Egyptian Exploration

*Postponed*

Our hearts are with the Egyptian people at this time, and we will continue to monitor the situation on the ground. In the meantime, please consider another one of our journeys for 2017.

Trip at a Glance

  • April 15-25, 2017 (11 days/10 nights)
  • Accompanied by BJ & Lauren of RetreaTours
  • Arrive in Cairo & explore the Giza plateau and museums
  • Fly to ancient Luxor and explore nearby sites
  • Cruise along the Nile in a 5-star boat
  • Daily excursions to surrounding temples and sites
  • Small group tour: limited to 12 guests
  • $3299 per person (based on double occupancy) 

Itinerary at a Glance

April 15: Arrive in Cairo and stay directly in front of the Giza pyramids & Sphinx!

April 16: Visit the Giza pyramids, the Valley Temple & the Sphinx, the tombs of Idu and Qar

April 17: Explore ancient sites of Saqqara, Memphis, and Dahshur

April 18: Explore the Egyptian Museum & Old Cairo before flying to Luxor

April 19:  Day trip to explore Abydos and Dendera

April 20: Explore Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatsheput’s temple, the Memnon Colossi & the Luxor temple. Begin our Nile cruise!

April 21: Discover the Karnak temple; sail to Edfu

April 22: Tour the Edfu temple & the Kom Ombo temple; sail to Aswan.

April 23: Visit the Philae tempe & the Unfinished Obelisk; experience a Felucca (sailboat) ride on the river; visit the Aswan market.

April 24: Fly to Abu Simbel, then on to Cairo.

April 25: Depart with a lifetime of memories!

Everyone feels the pull to Egypt. We seem to recognize the iconography as though it’s in our DNA. As kids we learn about the pyramids and treasures of the Pharaohs; as adults we pine to see them in person. It’s time to make that dream a reality.

In October 2016, we visited Cairo during a long layover between our Morocco and India tours. We only expected those 4 days to be a much-needed break and a pleasant vacation. But what we saw absolutely stunned us, and we immediately shifted into “planning mode.”

We only had the opportunity to explore Cairo, which by all accounts (go ahead–ask someone you know who has been to Egypt. We’ll wait…) isn’t even the most magnificent of the sites by a long shot. We just couldn’t believe that and immediately started to plan a return exploratory trip to see more treasures, including Luxor, Aswan, and the many ancient Nile-side temples in-between. Then we thought, why don’t we share this opportunity with our friends and clients?

We formally invite you to casually explore Egypt with us! Join us for 11 days this April as we plan future tours and retreats in the land of the Pharaohs. We’ve already established relationships with top-notch local travel experts, Egyptologists, and guides, and you’ll be in extremely capable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic hands.

This trip has a minimum of four guests, so if you are interested, please email us today! We can help you find the best possible airfare from your preferred airport and can offer free travel consulting services for any trip extensions you wish to add on.

See you in EGYPT!

 

Cairo

Giza

Luxor

Aswan

Edfu

Abu Simbel

Itinerary Details

You’ll be met inside the airport in Cairo and be driven (~1 hour) to your pyramid-facing rooms in a lovely family-run guesthouse. You are not going to believe these views!

After a refreshing night’s sleep and waking up to the Sphinx outside your window, we’ll explore the Giza pyramids, the Sphinx, the Valley temple, and the tombs of Idu & Qar. We’ll also position ourselves for a panoramic view of the Giza plateau. Fancy a brief jaunt on a camel? Why not, you’re at the pyramids!

Come nightfall, experience one of the many benefits to staying directly in front of this complex-–the nightly laser light show! Sure, it may not have been updated since the mid-70’s but it’s a hoot, and you have a front row seat from the convenience of your own room or the guest house rooftop.

On April 17th, we’ll drive a short distance to see Saqqara, Memphis, and Dahshur. These were all very important ancient sites in Egypt, the “playground” where the construction of pyramids was perfected. We’ll visit the Step Pyramid, the first freestanding stone building in history and the first pyramid ever built (!)  Around Saqqara, we’ll explore the tombs as our guide explains their significance and deciphers the stories told in the beautiful hieroglyphics lining its walls.

Memphis is the ancient Egyptian city that served as the capital of ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom. It was the home of many pharaohs, including King Tutankhamun, and it remained an essential city throughout history, until its demise around the first century A.D.

The next morning bid farewell to Giza and head into Old Cairo to explore some more “modern” sites (you know–only 1,000 years old instead of 4,500 years old!) We’ll visit the awe-inspiring Egyptian museum, as well, the final resting place of priceless treasures from this ancient civilization. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic relics, and we’ll marvel at the enormous sarcophagi, statues, jewelry, and the magnificent golden masterpieces of King Tut.

After our exploration, we’ll head to the airport and fly into Luxor (~65 minutes). The next day we’ll head out for an all-day adventure to explore Abydos and Dendera. Abydos is one of the oldest cities in the ancient Egypt, and the ancient Egyptians believed that it was at Abydos that Osiris was resurrected and given powers to become the Lord of the Afterlife.

