GeoEx Introduces 5 New Adventurous Destinations For 2013

GeoEx has five new trips for 2013As one of the best adventure travel companies on the planet, GeoEx (formerly Geographic Expeditions) is always looking for opportunities to visit new and unique destinations. For 2013, they’ve added five such places to their line-up, giving travelers a chance to explore the cultures and landscapes of some of the most fascinating countries on the planet.

The five new itineraries include a 10-day trip through Kipling’s Burma, which takes travelers to Myanmar to explore sacred temples and cruise the Irrawaddy River. GeoEx will also return to Cuba this year, taking guests on a trip though that nation’s living history. Those longing to experience Africa will be enthralled with their excursion to the iconic Namib Desert, where they’ll track wildlife in Namibia’s remarkable wilderness. A visit to Eastern Turkey will take travelers on a tour through the past, visiting the sites of numerous ancient empires, while the new Sri Lanka Explorer itinerary is an adventure that wanders from beautiful beaches to lush rainforests, before continuing on to mountain heights.

These new options are just a sampling of what GeoEx has to offer. The company organizes trips to just about every corner on the globe and chances are if there is a destination you want to visit, they can help you get there. Check out their full catalog online and you’ll begin to get a true sense of all the travel opportunities that they can provide.

[Photo Credit: GeoEx]

G Adventures Announces New Destinations For 2013

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, AustraliaAdventure travel company G Adventures has announced that starting in January of next year it will begin offering options to visit 12 new countries and expand its popular Local Living tours to more destinations as well. These additions to the G Adventures catalog will provide a host of new and unique experiences for travelers of all types.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that with its new expanded line-up, G Adventures will now be offering options to visit all seven continents. Over the past 22 years, the company has been providing amazing travel experiences across the globe, but until now they haven’t offered any tours to Australia or New Zealand. That changes in 2013 with new overland trips from Sydney to Cairns and Melbourne to Darwin in Australia, and exciting excursions to both the North and South Islands in New Zealand. Travelers will have the option to go spearfishing, soak up the culture in an Aboriginal community, visit a working cattle ranch or sail some of the most beautiful islands on the planet. Tours will range from three to 21 days in length and can be customized to fit schedules and budgets.

Besides Australia and New Zealand, ten other countries are new to the G Adventures roster next year. Those countries include Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Croatia, Iceland, Scotland, Montenegro, Sweden, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania and Serbia. These new destinations will expand the company’s offerings to over 730 different tours.Also expanding in 2013 will be the Local Living tours, which have been carefully crafted to give travelers the opportunity to experience specific destinations like a local. While there, guests actually stay in one place and can really delve deep into the history and culture of that single location by becoming embedded into day-to-day life there. The Local Living option was first introduced with tours to the Amalfi Coast and Southern Tuscany, but starting next year 23 different tours will be offered to such places as Iceland, Mongolia, Croatia, Morocco and more.

With so many options in its catalog, I think it is safe to say that G Adventures has a little something for everyone. Whether you enjoy a hardcore adventure or a more relaxed cultural experience, they can provide the kind of trip you’re looking for and they’ll do so at an affordable price.

Tourists Arrested For Kissing Buddha Statue In Sri Lanka

buddha It becomes more and more apparent everyday just how much travelers need to research the cultures they are visiting beforehand. Recently in Sri Lanka, three French tourists – two women and a man – were given suspended, six-month prison sentences for kissing a Buddha statue. Additionally, they were fined 1,500 rupees ($10.84) each.

The incident was brought to light when the travelers tried to get their photos printed at a local shop.

“The studio employee saw the images and alerted the Galle police who arrested the tourists on Monday and the case was concluded today because they pleaded guilty,” police spokesman Ajith Rohana told news.com.au.

Along with the woman-kissing-Buddha photo, the man posed for a shot while imitating the statue’s pose. These actions are seen as offense to country’s Buddhist community, and the travelers plead guilty to desecrating a Buddhist shrine in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The tourists were free to go, however, as their sentences are suspended for five years.

As a mostly Buddhist country, locals are very sensitive to foreigners disrespecting Buddha images.

[Image via mckaysavage]

Traveler Q & A: Pavia Rosati

pavia rosatiPavia Rosati is the founder of Fathom, a recently debuted travel website. Fathom is smart and beautifully designed. It’s full of exciting short briefs about various destinations across the globe.

Rosati, as you’ll see from her answers below, is an experienced editor and an avid traveler. Her enthusiasm for Fathom’s subject matter is palpable and infectious. We love Fathom and can’t wait to see how it’s going to develop.

Q: Good day, Pavia Rosati, and welcome. How would you describe your occupation?

A: I am the founder and CEO of Fathom, a new travel website. It’s my job to help connect you to places and experiences you didn’t know you were going to love.

Q: Tell us about Fathom.

A: Fathom cuts through the clutter of the online travel space with stories and destination guides that are as practical as they are inspiring. People typically go to a travel website for one of two reasons: They know they’re going to London, and they need to know where to stay and what to do. Or they think, “I have two weeks off…I like nature…Where should I go?” Fathom addresses both needs through two main sections: Guides and Postcards. Guides have quick information about the basics: hotels, sites, restaurants, and itineraries. Postcards are inspiring travel stories organized around the passion points of travel with a “I Travel for the …” theme: I Travel for the Food, I Travel for the Thrill, I Travel for the Kids. We aren’t motivated by what’s expensive or what’s trendy. We’re interested in what’s special and what’s awesome. Sometimes that’s a three-Michelin star lunch at Le Meurice; sometimes it’s a five-euro falafel at L’As du Fallafel.

