Exquisite EgyptLuxury Egyptian tour, January 29–February 10, 2024
You are invited on our carbon-negative, small-group tour for an expertly guided, 5-star luxury journey through the wonders of ancient Egypt in early 2024.
Egypt has captivated our collective hearts and imaginations for millennia. Imagine Cleopatra herself touring the pyramids in awe, these mysterious monuments already thousands of years old during her reign.
We invite you to stroll beside the pyramids and towering ancient temples, lined with stunning hieroglyphics and larger-than-life statues. We’ll cruise in style along the Nile River, the lifeblood of this endlessly fascinating chapter in our shared human history.
During this luxury experience, we’ll stay in 5-star accommodations; all meals, all tips, and all internal airfare and ground transportation are included. We make things as easy and comfortable as possible to allow you to sit back and enjoy the ride!
THIS TRIP IS SOLD OUT!
Both of our 2024 Egypt journeys are sold out, but we highly recommend placing yourself on the waitlist for this trip below. Spots do occasionally open! This will also give you early registration access to our next Egypt journey.
- January 29–February 10, 2024
- This journey is triple carbon offset from door-to-door
- Guided by an expert Egyptologist
- Accompanied by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours
- Arrive in Cairo & relax next to the pyramids at the historic Mena House hotel
- Discover the noble tombs and oldest pyramids at Saqqara
- Enjoy the newly opened, world-class Grand Egyptian Museum (pending opening)
- Visit the Great Sphinx of Giza and the iconic Pyramids of the Giza Plateau
- Fly to Luxor, the ancient city of Thebe, to explore Luxor and Karnak temples and the Valley of the Kings
- Cruise along the Nile River in a 5-star ship for four nights
- Wonder at the majesty of the Abu Simbel temples built by Ramses II—and moved in their entirety in the 1960’s!
- Daily excursions to surrounding temples, museums, and sites
- Maximum of 16 guests
- $7999 per person, based on double occupancy (Please see “Pricing & What is Included” box below for Private Room supplement).
- All meals, tips, and internal airfare are included–please see the full list of inclusions in the details below
- Optional extension to Jordan to visit Petra, Wadi Rum & the Dead Sea
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- Itinerary at a Glance
- Detailed Daily Itinerary
- Price & What is Included
- Payment Information
- Cancellation Policy
- Our Carbon Negative Commitment
- Suggested Fitness Requirements
- Travel Insurance
- Passport and Visa Requirements
- Vaccines & Staying Healthy
- Expected Temperatures & Packing List
- About our Hotels & Cruise
- Wifi & Electricity
- About RetreaTours
How to Register When You Are Ready
- Please familiarize yourself with the trip details on this page
- Click the registration button in this box to complete the Registration Questions
- Lauren will email you with some options to pay the deposit
Itinerary at a Glance
January 29 Welcome to Egypt! Tonight you’ll stay in the historic Mena House, Egypt’s most iconic hotel, set at the base of the pyramids (Overnight in Giza)
January 30 Today we’ll head into Old Cairo to visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization & the Royal Mummies’ Hall, as well as the beautiful Sultan Hasan mosque (Overnight in Giza)
January 31 Discover the ancient site of Saqqara—the necropolis of ancient Memphis and site of the famous Step Pyramid, the world’s oldest stone building. Saqqara is a hot spot of ongoing excavations and phenomenal discoveries! (Overnight in Giza)
February 1 Explore the breathtaking, newly-opened Grand Egyptian Museum, set to be the largest archaeological museum in the world. (Overnight in Giza)
February 2 This morning we’ll visit the Giza pyramids and have the opportunity to enter one of these iconic structures. We’ll explore the Valley Temple & the Great Sphinx of Giza before we fly to Luxor (Overnight in Luxor)
February 3 We’ll pay homage to the powerful ladies of ancient Egypt as we visit Hatshepsut’s temple and the Valley of the Queens including entry into Queen Nefertari’s tomb. We’ll visit the Memnon Colossi and visit Luxor temple this evening (Overnight in Luxor)
February 4 Today we’ll enjoy a day trip to explore the breathtaking Temple of Hathor at Dendera, one of the best-preserved temple complexes of ancient Egypt (Overnight in Luxor)
February 5 We’ll head to the Valley of the Kings this morning, including entry into the tombs of Seti I, Ramses VI and King Tutankhamun. This afternoon we’ll board our 4-night Nile luxury cruise (Overnight on Nile cruise)
February 6 This morning we’ll enjoy the awe-inspiring Karnak Temple complex in Luxor & sail to Edfu in the afternoon (Overnight on Nile cruise)
February 7 Today we’ll tour the beautiful Temple of Horus at Edfu & the unique Kom Ombo Temple; this afternoon we’ll continue sailing to Aswan (Overnight on Nile cruise)
February 8 Visit the gorgeous Philae temple & the Unfinished Obelisk; we’ll cap off the afternoon with a boat ride in the Nile (Overnight on Nile cruise)
February 9 Today we’ll fly to Abu Simbel to visit the twin temples built under the reign of Ramesses II, and this afternoon we’ll fly back to Cairo. (Overnight in Cairo)
February 10 What a phenomenal journey! Today we’ll depart for home with a treasure trove of new memories—or maybe you’re on your way to Jordan to make some more!
