Tofino Expeditions

Inspired Sea Kayaking Tours Worldwide Designed for Inquisitive Paddlers

Website: https://www.tofino.com/

Tofino Expeditions (https://www.tofino.com/), established in 1988, is a family owned and operated active adventure travel company offering a selection of the world’s finest sea kayaking destinations and tours. It began as a single fleet kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Today Tofino Expeditions is one of the premier international sea kayak touring outfitters whose team, many of whom hold degrees in natural sciences, embrace sustainable wilderness ethics and authentic cultural discoveries. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allows even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water. The vast majority of Tofino’s trips include immersive visits into UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 

“We’re water people first and foremost and we’ve structured our lives so that we can continue to explore the world’s oceans and share our love of the sea with others.”

~Grant Thompson, Founder/Owner


An Affinity for UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Tofino Expeditions is proud to incorporate fourteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites within their innovative itineraries. These inspirational places of exceptional cultural and natural value include Baja’s Sea of Cortez, Brazil’s Costa Verde, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Italy’s Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Venice, Dolomites and Italian Riviera, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, the Galapagos Archipelago, Croatia and the Amazon.

Trips by Region

What Sets Tofino Expeditions Apart from the Competition?

Tofino Expeditions provides the opportunity to kayak in some of the most stunningly beautiful waters around the world and often in locations that would be inaccessible other than by sea kayak. A balance of water and land activities engages clients on shore with native residents at not-to-miss historic and cultural sites and, of course, over local food and drink. They specialize in kayaking trips that include a strong and authentic cultural component that appeals to educated travelers who like to kayak.

Water People first and foremost, the people behind Tofino are dedicated to exploring Earth’s oceans and sharing their love of the sea with others. They are avid travelers committed to authentic experiences going beyond the surface of a place and into hidden wonders known only to locals. They believe in traveling gently wherever they go and using best practices and appropriate technology to minimize the impact of their trips. An importance is placed on fostering relationships that ensure positive benefits for host communities.

The Food

Guests report that the food is one of the most memorable parts of a Tofino Expeditions trip. Tofino understands the importance of healthy, delicious food in the wilderness and pride themselves in preparing high-quality meals from the freshest ingredients available on all camping trips. They are committed to using organic ingredients whenever possible and support local food producers.

Food is one of the best way to discover and appreciate a culture. On lodge-based trips they actively seek out authentic culinary experiences that illustrate the cuisine of the areas visited. For example; in Hanoi on their Vietnam Kayaking trip they go out for Cha Ca, a fabulous fish dish prepared on a tabletop brazier, that is so unique it’s cited in Patricia Schultz’s, “1000 Places to See Before You Die” (Workman Press).

Commitment to Conservation

Tofino Expeditions has always been at the forefront of minimum impact camping technique. Mexico and Canada have recognized and commended this company’s responsible expedition methods and management. Both in the field and in the office the staff employ sustainable practices to minimize waste and carbon footprint. The company helps to support organizations that share a commitment to wilderness preservation. Each departure is for up to 10 guests maximum, assisted by up to two guides, themselves skilled kayakers who are often locals of and always conversant with the communities that will be visited.  This group size means that lodgings can be secured that are often off the beaten track in communities that both welcome hosting and receiving compensation.

“We believe in traveling gently wherever we go; using best practices and appropriate technology minimizes the impact of our trips. In all the places we work around the world we foster relationships that ensure positive benefits for local communities.”

~Grant Thompson, Founder/Owner

Clientele

Typically, clients fall between the ages 45-65, with more women than men represented. They come from the United States and Canada with increasing numbers from Australia. Tofino’s culturally immersive trips are enjoyed by educated travelers who share a passion for kayaking and appreciate the authenticity and hospitality they find after disembarking on remote shores.

Awards

  • 2012 National Geographic Traveler 50 Tours of a Lifetime: Kayaking the Costa Verde, Brazil “One of the World’s Best Guided Trips 2012”
  • 2013 Outside Travel Awards: Kayaking Cinque Terre and Sardinia, Italy “Best Ocean Trips 2013”
  • 2014 National Geographic Traveler 50 Tours of a lifetime: Kayaking Venice and the Laguna, Italy “One of the World’s Best Guided Trips 2014”
  • 2015 National Geographic Traveler 50 Tours of a Lifetime: Amazon Kayaking, Ecuador “One of the World’s Best Guided Trips 2015”
  • National Geographic Adventure Highest Rated Sea Kayaking Tour Outfitter based on quality of service, education, sustainability and spirit of adventure.

