If you’re cruising for relaxation or a change of pace, your choice of destination may be secondary to your choice of ship. But, if you’re looking to experience a different culture in an authentic way, your choice of destination becomes more important. What are the best destinations for cultural experiences? Here are some ideas to consider.
Brazilian Amazon: Shore excursions from Manaus, the largest city on the Amazon River, will take you deep into the majestic rainforest. You can get close to the amazing flora and fauna of the Amazon Basin, from huge trees and giant water lilies to piranhas and pink river dolphins. Some tours visit native families who tend to manioc (cassava) or rubber plantations.
South Africa: The rich cultural mix of South Africa is reflected in the country’s 11 official languages, which include Zulu. From Durban, take a tour through the Valley of 1000 Hills, where many Zulu reside. Visit a Zulu village for a hands-on look at their daily life. If you visit in early September, you may be lucky enough to see the centuries-old Royal Zulu Reed Dance.
New Zealand: From Tauranga, take an excursion to the Tamaki Maori Village near Rotorua. In this authentic Maori village setting, you can learn the ways of Maori warriors, join in a traditional dance, and participate in a traditional hāngi feast, cooked in a pit lined with hot rocks.
Australia: The Aboriginal cultures of Australia are the oldest living cultures on earth; some of the best opportunities to learn about them are in Melbourne. Tour the Royal Botanical Gardens with an Aboriginal guide to learn about plants traditionally used as food and medicine in the bush. The award-winning Bunjilaka Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum will introduce you to more Aboriginal history and traditions.
Vanuatu, South Pacific: There’s a surprising amount of cultural diversity on this small and idyllic island; most residents live in isolated rural villages, helping to preserve their special traditions. A visit to a cultural center will introduce you to village life, including the tools that villagers use every day to harvest and prepare food, as well as traditional dances, ceremonies and kava, a drink with special qualities.
There are more cruise destinations where you can immerse yourself in native culture, including river cruise destinations in Asia and Europe. For more ideas and help making your plans, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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