Navigator Series

Custom Luxury Tours and Expeditions

Navigator Series – For those who want more than the everyday, the tried-and-true, the expected, the Navigator Series is for you!   It is a deliberate departure from the ordinary in favor of the world of the possible, of exploration, of personal discovery.   Beyond sets of itineraries, the Navigator Series is designed to help you customize the dream vacation of a lifetime  to Africa, Central and South America, Asia, the Orient or, maybe the South Pacific.  We designed the layout to allow for easy selection based on your interests.  Use this as an idea resource, a reference tool that allows you to explore fully your own interests. This makes it even easier to customize every journey. Our goal always is to provide vacations that reach beyond the characteristic luxury journeys our guests expect from us.  We hope you will be inspired as you browse our site; or view the Navigator Series book online.  You can also order your own copy via our “Brochure Order Form” icon under the Contact section above.


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Navigator Series Tours

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China Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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I spent the morning haunting the edges of the long trenches, mesmerized by the most unique army ever assembled – this army of clay. Xian’s soldiers, horses and chariots – more than 8,000 – were buried with the first emperor of China to serve as his protectors. Rows upon rows of figures, some broken and headless, many restored to full form, had returned from the grave after more than 2,200 years beneath the earth. My focus was broken by a giggle. I turned to see a petite girl about four years old looking at me with both glee and trepidation with her parents behind her. Although they spoke no English, their request was clear. Her father held a camera and motioned with a smile that they would like to take my picture with their daughter. I smiled and nodded. I stooped down to be eye level with this bright-faced child. After a moment, we were giggling, and she shyly put her hand in mine. I am used to playing photographer, not subject. The parents bowed their thank you and the girl waved as they walked away. I turned back to the clay wondering what she would tell her children about the foreigner in the photo.

Chile Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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I was surprised to see that the ice in Patagonia is blue. Patagonia’s Southern Ice Fields reveal themselves in lakes, canals and fjords. The scenery is a canvas of continually contrasting lights and shadows, where the mountains run into a sea that is dotted with islands. The land is furrowed yet nearly smooth as the winds and glaciers continue their slow work of pulverizing rocks, plowing out valleys and immense canals. Legendary navigators such as Ladrillero, Darwin and Fitz Roy came here long ago. I wonder if they saw the same blue ice chunks floating in the waters, glowing like a child’s nightlight?

Brazil Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s):

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I arrived in Rio at the same time Brazil was headed to the World Cup finals. I happened upon a city obsessed. Cheers and shouts emanated from every window as I walked down streets. Brazilian flags hung on streamers, were draped from buildings and decorated windows and doorways. And, every kid on the street seemed to be wearing a green, blue and yellow jersey. The atmosphere in the city was electric. Impromptu street parties erupted and at night music was everywhere. My visit was short, just a few days, and over that time, my agenda was tossed aside since businesses closed early or did not open at all, and nearly every person’s attention was focused on football. I met people, like the young lawyer who insisted not only in buying me a drink but invited me to join his family for dinner. I learned early in my travels that each journey evolves as it will, regardless of my intentions. When I am open to each bend in the road, I am enriched beyond measure.

Bolivia Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s):

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The fatness seems infinite. The salt surface is splintered with low ridges of salt that divide the top layer into white cell-like formations. Like the deserts of my childhood, this is a land of mirages, of shimmering lakes and islands that appear then vanish in a blink. Cones of salt dot the surface in some areas. In shallow salt pools gather pale flamingos. Aymara legend says the Salar was formed by a woman whose tears mixed with milk. It tells the story of the surrounding mountains – Tunupa, Kusku and Kusina, who were ancient giant people. Tunupa married Kusku, but Kusku ran away from her with Kusina. A grieving Tunupa began to cry while feeding her son and those are the tears that made the Salar.

Argentina & Paraguay Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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Palatial, luxe, historic… One of the genuine joys of travel is discovering the delightfully eccentric and unexpected. Be prepared to be transported to another era as you step inside this bookstore. Yes, a place of books, but wait. You will be awed by this unique and delicious bookstore. This incredible edifice in Buenos Aires began life in 1919 as a beautiful theater designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol. The astonishing interior is everything you’d expect in a once-lavish theater – gold gilt, red velvet curtains draped across a stage, architectural details including lovely murals on the domed ceiling. It simply must be one of the most glam settings for the thousands of books that crowd the shelves from the mezzanine to the upper balconies.

South Africa Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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The South Africa I first met had no single face or form, no one posture or personality. I found it in the sweetness of a grape, in the voice of the wind off the cape, in the smile of a young Xhosa girl, and in the deep-throated growl of the leopard. She is big city jazz and tinny tunes from village huts. She was fashioned from the Kalahari’s great, rolling mounds of sand, the random coasts awash with shipwrecks, the lushness of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and, of course, her wild heart.

