2019 April 3 to 13
Join this gay Israel adventure tour for a high-adrenaline exploration of the antiquity, geography, and culture of Israel! Soak up thousands of years of history by exploring the famous cultural sights of the region, and also hiking, canyoning, caving, kayaking, and more. Not your grandma’s church tour! Read a personal account of this tour on our Gay Travel Blog.
If you are serious about visiting Israel, but you don’t want to join your grandmother’s church tour, then this is the tour for you. This itinerary is an order of Israel with a side of adrenaline. While Israel is well known for being the home to three of the world’s most important religions and filled with significant historical and religious sites, Israel is unlike anywhere else in the world when it comes to extreme adventure sports.
Each day of this gay tour is filled with action-packed adventure! From swimming through canyons to kayaking the Mediterranean, and riding camels into the sunset. Enjoy the view of the dead sea, after hiking the snake trail to the ancient fortress of Masada.
We start and end our tour in modern Tel Aviv. We will explore central and northern Israel to visit the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. We will also visit the most famous sites in and around Jerusalem including King David’s tomb, the room of the Last Supper, the Western Wall and the Arab market And for those with more time, our three-night extension to Petra, Jordan adds another rich chapter to your exploration of the region.
Our Israeli hosts will meet you upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and provide a private transfer to our Tel Aviv hotel. We’ll have our orientation to the tour and our Welcome Dinner tonight at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
Begin the day with some cycling around Tel Aviv. Passing through Jaffa’s recently renovated Turkish governor’s offices (the Seraya Building). Proceed to Neve Tzedek (Oasis of Justice), Tel Aviv’s first neighborhood outside of Jaffa. The architecture of Neve Tzedek is a highlight in the area, including beautiful old houses restored to grandeur by modern architects and designers. We’ll continue to Rothschild Blvd. where there are over 5000 Bauhaus buildings, the largest number in any one city in the world. UNESCO has recognized this district as a “World Heritage Site.”
Enjoy a lunch break with a Mediterranean cooking class. This afternoon we will enjoy a lovely tour of the Florentine neighborhood and spend the evening in Tel Aviv.
Enjoy an easy morning of exploration and leisure at the Carmel Market. We will enjoy an insightful tour; including the German colony of Sarona and the commercial and entertainment district of the Tel Aviv Port.
This afternoon we will enjoy a SUP surfing class followed with time to hit one of Tel Aviv’s hottest beaches for some free time. Tonight, we will hit the town and enjoy some bar hopping around the Rothschild Boulevard area. Tel Aviv has some of the hottest gay party spots; so let’s check them out.
Today we will drive to ancient Caesarea – an enchanted place that contrasts unique architecture against the blue of the sea. This is King Herod’s masterpiece, in which he fulfilled his dream and built a magnificent Roman city that was the largest city in Israel.
We’ll stop next at the Mei Kedem (“Ancient Water”) water tunnel in Alona Park for a perfect day of adventure, especially if you don’t mind getting wet. When built 2000 years ago, it was used to supply water to ancient Caesarea. Today, we will spend some time snorkeling around the amazing area.
Our next stop will be Haifa and then onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Akko, where we will tour the remaining sites of this underground Crusader city. We will walk through the ancient Templar tunnel, visit the ancient port, walk along the city walls and visit the colorful market. The old port area of Akko, surrounded by walls, has been occupied since the time of the Phoenicians. The present-day city features an Ottoman fort from the 18th and 19th centuries and mosques.
As we drive east toward the Western Galilee, get ready for a spectacular overlook and hike near the Rainbow Cave Arch. The ceiling of the cave collapsed millennia ago, leaving only an arch. The arch provides one of the most beautiful views in all of Israel. From here you can see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the entire Galilee to the east.
If you have ever wanted to kayak in the Jordan River; today is the day! After some exhilarating time on the water; we will jump on our bicycles for a tour through the magical Hula Valley. As the day continues, we will soak up true Druse Hospitality and before the day is through we will enjoy the entertainment of a Krav Maga Lesson.
After breakfast, we will enjoy hiking along the Zavitan River in the breath-taking Golan Heights. If the conditions allow: we will canyon into the amazing volcanic stone and spend time rappelling and swimming in the amazing surroundings. This evening we will enjoy a lovely wine tasting in Golan Heights.
We will next drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the capital of the Galilee, Tiberias. We’ll stop along the way at the amazing excavations of Beit Shean, which are located at the crossroads of major thoroughfares. Beit Shean was first established during the 5th Century BC in the heart of the fertile Galilee area and is known for being blessed with plenty of water. During the Roman period, pagans lived here side-by-side with Jews and Samaritans. During its Hellenistic period, the city was the capital of the 10 Greek cities (including Jerash in Jordan) that were collectively known as the Decapolis.
From here we proceed south through the Jordan Valley to Kfar HaNokdim. Here we will enjoy a sunset camel ride to our Bedouin camp for a bonfire and feast. We will enjoy traditional dishes of our nomadic hosts such as vegetable and rice dishes, kebabs, stuffed chickens, and salads. We will sleep in authentic Bedouin tent-cabins and enjoy a tranquil night in the desert. Before turning in for the night, be sure to spend a few minutes away from the lights of our camp to drink in the panoply of stars in the deep clear sky.
This morning we take a dawn hike up the winding snake trail to Masada, the ancient fortress of King Herod. We will tour the fortress and see the ruins of the ancient palace, bathhouse, synagogue and fortification on top of this isolated plateau. We will continue with a hike in the Nature Reserve of Ein Gedi, a natural oasis with four natural springs. The combination of Ein Gedi’s location and freshwater sources allows a wide variety of plant and animal species to thrive side by side in this otherwise completely barren landscape.
