We're thankful for all the wonderful clients of Pique and the amazing experiences they've had this year! We want to share a few of their trip highlights...
Uncovering Mysteries of the Amazon
The Killingstad family headed to South America for a trip full of adventure and opportunities to make lasting memories. "One of our favorite water-based activities included fishing for Piranha. We were in awe when a school of Piranha came near our boat - the water literally looked like it was boiling. We caught many fish on our excursion and couldn't believe what all lived within those waters!" Imagine their surprise when the next day the guide asked if they wanted to jump in the water for a swim. This time, instead of predator-filled waters, it was a haven for pink dolphins! The Amazon is full of adventure - read more about their trip.
Journey to Antarctica
Two of Pique's clients embarked on expedition cruises to this fascinating destination. Kristin loved that her expedition had several special experiences throughout the voyage - including the opportunity camp on the ice with sleeping bag and gear provided. “After dinner one night, we took a zodiac to an island out of sight from the ship, so it really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere," she said.
Meanwhile Cam and Cathy liked the intimate setting of the small ship and the ship’s ‘open bridge’ policy (guests could go up any time to join the captain or bridge officer). "We could monitor the ship’s progress on the GPS and chat with the crew. Staff naturalists were usually on the bridge too, scanning the ocean with binoculars, identifying the birds and sea mammals we encountered,” said Cam. Other favorite experiences from Antarctica can be read in their blog post here.
A hidden gem in the islands of Hawaii is a quiet little island called Molokai. Pique Travel's client the Iyer family loved this island for the lack of mainstream tourism, which gives visitors a more authentic Hawaiian experience. At the top of their memorable moments - a personal host and a private luau. "Wailani is an amazing host with a cheerful disposition. She greeted us at the airport and was willing to help in any way throughout our entire stay. Her father, Eddie, was our guide on our Halawa Valley hike and played music for us at our private luau. A true family affair!"
The same was true for the Bilderbeek and Gerhardson families. "At each turn we were greeted and guided by the locals of Molokai. Proud of their island and culture and intent on preserving it, they were happy to share with us. We learned about the history of local fishponds, churches and important local figures. We ate fish caught fresh that morning by islanders and drank coconut milk straight from coconuts knocked out of trees," they said. Another bonus? The beach at the private estate available to Pique clients. "A quick ramble down the hill and you were on a large expanse of beach. You could look for what seemed like miles in each direction and not see a single soul. The kids would rise, throw on swimsuits and head to the beach where they spent endless hours riding the waves."
Sharing this slice of paradise is a favorite for Pique. Read more about the unique activities experienced on these excursions.
Other Worldly Landscapes in Chile
South America offers culture, food, adventure and beautiful scenery - elements the Nortons were able to experience on one trip to four distinct areas in Chile and Easter Island.
Surrounded by Chile's Atacama Desert, the Nortons were impressed by the uniqueness of it. "This area is like nothing we’ve ever seen with its lunar landscapes that were other worldly, but fascinating. We were at a higher elevation (8,000+ feet) and were able to see geysers and beautiful valleys. Then, we’d venture down to the lower areas to see the flamingos, salt flats and the sand dunes. The varying landscape made it so interesting with wonderful hikes," they said. They continued to Santiago, Easter Island and Chilean wine country. Click here to read more about highlights in each region.
Spain has been a hot destination in recent years. Pique's clients can attest to why. Getting more acquainted with the history and culture was a highlight for the Adams family. "Visiting the famous Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza was notable for us. The bull fighting arena was spectacular and the history and honor that goes into this 'sport' was fascinating. Regardless of how you feel about the activity itself, we quickly came to respect the nostalgia and tradition of it for Seville and the entire country," they said.
In Madrid, the Chadwick/Agre family was able to gain insight of where to go by expert guides. "We loved going to some of the museums that are off the beaten path. They were equally intriguing and educational, yet had less tourists! The evening tapas tour we did was a trip highlight as we would have never stepped into some of the most quaint places we ate at if it weren’t for our guide Carlos," they said.
Cruising the Mediterranean
Many travelers hope to island hop in the Mediterranean. Doing it on a small sailing vessel with large, beautiful masts makes the experience even more memorable. Just ask the Newkirks. Another lifelong memory? Dining among the archaeological ruins. "We had the most unique dining experience at Celsus Library of Ephesus where we enjoyed our meal outside on white linen table clothes and covered chairs. It was beautiful. Three members of the local symphony placed for us while we ate. Truly something we’ll never forget," said the Newkirks. Other amazing experiences on their Greece trip can be read here.
Elephant Encounter in Thailand
A trip for the Weyerhauser family provided plenty of opportunities for cultural engagement, learning and family bonding. They visited a local floating village in Cambodia, biked through Angkor Wat and relaxed on the beach in Thailand. But the trip's pinnacle was visiting Maesa Elephant Camp. "As part of the educational part of our day, we went through the training program (which included bathing them), road them to lunch and a visit to a small village, and then enjoyed them performing and interacting with visitors. The kids played the elephants in a game of darts and we took home several painted masterpieces – original works of art by our elephant friends," said dad. Continue reading about their trip.
Forever Friends in Africa
Often the most memorable part of a trip are the people you meet along the way. Such was the case in Zimbabwe for Nancy, her husband and their two sons. While the close proximity to wildlife was a surprise (like having 70+ elephants walk within feet of them), their most memorable "closeness" came with the friendly and personable staff of their lodge. "One of our favorite things about Linkwasha was the relationship we built with Livingstone and Avias, two of the people who run the camp. They took amazing care of us, shared stories of what life is like for their families and how much taking care of visitors means to them. Even now as we reflect on the entire trip, spending time with the two of them is one of the highest of highlights," said Nancy. Read more about their travels.