EL CERRITO, Calif. -- Mountain Travel Sobek expanded its range of
Latin American destinations to nine for 2003, with the addition of
a program to tiny Suriname on the northern coast of South America.
The adventure-travel company, which will celebrate its 30th
anniversary next year, notes several reasons why Central and South
America keeps growing.
"The region south of our border is perceived to be safe, and,
indeed, is so," said Robyn Gorman, director of marketing for
Mountain Travel Sobek.
With the Suriname program, the company is adding to its wildlife
and natural history/cultural encounters category.
"How could we resist a country whose Central Suriname Reserve --
a Unesco World Heritage site -- is the largest and most pristine
tropical reserve in the world?" Gorman said.
Three departures -- March 20, Aug. 28 and Oct. 16 -- are
scheduled for the eight-night tours, priced at $2,150 per person
for eight to 14 members; costs include accommodations in lodges,
two hotel nights and one night in a rainforest hammock camp.
Starting in the capital of Paramaribo, activities will include
jungle hikes and river floats by motorized dugout canoe to spot
giant otters, capuchin monkeys and scarlet macaws -- one of the
more than 400 species of birds in the region.
Suriname also features cultural attractions; in the Awara'an
region, participants will visit communities of the Saramaccans
people, hiking to examine medicinal plants of the rain forest and
enjoying an evening dance and music performance.
Mountain Travel Sobek's other additions for Central and South
America in 2003 include:
• River rafting and cultural encounters are features of the new,
seven-night Rio Upano program in Ecuador.
Departures are set for December and January, and again in
December 2003 and January 2004; costs start at $1,890.
The Rio Upano -- one of the headwaters of the Amazon -provides
elements for a classic river adventure, including a variety of
birdlife, cultural encounters, rapids and waterfalls.
Tours are accompanied by a local guide, who instructs guests on
the culture of the native Shuar people inhabiting riverside
villages along the route.
• For 2003, the company will offer 32 departures of its 10-night
Galapagos Islands and Ecuador program throughout the year, except
The centerpiece of the itinerary is the seven-night Galapagos
cruise, which is operated with seven yachts, chartered by the
company, accommodating eight to 16 passengers.
"Our passengers like the small-yacht experience," said Gorman,
"for it gives them a chance not only to anchor off small coves and
sea kayak, swim, snorkel and take naturalist-guided walks, but to
enjoy air-conditioned cabins with private bath and showers."
Priced from $3,395 per person, double, the cruises, Gorman said,
are particularly suited to and popular with families and groups of
• In Central America, the firm offers the Kayaking the San Blas
Islands of Panama tour.
Participants fly from Panama City to remote Tigre Island, where
they board sea kayaks for a week of paddling, snorkeling, visiting
Kuna villages and camping on unhabited beaches.
Previous kayaking experience is highly recommended.
These trips operate in December and January; the last departure
this year is Dec. 27. Prices start at $2,190, plus $300 for charter
For more information, call (888) 687-6235 or visit www.mtsobek.com.