Owner/Founder Grant Thompson

Grant was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is the fourth generation of a west coast Canadian marine family. He first went to sea on a Norwegian freighter at the age of 17. Returning from this adventure to attended university where he studied photography. He spent his 20's and early 30's as a technical mountaineer until a chance meeting in 1981 with John Dowd, author of, "Sea Kayaking: A Manual for Long-Distance Touring" turned his attention back the sea. The expedition potential for sea kayaks on the wild coast of British Columbia and beyond captivated Thompson’s imagination. Through the mid 1980s he worked in the sports industry promoting the then "new" sport of sea kayaking and sat on the board of directors of the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking (TASK) which later became the Trade Association of Paddle sports (TAPS).

In 1988 driven by a strong desire to be on the water rather than behind a desk he founded Tofino Expeditions in the small town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. That same year he started operating sea kayaking expeditions in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, the first of what was to be many international paddling venues. An association with travel writers led to articles in Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal and other publications that were republished in Tim Cahill's books "Jaguars Ripped my Flesh" and "Pass the Butterworms".

As sea kayak outfitting became more popular, Grant became involved with guide education. He was a charter member of The Alliance of British Columbia Sea Kayak Guides and the Association of Canadian Sea Kayak Guides. As a head guide instructor/examiner for both organizations he ran guide training courses on the British Columbia coast and in Baja. He sat on a committee of three senior guides that drafted the first sea kayak guide training curriculum to be officially recognized by Parks Canada.

Thompson relocated Tofino Expeditions to the United States in 1998, living first in Seattle and then in Salem, OR, before settling in its current offices in Bend, OR. He has guided kayaking trips North and South America as well as Europe and Asia. His photographic work has appeared in several magazines including Outside, National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Sea Kayaker and Outpost as well as many leading newspapers.

Contact Information

Grant Thompson – Owner & Founder Email:     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Address:        Tofino Expeditions
                        1567 NW Elgin Ave
                        Bend OR 97703

Phone:           (800) 677-0877 or (541) 389-6091

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:  https://www.tofino.com/

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Media Contact:

Widness & Wiggins PR

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Tofino Expeditions Hosts Paddlers on Romantic Nine-Day Tours of Italian Lake District

BEND, OR, April 25, 2017– Kayaking the Italian Lake District is a nine-day journey through an ancient land where blasts of bougainvillea shatter the repose of medieval facades reflected in still waters over which kayaks silently glide.

This is summertime Italy, but where are the crowds?

Tofino Expeditions (https://www.tofino.com/), leading purveyors of sea kayak-supported explorations of Earth’s marvels, promises lots of elbow room for guests paddling across northern Italy’s sought-after lakes. Grant Thompson, Founder and Owner, also promises that guests will be awestruck by the opulence of villas like the one George Clooney owns on Lake Como. Picturesque villas that hover over the water evoking the luxury and privacy of lakeside living since the days of the Roman Empire. These sights, tucked away from roadside viewing, burst into reality when approached from the water.

“Each time we land the kayaks and explore the lanes and intimate plazas of ancient villages, there’s a renewed excitement,” Thompson said, underscoring the magic this special access over water affords. In fact, launch on the first day is from Laglio, home of Clooney’s Villa Oleandra.

Limited 2017 space is still available for Tofino’s Kayaking the Italian Lake District; however, reservations can be secured now for two 2018 programs departing June 20-28 and Sept. 1-9. The per person double rate is $4,560 and includes all accommodations including arrival night in Milan, the gateway city; most meals; ground transportation and attraction entry fees; expedition sea kayaks and equipment; safety equipment including medical kit, radios, and cell phones; support boat and luggage transfers. For details please see https://www.tofino.com/italy/kayaking-the-italian-lake-district/.

In this kayaking paradise, the voyager enjoys a unique perspective while paddling in Italy’s Piedmont and Lombardy regions and in Switzerland’s Ticino. The weather is typically mild and sunny and the waters warm and swimmable. A lively culture of local boats in many of the towns gives the air of small fishing villages. Along the paddling route are a bridge dating to Roman times, richly forested mountainsides, rugged cliffs and remote islands evoking a rich Mediterranean heritage. Because the regions are diverse, guests sample the best micro-cuisines of the region that appease the palates of international visitors who flock here each summer.

