Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more

Southern Explorations

4.9 | Excellent
  • 100% Recommend
Service Level
  • Standard
Type
  • Regional Expert
Established
  • 2006
Headquarters
  • Seattle, Washington, USA
Trips
  • 3

432
Southern Explorations Reviews & Ratings 100% Recommend

4.9 out of 5
Excellent 394 Great 31 Average 6 Disappointing 1 Terrible 0
Value:
4.9 Guide:
4.9 Activities:
4.9 Lodging:
4.9 Transportation:
4.9 Meals:
4.9

Tour Reviews

A&B

Recommends

Great choice of itineraries and… April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Great choice of itineraries and practical arrangements worked well. Staff at Head Office and on the ground were very helpful.

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

CD

Recommends

We have taken two trips arranged by… April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We have taken two trips arranged by Southern Explorations: Argentina and Ecuador/Galapogos and both were outstanding. Great attention to detail. Great guides. Reasonably priced. Will continue to use them in the future.
Read more

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

P

Recommends

Awesome experience/worry-free pleasure! April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Awesome experience; great guides, very organized, all well planned and executed.
Made travel a worry-free pleasure. Thanks!

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

M

Recommends

Our experience with Southern… April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our experience with Southern Explorations was great from the first encounter. Very professional, quick to respond and very helpful,

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

L

Recommends

No glitches April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
No glitches, all guides, all pickup people etc arrived on time and they were knowledgeable and good at their jobs. Hotels were all exceptable, but some were more marginal, so a review of the hotels might be in order.
Read more

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

D

Recommends

Great Adventure in Patagonia April 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We had an excellent experience in Patagonia thanks to Southern Explorations (S.E.) on their "Classic Patagonia and Torres del Paine" itinerary. The program gave us exposure to many of the highlights of the region on a relatively compact schedule but had a great balance of activities vs. free time to explore on our own. Our hotels were in great locations, clean and comfortable. The guides and other transportation operators were friendly / on time and the hikes / activities were great. This was our third trip with S.E. (we also did Inca Trail and Galapagos in prior years) and we continue to be impressed with their professionalism and attention to detail. We hope to travel with them again in the future.
Read more

Tour Southern Explorations Company Reviews

Stride Review

Seattle-based Southern Explorations is a leading purveyor of adventure-oriented small group and customized tours to Latin American destinations. Wide ranging activities may include trekking and hiking, camping, kayaking, whitewater rafting, snorkeling and Scuba diving, sailing, skiing and snowshoeing – or wine tasting and wildlife viewing. 

What Makes Them Stand Out? 

They have a commitment to expending resources in the local communities they visit, hiring local guides and support staff, using locally owned lodgings, and making donations to local conservation organizations. 

Who Travels With Them?

Southern Explorations Tours tend to attract adventurous travelers in their 30s and 40s as well as fit older travelers. 

Where Do They Operate?

Primarily South America, including Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia, as well as Central America (Costa Rica and Panama). They also offer small ship adventure cruises in the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica. 

How Does It Work?

You can choose between pre-set land or sea itineraries or they will arrange tours customized to your specifications. Accommodations are locally owned and range from three to five star quality, including haciendas, refugios, and lodges as well as hotels and cruise ships. 

Why Travel With Them? 

Staff members are experienced adventure travel experts who each travel to Latin America every year, inspecting accommodations and sites and keeping up to date with field offices. Guides are local, know the territory intimately, and are fluent in both English and Spanish.

Visit Southern Explorations site >

From Southern Explorations

Southern Explorations is dedicated to providing high quality travel experiences that preserve the fragile lands we visit. By working closely with our customers, we are able to design unique vacations that match their interests and schedule. In addition to customized private tours, our specialty, we also offer pre-set departures to a wide range of South and Central American destinations.

For the most part, our customers are active independent vacationers, unaccustomed to the "guided tour." They seek not just adventure from their travels but a new world view. We therefore strive to provide as authentic an experience as possible with an in-country coordinated and guided trip rather than sending a Western tour guide to oversee their stay. We keep our groups small and assemble itineraries from an eclectic mix of places and activities, some on, but many off, the beaten tourist path. Because we are a small company, we can offer the utmost in personal attention to ensure that each trip precisely suits the needs and interests of our customers in an area of the world we know well.

Our staff: We employ a staff of knowledgeable travel professionals at our Seattle headquarters and have long-standing contractual relationships with our logistical specialists in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Panama and Peru who help develop and coordinate our tours. All have traveled extensively or lived and worked in our destination countries and share a common business philosophy and environmental ethic.

