Trek Talk - ElderTreks Blog


Top Tours for 2017

Make the most of the upcoming year by planning ahead and booking some of the top new and returning adventures. We’ve lined up the most popular tours for you so you can get some travel inspiration for the new year.

Here are the top small-group tours for 2017:

Rwanda & Tanzania

Rwanda & Tanzania offer the best possible combination of incredible wildlife encounters and cultural experiences. This 15-day itinerary is a shorter combination of two of our popular African tours – Kenya & Tanzania and Uganda & Rwanda. If you’re a wildlife-lover at all, you will LOVE this tour.

Lions, Tigers & Leopards of India

This may be the grandest wildlife adventure anywhere for those who are lovers of the BIG CATS - lions, tigers, and leopards!

India is not typically known for having lions, as they are normally associated with an African safari. Lions at one time roamed from southern Africa all the way to India. That band no longer exists and today lions typically roam only south of the Sahara in south and east Africa. There is, however, a small pocket in northwestern India where lions still roam in the wild. This remote and seldom-visited region features Gir National Park where we will search for the rare Asian Lion. This 20-day itinerary will also offer visits to New Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jawai Dam and the famous Ramtek Temples. It's the perfect mix of wildlife and culture.

Malta & Sicily

With Sicily’s natural wonders and architectural gems, and Malta’s impressive landscape and rugged life, these two Mediterranean islands showcase a blend of rich culture, architecture, and history. Explore the splendors of the Mediterranean on this 14-day itinerary. There’s nothing quite like Europe in September, and we are so excited to bring a little bit of unique Western Europe to our ElderTrekkers!


The lush island of Sumatra, fifth largest in the world, is one of Indonesia's most important islands and perhaps its most beautiful. With its many tribes, cultures, wildlife reserves, jungles, rivers, spectacular waterfalls and crater lakes, the island is a joy for any traveler interested in natural beauty and diverse cultures. It is a truly extraordinary destination with its remarkable wealth of sights and sounds, all set within some of the most beautiful landscapes to be seen anywhere. One of the highlights of the Sumatra tour is visiting the endangered Sumatran Rhino, where little to no other tour groups go.


As cold as Iceland can be, it never seems to cool off the hot-list! On this trip, you will explore the rugged beauty of this North Atlantic island nation. For most people, the name Iceland conjures up little more than snow and ice. But it is much more than ice - in its sagas, puffins, glaciers, fjords, active volcanoes, lava fields and hot springs, you'll find the perfect blend of nature, culture, and history.

Patagonia Trekking & Wildlife

Experience Patagonia's most stunning panoramas by vehicle, by boat and during spectacular hikes. What makes this trip different from our Patagonia Hiking trip is a much greater focus on wildlife, in search of feral horses, the elusive puma, humpback whales, and penguins. Our 18-day active adventure travels through one of the planet's wildest spaces.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is like no other place on earth - culturally rich and geographically remote, with some of the most stunning scenery anywhere. Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally interesting places on earth, with many of its tribal people following a traditional lifestyle. This adventure has been designed to experience the villages and people of Papua New Guinea. In order to do this, we visit a number of local villages and we overnight in one village. Papua New Guinea is the perfect place for the adventure traveler who's been almost everywhere!


Where do you most want to travel? Comment below!

- November 23, 2016

Malta & Sicily

Malta & Sicily are two European gems in the Mediterranean Sea that offer incredible views, architecture, food and culture. As ElderTreks gears up to take its first small group of travelers on this European sojourn, we go through some of the amazing highlights of these two Mediterranean gems. So in no particular order, here are what we think will stand out for you when you visit Malta and Sicily in a small group.

1.   The Blue Grotto

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think crystal clear azure waters are stunningly beautiful. As soon as you hop in the traditional boats and are taken out to the blue grotto, you will be amazed at the contrast between the rocks and the waters. You will weave in and out of sea caverns, admiring the blue that sparkles from the sun’s rays. It's a stunning highlight of Malta, one that you don't want to miss.

2.   Archeological sites in Sicily

Sicily is full of incredible archeological sites, and if you are a history buff, you are sure to love the variety and excellent shape the ancient ruins are in. You should visit Selinunte, Valley of the Temples, and Siracusa. Some of these ruins are the best-kept Greek temples (even better than those in Greece). 

3.   Sweeping Views

Erice is a town in the Trapani region of Sicily, which is still fortified on the outside but offers stunning and sweeping views of the land and the sea. In addition to its views, Erice serves up some delicious almond biscuits. So don’t forget to grab one as you stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the tiny shops and restaurants. The best way to get to the top of Erice is by cable car, affording you incredible views of the sea and land, and of course, a very fun experience.

4.   Mt. Etna

Volcanoes never cease to fascinate and amaze travelers, and Mt. Etna is no exception. It’s Europe’s highest and most active volcano. It has been erupting on and off since 2001. If you aren’t heading there soon, or just want to keep an eye on the active volcano, check out the live feed here.

