More than ever before, travellers like yourself are looking to dive even deeper into the places they visit. You’re longing for meaningful connections with local people, learning through hands-on experience, and understanding a destination’s history and culture from the people closest to it.
One of the ways we help you do that (and then some) is our National Geographic Journeys Collection which includes behind-the-scenes access to experts in extraordinary locations. And wouldn’t you know it, we’re introducing these special immersive experiences to more destinations like Scotland, Turkey, Wyoming, Peru and Bolivia. Want to learn more? Here are four good reasons why you need to join us on our newest knowledge-filled adventures:
1: Crannog life and whiskey flights in Scotland
What is a crannog, you ask? They’re early Iron Age houses (800-400 BC) built on artificial islands over water with a causeway joining them to shore. On the picturesque banks of Loch Tay in Pitlochry, you’ll meet up with a historical expert at the Scottish Crannog Centre. There you’ll enjoy a guided visit of the museum and a glimpse into the prehistoric lives of the people who called crannogs home more than 2,500 years ago.
Plus, after a guided walk through Pitlochry the next day, you’ll wind up at the renowned Blair Athol Distillery. It sits on the open moorland south of town where you’ll learn how the ancient water flowing through the grounds makes for smooth and mellow whiskey. Better yet, you get to taste 3 different whiskeys and watch their signature bottling process. Slàinte Mhath!
Discover it on: Scotland: History & Highlands
2: Rescued raptors and woolly bison in Wyoming
It doesn’t get much wilder than the American West when it comes to iconic animals. Bison, elk, bears, moose, and wolves all make their homes in the vast landscapes around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Spending time looking for them is a given but you’ll also learn from local naturalists on the challenges they face in the wild. At the Teton Raptor Center, you’ll get a personal behind-the-scenes tour of how they rehabilitate injured birds of prey and the important role they play in the surrounding ecosystem.
On another day, you’ll travel to the Lamar Valley and join a Yellowstone National Park specialist for a private wildlife-spotting tour. Known as the “Serengeti of North America,” the valley boasts a very high concentration of large animals. Equipped with binoculars, you’ll learn about the local flora and fauna as you spend six hours searching for pronghorn, grizzlies, coyotes, bison, badgers, and, if you’re lucky, wolves.
Discover it on: Iconic Wildlife of Yellowstone & Grand Teton
3: Turkish delights and Grand Bazaar sights
One of the best ways to learn is by doing—and that is especially true when it includes eating what you learned to make. In a small Turkish village, your chef host will not only teach you how to make traditional Aegean cuisine but show you how to pick the best seasonal vegetables at the nearby farmer’s market. In an open garden kitchen, you’ll learn how to turn all of your fresh-picked produce into a variety of village-style dishes.
Once you’re back in Istanbul, a much larger market awaits at the famed Grand Bazaar. Rather than wandering its 4,000 shops over 61 streets aimlessly, your specialist guide is ready to show you its many wonders. Known as the world’s first and oldest shopping mall, you’ll learn all about its historical, cultural, and modern importance. Before wrapping up the walking tour, you’ll stop at an old Ottoman Inn for tea and coffee so you can continue to chat with your guide.
Discover it on: Cultural Wonders of Turkey
4: Peruvian potato park and historic Bolivian hacienda
It’s a fact: everyone loves potatoes. Nowhere is that more evident than in Peru’s Sacred Valley where six communities of about 6,000 indigenous people work to preserve over 700 species of potatoes. As part of an exclusive Traditional Andean Experience, you’ll visit Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) with a local guide to visit the seed bank, walk through the harvest fields, and taste a few potato varieties. Your visit helps this community preserve a vital staple and mainstay of rural Peruvian life.
In much the same way, your Bolivian Hacienda Experience offers a unique cultural interaction at a historic working farm dating back to the 1500s in the Potosi countryside. You’ll step back in time to stay with a welcoming host family and see private museum rooms, the chapel, and library. The experience includes dairy demonstrations, field walks, and an authentic farm-to-table dinner full of local specialities.
Discover it on: Treasures of Peru & Bolivia