ToursByLocals Top Picks for 2014

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It's almost New Year’s: the time of the year where we take stock of what we’ve done, and look forward to all the good things that are to come. In this spirit of anticipation, we asked the office staff at ToursByLocals to tell us about one destination they’d love to visit in 2014, and the ToursByLocals experience they’d like to have there.

The staff know so much about our tours and guides that they had a very hard time choosing just one place! But they did. The result? A curated list of twelve exciting places featuring twelve fantastic local guides – somewhere for each month in 2014.

DAVID, Account Manager, Travel and Trade
Choice: Yosemite Photo Tour

I’d like to head to the Southwestern U.S. and go on a photo safari tour with our guide Pat in Yosemite National Park. This part of California is so beautiful, natural, historic and just generally amazing. And have you seen Pat’s photographs? He is so talented.

JESSICA, Customer Support Manager
Choice: Paris Gourmet Food Tour

My vote is for Paris with Genevieve. Anytime I come across communications between her and a traveler, her responses are always aimed to meet the expectations of the traveler regardless of what their requests may be. She really does love her job and it shows! She has tours to suit pretty much anyone and everyone’s needs, from kid friendly tours to tours catered to the older folk, tours for the more active traveler and as well for those who aren’t as mobile. Personally, I would love to take her “Paris Gourmet Tours,” I have always wanted to travel and take a cooking class in each place that I visit, Paris definitely being at the top of my list!

MIKE, Guide Support Manager
Choice: Lemurs in Madagascar

Our guide Ravo’s passion for tourism within his country of Madagascar really makes me want to visit this island off Africa’s eastern coast. Ravo leads day tours, but specializes in multi-day excursions that really get to the heart of the traditions, wildlife and plant-life which are highly endemic to the island. As Ravo says, Madagascar is “a place for people in search of discovery, wonder and fascinating sights.” And a place to see wild lemurs!

ALEX, Customer Support Manager
Choice: Beaches of Normandy with Marianne

I’d like to visit Normandy and take a “landing beaches” tour with Marianne. I have always been a big history buff, and Marianne’s five star reviews most definitely represent proof of the depth of her knowledge and passion for the area and its significant history. Marianne’s public profile is a short story in itself; it’s very intriguing to read about her personal experiences, as her father experienced the turmoils of the Second World War first hand. A big part of wanting to go to Normandy is so I can meet Marianne!

DAN, Guide Support Manager
Choice: Mountain adventures in Patagonia

I’d love to go to Patagonia. Our guide Luis T. came up with a new tour that sounds amazing. It’s called “Cordillera Darwin Mountaineering Expedition.” He has other, shorter hiking tours that also sound great, but this longer expedition up onto the glaciers in the Mt. Shipton area really makes me want to visit Chile again.

JAMES, Customer Support Manager
Choice: Rio de Janeiro with a Carioca

With its favelas, iconic landmarks and world-renowned beaches, Rio de Janeiro truly is a vibrant mix of sociological experiences that make it my top travel destination for 2014!

SARA, Director of Communications
Choice: Spring Skiing in the Troll Peninsula, Iceland

Imagine traveling to northern Iceland and skiing the glaciers of the Troll Peninsula in spring. Here, a day’s adventure can see you hiking up 1200m peaks in the sunshine, enjoying lunch, then skiing right down to the ocean shore. Guide Helgi and his wife Dinna are experienced skiers, and welcome travelers to their cottage in Dalvik, Iceland. I’d go in a heartbeat!

LUCIANO, Director of Business Development
Choice: Safari in Tanzania with Kanuth

I would love to go to Tanzania to go on Safari with Kanuth, an experienced safari guide with a 5-star rating. The Selous Game Reserve would be my main destination; it is the largest in Africa (over 50,000 square kilometers!) It would be incredible to see the “big five” and be in touch with the amazing animals there.

COLIN, Guide Recruitment Manager
Choice: Easter Island with Marcus (Nanue Para)

Can you imagine traveling to the most remote and mysterious island in the world, and exploring it with the only non-indigenous resident of the island fluent in the local language? Marcus is passionate about preserving the Rapa Nui culture, and founded Tāpura Re'o, which is the first newspaper ever written entirely in Rapa Nui language. Take one of Marcus’ tours and along with seeing the famous Moai you might get treated to him singing an ancient song deep inside a cave...

TOMAS, Director of Marketing
Choice: Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour

I like Croatia: they have great food, beautiful countryside and I am sure that off season would be the best time to go there. (At least for my preferences). It isn’t the best time for swimming and tanning but it’s perfect for cultural and historical touring. In addition to Croatia itself, I am a big Game of Thrones fan and this tour seems to connect my favorite TV show with the rich historical background of the beautiful city of Dubrovnik.

PAUL, Customer Support Manager
Choice: Rock ‘n’ Roll tour in London

Being the music enthusiast that I am, I can't help but be intrigued by Richard's "It's only Rock 'n' Roll, but I like it" tour. England has spawned many of the greatest musical acts of the last century, and a private guided tour of their humble beginnings sounds like the perfect way to spend a day.

MATTHEW, Guide Support Manager
Choice: Kyoto’s “Sites and Secrets” with Meiko

I’ve never been to Japan, and if I went, I’d definitely want to visit Kyoto. Meiko is a real star guide there, who does a fantastic job communicating with us and our travelers. She is a thoughtful, kind and deeply learned individual who has put together some brilliant tours of Kyoto. I’d love to see the Yasaka Pagoda, Kiyomizu Temple and the quieter areas of the city with her.
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