Dendera is dedicated to Hathor, the goddess of joy, dance, and love. Hathor was also believed to have had healing powers and ancient Egyptians often brought the sick here to be cured. Dendera Temple is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in the whole of Egypt. The ceiling of the Hathor Temple has recently been cleaned in a careful way that removed hundreds of years of black soot without harming the ancient paint underneath. As a result of this cleaning, spectacular ceiling paintings have been exposed in the main hall, and some of the most vibrant and colorful paintings dating from antiquity are now visible.

On the 20th, we’ll check out of our Luxor hotel and visit the Valley of the Kingswhere we’ll visit colorful tombs that were carved out of rocky cliffs to safeguard the mummies and rich furnishings from grave-robbers. Our next stop will be Queen Hatshepsut’s temple. Wanting to honor her father (god Amun), she asked her architect not to spare any effort in making this the best of its kind. Hatshepsut is an intriguing character; she initially ruled as regent for her step-son Thuthmosis III but promoted herself to the role of pharaoh instead of passing power to him when he came of age. Her temple is one of the most striking monuments in Ancient Egypt even in its semi-ruined state.

We’ll visit Memnon Colossi, two of the most imposing ancient Egyptian statues still standing, on the way back to the East bank of the Nile. The statues are an incredible 60 feet tall and are thought to weigh around 700 tons each.

We’ll check in to our Nile cruise and enjoy lunch, and this evening we’ll visit Luxor temple.  For the next four nights, we’ll call a 5-star boat our home, as we cruise between Luxor and Aswan on the Nile River. On the boat, we’ll have time to rest, participate in fun cultural activities, and share our excitement for the wonder around us!

On the 21st we’ll explore Karnack Temple. Karnack is a group of temples surrounded by one enclosure wall that is dedicated to the god Amon-Ra. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings. It was completely buried in sand for many centuries which allowed it to be one of the most preserved temples. The temple has many beautifully decorated columns, a huge open court, a massive façade, a huge pylon, and two seated statues of Ramses II. Around noon we’ll set sail for Edfu, and in the morning we’ll visit Edfu’s temple. This temple is dedicated to the falcon god Horus, and it is one of the most completely preserved temples. The divine marriage of Hathor and Horus is depicted on the walls of this temple where it was celebrated once a year. 

From Edfu, we’ll sail on to Kom Ombo and visit the temple there. It is the only temple in Egypt that is dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek. This temple was originally built for worshiping Horus, but after the increasing number of crocodiles on the island, the temple was demolished and reconstructed to worship Sobek (a crocodile-shaped god) for protection from the crocodiles. After our exploration at Kom Ombo, we’ll sail to Aswan.

On April 23rd we’ll visit Philae temple. It is considered to be the most beautiful temple in the Nile valley dedicated to Isis and Osiris. The temple became submerged in the Nile after building the first Aswan dam, but with the help of UNESCO, Philae temple was completely moved to its new location. The Temple was dismantled and transferred, stone by stone, from the submerged Philae Island to the redesigned Egilica Island. Each and every stone had to be numbered, and then replaced, in the same position, in the new location. It was a massive project and took over 9 years to be completed. 

We’ll head to the Unfinished Obelisk, which lies on the ground in its original location in a granite quarry. It was abandoned when cracks appeared in the rock during its construction. Had this obelisk been completed, it would have been the largest obelisk ever cut.

Later today we can experience a ride on an Egyptian sail boat, called a felucca. We’ll travel across the Nile while enjoying the breeze and we’ll sing some traditional songs along the way. After our felucca adventure, we can explore the Aswan souq (market) later.

On the 24th, we’ll fly to Abu Simbel (~45 minutes) to explore this gorgeous site. Built on the west bank of the Nile River, between the first and second cataracts of the Nile, the site of Abu Simbel is one of the most recognizable ancient sites in Egypt. The entrance to the large temple is crowned by a carving of Ramses worshiping the falcon-headed god Ra. Flanking the entrance are four seated colossal figures, each a towering 65 feet tall.

After our visit, we’ll fly back to Cairo (via Aswan, for a total of 2.5 hours of flight time). We’ll rest at a hotel near the airport to make our departure tomorrow a bit easier. Let’s all reminisce tonight about what we’ve seen and experience, tasted and felt, along our Egyptian exploration!

Tomorrow after breakfast you’ll be taken back to the airport to head home, or on to your next adventure!

More Trip Details

Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.

This 11 day/10 night all-inclusive journey is $3299 per person (double occupancy).  If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $399 and will be added to your last payment. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

A $1000 deposit holds your space.  The second installment of $1000 is due by January 15, 2017 (90 days before start of trip) and the balance is due by February 14, 2017 (60 days before start of trip-makes a great Valentine’s Day present, right?).  Single supplement ($399) is due along with the last installment.

Price Includes:

  • All meals
  • All lodging (hotels and cruise)
  • All transportation within Egypt (including airport pickup and drop off, flight to Luxor, flight to Abu Simbel, flight back to Cairo, and a 4 night cruise down the Nile River)
  •  Camel ride on the Giza Plateau
  • Guide and Site entry fees
  • An online photo album of the experience for you to download and share!