Group Size: We limit the size of our tour groups to eight travelers, except on Galapagos Island cruises and tours where yacht capacity determines occupancy and on the Inca Trail where twelve travelers is the maximum. This policy offers several benefits. It minimizes our environmental impact, allows us to travel to areas less visited and makes the sightseeing experience more personal. It allows our guides sufficient time to attend to the individual needs of each visitor. Traveling in small groups also increases the likelihood of encountering wildlife in areas such as the Amazon.

Itineraries: We thoroughly research each destination before including it in a trip. Through our knowledgeable staff, we have established strong business relationships in all of the areas we visit which make for unique itineraries of ecological and cultural significance for our travelers and to while providing for their utmost safety and security. We augment our planned trips with an extensive list of optional tour extensions, ranging from a few hours to a few days, to enable our passengers to pursue their interests in greater depth.

Accommodations: We personally inspect the rooms and amenities of all potential hotels and lodges in each tour location and select only those that meet our rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort, convenient location, safety, customer service and ambiance. We give the same scrutiny to the safety and quality of the yacht services we contract with to conduct our cruises. We support lodges and hotels that employ sustainability practices and are owned and operated locally.

Guides: We contract with guides who are native to the destination and are licensed and/or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English and some also speak the indigenous language of the region. Many are medically trained and some have received additional wilderness medical training in the United States or other locations. To ensure the safety of our travelers, our guides are linked with outside services 24 hours a day in most locations to provide assistance when necessary. Ours is a team of knowledgeable and congenial guides whose priceless insights into the true nature of their homelands add immeasurably to the enjoyment of the trip.

Local Travel Services & Regional Guides: To provide passengers the most authentic experience possible, we contract with local travel services in the countries we visit. Central to this goal is our policy of hiring regional guides instead of assigning the same guide or a western tour leader to accompany passengers for the duration of the trip. This ensures that our passengers are always in the hands of knowledgeable guides who know their destinations intimately.

Sustainable Tourism Practices: Our company and all those who represent us abroad practice environmental stewardship based on the Leave No Trace philosophy. We travel in established National Parks and conservation areas, leaving only footprints and taking only photographs. We select camping locations with the most benign sanitary systems, pack in gear and foods with the least waste feasible and properly dispose of all rubbish. We design all of our trips to minimize travel times and take full advantage of local hikes and walking routes. In this way, we decrease reliance on motor transportation, and enable our clients to become more intimate with places they travel. We donate to organizations dedicated to the conservation of the ecosystems in which we operate to carbon-offset the use of natural resources that our trips cause.

Because we believe sustainability applies to economic and social well-being in addition to environmental health, we make sure our tours directly benefit the locations to which our clients travel. We support local organizations, non-profits, and schools to improve the quality of life in the areas through which we travel. We employ native guides, porters, and logistical members of our staff, as well as supporting locally owned and operated hotels, lodges and restaurants. We also ensure fair wages for all with whom we work and contract. This commitment has created enduring relationships with members of our international team and greatly added to our clients' experiences abroad.

Home Office Practices: At our Seattle headquarters, we employ best environmental practices in our daily work. Our energy-efficient office is purposely located within walking distance to all of our major needs to minimize trips by car during our workday. We encourage our employees to use alternative forms of transportation, and some bike or walk to work daily. We have made efforts beyond simply using recycled paper products by making our company nearly all web and computer-based. We mail only the essentials to our clients, communicating predominately by waste-free email and phone. Additionally, we email newsletters and rely on our website to notify travelers of updates instead of mailing brochures that are paper intensive.

Associations:

Adventure Travel Trade Association, International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, International Ecotourism Society

Awards:

Trips & Specials

$100 Off July Peru Trips: $100 off per person for any July Peru fixed departures

6 days
Group Tour
Value - 3 star
Physical :
From: $ 1,775

Highlights

  • Explore Quito
  • Experience the Amazon from the water with this stand up paddle board expedition
  • Visit the Siona community, a local indigenous village
  • Enjoy one last Amazonian sunrise
More
9 days
Small Group Tour
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 2,995

Highlights

  • Hike To Huchuy Cusco
  • Peru Whitewater rafting adventure about an hour away while you will enjoy the canyon and scenic views
  • Visit are Cusco's temples
  • Visit Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with megalithic stone terraces
  • Visit a community of textile artists who craft original organic pieces according to the techniques of their ancestors
More
11 days
Group Tour
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 4,395

Highlights

  • Mendoza
  • Santiago
  • Buenos Aires
  • Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon & Carménère
More
 

See All Southern Explorations Trips >

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