Q: What are you trying to do with Fathom that hasn’t been done by other travel sites?

A: I wanted to create the one-stop travel website that I could never find. You know how the best travel guide is the email you get from a friend who lives there, detailing what you need to do and know? That’s the spirit that motivates us. I used to spend 80 hours researching dozens of sites to boil my findings down to an essential nugget of information. Fathom aims to deliver that nugget. I don’t want to wade through a list of 200 shops in Buenos Aires; I want 20 that are amazing. I want to know what locals know. I want pre-edited links to the best articles, websites, and online resources. Perhaps most importantly, Fathom recommendations are not driven by a mega travel agency’s vast and impersonal database; our recommendations are personal and special.

Q: How do you anticipate Fathom developing? For example, will the city guides grow in number?

A: Absolutely. It’s a big world, and we want to get everywhere. Postcards are updated continually, and we will launch several new guides every month. Reader feedback will be critical: We’ve had a lot of requests for Amsterdam since launching, so look for that soon. We want more Postcards from Fathom readers, a community we call the travel-proud. This fall, we’ll launch Boutique, with our favorite travel products; Traveler Profiles, based on the popular Fathom Questionnaires; and My Itineraries, so readers can save the places they want to go.

Q: How did your decade at Daily Candy prepare you for this endeavor?

A: First and foremost, it’s where I met my partner, Jeralyn Gerba, Fathom’s editorial director. We had one priority at DailyCandy: We had to delight our readers every day. To achieve this, we had to be trustworthy, we had to recommend quality places, and we had to deliver information readers wanted in a way they wanted it. And it helped if we had a great time doing it. These are excellent editorial priorities. By the way, before DailyCandy, I spent four years running the Entertainment Channel at AOL. That taught me a thing or two about building and serving a big audience.Q: Enough shop talk. When you’re not traveling, you split your time between New York and London. Care to share a secret hometown place or activity in either metropolis?

A: My life tends to revolve around what’s in front of me at the dinner table. In New York City, the bar at Tocqueville feels like a hidden escape, and breakfast at Balthazar feels like homeroom. At the end of the day, I always want to eat everything on the menu at L’Artusi. In London, I love Del Parc in Tufnell Park (of all places!), where two men cook and serve delicious Spanish/North African small plates from a closet-sized kitchen in the middle of the tiny dining room. And I love Moro, but who doesn’t?

Q: What are your favorite places to travel?

A: Sometimes I travel to feel familiar in a foreign setting. I could spend every weekend at Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi Coast and never tire of it. Similarly, I lived in Paris in college, and going back is like visiting an old friend. Other times, I travel for the difference and the discovery. Recent revelations include desolate and dramatic Salta, in northwest Argentina, and Sri Lanka, where I spent an incredible day on Taprobane Island. I loved Syria, and I hope it can recover from its political tumult and be the great country it should be.

Q: Where are you planning to travel next? And where are you dying to go?

A: Oh, the never-ending list. The wish list for the next few months includes Lake Austin Spa, Bighorn Revelstoke, Cartagena, and Portugal’s Douro Valley. I was married last year and am hoping for an eventual honeymoon in Chile. It’s my great embarrassment that I’ve never been to Southeast Asia — Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Zambia. Shanghai and Hong Kong. I’m obsessed with the Canadian Maritime Provinces. And in case my husband reads this, yes, honey, I’m dying to go to Tokyo, too.

Q: Where do you have no interest in ever visiting?

A: Cuba. I think I missed it. Though if an opportunity presented itself, of course I’d go. I’m curious about everything.

Q: Give us a travel tip or secret. Or five.

A: 1. Never eat airplane food. 2. You won’t use 50 percent of the stuff you’re packing, so leave it at home. 3. Find a local market to get a real flavor for a place. 4. It’s easier to go away than you think it is. And it’s always worth it. 5. I watch the sunrise on the last morning of every trip I take. I’m not suggesting that you do this; I am suggesting that you invent a travel ritual that you can share with yourself everywhere you go.

Q: What’s next for Pavia Rosati?

A: More sunrises in new places, and sharing them on Fathom.

Did you enjoy this Q&A? Check out previous Gadling Q&As with travelers like Jodi Ettenberg, Zora O’Neill, and Philippe Sibelly.

[Image: Jimmy Gilroy]

India restarts ferry to Sri Lanka after 30 years of civil war

Sri Lanka, Scotia PrinceSri Lanka is still recovering after a long and brutal civil war that started in 1983 and only ended two years ago. The fight between Tamil separatists and the government left 100,000 people dead, many of them civilians, and there were accusations of war crimes on both sides. The government won and the island nation is now beginning to rebuild.

A sign of that rebuilding is the relaunching of passenger ferry service with India, which had been suspended for 30 years due to security concerns. The first boat left from Tuticorin in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu last night and arrived in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo this morning. The boat is called the Scotia Prince, can carry 1,000 passengers, and is fitted with a restaurant and casino. The Scotia Prince last hit the news when it rescued thousands of Indians and Sri Lankans from the war in Libya.

Flemingo International, the company running the India-Sri Lanka route, says their service will do two round-trip journeys a week and provides a cheaper alternative to flying. Travel to Sri Lanka has been increasing since the end of the civil war.

A second ferry will start soon, operated by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation.

[Image of Scotia Prince courtesy Rama]