Namibia Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Few sights stir my spirit more than a star-filled, open sky at night. In places like the Namib Desert, you can slip away from lights and find a spot with unrestricted views and settle in. To me, it’s a magic show. I had a slim cot that sat about a foot above the ground that I would take to the end of my dirt driveway with nothing but wild desert across the street. I’d stretch out and watch the night tell her story. Her mood was reflected in the colors – from light purple and mauve to dark blue and then midnight blue-black. I thought the Milky Way was a seam in the universe, stuffed with leftover light, maybe to be used later to create more stars. Often, I fell asleep. My dad came out to check on me, and would carry me back inside. Namibia’s sky is comfortably familiar, different but familiar with altered constellations. But the Milky Way is still there with its overstuffed seam. I half expect to see my dad come to check on me.

Morocco Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel

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I slip away from camp and walk toward the night. The stars grow bold out of the horizon as the evening sands soft as rabbit’s fur flow around my ankles with each step, cool as silk. The Sahara moon splashes over the dunes, casting traceable shadows beneath the sparse bushes as stars form a dome edge to edge. Nature’s night lights hang close enough for me to pluck out of the sky and tuck into my pocket.

Australia Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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The walk at night is pure magic. A mist is settling in as I listen to a chorus of voices – the insistent buzzing, a random owl’s screech, water drops hitting fat leaves and the sound of my own feet stepping over a tangle of roots. I give a small yelp as I stumble over something my flashlight failed to warn me about. This forest has a tale to tell as old as the Earth itself, and still makes a home for the descendants of primitive plants. Thick vines twist like rope as they climb trees. Large ferns brush against my pant leg as I pass. A bright round eye is captured by my guide’s flashlight. A Boyd’s forest dragon, he tells me, as it disappears around the back of the tree trunk. I love the idea that there are still dragons in the world.

Indonesia Including Borneo & Malaysia Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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As we drive out of Penang, we stop at the Snake Temple, constructed in 1875. It honors a Buddhist monk, Chor Soo Kong, who was said to have great healing powers and he sheltered snakes. Legends claim that when the temple was completed, snakes entered and never left. We walked passed a large, gold-colored incense burner, thin smoke from newly lit incense sticks carried the familiar heavy scent on the air. We removed our shoes before entering. Branches fashioned into the shape of trees and planted in tall vases that look like umbrella stands, are festooned with snakes coiled around and on top of each other. All alive but languid. The green, black and yellow snakes, we’re told, are pit vipers. Very poisonous, they warn. In the Main Prayer Hall, smoke from the incense fills the space that some people claim paralyzes the snakes. In a bowl are eggs – food for them. It’s said that the snakes eat at night and have never once bitten a person. Worshipers call the snakes officers of the deity and regard them as both holy and harmless. As we leave the temple, I think about my own concept of holy.

Myanmar Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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It’s about six in the morning, in the golden glow of early light, and they come. The Buddhist monks and novices empty onto the narrow streets, and as is the custom, the distinctive red robes are purposefully arranged over both shoulders. Traditionally, the monks from very young boys to the tall and slender older men line up in order of their seniority by ordination date. Barefoot and single file, the monks joined nuns begin their ritual walk through the village with their offering bowls, seeking alms. An older woman stands quietly on the side of the road, waiting. As each person passes, she wordlessly scoops out a spoonful of rice from her pan and gently, reverently spoons it into each bowl. This sacred exchange has been reenacted daily for some 2,500 years. The Buddha believed the monks and nuns should not cook their own food. They should be free of worldly tasks so they would have to depend on the generosity of others, and therefore remain humble.

Sri Lanka Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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Connections here are personal. Imagine stopping at the little house of Ms. Rasanjali, who smiles and waves you into her traditional kitchen. She has prepared a selection of local dishes for you. Rasanjali, like the other women in her little village, takes pride in cooking for her family and, now, for you. She cooks with homemade spices and tailors the amount of ‘heat’ – hot or mild – to your tastes. She carefully prepares fresh-picked vegetables, and fish and meat from the local market. You join Rasanjali and her family to savor the authentic flavors of the island cuisine as you swap stories, and share laughter. You began as strangers and part as friends. That is Sri Lanka.

Zambia, Zimbabwe & Malawi Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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I grew up the Mojave Desert with an assortment of companions – dogs, cats, lizards, rabbits and the occasional horse. From that beginning, it’s no surprise that I adore animals and, given the chance, I will seek them out at every opportunity. And, I admit that I flinch whenever I hear about tragic animal stories anywhere in the world, but especially Africa. I had dreams as a kid of being surrounded by elephants and lions and cheetahs. I have been privileged to encounter them several times in my life, even in Zimbabwe. So, after years of hearing stories about the fate Zimbabwe’s animals, I was delighted to learn that an area in the extreme north of Zimbabwe east of Mana Pools and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been converted from a hunting concession to conservation and tourism. I understand this is but the first small step. But it is a step. My hope for Zimbabwe and all Africa is the same as that for my desert… that our children and their children will be able to see the wonders I have seen.