5.   Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is always a no-brainer, and Sicily offers lots of opportunities to try and taste local wines and liquors. Marsala wine is well known and made in (where else!) Marsala, Sicily. You may have tried some before in popular Italian dishes, as it's often used for cooking (think: Veal or Chicken Marsala).

6.   Fishing village of Marsaxlokk

One of the most charming villages on the island of Malta is the small fishing village called Marsaxlokk. Its market is full of little stalls with locals selling trinkets and souvenirs like intricate lace fabrics, art glass, or traditional filigree (silver jewelry).

You can also find the traditional colorful boats – called Iuzzu. It’s a great spot to take photos.

7.   The Grand Harbour

This is one of the most stunning areas in all of Valetta. The best views of the Grand Harbour are normally seen from a ship or boat in the harbor, but one of the public gardens or across the way in one of the 3 cities. The Grand Harbour, or il-Port il-Kbir in Maltese, is a natural Harbour which helped the island gain significance in its military and commercial endeavors. 

8.   The Food

Sicilian food is, of course, similar to mainland Italy but also features a lot of seafood, including sardines grilled on an open flame, head on and all. The Mediterranean diet is widely followed, but you will still find delicious deep-fried treats like arancini (risotto balls). Yum! 

9.   Gozo Island

Gozo Island is a nearby island that offers gorgeous beaches, salt beds, bumpy hills and a much quieter Maltese experience. The best way to explore this area is by 4x4, where you can feel the sea breeze on your face as you drive through the hilly, desert-like landscape. It’s a refreshing break from the busy Valetta. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh sea salt to bring back home with you.

10.      Markets

Both Sicily & Malta have incredible markets, and they are worth exploring to see how locals buy their fresh meat, produce, and local delicacies. Markets in Palermo are loud, crowded and pushy, where the scents of fish and dirt from the veggies just dug up linger in the air, but watching the nonnas carry their baskets and manoeuver through the throngs of people is well worth the busy experience. Maltese markets are similar, but the lace products and Maltese cross souvenirs will shake things up a bit. There is nothing quite like a market visit to really understand the local people and culture.


Can’t wait to explore Malta & Sicily now? Check out our brand NEW Malta & Sicily 14-day trip here

- November 21, 2016

Proudly celebrating our 30th year, ElderTreks is once again happy to announce the beginning of our annual Early Bird Discount Sale. From November 24th until December 16th, over 100 departures have been discounted. If you've been thinking about a tour or have been waiting for this sale, now is your chance. Remember though, spaces DO fill up during our sale, so don't wait until December 16th if you wish to guarantee your space. Discounted prices can be found online. BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.

Already booked on our of our discounted departures? Good news! To guarantee that you don't mss out, the discount amount will be retroactively applied to your balance.


ElderTreks New 2017/2018 Catalogue

We are also pleased to announce that our NEW 2017/18 catalogue is finalized! Currently it's available on the ElderTreks website for download, and it has already started arriving in some mailboxes. If you're already on our mailing list, you will automatically receive our new catalogue shortly. In these pages, you will see the new trips for 2017 & 2018.:

Lions, Tigers & Leopards of India
Malta & Sicily
Patagonia Trekking & Wildlife
Rwanda & Tanzania


- November 17, 2016

Top Travel Apps

Travel has completely changed due to the growth of technology and applications. There are numerous awesome travel apps that have made exploring the world a whole lot easier. Forget calculators, expensive phone calls home, or struggling with languages in your guide books - there's an app for that! Read on for ElderTreks' top travel apps.

XE Currency App

XE Currency

XE is hands down the best currency exchange website and app out there. You can convert different currencies on the go once you've downloaded the app. You can set the specific currencies you'll be using in the app and even easily convert when you’re not on wifi or data. No more wondering if you're getting a good deal at the market or at a local shop!

XE Currency Mobile App 

Google Translate App

Google Translate

It's pretty much a given that you won't speak every single language of the countries you travel to (unless you're a genius, and if so please teach us your linguistic ways!). Google Translate comes in handy, translating 103 different languages with a connection and 52 without. It's not perfect by any means, but it's definitely better than attempting to act out your desires or fumbling around in a guide book for the perfect phrase. 

Google Translate App


Skype has been a common application for travelers and family members with relatives abroad for years. It's an easy to use video conferencing program that also has a great instant messaging option. You can also pay for credits to use Skype just like a normal phone, and as long as the internet connection is decent, your conversations are too. There's nothing like being able to see your loved ones from far away or getting the chance to show them the beauty that surrounds you (like the coffee shop wherever you're stealing wifi from!).

Skype Mobile App


Whats App App

What’s App

What’s App is one of the world’s top messaging apps. It functions just like text-messaging, just without the huge roaming charges. You can use it over data but most importantly over wifi. You can send photos, texts and voice recordings over the app and you can keep in touch with those at home, but also the new friends you meet on the road. It's an easy way to contact home. Just make sure to set it up before you leave with the numbers you need.

