Dear Advisor Partners,

Have your friends ever looked at you like you are a lost puppy when you say something that just sounds foreign? Well, I was that puppy. Last summer, my colleague, Courtney, and our friend Leigh had an idea to stream content live from various locations. We tried it and so far so good. As we all know today, that is Zoom. But then Courtney chimed in and said, “No, that’s Twitch!”

Of course, I knew what Twitch was but I saw it as primarily a gaming platform. Yet, it never occurred to me that it would make an ideal platform for streaming live travel content. Fast forward a year and many live streams later… It turned out to be a great idea.

Big Five TV launched a Live on Location stream last year, beginning with the pilot Live with Five Junior, a philanthropic gaming stream for kids, which was followed by Tasting Here and There stream. These streams feature extraordinary people, who have a passion for sharing their countries and their cultures with you. You can meet them on our Faces of Five.

Live on Location streams have taken viewers around the globe into the local neighborhoods in Cairo; to the remote ruins in historic Cusco; down hidden streets in the walled city of Cartagena; to explore the biodiversity of a cloud forest in Costa Rica; up an active volcano erupting in Guatemala; and into a favorite bookstore just outside Buenos Aires.

Tasting Here and There focuses on small restaurants, cafes and pubs in locations from old town Cusco to the walled city of Cartagena. The stream shines a spotlight on locally owned establishments that usually  serve few international patrons. Big Five TV is opening that door, showcasing even the smallest restaurants and their signature dishes, from a gourmet lunch and handmade ice cream to a uniquely flavored take on a burger, fries and a milkshake.

“As seen on TV” has a dynamic new meaning. Check out Big Five TV streaming on Twitch, And, bring your lost puppy sense of wonder. I still do!

Dear Advisor Partners,

If a rock moves in Peru and nobody is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? That question has plagued our great philosophers for generations. Ok maybe not them, however, it has perplexed me. Physics and plate tectonics says that rock will move, and apparently there is a sound. More importantly, I am sure I am not the first person to ask this. Well, turns out I’m not. The Incas seemed to have asked this same question centuries ago, and our very one Peru guide extraordinaire, Cris Vera, set out to find an answer.

Cris spent the last few months on various hiking trails, some part of the renowned Inca Trail, and all of them way off the beaten track. Surprisingly, they are all within a few hours drive of Cusco to the starting point. Here are some of the places Cris explored: 

  • Huaccoto is a 90-minute drive from Cusco to the Huaccoto Community, the starting point at an elevation of 12,400 feet. This trail amazingly ends right at an exclusive farm we use for Big Five guests, built on Sacred Ground.
  • Tecsecocha’s Farallon offers a shorter 45-minute drive to the starting point in the Southwest hills of Cusco towards Ccorca, 12,600 feet. Hike on an out-of-this-world, stone-paved section of the Inca Trail down to the Community of Ccorca, 11,500 feet, where Inca burials are remain intact.
  • Apu Wanakaure is another 90-minute drive from Cusco to the starting point at 12.400 feet. Warm up hike up to the top of Wanakaure peak for stunning views of the Valley of Cusco and the mountains. Best part is you descend on the original Ritual Inca Trail back into the city on a three and a half hour hike.

So do the rocks make noise? Yes, they do. In this video meet one person who is listening… Cris.

To explore Peru’s secret paths, begin with President’s Pick Hidden Trails of Peru.

Dear Advisor Partners,

Have you wondered why you do what you do? Of course you have… we all have. But how many of you got an answer you were satisfied with? Or, did you stop at the first answer you reached?

Last year and the start of 2021 actually screamed that answer from the top of every mountain. All we needed to do was listen. And that will continue. The team at Big Five have believed in Simon Sinek’s theory of why for quite a while now, including the belief that every person and every company has a higher purpose. Check the very last page of our latest Navigator Series® Edition IV to see what we mean.

The travel engine is starting to move again in stages. One of the items we share at Big Five is that our why will not be forgotten as we begin moving forward. Rather, it will be amplified, centered around our commitments to sustainable travel, and to getting those who rely on tourism around the world back to work so they can begin providing for their families again through distinctive experiences – walking safaris in Kenya conservancies, supporting women run cafes in Egypt, weaving communities in Peru, and our latest, replanting red mangroves during your catamaran adventure in Colombia. All of these activities are designed with purpose in mind, or, should I say, responsibility. You never quite get over the smile on the face of someone who you helped to provide for his or her family using the skills they offer the world. And their pride at being able to share it with international visitors in an authentic way. Read more about our catamaran experience here.

To learn more about our favorite experiences, check out our President’s Picks, with some of our favorite out-of-the-box experiences. Whenever someone asks the team at Big Five why we do what we do, we show them this video and answer, “That’s why.”

Dear Advisor Partners,

Where did civilization begin? I used to have the answer down cold from my history books in grade school and university. And I used to recite it as factual data fact because, well, I was in the nerd crowd in school. Then something amazing happened during my travels. I began to question my history books and delve deeper… And you know, I am so glad I did.

Did the Romans really learn to mummify from the Peruvians as I learned in Northern Peru and at the Field Museum in Chicago? Did the Nile River that flows through Egypt really source from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and converge near Khartoum Sudan, where my mother was born?

Where did it all begin? The one true answer perhaps will continue evading us as new theories emerge from different parts of the world. But we have to start somewhere, and Egypt is a good place to begin. I remember my first visit there as a teenager. A math nerd, I was enamored by the geometric shapes, the acute angles, the perfect construction and, oh, the legends.

What kept me fascinated with Egypt, however, was not the pyramids. It was the history of queens in ancient Egypt and the power they commanded right up until the Cleopatra VIII, who ruled until 30 BCE during the Ptolomaic Dynasty.

Fast forward to present day and you see that a gender gap exists in many countries around the globe. Outside the tourist space, Egypt is no exception. But tourism creates one in six jobs, and it remains the largest employer of women in Egypt. Here our guests discover one of our favorite experiences with my Egyptian soul sister, Farah, who is one of the bright minds in the country. Gaining valuable experience with the United Nation in post education, Farah now takes Big Five guests on a unique exploration of the city revealing it through local people and the local scene of cafes, restaurants and shops.

While Farah is introducing our travelers to the non-tourist side of Cairo, she is also doing the inverse. She is exposing local women working in the small businesses around the city to an international culture, using tourism to empower these micro entrepreneurs and propel them forward.

Egypt… come see where it all began, and meet Farah, Manal, Wafika, and the other great personalities that are ready to tell you their stories. Consider this extraordinary exploration President’s Pick Heritage Journey in Time & Place. Until then, please enjoy our new video!



P.S. We have all our testing protocols in place as we do in our other online destinations. In Egypt, your departure Covid test is done in the comfort of your hotel. Ask us if you need more information.

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