With more ancient sites than any other country in Europe, Greece is an archaeological treasure. Philosophers and theologians have long been drawn here to explore the roots of modern thought. Even so, it is the vibrant blues and rugged beauty of the Greek Islands that beckon many visitors away from the crowds of Athens and the Acropolis. Santorini’s picturesque town of Oia is a whitewashed, blue-domed beauty. The sea-side cafes, windmills and nightlife of Mykonos are also draw for many of our participants. Sandy beaches can be found on Skiathos.
Delphi’s oracle and the soaring, mountain-top monastic retreats of Meteora make an excellent day trip. The deep, narrow abyss of the Corinth Canal is an awesome feat of engineering and ancient Corinth has a fascinating history. The Argolis-Olympia trip explores the site of the original Olympic Games and Mycenae, best known for its prominence in mythology.
Civitavecchia: Sep 26 - 28, Livorno: Sep 29 - Oct 1
Italy has something for everyone, whether you are a history buff, outdoor adventurer, or an aspiring chef. If you are looking to explore ancient architecture, visit the Roman ruins or the renowned city of Pompeii, preserved by the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius. The five consecutive seaside towns of Cinque Terre offer beautiful hiking trails along the coastline and a chance to explore fishing villages. Culinary enthusiasts can learn how to cook in Naples, a city renowned for its Napoli-style pizza.
Spain’s diverse landscape, architecture, art, and cuisine make the country rich in culture and charm. We will dock in Barcelona, one of the Mediterranean’s busiest ports, where you can explore the spectacular architecture of the Catalan capital, including Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia church. Sports enthusiasts enjoy a visit to Camp Nou, Barcelona’s soccer stadium and home to the Barca team. On the outskirts of the city, you will find the Montserrat mountain range as well as beautiful beaches.
Morocco is an immensely rich cultural center point of north-western Africa that exudes influences of all of the proximal regions, including Spain and the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Sahara Desert, and the Atlas Mountains. The port of Casablanca, established in the 20th century, is a busy metropolis and home to the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world after Mecca. Teaming with colorful bazaars and exotic culture, Casablanca and nearby Rabat, Fez and Marrakech will give voyagers a taste of a culture far different from any other place.
Dakar, Senegal is the capital and largest city in Senegal (as well as the western-most city in all of Africa), Dakar is located on the Cape Verde peninsula on the Atlantic. Dakar has maintained remnants of its French colonial past, and has much to offer both geographically and culturally. Whether it is a visit to the natural phenomenon of the Pink Lake to watch local salt harvesters master their trade, a trip to Goree island to learn about the slave trade post from the 16th to 19th centuries, or shopping in local markets for crafts made by the native Fulani Senegalese tribe, adventure is always close at hand.
Bursting with exotic wildlife, the Amazon River, and lush rainforests, Brazil is an environmental wonderland. One of Semester at Sea’s most popular excursions in Brazil is an overnight riverboat cruise down the Amazon River where students visit local villages along the way and sleep in hammocks at night. The ship will dock in the city of Salvador, once the capital of Portugal’s New World colony. Explore the bustling city where you can learn about capoeira, explore 17th- and 18th-century architecture, and see firsthand the preserved African culture through art, music, and dance.
Trinidad and Tobago
Port of Spain
Teeming with both cultural and biological diversity, the island national of Trinidad and Tobago packs a wealth of experiences in a relatively small geographical space. For those interested in cultural exploration, Indian, African, Spanish, Chinese, English, and indigenous peoples have all left their mark on Trinidad’s vibrant music, food, and artistic traditions. Visit a local market in Port of Spain, observe the city’s unique architecture, participate in a ‘lime’ (or informal gathering), and relax to the melodious tune of steel drums, Trinidad’s national instrument.
If you’re looking to get out of the city, the Caroni Swamp is home to Trinidad’s famed Scarlet Ibis – which flash their brilliant red plumage at sunset as hundred fly into the mangroves to roost for the night. See a variety of bird and monkey species along with Manatees at the “Bush Bush” Nariva Swamp, hike to the sparkling Avocat Waterfall along the northern coast of Trinidad, or simply relax and enjoy some delicious seafood on the beach at Maracas Bay.
Panama Canal Transit
Cross another item off your bucket list as you transit through the Panama Canal. Completed in 1914, the 52 mile-long canal is one of the world’s greatest feats in engineering, providing passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Enjoy an up-close look at the gargantuan locks as you coast through the canal that recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary and is undergoing a massive expansion project.
Peru lies on the Pacific coast of South America just south of the Equator. To the Quechua Indians, Peru means “land of abundance.” The country is teeming with beautiful natural scenery and rich history with many must-see sites, including Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan capital city of Cuzco, and Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake. The friendly natives and Andean culture allow for great local interaction and discovery.
Ecuador is a patchwork of indigenous communities, including people of colonial Spanish origins and the descendants of African slaves. Its capital, Quito, once a part of the Inca empire, has some of the best-preserved early colonial architecture on the continent. For a small country, Ecuador has many faces. They include Andean peaks, tropical rainforests and – 1,000 km (600 miles) off the coast – the volcanic Galapagos Islands, home to the animals and birds whose evolutionary adaptations shaped Charles Darwin’s theories. Traditionally a farming country, Ecuador’s economy was transformed after the 1960s by the growth of industry and the discovery of oil.
Costa Rica is a small, Central American nation known for its biodiversity and ecotourism, and has become a global hotspot for outdoor adventure. Whether it is surfing the Caribbean or Pacific coastline, taking in the jungle via zip line, exploring the cloud forests and rainforests, or participating in a guided tour of a sloth sanctuary, Costa Rica has adventure in every corner.