Detailed Narrative Itinerary
Ahlan wa sahlan, welcome to Egypt!
You’ll be met inside the Cairo airport where one of our welcoming Egyptian teammates will help guide you through the immigration process and collect your luggage. You’ll be driven to Giza to begin this magical journey through time.
Your home base in Giza will be the historic Mena House hotel. This 5-star luxury hotel at the base of the pyramids was originally built in 1869 as a royal retreat and hunting lodge. Once it was converted into a hotel in 1886, The Mena House became the hot spot for any celebrities, politicians, and dignitaries visiting over the years, including Prince Albert Victor, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, and Frank Sinatra–and now you! This is a perfect place to relax and get ready for our thrilling adventure together.
Cairo, Saqqara & Giza
On January 30th, we’ll head into Cairo proper to visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization & the Royal Mummies’ Hall. This new museum is small but mighty, showcasing stunning pieces from throughout Egypt’s long history. You’ll marvel at the Royal Mummies’ Hall which houses 20 mummies, including Hatshepsut and Seti I. We’ll round out our time in Cairo with a visit to the Sultan Hasan mosque and madrasa, a gorgeous complex built in the mid-1300s.
Tomorrow we’ll drive a short distance to see Saqqara. Saqqara is incredibly rich in history and artifacts because it served as the necropolis of ancient Egypt’s capital, Memphis. Today you’ll see firsthand that the iconic pyramids on the Giza plateau were the culmination of more than a century of designing and refining.
The first architect, Imhotep, designed the Step Pyramid of Djoser in 2630 BCE, starting the pyramid craze across the plateau. The Step Pyramid is the first freestanding stone building in history and the first pyramid ever built. You’ll also see the so-called “Bent Pyramid,” another experiment in building the perfect royal tomb.
The entire area of Saqqara is a hotbed for architectural achievements and findings, with more and more tombs being uncovered every year. (There’s a great 2020 documentary about Saqqara on Netflix currently.) We’ll explore these noble tombs as our expert guide explains their significance and deciphers the domestic stories told in the beautiful hieroglyphics lining the walls.
On February 1st, we’ll visit the newly opened GEM, the Grand Egyptian Museum (*pending its grand opening! The museum is 13 years behind schedule but we are confident it will be open in early 2024!) This GEM of a museum has been a long time coming, with the cornerstone placed all the way back in 2002. Moved from the original location in downtown Cairo to the Giza plateau, the GEM is the largest archaeological museum in the world. The new museum showcases over 100,000 artifacts, about 3500 of which belong to the famous King Tutankhamen.
Although you’ve already been admiring them from our hotel, tomorrow you’ll get up close and personal with the Giza pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley temple. The Great Pyramid is the only remaining wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and it has attracted the curiosity of tourists for thousands of years. We’ll enter one of these grand pyramids and appreciate these structures from a completely different perspective!
We’ll marvel at the Great Sphinx of Giza and take in details that photos just can’t capture—its enormous paws, its tail, its noble gaze—as we can imagine what the Sphinx has gazed upon for millennia.
Luxor & Valley of the Queens
After our Giza Plateau visit, we’ll take a short flight (~70 minutes) to Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes. Luxor is sometimes called “the world’s greatest open-air museum” due to the enormous amount of priceless treasures here, from the grand temples of Luxor and Karnak to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens in the Necropolis across the Nile River.
Our home base in Luxor will be the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, set on the bank of the Nile River. With two pools, a phenomenal spa, and one heck of a view, it may difficult to peel yourself away from our hotel.
