Your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a tour. The more isolated the location; chances are the pricier it is to…

Your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a tour. The more isolated the location; chances are the pricier it is to reach. Your comfort level is important as well. While many are content with staying in tents and hiking long distances, eating simple food, a guide that may not even speak the same language, and all around basic amenities, others differ drastically. Instead of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and not showering for four days, others prefer to wake up with the sun rising over the ruins as they watch from the only hotel at the archeological site and dine on a gourmet breakfast buffet. Many prefer posh eco resorts with a pool, air conditioned rooms, and all around luxurious facilities. You should always have a contract in writing stating everything included in your tour from the equipment down to the food.

There is a very wide variety of operators. Many are local operators who arrange trips with local guides or stays directly at their own lodges. Others are international booking agents that simply contract out local operators. Others are large, multi-national corporations that design custom luxury trips all over the world and use anyone from leaders in scientific research to unqualified naturalists and historians.

History and Culture Vacation Tour Operators

Archeological Institute of America (, Tel. +800-748-6262)
The AIA is a North American organization that has archeological fieldwork opportunities worldwide. No experience necessary and academic credit is available.
Earthwatch Institute (, Tel. +978-461-0081)
The Earthwatch Institute is a leader in organizing wildlife research trips and studies all over the world. You can often join an expedition with many of the worlds scientific leaders.
Maya Research Program (, Tel. +817-831-9011)
This non-profit group organizes archeological and ethnographical field work in Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.

Do-It-Yourself Options

Most nature hotels and lodges in most destinations around the world can be contacted directly as well if you prefer not to go through a tour operator and maintain some level of independence. The prices may be cheaper, although transportation may be non-existent. If you speak the local language and have spent time in a place before you can probably save a good deal of money by putting together your own trip.

If it is an isolated site the tourist must be prepared to rough it. They need maps and the know how to find equipment and supplies. They need to carry their own gear, tent, and food on hiking trails and if necessary hire their own guides, porters, and horses. Often they must get permission from the government to visit a site or e prepared to get turned away.