Vietnam Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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I walked into the former Hoa Lo Prision, known to me as “Hanoi Hilton,” where many U.S. military spent time as POWs during the Vietnam War; what Vietnamese call the American War. My late brother was a Marine who did two tours and earned the Purple Heart. As I walked through this prison-museum, I could feel his presence. I looked in the cells and saw thin, gray Vietnamese men of wax or plastic posed with chains around their feet or necks binding them to floor or wall. I could feel the welling up, my chest felt tight. I pushed past people into a small open courtyard garden. I’m not sure how long I stood there. I returned inside and looked at photos, articles, other items on the wall. Only then did I realize how many American men were here, and all of the age to have been here before. One man stared intently at the photographs as if looking for something, some truth. I stepped out into the bright sunshine and stood watching uniformed school children bouncing down the street, and a smiling young woman pushing a drink cart. I understood that inside was my past, out here is theirs.

Kenya Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel

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Since I was a girl, I longed to be here surrounded by the wild. In this moment, time seems set aside as we follow the wildebeest and zebra plodding along in a thin line that stretches back through time immemorial. In the afternoon light, thousands of animals seem to walk with me and I can feel my spirit rising. We pause the vehicle to take it all in. I look toward a low mound, not far away. The cheetah is standing on the top scouting the horizon, paying little notice of us or the twin cubs tussling at her feet. In a slow turn, I marvel at the giraffes moving slowly with their distinctive rocking gait towards some skinny trees, and a herd of gazelle munching on the low grass. And, in the distance, elephants. This land calls to that wild streak deep in my heart that longs to be part of something grander than myself. No place is this more powerful than right here, right now.

Japan Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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I jokingly call myself a minor art collector. I have more artwork than I can hang in my home. Most are not great works of art but they are priceless to me because most of them I have picked up during my travels. And enjoyed unique encounters because of them. When I heard about Japan’s Art Island, I was instantly intrigued. This museum of an island is more formally known as Naoshima Island, and sits in the Seto Island Sea. This superb surprise was begun by Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake and his Benesse Corporation. He first created a place for really large-scale pieces; then, he commissioned works from among the most prominent contemporary artists both in Japan and internationally. And the results are breathtaking… and ongoing. The island is off the beaten path and it takes a bit of effort to get there, including trains and ferries but that just adds to the experience. For the art lover, it feels like a delightful expedition to a distant hallowed site. I suspect I could visit Art Island once a year and discover satisfying new pleasures each time.

Botswana Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel

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In the pale pink afternoon light, the slender moroko slips quietly along the wide channel. The sound we hear is the distant cry of an African fish eagle. The remoteness invokes an unfamiliar quiet in this far off part of Africa. We encounter a small herd, a family, of elephants crossing the waters near us, with a large matriarch in the lead. She hesitates, and the three females and two rambunctious youngsters stop behind her. She quickly realizes that we are no threat and they move on across the water with the two younger ones trailing along, splashing the water’s surface with their trunks as they went. I dip my fingers into the water, close my eyes and breathe

Ethiopia Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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I have always been a sucker for classic musicals. Among my top favorites is “Camelot.” One of the definitions for this enchanted name is “a time, place, or atmosphere of idyllic happiness.” I heard about the “Camelot of Africa,” and discovered that it referred to the ancient city of Gondar, known for its medieval castles and churches. The tale is told that in 1636, a buffalo led the Emperor Fasilides to a pool beside the river Angereb, where an old hermit told the emperor he would locate his capital there. Fasilides had the natural pool filled in and built his castle on that very spot. The beautiful castle of stone stands still, and has experienced little damage over these many centuries. Its towers and turrets, walls and balconies echo the romance of that fabled Camelot. Gondar has risen to the top of my travel to-do list. Imagine, a real-life Camelot… sounds simply idyllic.

Rwanda & Uganda Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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To spend even a moment in the presence of a family of rare mountain gorillas is a spiritual experience few people will ever know. Deep in the forest, the youngest tumbles joyfully down the hill while the elder silverback nearby turns to meet your gaze. You catch your breath as you look deep into the eyes of this powerful creature that could, if inclined, break you in an instant. Yet you find gentleness and intelligence reflected back… This is a moment of eternity and the experience will never leave you.

Tanzania including Zanzibar Custom Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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Looking out across the grassy Serengeti Plains, I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. I turn in time to see the chase begin as the small wildebeest with the injured leg is cut off from the herd. It is quickly surrounded by four spotted hyenas. My heart beats a little faster and beads of sweat gather on my cheek and neck as I watch the end come swiftly for the young animal. Although painful to witness, I understand that this is the way nature intended it – beauty and brutality sharing the same moment. This ritual has been perfected over millennia.

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