What's App Mobile App

One Day App

Day One

There's nothing quite like putting pen to paper for keeping a travel journal - that is until you meet Day One. Day One is an online journal app that is unbelievably powerful. Not only can you write down your daily thoughts and keep track of your travels, you can add photos, maps and even the weather! The simple interface makes it easy to use and nice to look at. The other great thing is you can keep multiple journals so you can make travel specific ones or ones for the day to day at home too.

Day One Mobile App


Do you use any apps on your phone? Which ones are your favorites? Comment below!



Amanda Dunning - November 10, 2016

Sumatran Rhino


The first ElderTreks group to experience our new and improved Sumatra itinerary just got back from a once in a lifetime experience – meeting the Sumatran Rhino.

The Sumatran rhino is now living in small populations on the island, but was originally found in Bhutan, Myanmar, and other parts of Asia. They are the smallest of the living rhinoceroses but are quickly becoming extinct. Poaching is a major threat to the species, and there are now only 100 left in the world. These rhinos birth only one calf at a time, usually every 3-4 years, and they live till they're approximately 35-40. ElderTreks is passionate about helping rebuild the species by investing in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary and bringing the endangerment of the Sumatran rhino to the forefront of the world’s attention.

Here is Tour Leader Claudio’s take on the group meeting the endangered creatures:

“I'm glad to report we have successfully visited the SRS (Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary) this morning. All 12 members plus Eddie and myself, managed to visit Harapan at his feeding session. He was very curious and approached the fence within 4 feet of our group so they got a really good view of this rhino. We spent 1 hr. there at the SRS with Dr Zulfi and he was kind enough to come to the Eco Lodge tonight to answer all our questions. Plus he made an excellent presentation including a projector for video and pictures. It was like having our group's very own NatGeo experience... They loved it.”

Here are some photos from the experience.

Sumatran Rhino


Sumatran Rhino

Do you want to experience these rhinos up close and personal? Join us on our 20-Day Sumatra tour. With its many tribes, cultures, wildlife reserves, jungles, rivers, spectacular waterfalls and crater lakes, the island is a joy for any traveller interested in natural beauty and diverse cultures.



Amanda Dunning - November 07, 2016

This week's Guest Blogger Leselyanne Ryan shares her stories from the Northwest Passage.

The search for the Northwest Passage has claimed countless lives and ships throughout the centuries, but now, a receding ice pack and steel hulls make the transit possible. In September, 2016, I had the opportunity to sail the Northwest Passage from Kugluktuk, Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. These photos are just a taste of what the Arctic has to offer.

Photo 1: We made the transit aboard the Ocean Endeavour. We had 156 passengers on board, most of whom were from Canada. 

Ocean Endeavour

Photo 2: The Arctic tundra preserves everything. An archeologist on our cruise spoke of picking spear tips up off the ground that were thousands of years old.

Arctic Tundra

Photo 3: The cruise was a voyage through a part of Canadian history that so few of us have had a chance to experience. Here, at Fort Ross, was the last trading outpost built by the Hudsons Bay Company. It operated for eleven years, closing in 1948 because heavy ice was making it difficult to resupply. 

Fort Ross

Photo 4: The Franklin Expedition spent its first winter on Beechey Island in 1845/46. The first three graves were men from the expedition who likely died from consumption. The fourth was a sailor from the HMS Investigator, one of the many ships sent to search for Franklin. 

Franklin Expedition

Photo 5: We spied three polar bears, including this playful female.

Polar Bear

Photo 6: Arctic Bay, Baffin Island was our first stop into a northern community.

Arctic Bay, Baffin Island

Photo 7: We were slowed by some inclement weather, but rather than dampen our spirit, it was a reminder of the adverse conditions that they early explorers had to face. For them, it was life and death. For us, it was “oh, the hot tub isn’t open?”

Inclement Arctic Weather

Photo 8: Our first glimpse of Greenland.


Photo 9: The coast of Greenland was full of magnificent icebergs.

Coast of Greenland

Photo 10: We made a stop into the picturesque Greenland community of Upernavik.


Photo 11: A highlight on the cruise was the visit to the Ilulissat Icefjord. The fjord is 40 km long and choked with ice that has calved off the Jakobshavn Glacier, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere.

Ilulissat Icefjord

Photo 12: A zodiac cruise along the edge of the Icefjord. The vast majority of these bergs will find their way to Iceberg Alley off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Zodiac Cruise

Photo 13: At the end of the 190 km long Kangerlussuaq fjord, we paid a visit to the Greenland Ice Cap.

Greenland Ice Cap

Photo 14: The spectacular Arctic sunsets last a long time.

Arctic Sunsets

Photo 15: On our last night, we got a call that the northern lights had finally made an appearance.

Northern Lights

Photo 16: We disembarked in Greenland, but a few days later, I was able to snap a pic of the ship entering The Narrows in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Narrows Newfoundland


Lesleyanne Ryan is a retired veteran and author who lives in St. John’s. The complete travel tale of her experience in the Northwest Passage can be found at

Want to be a guest blogger? Learn more here.

Lesleyanne Ryan - November 01, 2016

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