Tofino Expeditions has arranged for guests to dine at a private villa near Bellagio. On another outing, by special arrangement with Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian Cultural Trust, guests land kayaks at Villa del Balbianello for a private tour. Set on a headland on the western shore of Lake Como, this villa has appeared in several feature films: A Month by the Lake, His Demise, Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. Two towers remain of a Franciscan monastery located here since the 13th century.

Surroundings and eventually language subtly shift from Italian to Swiss around Lake Lugano, the Italian part of Switzerland. Guests absorb these nuances in the picture-perfect village of Morcote, a municipality in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Here are shaded arcades and flower-lined alleyways in a village that dates back to the 10th century. On Lago Maggiore paddlers are treated to a unique view from the water of the 13th century Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso which seems to cling to the cliff face. This second largest lake in Italy was the setting for Ernest Hemmingway’s Farewell to Arms. On the western and Italian side of Maggiore guests paddle around the villas and gardens of the Borromoean Islands, a group of three small islands and two islets.

Tofino Expeditions offers an extensive portfolio of kayaking tours of Italy, ranging from Sardinia to Cinque Terre, the Dolomites and Venice.

For information on all of Tofino’s world-wide tours, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or 541-389-6091; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog.

About Tofino Expeditions

Grant Thompson, owner/director, founded this family company in 1988 as a single fleet sea kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Today this family owned and operated active adventure travel company offers a selection of the world’s finest sea kayaking destinations and tours. Its team, many of whom hold degrees in natural sciences, embrace sustainable wilderness ethics and authentic cultural discoveries. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allow even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water. The vast majority of Tofino’s trips include immersive visits into UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Norway, Sardinia, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde, Brazil, Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, Venice, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802.234.6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720.301.3822

Follow Tofino Expeditions:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/TofinoExpeditions/

Twitter:           #TofinoExpeditions

Instagram:     https://instagram.com/tofinoex

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.com/tofinoexp/

Google+:        https://plus.google.com/+TofinoExpeditions

25 Years Ago Tofino Expeditions Pioneered Sea Kayaking In the Islands of Haida Gwaii, “Canada’s Galapagos” - In 2017 the Tradition Continues with Kudos and Special Savings

BEND, OR, April 10, 2017– Tofino Expeditions, leading purveyors of sea kayak- supported explorations of Earth’s marvels, is spot on when selecting award-winning locales to awe their guests who prefer the serenity and special access that water offers when discovering new worlds.

It was in 1992 when Tofino Expeditions blazed new trails and began offering wilderness tours in and around Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, often referred to as “Canada’s Galapagos” due tothe archipelago’s unique ecology.In 2016 this park and reserve located on the southern end of the Haida Gwaii Archipelago was selected as one of three finalists for a 2017 National Geographic World Legacy Award in the category "Sense of Place." The majesty of totem poles grouped along the shoreline of an ancient village is but one of the unique experiences awaiting inquisitive visitors.

“We’re thrilled that these very special islands are garnering such international acclaim,” said Grant Thompson, Founder and Owner of Tofino Expeditions (https://www.tofino.com/). “The vacation combination we offer here is unbeatable: a time-capsule look at an ancient culture through the lens of abandoned Haida villages with hot springs, the flora and fauna typical of a Pacific Coast virgin rainforest and some of the continent’s finest sea kayaking.”

Tofino Expeditions’ eight-day Haida Gwaii Kayaking Tours conducted in July and August 2017 engage paddlers of all ability levels on coastal waters surrounding some 150 islands located 80 miles off British Columbia’s northwest coast. Paddlers land on the same beaches that the Haida, an indigenous people, once accessed when pulling cedar canoes ashore. These ancient people were seafarers who lived in harmony with nature leaving behind timeless artifacts depicting lineage and lore.

2017 offers a special value for guests as well. The per person double rate is $1,990 without a usual add-on. This year, Parks Canada is waiving its $120 CDN park access fee in honor of their 150th birthday celebration (saving guests $120 CDN each).