 

Price does not include:

  • International airfare (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
  • $25 Egyptian visa fee
  • $20 fee for entering the Great Pyramid, if you wish
  • Alcohol
  • Travel insurance (required)

 

NOTE: 

  • There is a minimum of 4 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  Please do not purchase any airfare until you get the go-ahead from us that we’ve reached our minimum number of participants.  
  • If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 2 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.

Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.

We accept payments via check (which we prefer!) and credit card (via PayPal). For our international guests, we can accept wires, which we find is the most economical solution for everyone; please contact us for wire details.

  • Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to Insight Travels, LLC and sent to 8821 NW 14 Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.
  • Paying by Credit Card or PayPal balance: You can pay with credit card or PayPal balance through the following the red buttons below.  Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction. All PayPal transactions must be in USD.  Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance.

Final installment due on February 14, 2017. We’ll provide you the amount and invoice before the due date.

Click here to pay the $1000 deposit by credit card (via PayPal)

Click here to pay the $1000 second installment by credit card (via PayPal) [due by January 15, 2017] 

Please scroll down within this tan box to reach the end of the questionnaire and contract. At the end of the contract, you will see a “submit” box—please hit that button.  If you are having difficulty completing it on this website, you can go directly to the form here

Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and contract on the website.

Please click here to download to view and download PDF of the contract for your records. 

 

 Coming soon!

Average temperatures during this time of year:

Cairo: 55-85°F

Luxor: 60-95°F

Aswan: 70-95°F

We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind for very little cost. When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for emergency medical evacuation/repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

We like World Nomads (which covers both medical and trip cancellation aspects), but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company (we can advise you if you like). We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure.

Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

Which countries or regions are you travelling to?

    What’s your country of permanent residence?

    View items

    Start date

    End date

    Who’s going?

     


     

    PASSPORT/VISA

    • What do I need to know about the visa?    

    First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip (that is, October 23, 2017), and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). 

    Egypt offers 30 days visas on arrival to American citizens for a $25 fee (not included in the trip).  You will receive this visa upon your arrival at the Cairo airport with the help of our travel partners.

    Please click here and check with your own country’s State Department for more information about the availability of an Egyptian visa. 

    FOOD

    • I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?

    Special diets will be no problem in Egypt, although we do ask that you complete the registration questions that will alert us to any special needs. Please feel free to email us with any specific concerns.

    Egypt has some gorgeous vegetarian options (including the national dish of kushari), but also has some brilliant meat selections for omnivores. Celiacs will be able to manage well, but we ask that you print out a CeliacTravel.com card in Arabic and English (as found here and here).

     

    • Can I drink the water?

    In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it.  Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water.

    HEALTH

    • What vaccines do I need?

    None are required to enter Egypt, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you.  You can read the CDC’s recommendations here and the Scottish NHS recommendations here.

    • What about malaria? What about Zika?

    Malaria is not a risk in Egypt, nor is Zika. However, the key is to avoid mosquito bites altogether, so wearing a strong bug repellant, and wearing long sleeves and pants are important. As always, we request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information about malaria.

     *All of the information here is for reference purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice from your licensed health care professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition or disease. If you are experiencing medical issues, you should contact your medical health care provider.

    • Do I need travel insurance?

    We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense. It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind!  When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation, and repatriation. We also highly recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

    We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the company and policy that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click here to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

    MONEY

    • How much money should I bring?

    All of your meals, accommodation, and transportation is covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras, alcohol, and souvenirs. You’ll need to pay $25 USD for your Egyptian visa (on arrival) and $20 if you want to enter the Great Pyramid. Beyond that is up to you!

    • How do I get the local currency?

    The local currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP). You can either exchange cash in Egypt or use a local ATM (which we prefer) to get EGP. Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in Egypt, so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world. When exchanging cash, you always get a slightly better deal when exchanging $100 bills.

    You do NOT need to exchange money before you arrive in Egypt, as exchanging money while still in your home country usually has a very poor exchange rate.

    HOTELS

    • What kind of hotels will we be staying in?

    Most of our hotels (and our boat) will be in the 5-star category. Our first hotel in Cairo is a simple family-run guesthouse, but it is DIRECTLY in front of the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx, so we could not pass up the opportunity to stay there.

    Before the trip, we will make sure you have the hotel names and contact information to pass along to your loved ones.

    COMMUNICATION

    • How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?

    Before the trip begins we will give you the contact information for our hotels to pass along to your loved ones; If you choose to bring your cellphone or tablet, you can use VoIP services such as Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime to connect with your loved ones at home, as well.

    About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours

    img_9222BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding.  In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable and transformative retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)

    BJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.

    The dynamic duo are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.

    In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $300 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you!  So….let’s get going!

    Photo Album

    Please click a photo to see an enlarged version; you can use your arrow keys or mouse to navigate within the album. All photos from Cairo and Giza were taken by us personally; photos from all other sites have been borrowed with the best of intentions, and sources can be given upon request.