On February 3, we’ll visit Hatshepsut’s temple. Hatshepsut is an intriguing, powerful character, and one of the only female pharaohs to have reigned. She initially ruled as regent for her step-son Thutmose III, but she became a clever, successful ruler for nearly 20 years during a critical time in Egypt’s history. Fittingly, her temple is one of the most striking monuments in ancient Egypt.
We’ll spend time in the Valley of the Queens, with a coveted entrance into Queen Nefertari’s tomb. Often called “The Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt,” this stunning tomb belonged to Ramesses II’s favorite wife. We’re thrilled to bring you inside this extremely special, heavily protected site!
Afterward, we’ll visit the 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. This evening we’ll round out our day with a visit to Luxor Temple (~1400 BCE). We’ll spend time there during the magical hours of dusk, watching the sky become purple behind the towering pillars and statues.
On the 4th, we’ll make a day trip to explore the breathtaking temple of Dendera, 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 Egypt.
The ceiling of the Hathor Temple has recently been cleaned meticulously, removing 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.
Valley of the Kings & Karnak
Tomorrow we’ll discover the Valley of the Kings, where we’ll explore the colorful tombs carved out of rocky cliffs to safeguard the mummies and treasures from grave robbers.
You’ll enter the tomb of Tutankhamun, as British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter did in 1922—although you’ve already seen his treasures at the Grand Egyptian Museum! Not only have we included a visit to King Tut’s tomb, but we’re also taking you to the tomb of Seti I.
Seti I, the father of Ramses II, has one of the best-preserved tombs in the Valley of the Kings. This burial chamber marks the first time that decorations covered every part of the tomb, a style followed by every succeeding tomb through the rest of the valley’s history.
This afternoon we’ll check in to our Nile cruise and enjoy lunch. For the next four nights, we’ll call the 5-star MS Mayfair our home, as we cruise between Luxor and Aswan on the Nile River. Each day we’ll visit temples dotting the Nile’s riverbanks, and in the evening we’ll have time to catch up with each other, reflect on what we saw, and participate in cultural activities on board the cruise.
On the morning of January 6th, we’ll explore the massive grounds of Karnak Temple. Karnak is actually a complex of temples surrounded by one enclosure wall that is dedicated to the god Amon-Ra. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to these buildings. It was completely buried in sand for many centuries, allowing it to be one of the most well-preserved temples in Egypt.
The temple has many beautifully decorated columns, a huge open court, a massive façade, a huge pylon, and two seated statues of Ramses II. The Great Hypostyle Hall is a humbling site, indeed; this hall of 134 massive columns is one of the most impressive places in all of Egypt–make sure you have your wide-angle lens!
Our Luxury Nile Cruise
After our Karnak visit, we’ll set sail for Edfu in our stylish home-away-from-home, the MS Mayfair. This luxury Nile cruise is the perfect way to see rural Egypt; as we glide past the papyrus lining the shores of the Nile River, you’ll think you’ve been transported back a few millennia. That is, if it weren’t for the swimming pool, jacuzzi, and bar on the rooftop deck! The sundeck is a perfect place to unwind, connect with new friends, and enjoy a cold beer or a hot tea.
In the morning we’ll visit the stunning temple at Edfu, dedicated to the falcon god Horus. It is a shockingly well-preserved temple because it was covered by almost 40 feet of silt and sand over the centuries, only being “rediscovered” in the 19th century. The Horus Temple at Edfu has some of our favorite hieroglyphs in all of Egypt.
From Edfu, we’ll sail on to Kom Ombo and visit the very special riverside temple there. It is the only temple in Egypt that is dedicated to two gods: Horus the Elder and the crocodile-headed Sobek. Nearby there is a museum that houses crocodile mummies recovered locally along with some gorgeous statues of Sobek. In the Old Kingdom, Sobek was established as one of the most significant gods, frequently mentioned in the funerary texts.
There is a fascinating carving in this temple that carefully depicts medical and surgical devices of the day, a testament to the advanced medicine in Egypt at the time. The image also contains two goddesses sitting on birthing chairs.
Aswan & Philae
After our exploration at Kom Ombo, we’ll sail on to Aswan, just north of Aswan High Dam. On February 8, we’ll visit Philae temple, considered to be the most beautiful temple in the Nile Valley. This Isis and Osiris temple became submerged in the Nile after the first Aswan Dam was built, but with the help of UNESCO, the Philae temple was 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 complete.
