city centers, and World Heritage sites— including the Burgos Cathedral and the Camino Francés itself.
Tuscany and Cinque Terre: An Active Journey – From the hill towns of Tuscany to the mountainside villages of the dramatic Ligurian Coast, experience two of Italy’s most beloved regions from the trail, hiking, walking, and biking your way to the Cinque Terre, Lucca, and San Gimignano. Investigate the history of Florence’s legendary families, and pedal around the Renaissance walls of Lucca. Stay three nights in a delightful agriturismo in the heart of Chianti and enjoy vineyard walks, wine-tasting, cooking classes, and excursions to the nearby hilltop towns.
Glaciers and Waterfalls: An Active Journey to Iceland
Take to Iceland’s trails, gaining a more intimate view of its magical geology as you hike into wild canyons and narrow gorges, alongside waterfalls, and atop Europe’s largest ice cap. Learn about the island’s turbulent geology while descending into a lava tube and hiking across a glacier. Visit a Viking museum, discuss daily life with Icelandic farmers, and trace Icelandic history at Thingvellir National Park – home to Northern Europe’s first parliament. Encounter icebergs and black-sand beaches, and iconic peaks on daily hikes in the spectacular Snaefellsnes Peninsula and along the southern coast.
Walking and Hiking Inca Trails: An Active Journey to Peru
Discover Peru’s most iconic archaeological sites on a hiking adventure to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu that features an optional 1-day trek on the legendary Inca Trail. Visit the bustling markets of Pisac and hike among Inca terraces high above the town. Tour ruins in Chinchero and Ollantaytambo and gaze at the stars from a planetarium in the Sacred Valley. In Lima, visit the Larco Museum’s private collection with a curator, learn how to make ceviche from a local chef, and dine across from an ancient adobe pyramid.
Tour du Mont Blanc: An Active Alpine Journey
Hike some of the most beautiful stretches of the Tour du Mont Blanc, discovering gorgeous scenery and Alpine culture as you follow trails through France, Italy, and Switzerland, surrounded by the majestic peaks and pinnacles of one the world’s most legendary mountains. Visit the Roman ruins of Aosta; sample local varieties of fondue; and explore the history of mountaineering at a museum in Courmayeur, Italy.
Scotland by Trail: An Active Journey to the Highlands and Islands
Experience this enchanting land on foot, setting off on rambles that showcase Scotland’s natural beauty and its tumultuous history. Hit the trails of lovely Loch Lomond and the Trossachs on your way to Oban, the gateway to the Inner Hebrides. Spend a full day immersed in the magic of the Isle of Skye, and hike along the shores of Loch Ness. Trace the stories of clan wars and the Jacobite uprising amid castle ruins, and cap off the trip in the footsteps of kings and queens on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Patagonia Hiking Adventure: An Active Journey
Take to the trails of Patagonia, hiking through majestic landscapes in Chile and Argentina. Explore Chile’s Maipo wine region by bicycle, then spend three full days exploring spectacular Torres del Paine National Park on full-day hikes along the famed “W” circuit and a boat cruise on a glacial lagoon. In Argentina, tour a glacier museum with a local expert and learn about gaucho traditions at a working ranch. Watch for calving ice at the Perito Moreno Glacier, and trek into Los Glaciares National Park for breathtaking views of the jagged peaks of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre.
Gorillas of Rwanda: An Active Journey(with Kenya Safari extension) Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to observe the mountain gorillas of Rwanda in their natural habitat. Canoe past local communities on the Mukungwa River and spend three days in Volcanoes National Park, trekking through dense forests in search of extremely rare gorillas and golden monkeys and hiking to the gravesite of primatologist Dian Fossey. Share lunch and stories with the inspiring women of Kigali’s Nyamirambo neighborhood and dine on delicious East African cuisine at a restaurant in Kigali. A weeklong Kenya safari extension to Lake Naivasha and Masai Mara National Parks will also be on offer.