Colombian Andes
Debbie Jordan

Staff Picks: Our Experts Share Their Favorite Trips

Staff Picks: Our Experts Share Their Favorite Trips

Apr 30, 2020|Where we travelHolbrook in the Field| by Holbrook Travel

From the rainforests of Costa Rica to the plains of Tanzania, we’re reminiscing about our favorite places to travel and dreaming about the day we can return. Our travel specialists share just a few of the itineraries they love and what makes each one so special.

Costa Rica | Experiential Learning in the Osa Peninsula & Cordillera de Talamanca

“You get to work with dolphins. How cool is that?”
recommended by Kristen Buckley

I love this trip because: you get to travel to Golfo Dulce on the South Pacific Coast and work with dolphins. How cool is that?! You will be able to collect data, take photographs of the dolphins for identification, and monitor animal behavior. There’s also a hands-on opportunity to work on a local farm and learn about sustainability practices. This program encompasses an experiential learning approach, and did I mention—dolphins!

One highlight of this itinerary is: seeing how chocolate is made! During a visit to Finca Kobo, you learn how cacao beans are fire-roasted, cracked, crushed, ground to paste, and then tempered multiple times.  I was amazed at the process—I never realized how much is involved. There is so much behind that bar of chocolate!

Target species you might see include: Resplendent Quetzal, American crocodile, bottlenose dolphin, and pantropical spotted dolphin.

Tanzania | Signature Wildlife Safari

“We saw all of the Big 5 within 48 hours!”
recommended by Stefanie Plein

I love this trip because: it provides optimal, intimate wildlife-viewing opportunities. The tented camps in the Central and North Serengeti let you sleep in the middle of the bush with the sounds of hyenas, lions, and zebras right outside your doorstep. From watching the wildebeest cross the Mara River, to cheetahs hunting, to lions mating, you will witness wild Tanzania.

Some of my favorite memories are: visiting a local Maasai village, interacting with villagers, and learning about their way of life. At Ngorongoro Crater, our group spotted both a very rare caracal and serval. I also watched a wildebeest barely escape a crocodile as it was crossing the Mara River. I was the only one in the group to cheer!

Target species you might see include: The “Big 5”! We saw them all— lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and Cape buffalo—within 48 hours in the Serengeti.

Colombia | Birding the Central Andes | A Flyway Expedition

“I’ve never seen so many Blue-grey Tanagers in all my life!”
recommended by Jen Hajj

I love this trip because: it is built to highlight and support the relationships between local conservation efforts and the international conservation work of National Audubon. Because this area has such diversity and so many endemics, it is important for communities to find ways to live sustainably. This itinerary visits places where these conservation efforts are underway, and introduces you to the people who are fighting to preserve these special places.

One highlight of this itinerary is: the high-altitude páramo and its bizarre, specially adapted plants and animals. It feels a little bit like another world. The hillsides around Manizales are so steep and so thick with vegetation, they seem almost too close together and a little bit unreal. And of course, what birder can resist the possibility of seeing hundreds of species of birds on a single trip?

Target species you might see include: Buffy Helmetcrest and Masked Saltator, and you might get up-close and personal with a Little Tinamou.

North Spitsbergen: In Search of Polar Bears & Pack Ice Aboard M/V Hondius

“This trip, this experience, is SO on my bucket list!”
recommended by Sandy Schmidt

I love this trip because: one of my more far-reaching dreams has been to witness life in the Arctic Circle. I have always been a huge fan of nature documentaries—inevitably getting goose-bumps and misty eyes during the screening. To see the majestic polar bears beyond a video screen, to feel the freezing temperatures and hear the crash of ice and splash of the bears as they go about their daily routines is SO on my bucket list!

One highlight of this itinerary is: the absolute stunning and critical wildlife found within the Arctic Circle. During the northernmost point of your voyage, you will reach 80° north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole!

Target species you might see include: polar bears, of course, but also fin whales, ringed and bearded seals, walruses, dolphins, and incredible sea birds.