ADVENTURES WITH LITTLE PEOPLE

by Edward Wilkinson-Latham

Travel Editor

SHARP for Men Magazine

Without some inspiration and research, family vacations can end up as monotonous events, in lack luster resort compounds with buffets, average entertainment and an inevitable detachment from any local culture. Wouldn’t it be better to spend that precious time seeing the world, inspiring and educating ourselves and our children, engaging in new activities, fascinating cultures and exploring remarkable scenery? So in the spirit of family travel, whether your children are just learning to talk or showing the first signs of teenage angst, Sharp has compiled a selection of suggested tours and getaways that take the hassle out of all that planning and leave you more time to create everlasting family memories.

SAILS AHOY

Tortola is one of the 25 small chunks of paradise that make up The British Virgin Islands and is home to the Caribbean office of Offshore Sailing School. Ranked #1sailing school in the US, it boasts over 100,000 graduates to its credit. Families with little or no sailing experience can gain the necessary skills and confidence to cruise and navigate the deep blue seas and lagoons of this island paradise on their own. The Fast Track to Cruising includes ten-days of full instruction and meals aboard a 36’ or 44’ cruising yacht, exploring the surrounding islands while you learn. At the end, certification is available and when back on shore The Mariner Inn offers many other programs to distract the kids, where 4-12 year-olds engage in crafts, beach games, fishing and explore the local flora and fauna. Includes four nights ashore, all meals and snacks during course. 10 days From $1150- $4500 per person T: 1800-221-4326 www.offshore-sailing.com

THE EXOTIC EAST

Imaginative Traveller operates over fifty adventurous vacations in exotic locations worldwide, designed for families with children aged 6 and over, with tours ranging from 8 to 15 days. Vietnam Discovery is a 14-day trip starting in the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City before heading to the Mekong Delta’s floating markets and a unique to stay with a family onboard a local houseboat. Your journey then heads north to the beautiful 16th century town of Hoi An, known for its colourful lanterns and excellent tailor shops, before driving via Cloud Mountain Pass to the city of Hue for an afternoon cruise along the Perfume River. After exploring Hanoi’s beautiful and beguiling Old Quarter, the trip ends in Halong Bay, amongst green steep sided islands rising from a turquoise sea. Spend the night aboard a traditional Chinese Junk gazing at the stars and sharing stories with a Vietnamese family. 14 days From $1375 per person. T: 1-866-338-8735 www.imaginative-traveller.com

ANIMAL SAFARI

World Expeditions is Australia’s original adventure travel company and offers both active adventures and cultural journeys, that offer a fun and interactive way to learn about the world’s most remote landscapes and exotic cultures. The 13-day Tanzania Family Wildlife Safari has you staying in some of the most well appointed lodges and classic safari camps in Tanzania, such as the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Lake Manyara National Park. View antelope, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, black rhino, herds of elephants and prides of lions and visit Maasai villages to learn about their bush skills and conservation efforts. The constant presence of the snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro in the distance reminds you how special this family experience really is. 13 days CAN $3390 (Adult) CAN $2790 (Child) T: 1-800-567-2216 www.worldexpeditions.com

THE LAST FRONTIER

Patagonia is a devastatingly beautiful region straddling the Andes in southern Argentina. It is a land of rocky peaks, remote lakes, imposing glaciers and friendly, hardy people and remains a raw, wild and wondrously untamed last frontier. Travel experts Butterfield & Robinson will take you and your family across glittering Lago Argentino to explore the impressive ice breakages of the Upsala Glacier, viewed up close from the deck of a catamaran. Journey deep in to the mountains to see how the gauchos (Argentine cowboys) live and stay at Estancia Cristina, a classic cattle ranch-turned-luxury-resort. Enjoy a traditional asado (grilled beef) dinner before climbing back in the saddle with the kids to explore the majestic remoteness of this place. Other highlights include hiking across the Perito Moreno Glacier, biking along the shores of Rio Manzo and kayaking to your heart’s content in stunning Nahuel National Park. 8 days www.butterfield.com T: 1866-551-9090 From CAD $8,995 per person

MOROCCAN ODYSSEY

This specially designed family vacation starts in the magical city of Marrakech, known for its souqs and minarets. Explore Djemaa el-Fna, the centerpiece of the city where a circus of activity and sensation awaits you, from snake charmers to spice merchants and fortunetellers. At Ait Benhaddou you will visit the World Heritage-listed clay village where Hollywood films like 'Gladiator' and 'The Mummy' were filmed. After stopping in Ouarzazate to see how traditional carpets are made, you will embark on a unique experience of camping in the Sahara desert with local nomad Berber tribes. Up early to see the sunrise, you will then ride camels across the rolling dunes to the rose-coloured oasis town of Taroudannt. Behind its ramparts you are taken back to another time and after exploring its stunning Berber market you will relax in comfort, before embarking on the final leg of your journey to the alluring whitewashed coastal town of Essaouira, that has beguiled writers, artists and musicians over the decades. 9 days From CAD $760 per person www.intrepidtravel.com T: 1886-915-1511

