With the end of the year approaching, we’re looking back on where we’ve been and dreaming of where we want to go next. 2019 was filled with some incredible Insider Journeys that ventured all over the globe, from Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Ethiopia to Napa Valley, Lisbon and Rome. With another year of trips now behind us, our team has been hard at work planning exciting new itineraries for 2020. From the peaks of Bhutan, Patagonia and Kilimanjaro to the winding streets of Cartagena, Tokyo and Paris, these small group trips are crafted around your passion points—including art, design, food, adventure and history—and feature truly one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experiences like curator-led tours of private homes and galleries, after-hours access to top museums and monuments, dinner parties with stylish locals and personalized shopping excursions. As you fill out your travel calendar for the year ahead, these are the journeys that you won’t want to miss.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The world’s tallest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro lures adventurers, thrill-seekers and climbers to Tanzania to summit its peak. Now, you can reach the so-called “Roof of Africa”—and check this amazing achievement off of your bucket list—with our nine-day trip package, which includes all safety equipment and local guides for the spectacular seven-day Machame Route, plus two nights at the lovely Arusha Coffee Lodge to acclimatize before you set off—and a team of experts that have your back (on the way up, and down!). In the words of Indagare Marketing Director Diana Li, who summited Mount Kilimanjaro last year (pictured above): “I discovered more about myself than my surroundings. I had time to listen and be fully present. I focused on achieving a single goal with a community that taught me oneness and perseverance.” A physically and mentally challenging excursion, this trip offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where each step can lead to a new discovery, and the journey is as inspiring as the destination.
From the charming colonial streets of Cartagena and the verdant coffee region to the creative spirit of Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia offers dynamic cultural immersion in a fast-emerging travel hotspot. Our 2020 itinerary balances meaningful discussion of the country’s troubled past with an authentic look at the many ways that it is moving into the future—through the perspectives of locals like ex-soldiers, artists, activists and chefs, who will open doors to unforgettable experiences like a “handcrafted in Colombia” survey of Bogota’s top ateliers and artisan studios, a trip to Comuna 13 to explore the beating heart of political hip-hop and urban modern art, a visit to the Cartagena market with a local chef to learn how to make the perfect ceviche, and a private visit to the finca (estate) of renowned chef and restaurateur Carmen Angel, with the chance to spend time experimenting in the kitchen with Carmen. Plus, enjoy accommodations at the lovely Four Seasons Casa Medina and Casa San Agustín Cartagena, as well as prearranged flights throughout the trip.
Considered the last Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan sits at the foot of the Himalayas and has remained isolated from the modern world for centuries. It is home to one of the world’s most fascinating cultures (it claims to be the happiest country on earth) and beautiful landscapes that are truly wild (it is the only country that is carbon-negative). You can explore this captivating place with daily hikes through rural towns and lush forests, as you make your way to the legendary Tiger’s Nest and relax at incredible Six Senses lodges. Along the way, discover ancient monasteries and rustic farmhouses, where you will be welcomed for meals and meditations—plus, experience an unforgettable farewell dinner under the stars in the ruins of a 15th-century dzong fortress, complete with live music, folk dancing and a traditional Bhutanese tasting menu.
Often referred to as “the Paris of the Middle East,” Beirut is a modern city layered with paradoxes and cultural complexities that are rarely unpacked by the Western traveler—while the surrounding Lebanese countryside offers ancient towns that are today some of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, as well as verdant wineries and citrus groves, crafts centers and opulent mansions. Back by popular demand, our groundbreaking Lebanon journey with Architectural Digest is once again available for the curious traveler to experience. With your hosts, AD‘s Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens and Interiors & Garden Director Alison Levasseur, you can access precious ancient ruins that span civilizations, explore multi-ethnic cuisine and dive into one of the world’s top emerging art and design scenes, with curator- and artist-led visits of top contemporary galleries, ateliers and studios. In the words of Indagare member Eleanor Seaman, who joined the inaugural Insider Journey to Lebanon with AD in 2019: “This trip exceeded all expectations—truly spectacular on every level. Such an exquisite combination of people, places and things to do and view…I could have stayed longer and explored more. I think it is always good leaving a place wanting more, so hopefully this means I will return again.”
Says Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley: “Words really cannot express the awe that you feel in the shadow of the pyramids or when surrounded by the still vibrant colors in Nefertari’s Tomb. There is simply no way to understand it without going—or returning as tombs continue to be discovered and treasures unveiled. There will never be a better time to explore Egypt’s wonders in our lifetime than right now, as the country enjoys increasing stability, a lack of crowds, the opening of several new luxury hotels and the groundbreaking Grand Egyptian Museum, coming in 2020.” We will be offering our sold-out Treasures of Egypt itinerary as a conveniently packaged trip that you can book in 2020 for January, March, October and November, offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences with experts in the field of Egyptology at such monuments as the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, the Khan El-Khalili bazaar and King Tut’s Tomb. Then, you can immerse yourself in the legendary cities, tombs and temples of Luxor, Edfu and Aswan from the exclusive vantage point of the Nile River, aboard a luxurious Oberoi river cruiser.
