Spotlight Project: Turtle Rescue
Located along the idyllic ‘Turquoise Coast’ of Turkey, we meet the perfection of the Mediterranean Sea and the fragile nesting site of the soft-shelled Nile turtles and Caretta caretta turtles. As a direct result of continued construction and development, traffic, pollution, and changing ecosystems, these giant creatures are facing a decline in population. We combine our efforts with researchers and several expert biologist of Mersin University to face this problem hands-on. Working both in a turtle hospital and along the beaches, we see our hard work rewarded as the hatching turtles complete a safe journey to the sea.
Embark on an inspiring journey as you traverse the landscape of two diverse ancient cultures. Join hands with a Turkish community working with children and exchanging stories and laughter. Support biodiversity on the fragile Mediterranean coastline while assisting a conservation project to save Turkey’s Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles. Experience the warmth of Turkish culture as you immerse yourself in a village homestay. Marvel at Istanbul’s famous mosques adorned with intricate minarets as you wander through these vibrant streets. Savor Turkish delights while strolling through bustling bazaars full of color and local flavor. Enter the fairy-tale landscape of Cappadocia, winding through valleys of cascading cliffs and mysterious underground dwellings. Learn age-old pottery techniques and paddle down the picturesque Red River. Sail the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek Island of Rhodes as you explore small villages along the way. Step back into time in the ancient city of Athens filled with endless archaeological wonders. Return home with a sense of accomplishment having truly embraced these enchanting Mediterranean cultures.
Our journey begins in New York where our group meets and flies together to the fascinating city of Istanbul. We retrace the steps of Byzantine and Ottoman emperors as we explore the winding streets of the historic Sultanahmet District. Here we stroll through vibrant bazaars, take in the wonder of cascading domes and intricate minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and unveil the secrets of Topkapi Palace.
Village Homestay & Community Service
Traveling to a rural village outside Cappadocia, we begin a meaningful service project and immerse ourselves in the welcoming Turkish culture during a homestay (groups of 3). During the day, we work together on various projects such as painting a school and/or bridge, interacting with local children, working in garden/vineyards, teaching English and leading activities. At night, we stay with our host families and learn about their traditional way of life.
We enter the fairytale landscape of Cappadocia where we are surrounded by honeycomb cliffs, bizarre rock formations, dreamlike valleys, underground cities and cave dwellings. We explore this mesmerizing landscape that takes us out of the ordinary and into an experience that won’t be forgotten. Embracing all of Cappadocia, we also kayak down the picturesque Red River and learn traditional pottery techniques in the charming town of Avanos.
Sea Turtle Service
We make our way to the stunning 'Turquoise Coast' of Turkey where pristine beaches meet fragile ecosystems. Here we begin our service project at one of the most important nesting sites in Turkey, home of the soft-shelled Nile turtles and Caretta caretta turtles. In addition, we spend valuable time rehabilitating injured sea turtles, educating visitors on the importance of minimizing beach impact to prevent natural habitat disruption, and closely monitoring hatching turtles at night guiding them through a safe journey to the ocean.
Greek Island Sailing
Working our way from Turkey to the mainland of Greece, we board our traditional gulet (wood-masted liveaboard sailboat) for two days of adventure. We take advantage of delightful summer sailing conditions and cruise alongside picturesque villages offering miles of golden beaches and stunning vistas. There are countless opportunities to swim or boat ashore to experience village culture and explore the hidden coves we pass along the way. Our final destination is the stunning Greek Island of Rhodes.
Our group concludes this inspiring journey in Athens, home to ancient history and modern Olympics. We stay just downhill from the famous Parthenon in the fascinating Plaka district of Athens. We step back in time visiting monumental sites such as the Acropolis and colossal Temple of Olympian Zeus. We spend our last night together with a final feast and closing celebration before heading back to the United States.