Guests explore the Islands in modern comfort and style utilizing two-person tandem expedition kayaks. These craft are 25 percent faster than single kayaks while providing additional stability that eliminates the need to wear cold water immersion gear while paddling. Each day guides surprise and delight guests with freshly prepared meals reflecting Tofino Expeditions’ reputation for high quality ingredients and campfire cooking expertise. This wildness trip uses the finest camping equipment available including Mountain Hardwear four seasons mountaineering tents. Two guests share a tent designed for three persons allowing extra elbow room. Guests arrive and depart through Sandspit airport (YZP) on the northeast tip of Moresby Island.

Haida Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (Gwaii Haanas means "Place of Wonder") was founded to protect the natural and cultural integrity of the remote southern portion of the archipelago. Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, National Geographic rated Gwaii Haanas National Park as the top park destination in North America; Outside Magazine Travel Awards rated Haida Gwaii as “Best Islands” and UNESCO has declared the village of Skung Gwaii with its intact totem poles, a World Heritage Site.

In addition to an intact cultural heritage, the region is rife with sea lions lounging on rocky haul-outs; gulls, petrels and tufted puffins perching on cliffs; humpback and orca whales gliding through channels and straits; and tidal shallows scattered with a tapestry of brightly colored sea stars. Burnaby Narrows is considered the richest inter-tidal life zone on the planet. Indigenous land animals unique to this region are the dusky shrew, pine marten and the Haida Gwaii black bear that thrives on salmon and crustaceans.

For more information see: https://www.tofino.com/haida-gwaii/haida-gwaii-kayaking-tours/

For information on all of Tofino’s world-wide tours, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or (541) 389-6091; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog.

About Tofino Expeditions

Grant Thompson, owner/director, founded this family company in 1988 as a single fleet sea kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Today this family owned and operated active adventure travel company offers a selection of the world’s finest sea kayaking destinations and tours. Its team, many of whom hold degrees in natural sciences, embrace sustainable wilderness ethics and authentic cultural discoveries. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allow even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water. The vast majority of Tofino’s trips include immersive visits into UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Norway, Sardinia, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde, Brazil, Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, Venice, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802.234.6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720.301.3822

Follow Tofino Expeditions:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/TofinoExpeditions/

Twitter:           #TofinoExpeditions

Instagram:     https://instagram.com/tofinoex

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.com/tofinoexp/

Google+:        https://plus.google.com/+TofinoExpeditions

Tofino Expeditions Kayaks Italian Style Between Adriatic and Mediterranean With Stops for Vineyards and Trattorias

BEND, OR, March 13, 2017– Tofino Expeditions adds a new splash to an active vacation in Italy. A brand-new nine-day tour, Due Mari – Two Seas introduces paddlers first to the Adriatic, to paddle-worthy lakes and finally to the Mediterranean.

This innovative way to get to the next pasta con vino embraces agriturismo (farmhouse accommodation) and vineyards. Paddlers often step from their kayaks to meet locals on to-be-explored shores fringed with medieval fortresses and vine-clad villas.

Sea kayak adventure specialist, Tofino Expeditions (https://www.tofino.com/), labels this itinerary an “active” vacation that allows clients to burn off calories by paddling before digging in at the next trattoria. The point of embarkation is the Adriatic Sea in the Marche, a region between the water and the mountains on the “calf” of Italy’s boot. The destination is the Mediterranean – technically the Tyrrhenian Sea -- in a seaside town, Orbetello in the Maremma, another region many miles west. Guests paddle enroute across lakes and through Umbria and Tuscany to arrive here.

Due Mari – Two Seas (Kayaking Tuscany, Umbria and Marche) provides ample opportunity to walk into shoreline villages to sample a local vintage, perhaps to become a burgeoning ichthyologist by sampling the fish served up from two seas and fresh waters. The per person double rate is $4,190 inclusive of accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, attractions entry fees, expedition sea kayaks and equipment, and luggage transfers. Departures are July 8-16 and Sept. 2-10, 2017.

Guests gather the first night surrounded by the marchigliani (locals), agriturismo-style near Ancona in Italy’s Marche for a farm-to-table dinner that sets the tone for organic, fresh and local throughout the adventure. Averaging four to six hours of easy to moderate paddling daily, guests enjoy two days exploring the Adriatic Sea, dining in Senigallia, an ancient port town founded by the Gauls in the 4th century BC.

