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The Great Ceylon Gathering: Northern Culture, Beaches & Wildlife SEPTEMBER 14 - 26, 2020

Privately Hosted Small Group Women's Tour of Sri Lanka

September 14 - September 26, 2020

Group Size: Minimum 9, Maximum 15

Lesser known than its more trodden neighbour to the north (South India), and always standing in the shadow of the glitzy, spotlight-stealing Maldives to the south, Sri Lanka more than lives up to its affectionate nickname, 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'. Let's expand your imagination a bit. Think palm-fringed beaches alongside azure seas; Lush rolling hillsides in shades of green you didn't know existed, punctuated with tumbling waterfalls; Spectacular ancient heritage sites; An abundance of unique wildlife; A complex and diverse cultural history; Intoxicating flavours and aromas; And a hospitality so warm and inviting, you'll wonder why you waited so long to visit. The Great Ceylon Gathering is a highly inclusive itinerary that invites female travellers to unwind, luxuriate, and experience the uniqueness that is Sri Lanka, in an intimate group setting. This tour is perfect for solo travellers, women travellers who enjoy making new friends, and all adventure-loving, culturally-curious, fun-loving globetrotters in between.

Ayubowan (May You Live Long)

Day 1

Upon arriving after your long journey, you will be greeted by our team of airport officials, chief travel engineer from ArTravele and your travel host, Jordana. You will then be escorted to our lounge to enjoy a refreshment while we wait for the rest of the guests to arrive. Afterwards, we make our way to Wikkala to relax and unwind at your hideaway for the night (D).

Hideaway: Wattura Resort & Spa

Day 2 - Anuradhapura

After a peaceful night's rest, awaken to the sounds of sea birds, and waves crashing against golden sandy beaches. After breakfast, we exchange official introductions to the group and your travel host will conduct a brief orientation. Today, we make our way north to the 5th century city of Anuradhapura, a World UNESCO Heritage Site. Here, we spend the the afternoon exploring this sprawling complex of dagobas, temple ruins, and ancient pools. In the early evening, we check in to our hideaway for the next two nights. Tonight we get to know each other a bit better, enjoy some laughter, swap stories and experience an authentic "Kamatha" feast, foraged from the onsite organic farm (B, D).

Hideaway: Ulagalla Resort

Day 3 - Wilpattu National Park

Wake up and enjoy breakfast at your leisure. Spend the morning luxuriating by your private pool, catching up on a good book, or if you're feeling adventurous, join us for an early morning cycle around the local village. Or take a leisurely gallop around the grounds on horseback. In the afternoon, grab your cameras, it's time to take a walk on the wild side. We climb into our private safari vehicles and visit Wilpattu National Park, one of the few places in the world you will find the sloth bear, herds of wild Asian elephant and the Sri Lankan leopard (B, D).

Hideaway: Ulagalla Resort

Day 4 - Mannar

After breakfast this morning, we make our way to the North West corner of Sri Lanka, to the Island of Mannar. This fascinating region endured a three-decades long civil war, and was long the major exit and entry point to southern India. Today, Mannar enjoys peace, welcomes visitors with open arms and provides us with the unique opportunity to explore a part of Sri Lanka off the beaten path . Today we visit Vayu and enjoy a private picnic on this secluded island off an island. This evening we have something special for the animal lovers: We visit Sri Lanka's only Donkey Clinic Education and therapeutic centre (B,L,D).

Hideaway: Palmyrah House*

Day 5 - Jaffna

After breakfast we bid Mannar goodbye and drive to the most northern reaches of the island, to Jaffna, the Tamil and Hindu heartland of Sri Lanka. Jaffna offers up a kaleidoscope of cultural treasures from sumptuous South Indian cuisine, ornate Hindu temples, locals adorned in beautiful, brightly coloured saris and warm, friendly faces. After checking into our hideaway in the late morning, we head out to explore sites such as the Nallur Kovil and Jaffna Library among others. We end our day with a visit to Jaffna Fort before heading back to our hideaway (B, D).

Hideaway: Fox Jaffna by Fox Resort

Day 6 - Jaffna

After breakfast, we visit the northern most point of the country - Point Pedro. Once an ancient archaeological site, turned colonial fishing village. Point Pedro is on track to become one of the busiest ports for the island nation. Next, after visiting a few more cultural sites around Jaffna, we spend the afternoon at an organic farm. It's time to roll up our sleeves, forage for fresh ingredients, and alongside a team of chefs, we learn to prepare and cook our own authentic Jaffna meal. We gather to enjoy a quintessential Sri Lankan farm-to-table experience and afterwards, head back to our hideaway to relax and unwind (B, L, D).

