Grandtravel continues to find new ways for the two generations it serves – grandparents and grandchildren – to bond through the experience of travel, sharing unique adventures amidst unusual cultures and locales. Two offerings that certainly fulfill these requirements are the 11-day trip to the Galápagos, first offered last year, and Grandtravel’s newest itinerary: New Zealand – a 14-day exploration of the land known for its stunning scenery and incredible diversity of activities. Both trips offer an abundance of activities, local interaction and cultural exploration to grandtravelers, and conveniently scheduled during the grandchildren’s summer vacations.

Zorbing (rolling downhill in giant inflated ball) is reserved for grandchildren while grandparents might be interested in the hot mineral pools of the Polynesian Spa on the new 14-day “New Zealand” adventure, whereas boogie boarding down giant sand dunes is just one of dozens of shared experiences. New Zealand, known as the land of legend, and for many grandchildren, home to the Hobbits of Lord of the Rings fame, offers many possibilities. And although the Hobbits are not likely to be seen, other activities include full-day tours of orchards, farmland, forests and long beautiful beaches in 4X4 Dune Riders; digging for shellfish along Cape Reinga, a sacred Maori peninsula; learning to sail aboard the “Pride of Auckland yacht; walking the 120-yard transparent tunnel in Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World in the morning and seeing penguins frolic in the ice packs of McMurdo Sound in the afternoon; skiing in July; and riding the Skyline Luge at the top of Bob’s Peak. Fares for the July 24, 2008 departure are $6,995 for adults; $5,680 (triple) and $6,750 (double) for kids.

A seven-night cruise aboard the 48-passenger Eclipse, part of the 11-day itinerary to the Galápagos Islands, where Charles Darwin’s five-week stay helped form his subsequent theory of evolution — offers views of active volcanoes, centuries-old tortoises, playful sea lions, blue- and red-footed boobies, Galápagos penguins, large marine iguanas and abundant plant life, much of which is found nowhere else on Earth. Highlights include snorkeling among the penguins and sea lions, hikes on several of the islands for up close views of the unique wildlife, and learning about preservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Departing July 17 and July 31, 2008 and costing $6,995 per person, double, the tour also spends two nights in Quito, Ecuador‘s capital, exploring the Old City, founded in 1534; visiting the Equatorial Monument, where grandtravelers can stand in both hemispheres at the same time; taking a gondola up to 13,800 feet for spectacular views of Quito, is surrounding mountains and valley; and dining on traditional Ecuadorian specialties.

All Grandtravel tours combine the enriching experience of travel with the lifelong building block of education through hands-on adventures while focusing on the bond between the two generations. Prices include deluxe or best available accommodations with private bath, most meals, transportation, admission to all scheduled attractions and events, en route activities for children, pre-departure guidance, the services of a professional tour manager, a Grandtravel Activity Director (always an experienced educator or youth counselor), and service charges and hotel taxes.

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