Italy is synonymous with mountains. After driving through the Apennines guests dine at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Assisi, at an agriturismo near Lago Trasimeno, the largest lake in central Italy and a stopover on a migratory flyway from Africa. Guests kayak around ancient olive groves near the medieval monastery and castle on Isola Polvese, the largest island here.  Dinner that night focuses on a freshwater fish that is the specialty of a restaurant in nearby Passignano. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tuscan’s Val d’Orcia, greets guests the next day. Nearby are the cellars of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, housed in caves carved by the Etruscans. Siena is the next stop, another UNESCO site and a reason for lunching at a typical classic Sienese trattoria.

“We’ve created the quintessential Italian kayak experience full of history, moderate activity and culture,” explains Grant Thompson, director and founder of Tofino Expeditions. “Imagine slowly paddling toward the walls of an ancient castle at a pace that reveals intimate detail that land-based tour groups will never see. Add to that the welcoming response we get from locals as we come ashore powered by nothing but muscle. It truly is a magical feeling!”

The peninsula of Monte Argentario in the Maremma introduces guests to the Tyrrhenian Sea, so called where the Mediterranean laps Italy’s western shore and a favored locale of the mysterious but lyrical Etruscans. Guests launch their kayaks at the harbor of Porto Sant’Ercole, passing Fortress Filippo, built in the 16th century against pirates. After kayaking, swimming and picnicking feed the senses before a farewell dinner in Orbetello, a long-ago Etruscan settlement whose city walls, in part, date to the 5th century BC.

The suggested arrival gateway is Ancona and departure gateway Rome. For more information please see: https://www.tofino.com/italy/kayaking-tuscany-umbria-and-marche-two-seas-tour/.

For information on all of Tofino’s world-wide tours, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or (541) 389-6091; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog.

About Tofino Expeditions

Grant Thompson, owner/director, founded this family company in 1988 as a single fleet sea kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Today this family owned and operated active adventure travel company offers a selection of the world’s finest sea kayaking destinations and tours. Its team, many of whom hold degrees in natural sciences, embrace sustainable wilderness ethics and authentic cultural discoveries. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allow even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water. The vast majority of Tofino’s trips include immersive visits into UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Norway, Sardinia, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde, Brazil, Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, Venice, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802.234.6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720.301.3822

Follow Tofino Expeditions:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/TofinoExpeditions/

Twitter:           #TofinoExpeditions

Instagram:     https://instagram.com/tofinoex

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.com/tofinoexp/

Google+:        https://plus.google.com/+TofinoExpeditions

Tofino Expeditions Offers Rare Opportunity to Explore Headwaters of Ecuadorian Amazon by Sea Kayak

Book April 21-30 Lodge-to-Lodge Adventure and Save $500 per Person

BEND, OR, Feb. 27, 2017– Here’s a one-off chance to save $500 per person on a 10-day Amazon paddling adventure April 21-30, 2017, with sea kayak specialist Tofino Expeditions.

Pioneer of North American-style sea kayak touring in remote regions of the world, this journey into the Ecuadorian Amazon utilizes three modern lodges along an isolated route through the natural wonders of Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

The $4,490 discounted per person, double occupancy rate (for new bookings only) applies to the April 21 departure. This kayak adventure is also offered Oct. 27-Nov.5 and Dec. 14-23, 2017, but without the special discount. See: https://www.tofino.com/amazon/amazon-kayaking-trip/.

The rate includes the services of a veteran tour leader and local naturalist guides, Feathercraft® tropical expedition sea kayaks, all accommodations, most meals, motorboat transportation to access kayaking sites, kayaking instruction as needed, safety equipment, attractions, airport transfers and ample bottled water.

This adventure, typical of all Tofino Expeditions’ programs (http://www.tofino.com/), is all about water, discovering from the silence and intimacy of a kayak, worlds in and around rivers, creeks and tributaries that otherwise remain hidden.

The gateway city is Quito, Ecuador. A short fight from here transports guests to the town of Coca and the Napo River, the largest tributary of the Amazon in Ecuador. Guests board a motorized dugout canoe for a two-hour ride to Sacha Lodge, an internationally renowned birding location set amidst jungle canopy and accessed from the river by hiking through the rainforest to Lake Pilchicocha. Afternoon kayaking and a night walk through the rainforest begin to stamp this foreign territory indelibly on reality.

