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Dear Thomson Families,

Our theme this newsletter seems to have to do with the riches of world travel, and how to capture it best.   Are you most likely to stay behind your camera to catch the perfect shot, or do you prefer to witness it all first hand and rely on your memory to remind you later? It’s an interesting conversation, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. Meanwhile our heads are dizzy with so many things happening here. Spinning off new divisions and adding new destinations. Checking out Brazil and Croatia. And in the middle of it, it seems the masses are calling in trying to figure out something to do in December. Believe it or not we can really help you – just give us a call. As soon as possible.

Read on, and happy adventuring!

Can’t Promise it Will Be Here Tomorrow, But:

Here is what we still have today for December. One room on Costa Rica for Teens December 26 – Jan 3; Baja December 21 – 27; Room for 4 guests only Galapagos Islands & Inca Ruins December 21 – 29; Two rooms only on Smithsonian Panama December 21 – 29 (with kids 17+); Costa Rica Multi-Sport December 22 – 30; and a smattering of Peru (call for details)… 800-262-6255


Iguassu Falls is a visual paradise and somehow one never tires of watching the cascades of water from every angle. I walked around the Argentina side, and I walked around the Brazil side. I didn’t want to leave. But then I arrived in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland. Almost 75,000 square miles. This huge basin is home to a rich array of wildlife including many endangered animals. Because it is open plain you can walk, ride horseback, or travel in open sided trucks for breathtaking wildlife viewing. I was welcomed by a swooping hyacinth macaw and surrounded by scads of birds of all sizes, colors and sounds. Caiman sunned outside my room, and a capybara snoozed on my stoop one night. Tapir wandered by at night. I fished for piranha, canoed past a family of giant river otters, witnessed the world’s largest stork, the jaiburu, in a nest with 4 fluffy babies. Not 15 feet from me. I really did not want to leave the Pantanal. Dare I say this was better than the Serengeti? Come see for yourself, beginning July 2014.

Smithsonian Family Adventures Brochure:

Hot off the press, our new 2014-2015 Smithsonian Family Adventures brochure is here. (Did you know Smithsonian asked us to run their family program??) You can see the digital version here , or order up your own hard copy on our website . For the perfect combination of our family expertise, and the Smithsonian’s quest for deeper knowledge and understanding in the world, come join us in one of 7 hot destinations.

New Adventures of Old Belize:

If your vacation week begins April 12 2014 and you always wanted to go to Belize, here is a new and exciting chance. We’ve spiffed up our itinerary with an eye towards easier logistics and deeper cultural experiences. Beginning in a comfortable lodge in the district of Toledo you’ll have great access to Mayan villages, crafts and ruins as well as rainforest and wildlife. Learn about drumming, make some chocolate, and zip line over a raging river. Then move on to the coast for a ride on the Monkey River, world class snorkeling, and a touch of relaxation. Space is limited – call soon!

New Expert Photography Adventures in 2014:

Some of you remember professional photographer Chris Gamel, from our photo trips he led in the Galapagos in 2012. He’s not just a photographer but a wildlife biologist too! He’s awesome with the kids, a wizard with the camera and we’re bringing him back! Learn to see the world in a new light, through the lens. Have an adventure and come home with new skills. Chris will be onboard Costa Rica Multi-Sport Adventure March 15 – 23; Costa Rica Teen Adventure (age 12+) March 22 – 30; and Peru: Land of the Ancient Inca April 19 – 27. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to have the adventure of your dreams, and outstanding photographs to prove it.

Can’t Stop Thinking About Brazil:

OK so experiencing the natural wonders wasn’t all I did. I also spent some time in Rio, a city that surprised me with its beauty and camaraderie. I loved seeing the local residents take full advantage of the climate, pouring onto the beaches for games and cook outs. Yes, futbol is everywhere. I also loved getting a bit outside the city and learning about the Golden Lion Tamarin Project (the video is in Portuguese, but you don’t need to understand the words to get it!) These adorable monkeys, seriously endangered, are being carefully supported in this tiny slice of Brazil, the only place in the world they can still be found in the wild. In 30 years the population has grown from just 200 to 1700; the goal is 2000. We saw dozens, and learned about how the project works with farmers to reforest their land, and help close the tamarin’s natural corridor. Want to see this yourself? You can! Come with us to Rio!

One More Thing About Brazil:

If history and culture are your thing – along with outstanding music, drumming, and capoeira – you must see Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The original capital of Brazil, Salvador is one of the oldest cities in the Americas. With its strong African influence you’ll find markets, music, dance, and religious traditions sure to tingle your senses. Combine this with a few days in Rio, and your cultural adventure will be complete. We’re working on this for 2014, but if you’re ready to get going call us now.

Photo Contest Winners for August:

Speaking of the Serengeti, that is the location that provided an extraordinary photo in August. The Constan family not only found the elusive leopard, but caught one guarding its prey, winning first prize. We have so many great entries, and you can see all of the finalists here (By the way, no leopard in the Pantanal, but you might see jaguar!)

Our RIDDLE - and another Super-Smart Genius Award

Let’s say you have a glass of lemonade and a glass of iced tea, both nicely chilled and ready to drink. First pour 4 ounces of iced tea into the lemonade and stir it up. Then pour 4 ounces from the lemonade glass back into the iced tea. Is there more iced tea in the lemonade glass or more lemonade in the iced tea glass?

We'll be drawing a name from a TFA hat in five days. If we draw YOUR name and you've answered correctly, you'll win a Super-Smart Genius Award worth $200 off your next Thomson Family Adventure. Please solve this with your brain power, though you are allowed to consult your very clever children. Cheating is not allowed (and I'll know if you do!).  

If you haven't taken our travel survey before, click here to take it
and save $300 on your next adventure.

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Best Regards,

Moo Bishop
Family Travel Advisor- Alumni Services

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