Next, 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 and would have weighed the same as 97 school buses! It’s a fascinating insight into how obelisks were shaped and quarried in ancient Egypt.
This afternoon we can take a speed boat around the Nile to see more of the picturesque area. We can also visit the Aswan Market in the early evening together before heading back to the Mayfair.
On the morning of February 9, we’ll say goodbye to our cruise ship and fly to Abu Simbel (~45-minute flight) to explore this jaw-dropping site. Abu Simbel is one of the most iconic ancient sites in Egypt, nestled on the west bank of the Nile River between the first and second cataracts (the shallow areas of rapids).
Flanking the entrance of the Great Temple are four seated colossal figures, each a towering 65 feet tall. This temple, too, was meticulously moved stone by stone in 1968 to keep it safe from the rising Nile after the Aswan High Dam was built.
After our Abu Simbel visit, we’ll fly back to Cairo via Aswan, for a total of 2.5 hours of flight time. We’ll rest at a comfortable hotel near the airport to make our departure tomorrow a bit more relaxed. Let’s enjoy our final dinner together tonight and recount all that we’ve experienced together during our unforgettable Egyptian exploration!
Tomorrow you’ll be taken back to the airport to head home or on to your next adventure. We can connect you to our partners in Jordan if you wish to extend your adventure to visit Petra, the Dead Sea, and Wadi Rum!
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Price & What is Included
There is a minimum of 6 guests required for this journey and a maximum of 15. When we have reached our minimum, we will let you know, at which time you can buy airfare and your travel insurance.
- This journey is $7999 USD per person, based on sharing a room with someone.
- The non-refundable deposit is $1000 and holds your space
- The 2nd installment of $3500 is due on August 31, 2023
- The balance is due October 31, 2023
- The private room supplement is $1699. (Please note: if you request a roommate but we do not have one for you, you are responsible for the private room supplement)
- All meals (starting with dinner on January 29th through breakfast on February 10th)
- All lodging in hotels and Nile cruise
- All local guides and tips
- All ground transportation within Egypt, including airport pickup and drop-off
- Flight from Cairo to Luxor
- Flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel
Flight from Abu Simbelto Cairo
- 4-night cruise down the Nile River on a 5-star boat
- Site entry fees, including the tombs of King Tut, Nefertari, and Seti I
- $25 Egypt visa fee
- All water, tea, and coffee
- An online photo album of the experience for you to download and share
- Wifi in public areas hotels and cruise
- Donation to Brooke Hospital for Animals
Price does not include:
- International airfare (although we are more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
- Alcohol & other specialty drinks
- Travel insurance (required)
- There is a minimum of 6 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 3 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 tabs for specific information about price & what is included in your journey.
The non-refundable $1000 deposit guarantees your space. The 2nd installment is due on August 31st, 2023 and the balance on October 31st, 2023. The private room supplement of $1699 will be added to the final balance.
For our American guests, we accept payments via check, credit, or debit card (via PayPal), Zelle, or Venmo. Lauren will send you these details after receiving your registration form.
For our guests outside the U.S., Lauren will connect with you about the best ways to transfer money.
We do everything in our power to do right by our guests. We are proud to say that in the wake of our COVID-related trip cancellations through 2020 and 2021, we were able to offer each of our guests the choice of a 100% credit, if not a full refund.
We’ve re-examined each trip and done our best to reduce the deposit amounts as much as possible. Upon your registration, your deposit immediately goes toward reserving your space for flights, hotels, and excursions that must be booked months in advance and are often non-refundable.
Cancellation by our guests
The cancellation charges are as follows unless otherwise indicated on the detailed itinerary for each trip. All cancellations must be received via e-mail or US mail.
- Cancellations prior to 120 days to departure, money will be refunded minus the non-refundable deposit. Please note that deposits for any pre-trip or post-trip extensions are not transferable to another portion of the trip should you decide to cancel that module of the journey.
- Cancellations received 61 to 119 days prior to departure are subject to a penalty of 50% of the total cost of the trip.
- Cancellations received 60 days or less prior to trip departure will forfeit the entire cost of the trip.
If a trip is cancelled by RetreaTours
When a tour is cancelled in the case of force majeure, the Tour Participant will receive a refund minus any funds that we are unable to recover from any supplier.
Our Carbon Offset Commitment
RetreaTours is Climate Positive!
