Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Our trip to Japan was absolutely outstanding! The itinerary Andrea and his team created (along with slight modifications) was ideal and met all of our criteria.

We toured Tokyo – Nagasaki – Kumamoto – Kyoto – Kaga, with local cultural experiences and incredibly informative, local guides and private drivers. I have slight mobility issues so couldn’t manage the many miles of walking — our guides and drivers literally brought us to the door of our experiences and were a phone call away to collect us. Although we still managed 10,000+ steps per day.

Arguably everything was a favorite, though the most memorable was a stay in Kaga Onsen (fantastic accommodation) with a guided tour by Kanmei, a monk from Henjoin Temple (Tendai School)! Fantastic!

Andrea and his team have spoiled us for all trips going forward. They were easily accessible and when an issue arose they were quick to reply and rectify. Exceptional! We’re already thinking about a trip in 2025!

Travelers Barbara and Robert Fierman at Senbon Torii in Kyoto, Japan.

Barbara and Robert Fierman at Senbon Torii in Kyoto.

Andrea planned the trip of a lifetime for my husband Bob and me and our friends as a joint anniversary celebration. The trip was well-paced and balanced, but also so exciting. Our guides were outstanding—they were well-prepared to share history and culture with us as we navigated through the trip. They went above and beyond each day to maximize our experience.

I expected to visit impressive shrines and temples, and beautiful gardens, but wow! They exceeded all of our expectations. Each of our special activities was a blast! My favorites included taiko drumming, where our drumming expert got us to perform a brief but lively routine and then performed for us; having a private tea ceremony with a geisha; and attending a sumo wrestling tournament. We also enjoyed learning from the youngest of many generations who have practiced pottery, candy, and soba noodle-making.

We stayed in an outstanding array of accommodations. The Capitol Hotel in Tokyo was perfect for our introduction to a new, foreign city; at the boutique Hiramatsu Kyoto we experienced the height of service and elegance. The three ryokans—one each in Kaga, Naoshima, and Kawaguchiko—were beautiful and Zen. Our favorite was Fu Fu Kawaguchiko, where we had spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. The location was accessible to many sites, and it was in an idyllic setting.

In addition to the cities, we visited an organic tea farm in Uji where we learned about the industry, picked tea leaves, and were treated to a delicious lunch which included tea leaves prepared a la tempura-style. We spent a day in Nikko where we hiked along a massive waterfall to a lake and then visited the magnificent Toshogu Shrine, set in a beautiful forest. Our overnight on the island of Naoshima provided a glimpse of restored homes turned museums as well as state-of-the-art museums designed by famed architect Tadao Ando and outdoor installations, including the pumpkin, created by Yauyoi Kusama.

Andrea and his team did an amazing job of coordinating the multitude of details this experience involved. We can’t thank him and his team enough.

Awesome! That’s the word to sum up the trip that Andrea and Lauren planned for us. We had such a good time in Japan. We saw so much, we ate so much, and more importantly, we want to return! My husband and two college-age daughters and I spent 9 days in Japan—covering a lot of ground as everyone had specific requests. We were able to spend time in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Osaka, and the magical Kyoto. Our guides were excellent—giving us historic and cultural significance to all we saw and did. We went to so many fabulous markets and the food was incredible! Andrea and Lauren were also able to procure us tickets to Studio Ghibli—a real highlight of our trip and we were able to enjoy 1/2-day at Nintendo world (Osaka). My family loved the Akibahara district and the Meiji Temple in Tokyo, and the many gardens and shrines throughout. A shout out to the Moss Temple in Kyoto area and the Umeda Sky Observatory in Osaka!

Every day was packed with activities from morning to night (our request because we wanted to do so much)—Andrea and Lauren were magicians at getting all that we asked for into that short time period. We did a combination of public and private transportation and it was frictionless all the way! We had the best of both the modern Japan and the cultural historic Japan in our trip—leaving us with a desire to return soon so we can spend more time enjoying the country. Thank you to Andrea, Lauren, our guides—Numo san, Akemi san, and Yuki san—for making our trip so memorable. Highly recommend Andrea’s team—a definite WOW trip!

Traveler Andrea Phillips and daughter Rachel underwater, diving off Balicasag Island, Bohol, Philippines.

Andrea Phillips and daughter Rachel diving off Balicasag Island. Photo: Sander

Taking advantage of the time left before my 18-year-old daughter leaves to start college, the two of us jetted off on a 10-day scuba diving trip to the Philippines from late March to April. After in-depth planning with Andrea, an expert on unique travel in Asia, we chose the Dauin coast and Panglao Island, off Bohol, for our trip, as this was an excellent time to visit for great weather and diving conditions. Our goals were simple: level up our scuba certifications, immerse ourselves in welcoming cultures, and, finally, cross off swimming with whale sharks from our bucket list! Andrea and his team planned it perfectly, starting with a special airport welcome that whisked us from the arrival gate and quickly through a chaotic Manila airport.

Our first stop was Atmosphere Resort, where my daughter earned her Advanced Open Water Diver certification under the guidance of their skilled dive masters. We explored local dive spots and Apo Island, a beautiful marine reserve. The relaxing resort was wonderful after diving, with its refreshing pools, delicious food, a sanctuary spa, all while being cared for as Andrea’s VIP guest by the warm and friendly Filipino staff. It all brought back memories of doing my own AOW certification in Asia 25 years ago.

Moving on to Amorita Resort, we spent our days diving at Balicasag & Pamilacan Islands with another great dive team recommended by Andrea and earned our Enriched Air Diver certifications. Andrea also surprised us by sending an underwater photographer along on our first dive to capture a forever moment on our mother-daughter adventure under the sea. Saving one of the best days for last, our Bohol countryside tour was incredible, from swimming with a group of large whale sharks to cruising on a private Lomboc River boat with live music, hanging out with Tarsier and macaque monkeys, admiring the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol and even enjoying coconut wine at a local’s home. It was a perfect conclusion to our unforgettable journey in the Philippines.

One of the best aspects of traveling with Andrea was his responsive support team, always just a WhatsApp message away. They swiftly resolved any questions or issues we encountered, such as when there was a mix-up with our room at Amorita, and they went the extra mile to secure a complimentary upgrade for us. Their extensive network within the local communities demonstrated their dedication to ensuring a memorable experience for us.

This trip was tailored-made for our needs, combining the best dive resort locations for our goals, avoiding crowded tourist spots for the whale shark encounter, and adding in authentic cultural stops and touches to make each day unforgettable, including celebrating my birthday. Even though initially I had some reservations about taking this trip, as sometimes it’s difficult to find the right time to travel, it ended up being a wonderful experience and one that will hold memories for us that we will always treasure. Pushing ourselves to try somewhere new and doing it together, made it even more thrilling and well worth the efforts, especially with Andrea, Pablo, Lauren, Michael and the rest of the team to support us along the way.

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