India's crown jewels, up close and personal.

Our hosted journeys have always been popular with Crusoe travelers. Why? It must have something to do with the fact that those journeys take small groups of travelers to delve deep into a culture, get at the very heart of a country, and go way past the usual tourist stops. With insightful and passionate hosts leading the way, it all goes off without a hitch (and then some).

    Take, for example, our India journey in early 2013 hosted by Sanjay Chatterji, Crusoe’s dear friend and a native of India. A world traveler, he’s also a delightful, friendly guy with a great sense of humor and a solid knowledge of India’s culture and her natural wonders. As Camille, a member of the group, puts it, “Sanjay was awesome. Amazing. Knowledgeable. And fabulous.” Her fellow travelers concurred.

    The journey, which began in Delhi,  continued to sacred Varanasi and Sarnath; the unique carved temples of Kajuraho and the sacred complex at Orchha; Agra, home of the Taj Mahal; Ranthambore National Park, turf of the Bengal tiger; Jaipur, the Pink City; Udaipur, crowned with old palaces; Dera Amer, for an elephant safari; and Eklingji and Nagda, full of sacred relics.

    The travelers were thrilled with special visits we arranged—trishaw rides through busy markets. A school visit. Boat trips on the Ganges, with time at a Hindu ceremony. In Ranthambore, they saw—up close—two Bengal tigers. They took a cooking lesson. Visited an Untouchables village.

    Their hotels throughout India? “I don’t have enough superlatives to describe them,” says Morgan, another traveler in the group.

    One of the benefits of Crusoe-style hosted travel is the opportunity to share the experience with a small group of like-minded, sophisticated travelers. For Morgan, this was “a trip of a lifetime. I liked everybody on the tour. Everyone was respectful of one other.” Gayle and Chuck agree. “We liked all the people as well as the different experiences.” Allison found them to be “a lovely group of people.”

    Maggie, a fellow traveler, was awestruck by “the whole of India. I loved seeing how the locals lived and watching the animals in the roads. I was astonished and couldn’t get enough. The contrast between the beautiful, fabulous hotels and the poverty was quite an experience. The cruise in Udaipur was amazing.

    “But going to the Taj Mahal in the morning when nobody else was there was really special. I had the whole building to myself.” Imagine that.

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