The next river explored is the Indillana River that flows out of Yasuni National Park, a vibrant ecosystem which boasts the highest concentration of flora and fauna species in the world. A creek near Sacha Lodge reveals squirrel and white-bellied spider monkeys while guests are enroute to the lodge’s 100-foot-high and 900-foot-long canopy walkway. Later, a paddle down a small blackwater tributarymay showcase the shy and elusive river otter and the well camouflaged three-toed sloth.

Amazon Dolphin Ecolodge accessing Pañacocha Lake and Pañayacu River offers opportunities to float with pink freshwater dolphins. At the headwaters of this river guests paddle into a pristine blackwater lagoon and riverine system in the narrow gap between Ecuador’s two largest rainforest protected areas: the 982,000-hectare Yasuni National Park and the 600,000-hectare Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Descending the Pañayacu brings guests to Garzacoha Lake and La Selva Lodge. Here is an exploration of indigenous culture including herbal medicines, foods and ornaments. A tour of a garden chacra (small farm) is followed by a visit to the house to experience the Kichwa tradition of hospitality and open a window into the everyday lives of the people who make their homes in Amazonia. However, nothing compares to one of the most remarkable wildlife displays in the world -- a clay lick where hundreds of parrots and parakeets perch in the treetops and then descend to a clay bank to ingest the mineral-rich soil.

Returning from the jungle for a tour of Quito’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, may jar the senses. But it is comforting to see that some of the faces met at the jungle lodges and along the rivers are also familiar here in the bustle of street life. Guests lodge at Quito Hotel Patio Andaluz, an elegantly renovated colonial home near the historic district; and for early and late arrivals/departures at Wyndham Quito Airport near the terminal.

For information please see https://www.tofino.com/amazon/amazon-kayaking-trip/

For tour information, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or (541) 389-6091; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog

About Tofino Expeditions

Grant Thompson, owner/director, founded this family company in 1988 as a single fleet sea kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Today this family owned and operated active adventure travel company offers a selection of the world’s finest sea kayaking destinations and tours. Its team, many of whom hold degrees in natural sciences, embrace sustainable wilderness ethics and authentic cultural discoveries. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allow even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water. The vast majority of Tofino’s trips include immersive visits into UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Norway, Sardinia, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde, Brazil, Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, Venice, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802.234.6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720.301.3822

Follow Tofino Expeditions:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/TofinoExpeditions/

Twitter:           #TofinoExpeditions

Instagram:     https://instagram.com/tofinoex

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.com/tofinoexp/

Google+:        https://plus.google.com/+TofinoExpeditions

Sea Kayak Specialist Tofino Expeditions Strives for Cultural Authenticity with New 10-Day Tour That Connects Two Italian Icons: The Dolomites and Venice

BEND, OR, Jan. 19, 2017– Innovation and a strong cultural component have always been hallmarks of sea kayak adventure specialist Tofino Expeditions.  Their newest 10-day tour marries two life-list Italian destinations while engaging guests in alpine lake kayaking in the heart of the Dolomites before paddling alongside vaporetti and gondolas in the canals of Venice.

The beauty of Venice and the grandeur of Dolomites have been dazzling visitors for centuries. These two premier Italian destinations and UNESCO World Heritage Sites are linked through history as much of Venice stands on pilings made from timber cut in the nearby Dolomites. Tofino Expeditions’ Kayaking Venice and the Dolomites links mountain and sea with an emphasis on local culture and cuisine. Two departure dates have been set for 2017; Sept. 12-21 and Sept. 25- Oct. 4, at $4,595 per person, double. See: https://www.tofino.com/italy/kayaking-venice-and-the-dolomites/

Between kayaking and hiking forays in the mountains, followed by the baptism of the senses that is Venice, there’s time left over to toast all that’s beautiful over Cicchetti e Prosecco.

“The kayaker’s view of Venice is at once both splendid and intimate and provides remarkable photographic opportunities. Guests paddle the Grand Canal passing the palaces and great houses of Venice at its peak. They turn into side canals of the Rialto sestiere (district), entering the heart of this water city where every turn offers a new view and interplay of light and water. Minute details are visible from a perspective that most visitors never see,” said Grant Thompson, owner/founder of Tofino Expeditions (http://www.tofino.com/).“We stop at tiny campos (squares) and use the same water stairs that Venetians have used to alight from gondolas for centuries (the technique we’ve developed to do that easily from a kayak is a trade secret).”