Related: Going Behind-the-Scenes in Egypt
From its colorful buildings and breathtaking Modernist murals to the cuisine served at its most innovative restaurants, many elements of Mexico City are works of art—so it’s no surprise that it was named 2018’s World Design Capital (and it continues to be one of the hottest travel destinations of this year). On our upcoming spring and fall Insider Journeys, hosted in partnership with Architectural Digest, you will venture out on studio visits with top designers and expert-guided tours of contemporary art museums and galleries, as well as the private houses of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán and the homes and studios of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Other itinerary highlights include a an after-hours tour of the incredible National Museum of Anthropology and reservations at leading restaurants—plus, add on time in the charming colonial town (and artisan studio paradise) San Miguel de Allende.
“I have never found a place where I love hiking more than the Dolomites,” says Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, who has joined Indagare members on hiking trips to the region in four of the last five years. “The combination of spectacular mountain scenery, expert local guides and amazing food and accommodations makes it a knock-out experience for anyone who loves the outdoors and being active.” The majestic Italian Dolomites, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, offer untouched landscapes where you can truly unplug and get back in touch with nature and your own thoughts. With breathtaking views of the picturesque countryside, emerald-green meadows, waterfalls and jagged mountain peaks, you can test your limits on this beloved annual September Insider Journey, while exploring natural sites on daily hikes led by expert local guides. Your home base, the lovely Rosa Alpina resort in San Cassiano, offers access to hundreds of miles of trails, and active mornings will be followed by delicious, well-deserved meals at the best restaurants in the area—including the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant St. Hubertus—and free time to enjoy the lodge’s luxuries (like massages, spa treatments and the opportunity to participate in cooking and yoga classes).
Japan is a place where insider access makes the difference between a great trip and a once-in-a-lifetime trip. With the right connections, a lot of closed doors can be opened, especially in Japanese culture, where personal introductions are key. Our 2020 Insider Journey to Tokyo and Kyoto with Architectural Digest, hosted by Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley and AD editor Gay Gassmann, will provide just that. Emphasizing a special focus on design, contemporary art, textiles and traditional crafts, itinerary highlights include expert-guided tours of top contemporary galleries and museums like the Nezu Museum, 21 21 Design Sight, the Mori Museum and the imaginative flower studio of Makoto Azuma; a day trip to Hakone to visit the Enoura Obervatory, wander the famous open-air sculpture park and get a taste of ryokan life; and immersive cultural experiences like a flower-arranging workshop, a traditional tea ceremony and the opportunity to see a geisha performance—plus plenty of time to taste local delicacies and learn about the art of Japanese cuisine, both past and present, with omakase and kaiseki meals, as well as reservations at top restaurants and stops for noodles and sushi at beloved local spots.
St. Petersburg, Russia
“St. Petersburg is an architectural laboratory, built by the greatest architects from Europe over a 300-year period,” says AD Contributing Editor and the host of our 2020 Insider Journey to St. Petersburg, Howard Christian. “Every major building is by a noted architect, and every building was bigger and grander than what came before. That’s why everything we’re going to see is special.” You can experience the magic of the “window to Europe” for yourself on our trip next spring, with the opportunity to visit the famed Hermitage Museum, after it has closed to the public, and go behind-the- ropes to explore its storage chambers (a treasure trove of Imperial items, from gilded carriages and Fabergé eggs to world-class works of art); enjoy VIP entrance to Catherine Palace, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Amber Workshops and the Agate Pavilion; and see St. Petersburg’s most ornate architectural monuments and view rarely- seen collections of Repin, Kandinsky and other masters with expert guides. In the words of an attendee on the fall 2019 Insider Journey to St. Petersburg with AD: “St. Petersburg was a trip of a lifetime. You gave us all the biggest gift in opening the most amazing palaces and museums and most delicious restaurants in the city. The entire trip was so incredibly special, and we all loved meeting each other. As you said, this happens on all your Indagare trips—but it was perfect…so thank you!”
Although Ethiopia is known as “the Geneva of Africa” and is home to one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world and UNESCO-protected monuments, it is often overlooked by travelers who choose instead to head to its southern, safari-focused neighbors. On our trailblazing 10-day itinerary, which crosses from the capital of Addis Ababa through the rock-hewn churches of the Gheralta Mountains to the wild Omo River Valley, you can experience a rich combination of ancient history and urban life, untouched natural landscapes and astounding native cultures, adventure and deep unplugging from the minutiae of daily life in a remote oasis. Says Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, who just returned from hosting our inaugural Insider Journey to Ethiopia in November: “From our hike to the ‘world’s most dangerous church’ (barefoot above a sheer 650-foot drop) to our immersion among the Omo River Valley tribes, this journey was awe-inspiring and eye-opening—one of the most physically and intellectually challenging trips I’ve ever made.”
Related: Melissa’s Travels: Ethiopia
Our team is working on exciting new itineraries to your most-requested places as well as up-and-coming destinations—including Senegal, India, Rwanda, Napa Valley, Uzbekistan, Botswana, France and more. Be the first to know when they are released by emailing our team at email@example.com to join our preview access mailing list.