Flora includes the Acacia, the Christ-Thorn, and the Sodom Apple. Alongside the streambed, vegetation such as giant reeds and cattails abound, while the cliff walls are home to various types of moss and ferns. Among the mammals in Ein Gedi are herds of ibex and groups of hyrax, which visitors can meet up close. Nocturnal animals include foxes, wolves, hyenas, and even the occasional spotted leopard.
We will continue to the Dead Sea; driving east across a portion of the Judean Desert to get to the Dead Sea Basin, then south on the seaside road. Once we arrive at our hotel, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the hotel’s spa facilities and treatments, as well as floating in the Dead Sea.
This morning we will enjoy a scenic hike along the Darga River. Later today, as we pass through the Judean desert, we will spend 3 hours driving around in a tomcar (off-road utility vehicle) to hidden sites within the desert.
This evening we will drive to Jerusalem, with a stop along the way at one of the hilltops surrounding Jerusalem for an amazing view.
Today we explore the Old City of Jerusalem, home to three great religion traditions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We will begin our tour at Mount Zion where we see the traditional tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. We then proceed to the Jewish Quarter, where we will visit the Western Wall, and view the Southern Wall excavations.
Next is the Broad Wall and the Cardo, the shopping street of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. We will then follow the Via Dolorosa through the narrow lanes of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. No visit to the Old City would be complete without testing your negotiating skills in the old marketplace.
When we leave the old city through the Jaffa Gate, don’t forget to pay your respects in front of the two almost forgotten tombs – those of the architects of the Old City Walls who were killed by the Ottoman Sultan Suliman the Magnificent in 1538, since they were the only people that knew all of the “secrets of the wall.”
Tonight, we enjoy a traditional Friday dinner with a local family.
The morning is free to wander Tel Aviv until time for your included transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport.
For those with additional time to spend in the region, we invite you to join us for our extension to the citadel of Petra in Jordan, selected in 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. On this extension, we also pause for a couple of nights at a beachfront hotel in Eilat, Israel, where we offer activities in the warm waters of the Red Sea.
Map: Days 11 – 13
We start the extension with a morning flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat. After a short transfer from Eilat Airport to the Arava border crossing, we will clear border formalities for both Israel and Jordan, then meet our Jordanian guide on the Aqaba, Jordan side of the border.
From Aqaba, we will drive north through the barren desert hills to Wadi Rum, where we will have a sunset jeep ride through the dunes where Lawrence of Arabia once made his headquarters. From there we will drive to our hotel in the town of Wadi Moussa, just outside Petra.
This morning our guide will give us a tour of the renowned archaeological site of Petra. We start on a plateau, then gradually descend through a crack in the mountain until we round a bend and see the Treasury, the most famous view among numerous buildings that were carved out of the rock cliffs long ago. Our guide will show us several sites of interest, then we will have some free time to explore more of the historic buildings on our own.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Aqaba, cross back over the border, then transfer to our beachfront hotel in Eilat, where we will stay for two nights.
After breakfast, we will go to Dolphin Reef, where we will have a chance to swim and snorkel with dolphins. Experienced divers may also have an opportunity to scuba dive at the facility.
After returning to our hotel in the early afternoon there will be free time until we meet up with a jeep driver for an excursion into the Eilat Mountains, with the desert displaying the rich hues of late afternoon.
Today’s main activity is a lunch cruise on the Red Sea. Then in the late afternoon, we will fly back to Tel Aviv, with flight times allowing for connections with late night flights home.
If your flight is the next day, or if you would like more time in Israel, we can add a Tel Aviv hotel stay for you as well.
Cost of Jordan/Petra Extension:
TBA per person in double occupancy
TBA single occupancy
Price includes: 1 hotel night near Petra; 2 hotel nights in Eilat; all breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners; all ground transportation, admission and visa fees; services of an English-speaking guide; flights between Tel Aviv and Eilat.
Price does not include: 1 lunch and any personal expenses.
Price includes: Accommodations for 10 nights, including 2 nights at a comfortable kibbutz hotel and 1 night in a Bedouin tented camp; All group ground transportation during the trip; Airport transfers between Ben Gurion Airport and our Tel Aviv hotel; Breakfast every day, 3 lunches, and 7 dinners; Wine or soft drinks at the Welcome and Farewell dinners; Services of a professional Israeli guide and (subject to minimum participation) an HE Travel tour director; Entrance fees to all sites in the program. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Airfare between home and Tel Aviv; International departure taxes; Meals that are not part of tour itinerary; Alcoholic beverages, except at welcome and farewell dinners; Tips to local guides, drivers, hotel staff and tour director; Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, and laundry.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1600 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
TBA Personal transfer between Jerusalem/Tel Aviv
“If you want to see Israel at it’s best and most exciting, you’ve got to take this trip. When else are you going to: ride segways and bikes along the Mediterranean Coastline, swim in the Sea of Galilee, rappel into a rare salt cave and spelunking your way out, float in the Dead Sea, scuba dive in the Red Sea among wild dolphins? And Petra!”-Lou Smith, Chicago, IL
“I’m still digesting what was an entirely delightful, action-packed tour. Lousy photographer though I may be, my photos tell a great story of a wide-ranging adventure that is the envy of all with whom I share.”-Berry Berg, Minneapolis, MN
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Our Israel Adventure Tour offers travelers the chance to experience amazing historic settings while trying new adventures. Hiking, canyoning, caving, water sports and more are available on this trip. If you are in good physical shape and like a challenge, this trip is for you. To fully enjoy this tour you will also need to be able to walk around unevenly paved ancient sites for 1-4 hours each day.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174