Before Venice, however, guests will marvel at The Marmarole, one of the wildest areas in the Dolomites and a region that inspired Titian. Thompson promised that his guests will marvel again when they find themselves lodging at one on of the best locations in Venice, on San Giorgio Maggiore Island at Compagnia della Vela Venezia, one of Italy’s oldest (and private) yacht clubs just steps away from Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Palladio and home of Tintoretto masterpieces.

“This island, well removed from the throngs of Piazza San Marco, enjoys the kind of peace and elbow room that well-heeled visitors can enjoy on Giudecca, just a few minutes away by water and home of the fabled Fortuny workshop,” he explained. His guests use the sailing dinghy ramp at the club to land kayaks. Guest rooms are state of the art, Italian-designed, waterfront rooms that the Compagnia has built for the use of visiting sailing students and racers. “It is truly one the best and most unique accommodations in all of Venice.”

Both the Dolomites and Venice are UNESCO World Heritage Sites that for centuries have been linked as favorites of tourists, adventurers and art lovers. This tour utilizes in Venice Hotel Antica Fenice (near the airport and Santa Lucia train station) for arrival and departure nights and on the return from the mountains. This is also where guests are introduced to the art of using kayaks in the canals of Venice. They then transfer to HotelBelvedere in Pieve di Cadore, home base for the alpine experience to come that includes kayaking Lago Centro di Cadore, Lago Santa Caterina near Cortina d’ Ampezzo (think a cable car ride up and flower-filled hike down), and Lago Misurina accessing hikes in Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Lunch on Day 5 is at Ai Lares Agriturismo (http://www.rifugidelcadore.it/) where guests may enjoy gnocchi with savory fresh wild mushrooms and locally made cheeses like Groviera followed by ricotta fresca with wildflower honey for desert. Moving into the southern foothills of the Dolomites, guests are now in the Veneto where they visit a family-owned artisanal wineryhttp://www.proseccotonidoro.com that makes some of the very best examples of prosecco, the sparkling wine that is the basis of for Italy’s de facto national cocktail the Aperol Spritz.

The Venice portion of this itinerary builds on Tofino Expeditions’ prior experience of kayaking holidays in Venice (one of its trips, Kayaking Venice and The Laguna, received “Best Tours in Europe - 50 Trips of a Lifetime,” by National Geographic Traveler).

Like the sleek fast gondolini, sea kayaks are ideally suited to exploring the canals and experiencing the special Venetian relationship with water. This trip encompasses sights and experiences quintessentially Venetian,” said Thompson. “Guests explore the various sestieri (districts), each with its distinct character and special history, in ways that few visitors ever experience.”

Eating well – and locally – is a feature of Tofino Expeditions. In Venice Thompson’s guests enjoy Trattoria alla Vedova Cà D'Oro, a bacaro (standing bar) so popular with the locals that on nice evenings a crowd fills the narrow alley while drinking wine and eating polpeti, small crispy fried meatballs, a house specialty. They also sample traditional Venetian food: bavette al nero di seppia (spaghetti with squid ink sauce) and spaghetti alla busera (spaghetti with scampi).

“Our best tip is to find where the gondoleri go. There are so many tiny local spots and again the custom is to spill out, sip wine and nibble canal side,” he advised.

For more details on Thompson’s love of kayaking in Venice please see: https://www.tofino.com/italy/kayaking-venice-and-the-laguna/tofino-expeditions-offers-kayaking-in-venice/

For tour information, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or (541) 389-6091; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog

About Tofino Expeditions

Grant Thompson, owner/director, founded this family company in 1988 as a single fleet sea kayaking tour company in the small fishing town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Since pioneering guided paddling tours of Vancouver Island’s west coast, a bucket list destination for international paddlers, Tofino Expeditions has carefully expanded and now offers guided commercial sea kayaking tours in Baja California, Mexico, and other world-class coastlines, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Norway, Sardinia, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde, Brazil, Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, Venice and the Venice Laguna, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

These nature-and culture-oriented trips are enjoyed by educated travelers who share a passion for kayaking and who appreciate the authenticity and hospitality they find after disembarking on often remote coastlines. Luxury comes in the form of local connections, intimate knowledge and special access thanks to local guides who also educate clients on safety and kayaking skills that allows even the inexperienced to feel confident and secure on the water.

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