The folks at REI Adventures are marking their 25th year of leading active adventure trips. To celebrate, they have announced a special offer to REI members: Get a 25% discount on select dates of 7 classic trips to some of the world's most iconic destinations. These trips are ones they have been running for all 25 years. (Update: This offer expired Dec. 5, 2011.)
Hmm, "25% off" and "classic trips" certainly get my attention. But who exactly is REI Adventures? To get a better understanding, I talked with longtime REI Adventures manager Cynthia Dunbar (right).
Cynthia, what's changed at REI Adventures over the past 25 years?
We started with only a few dozen departures, a handful of guides and some "interesting" hair, gear and clothing styles. Today we have over 140 itineraries around the globe, over 100 guides, award-winning gear and apparel and more than 1,000 annual departures.
What has remained the same?
The attributes that make our trips so special, including our classic trips, our amazing local guides, the camaraderie and service our guests can expect—all these things still guide development of our new itineraries today.
In addition, some of the world's most beautiful places haven't changed much at all, like the spires of Torres del Paine national park, the iconic and magical Machu Picchu or a magnificent sunset over the Serengeti. These treasures still conjure up the same dreams of adventures as they have for decades.
What are some of your personal favorites?
I love all our trips, but I gravitate most to the cycling ones. You can really get the essence of a place by bike. It allows you to move a bit faster than walking, but still venture off the beaten path and share some great cultural experiences with local people. Some of my best travel memories involve cycling with REI members through Ireland's peat bogs, riding among the limestone karst towers of southern China and biking through the Sierra Gigantica range of Baja California.
Above: REI Adventures hiking in Turkestan, 1997.
What's the vibe like on one of your trips?
We frequently hear from our guests how much fun it is to travel with other REI members. We tend to share a love of being active in the outdoors, and we want to really experience a destination and explore a route less traveled. Over the years I have had the opportunity to travel with many of our members, and I could not agree more.
Any final thoughts?
From all of us at REI Adventures, thank you to those who have traveled with us. We appreciate the important role you have played in helping us provide amazing, award-winning, offerings of human-powered adventures. For those of you who have yet to join us on a trip, we hope to see you on an REI Adventures trip soon.
Below: A selection of REI Adventures catalog covers.
Below: REI Adventures cycling in Slovakia, 1996.