Q: I want to take a learning vacation, but the options are bewildering. Where do I start?
A: Find the trip that’s right for you by letting your passions guide you and then choosing the company to match. Here, five ideas to get you started.
Ecology and Wildlife
Brazil: An Ecologist’s Tour of the Pantanal, Cornell’s Adult University: Explore the world’s largest wetland on this expedition led by Cornell professors Cole Gilbert and Linda Rayor. Travelers track ocelots, jaguars, and endangered hyacinth macaws, and enjoy creature comforts at lodges such as Pousada Piuval, on a 17,000-acre ranch. 607/255-6260; 10 days from $6,430 per person.
Geology and Archaeology
Grand Canyon Trip, McCabe World Travel: Professor Keith Watts leads a tour of northern Arizona and southern Utah, with an overview of the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and trips to remote waterfalls and hidden Native American pictographs. 703/762-5049; eight days from $3,500 per person.
Papua New Guinea Through the Lens, Asia Transpacific Journeys: On a new itinerary to Papua New Guinea’s remote villages, visit sacred spirit houses on the Sepik River while getting hands-on shooting tips from Michele Westmorland, an award-winning photographer who has visited the country 27 times. 800/642-2742; 12 days from $10,695 per person.
A Mediterranean Summer, Swan Hellenic Discovery Cruising: Set sail from Portsmouth, England, to Rome on the 350-passenger Minerva—fresh from a $10 million overhaul. You’ll attend onboard lectures by noted professors, disembarking along the way at iconic sites such as the Alhambra palace, in Granada, Spain, and the Italian port town of Civitavecchia. 866/923-9182; 15 days from $2,499 per person.
Religion and Culture
Rejuvenating Himalayas, Learning Journeys: This trip through northern India focuses on the philosophies behind yoga and meditation with lectures and practice. Stops include Rishikesh and Haridwar, where wellness is central to spiritual life, as well as the Ananda resort in the Himalayas. 855/784-7687; 12 days from $3,550 per person.