We purchase triple carbon offsets for your travels with us—that’s from your home, through the entire tour, and back to your home again, times three!
You may have heard the term “carbon neutral,” which means that a company offsets as much carbon as it produces. With this 300% offset, RetreaTours is actually offsetting more carbon than we produce each year, making us “carbon negative” (or “climate positive,” which has a nicer ring to it!)
Since 2012 we’ve focused on making travel safe and easy for our guests; with our triple carbon offset tours, we’re pleased to make our trips as sustainable as they are memorable.
Please see more at RetreaTours.com/CarbonNegative
Suggested Fitness Requirements
To make the most out of your time in Egypt, you’ll want to be able to walk for 1 mile at a time, sometimes over uneven ground. Please email us if you have any specific questions about your fitness and ability levels for this journey.
RetreaTours requires that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation. Please send Lauren your policy information as soon as you have it.
We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.
Please familiarize yourself with RetreaTours’ guest cancellation policy in your journey’s contract. Please read this article to understand a bit more about trip cancellation insurance and what it may or may not cover. “Cancel For Any Reason” policies do exist, as well, although do check to see what percentage of the trip cost they actually reimburse.
When to purchase your policy
Please purchase this insurance as soon as we tell you the trip has reached its minimum. Please do not wait until the last minute, should you need to use your (optional) cancellation coverage before then.
Where to search for policies
Below you will find some options to start your search for trip insurance. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.
Squaremouth.com and InsureMyTrip.com are two sites where you can see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like. Squaremouth’s interface is very easy and intuitive to use, and you can easily opt out of trip cancellation coverage.
World Nomads provides policies for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation options. Use the link above and pop in your info to get an immediate quote.
It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.
Passport & Visa Requirement
Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the trip (that is August 10, 2024).
You will purchase a visa upon arrival at the airport in Cairo, valid for 30 days.
Vaccines & Staying Healthy on Tour
RetreaTours requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine and booster for this journey.
No vaccines 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.
Motion sickness is not typically a concern with any of our guests on the Nile River cruise as it is extremely smooth and stable. If you have any concerns, please reach out and we can discuss this further!
Staying Healthy on Tour
Please visit our comprehensive article, “How to Stay Healthy While Traveling…Naturally,” which addresses all of the most common travel ailments.
Expected Temperatures & Suggested Packing List
We’ll provide a suggested packing list several months before this journey.
Temperature by location
These conditions are based on historical averages, thanks to WeatherSpark.com. The range as a whole is 50-75°F and very low humidity, with nights being chilly and afternoons in the sun being very warm.
About our Hotels & Cruise
We know that Egypt has been on your “bucket list” for a long time and we think you should see Egypt in style! For that reason, we’ve chosen comfortable 5-star hotels for you based on location and amenities. We invite you to learn more about these hotels at the links below:
- In Giza, you’ll be staying at the historic Marriott Mena House at the base of the pyramids.
- In Luxor, you’ll enjoy the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, with its gorgeous spa and Nile-side pools.
- The M.S. Mayfair will be our 5-star floating home during our 4-night Nile Cruise.
- The Le Meridien Cairo Airport provides a comfortable and super convenient last stop before your flight home (or onward to another adventure!)
Wifi Availability & Electricity
The internet is accessible throughout this journey, although it is only available in the common areas on our Nile Cruise. We recommend staying connected with your loved ones via WhatsApp (which we will also use on the tour to communicate the schedule and updates). You may also wish to activate an international plan on your phone service.
Electrical Outlets and Adaptors
Please email Lauren with any questions you may have about this journey (or just to say Hi!) If you don’t hear back in 24-48 hours, please do check your spam folder.
About BJ & Lauren
You’ll be joined on this journey by Lauren & BJ, owners of RetreaTours–and we are so excited to show you the wonders of ancient Egypt!
Husband-and-wife team BJ Graf and Lauren Rathvon have traveled the globe year-round since January 2013, researching, designing, and leading impactful journeys. We are deeply grateful for the trust that our guests place in us to save them time and resources while they enjoy a memorable journey.
We are committed not only to our guests but to our host destinations and the planet at large. We engage with local businesses and guides to keep money within the community, and we triple-carbon offset each of our tours.
Please click a photo to see an enlarged version; you can use your arrow keys or mouse to navigate within the album. All of these photos were taken by BJ or Lauren during their adventures in Egypt!