FRENCH COUNTRY STYLE

Country Kids at Le Mas Pandit, Languedoc, is something both kids and parents will find very special. The lavish accommodation nestled in the South of France, includes a petting farm, pool, tennis courts, bikes, tree house, play equipment and a waterfall to swim in. A crèche cares for under fives and older children and their families can choose from off-site activities, including sailing, riding, mountain climbing and wine-tasting. The local surroundings are stunning with a huge lake, picturesque rivers, waterfalls, vineyards, gorges and quaint villages, all within a stones throw from the farm. And the Mediterranean coast is only 30 minutes drive from the farm. Babygoes2 has a 7-night family package in a two-bedroom apartment for a family of four. This includes unlimited crèche, supervised activities for older children, evening meals, two nights' babysitting, arrival shopping pack and a daily cleaner. An onsite deli sells home-cooked fare. From €2,400 per week T:01273-230-669 www.babygoes2.com

VOLCANOES, JUNGLES AND COAST

The UK travel company Responsible Travel creates family vacations that engage with cultures and environments with liaisons with charities on the ground bringing an educational element to the trip. The Costa Rica family vacation includes trips to steamy jungles, mountains and both Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The trip starts with a boat trip along the narrow waterways of Caribbean lowlands leading to a hidden riverbank lodge in the rainforest where toucans and parrots perch outside your window. Travelling in the shadows of volcanoes you have the option to get soaked with some great white water rafting on the Sarapiqui River (8yrs +). At the foot of the Arenal Volcano relax and bathe in thermal waters and at night see the distant volcano spluttering lava like a fireworks display. After walking trails in the cloud forest, relax on golden Pacific Ocean beaches in Manuel Antonio where capuchin monkeys play in the overhanging palm trees. 16 days Minimum age: 5 years From CAN $1879 – CAN $2374 www.responsibletravel.com T: +44 (0)1273- 600-030

DUDE RANCH

Arizona is the dude ranch capital of the world and although many advertise authentic rustic charm, it’s nice to have some luxury after a day in the saddle. Rancho de los Caballeros is a "ranch resort", built in Southwest style and located amid 20,000 glorious acres. Guests can explore the Sonoran desert on horseback and when not in the saddle there are a ream of activities including an 18-hole championship golf course, spa, swimming pools, tennis lessons, plus exhilarating jeep tours to ghost towns of the Grand Canyon and evening hot air balloon assents over the desert. Kids can come riding the trails with their parents in the afternoon, but the rest of the time they are taken care of at the Caballeros Kids Club, a complimentary crèche for children aged 5 to 12. Children 4 & under stay at Rancho de los Caballeros for free and babysitters are available. From CAN $410 a night. Tel: 928-684-5484 www.sunc.com

SURFING HOLIDAY

Have you longed to experience the exhilaration of skimming across the face of a wave? For over the thirty years The Paskowitz Surf Camp has taught thousands of campers from the ages of 4-80. As well as their year round school in California, they offer a weeklong family surfing holiday in Cabo San Lucas, an area on the far southerly tip of the Mexican Baja California peninsula. Friendly counselors provide camp supervision and instructors are fully trained in open ocean safety, CPR & first aid. With a three to one student to teacher ratio most people are up and riding on waves after a single day of instruction. In addition to running the surf camp business, Izzy Paskowitz and his wife are founders of Surfers Healing, a non-profit organization that reaches out to autistic children and their families by giving them the experience of surfing. 7 days Cabo San Lucas $2,900 per person per week. T: 949-290-9420 www.paskowitz.com

5 STAR CHALET

Alpine Infusion has been operating luxury five star chalets in Méribel, France since 2000 and is one of the most respected companies in the 3 Valleys, the largest ski area in the world. The award winning chalets attract clients from across the globe and are the ideal setting for the perfect skiing holiday or a refreshingly different alpine summer break. All lodges sleep 8-10 people and come with four full time staff who take care of your every wish, including the preparation of breakfast, afternoon tea, children’s meals and your Champagne, canapés and four course dinner every evening. Within the 3 Valleys there are endless mountain and glacier activities in both summer and winter for families and enthusiasts. From $13,750-$33,450 year round. www.alpineinfusion.com T:+44 (0) 1844-344-955

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