USTOA Tour Operator Members Curate Astronomy-Inspired Itineraries

Chile Atacama Night Sky // Photo by USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association)

Tour operator members of USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association) have curated a collection of itineraries inspired by space travel and made for astronomy enthusiasts.

Here is an overview of what is offered:

In African Travel’s “Under the Kenyan Skies” tour, travelers can watch the stars in handcrafted beds overlooking the Kenya landscape. Guests will also check out two wildlife regions, Laikipia and Masai Mara, through game drives, guided walks, and community visits, plus they will visit foster elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Departures are available throughout 2019 starting at $10,295 per person. 

Avanti Destinations’ “Atacama Explorer & Space Observatory Star Gazing” itinerary takes travelers to Chile, spending three nights in Santiago and four nights in remote San Pedro de Atacama. The trip includes a Space Observatory Star Gazing Tour where guests will gaze at the skies above the Atacama Desert. Additional experiences include small group tours of the Valley of the Moon, the natural hot springs at Tatio Geyser, and Los Flamencos National Reserve to view flamingos. Departures are available throughout 2019 starting at $2,565 per person. 

Throughout the fall and winter seasons, the northern lights can be seen across Norway’s polar landscape. Hurtigruten takes travelers to see them on a 12-day cruise along the Norwegian coast, “Norway: The Roundtrip Cruise - Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen.” Guests will cruise and witness more than 100 fjords and 1,000 mountains with the option to join sea and land-based excursions. Departures are available October 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020 starting at $1,956 per person.  

The Aoraki MacKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is part of Alexander + Roberts’ “Spectacular New Zealand” trip, which takes travelers to places less traveled to see the southern constellations. The tour also includes a cruise through Lake Wakatipu and a 4WD journey into Middle Earth, one of the settings for the Lord of the Rings films, as well as meals at local farms and fruit orchards. Departures are available through March 23, 2020 starting at $6,199 per person.

Travel Impressions’ “Ultimate Winter Wonderland Tour” takes travelers to Fairbanks, Alaska, for Aurora Borealis viewing and to Anchorage via the Alaska Railroad. The seven-day trip includes visits to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, the Anchorage Museum, the Denali National Park and the Murie Science and Learning Center. Departures are available between February and March 2020. 

In other USTOA news, Malta has won the bid to host the company’s annual Out-of-Country Board Meeting in spring, 2020. The unanimous vote was announced by Board Chairman Dana Santucci, vice president, EF Institute for Cultural Exchange.

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