Unique exper blog

5 Unique Small Group Experiences

by Liz Deslauriers

September 27, 2022

4 minute read

Once upon a time, I travelled through Ireland. Looking back, visiting the Cliffs of Moher and castles and cathedral ruins was like a fairytale. Along with my spouse and then 1-year-old, we stayed in Galway and Killarney for convenience and did the best we could to sample authentic Ireland. I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything, but I knew right away I’d have to go again someday. I remember looking out across Galway Bay and wondering what it would be like to venture to the islands out there. Next time, I told myself, I’d go farther.

That curiosity – the longing to explore beyond the beaten path – is where Collette’s small group Explorations tours can come in. In fact, Collette has a small group tour in Ireland that reaches those very islands beyond Galway. (I’ll get to that.)

As a writer at Collette, part of my job entails reading up on the itineraries for our tours all over the world. I’m continually in awe of how each one is tailored to give travellers everything they’d expect in a destination – and more. Collette’s team designs the tours around several travel styles to meet those expectations, including Classic and small group Explorations. I find our tours in the classic travel style have so much to offer curious travellers, especially to experience a destination for a first time. And it’s our small group Explorations tours that tend to kick my wanderlust into overdrive.

 Small group tours are made up of 14 to 24 travellers (compared to classic tour groups, which average 32 travellers with a max of 44), and it’s this smaller group size that allows our team to create one-of-a-kind experiences alongside the essential stops. So, if you’ve been on a classic tour that checked off all the must-sees, and now you crave more off-the-grid experiences, you might be ready to go a little farther on a small group Explorations tour.

 Just what is it about small group Explorations tours that makes them so special? Consider these five unforgettable experiences from small group tours that’ll have you going “small” for your next big adventure:

Ferry past Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher to the mythic Aran Islands for an overnight stay. You’ll get a rare glimpse and unforgettable feel for life out here, where few tourists ever set foot, let alone stay the night. 

Experience it on: Countryside of the Emerald Isle

In Bosnia, meet residents in their Sarajevo home and stay awhile as you share a meal together. You’ll experience new flavours as a local musician performs deep melodies of Sevdah music for you and your fellow travellers.

Experience it on: A Taste of the Balkans

Experience a corner of Switzerland seldom frequented by tourists – the UNESCO World Heritage region of Lavaux. After lunching at a family-run restaurant, meet up with our local friends, Jacques and Aurélia, for a wine tasting nestled among the vineyards of Lavaux.

Experience it on: Switzerland: Hidden Trails & Majestic Peaks

Get a true taste of Moroccan hospitality during an interactive cooking class at the Amal Centre, a women’s cooperative dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training. 

Experience it on: Colours of Morocco

In the remote corner of northeast Costa Rica, travel by boat into Tortuguero National Park, where you’ll explore the canals for wildlife by day and stay in your comfortable jungle lodge at night, immersed in nature, the sounds of the rainforest all around you.

Experience it on: Costa Rica: A World of Nature

Experiences like these are what small group touring is all about. Go beyond the beaten path. Get to know new people and truly taste the local flavours when you slow down for a meaningful meal. Stay in accommodations that connect you to a history, a culture, or the natural surroundings. It’s these opportunities to travel farther and deeper all over the world that unlock a sense of wonder and broaden perspectives.

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