Etan Smallman


Destinations • February 2016

Sightseeing with a twist

For the most rewarding travel experience, dodge the crowds and seek out a new perspective, says master explorer Etan Smallman. Here are five ideas guaranteed to give you a fresh look at some of the world’s best-known sights


Tour the Grand Canyon by bike

Embrace pedal power to access restricted parts of the park’s forested greenways. You’ll have the freedom to stop anywhere you like to take in the breathtaking views and spot wildlife. It promises to be a ride ‘low on traffic and high on wow’. Bike Grand Canyon offers a winter package (£32 for adults, £25 for kids) with special ‘fat bikes’ designed to grip on slippery surfaces. 


Take a private twilight tour of the Taj Mahal

Keen to visit the Taj Mahal, but less enthused about backpackers and selfie sticks? Book a bespoke tour with Spirit Journeys and you can have a private twilight tour. Ask nicely and they’ll book you in on a full-moon night, when the monument has a silvery glow. An eight-night package can include a Taj-facing room in a luxury hotel and a jaunt to the Amber Fort by elephant, as well as trips to Agra, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Old and New Delhi, for £1,929 per person, excluding flights.


Do Machu Picchu on horseback

Take the road less travelled to Peru’s Inca site by travelling along the Salkantay Trail on four legs. The crowd-free route winds through a spectacular Andean mountain range and forested canyons. At the end of each day, you’ll spend the night in a cosy lodge. Miraviva offers a 10-night trip with return BA flights from London to Lima, transfers and all accommodation on the Salkantay Ride from £4,420 per person.

From 4 May, British Airways will fly three times a week to Lima from Gatwick


Ride a Snowcat through Aspen

Go off-piste with a lesson at the Snowcat Academy. The fully tracked monster of a vehicle ‘grooms’ the trails – and you can put yourself behind its control stick. Your instructor will provide a full overview of the cat, before you get an icy-fresh perspective of Aspen through the snow beast’s wrap-around windows. The lesson costs £574 per person (including cocoa and snacks) and is exclusive to guests of The Little Nell, Residences at The Little Nell and The Limelight Hotel.


Enjoy a blind tour of Costa Rica

Traveleyes is the world’s only tour operator catering for both visually impaired and sighted travellers. Blind visitors pair with a different sighted traveller each day, who will describe the scenery. Meanwhile, sighted jetsetters enjoy a subsidised trip (saving up to 50 per cent). On a 12-day tour of Costa Rica, highlights include watching sea turtles lay eggs on Tortuguero Beach, relaxing in volcanic hot springs and white-water rafting. Standard blind price: £3,398. Discounted sighted price: £1,699.

This article has been tagged Adventure, Travel Tips