Hideaway: Fox Jaffna

Day 7 - Trincomalee

After breakfast, we head south to the crystalline waters of Trincomalee. With it being the longest drive of our tour, we plan the arrival at our hideaway just in time for lunch, leaving you the rest of the day to take a dip in the Indian Ocean, hit up the spa for a rejuvenating massage or just enjoy your luxurious surroundings. If you're feeling adventurous, an optional excursion will whisk you away by speedboat, to Pigeon Island Marine Sanctuary where an underwater oasis awaits. Snorkel amidst coral reefs, teeming with endangered species such as the Bi-color cleaner wrasse, and Raggedfin parrotfish as well as four types of sea turtle (B, D).

Hideaway: Jungle Beach

Day 8

This morning, we wake early and step onto our own private catamaran to chase the sunrise. As the sun greets us over the horizon, enjoy fresh canapés as we make our way to the perfect spot to cut the engine. Enjoy a peaceful paddle board or snorkel session, or, laze around on board and soak up some rays. A late breakfast will be waiting for you upon our return, and in the afternoon, join us for a city tour of Trincomalee with highlights including the hot springs in Kanniya and the Koneswaram Temple (B, D).

Hideaway: Jungle Beach

Day 9 - Minneriya - Elephant Gathering

Today we leave the beach behind and a quick, eighty kilometer road trip takes us to Sri Lanka's cultural hub; Habarana. On the way, we have the opportunity to experience Sri Lanka's unique food truck culture for lunch. Shortly after checking into our hideaway, grab your camera, and safari hat because it's time to load up in our safari vehicle and venture into Minneriya National Park, home of the largest gathering of Asian elephants anywhere on earth. Our on-board expert tracker will take us to various gathering places where we can enjoy the complex dynamics of these pachyderm families in their rightful place, the wild. Just before the sun sinks below the horizon, we head head back to our hideaway for the evening (B, D).

Hideaway: Water Garden

Day 10 - Sigirya & Kandy

Today we soak in Sri Lanka's ancient history, colonial history and spirituality. After an early breakfast, we throw on our hiking shoes and explore Sri Lanka's most recognizable UNESCO world heritage site, the iconic Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress. The expansive grounds of this jaw-dropping historical site include remnants of a ruined palace, an intricate network of fortifications, ponds, canals, fountains and garden that are amongst the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. We ascend the rock and enjoy incredible 360 views of this cultural triangle. Once we descend to earth, we make our way towards the capital of Hill Country, Kandy. A sumptuous stop in at an elegant manor house is the perfect introduction to this picturesque part of the country. This evening, we explore the Temple of the Sacred Tooth and experience the evening pooja ceremony, an important cultural ceremony of reverence showcasing traditional drummers and dancers (B, L, D).

Hideaway: Fox Kandy

Day 11 - Loolecondera Tea Estate

After yesterday's full day, we take it slow this morning with a visit to a nearby cascading waterfall. Don't forget your bathing suit, you may want to take a dip in the natural swimming pool. Enjoy a picnic lunch, good conversation with friends, all with Sri Lanka's lush landscapes as a backdrop. And later, it's time to delve into the humble beginning's of Sri Lanka's greatest export. We spend an afternoon at the birthplace of Sri Lankan tea: Loolecondera Tea Estate. We learn the about the process of making tea, from the intricate plucking traditions, the withering and roasting process, right up to the moment it's poured into our cups (B, L, D).

Hideaway: Fox Kandy

Day 12 - Colombo

After breakfast, it's time to leave the lush scenery of Hill Country and make way for the big city to spend our final night together in Colombo. We've ventured to the furthest reaches of this beautiful country, and gathered many a story along the way. There is no better way to celebrate our shared experiences than by sitting down to a decadent and theatrical, culinary journey through the history of Sri Lankan cuisine. Once you've filled your belly (and hearts), the night is yours to experience Colombo's unique nightlife or do a bit of shopping (B, D).

Luxury Hotel: Cinnamon Grand

Day 13 - Colombo

It's our last day on this adventure of a lifetime, but first, breakfast together, followed by a walking tour of Colombo. Street photographers will love this opportunity to capture the ambiance of the old Fort and fury of humanity in areas like Pettah, a neighbourhood renown for its colourful markets and open-air bazaars. Feel free to extend the walking tour on your own, or if you're pressed for time, make your way back to the hotel to pack, and get organized for your transfer to the airport (B).

Meet Your Travel Host

Jordana Manchester is a Canadian-based culture and adventure focused travel professional, with a background in anthropology, a travel resume that includes over 80 countries and passion for introducing female travelers to off-the-beaten destinations. A life-changing visit to Sri Lanka in September 2019 inspired Jordana to work with luxury brand ArTravele to design and curate a female-focused luxury itinerary that included the ideal balance of culture, cuisine, history and soft adventure.

What's Included

  • 12 nights accommodation in luxury hideaways & 5 Star hotels
  • 12 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 12 dinners
  • Fully staffed tour: 24/7 Services of licensed English-speaking local guide, driver, assistant and travel host
  • Roundtrip Airport Transfers*
  • Private air-conditioned transportation throughout tour
  • Customized "Ayubo" (Welcome) package
  • Anuradhapura City Tour
  • Two safari game drives at Wilpattu National Park & Minneriya national park
  • Picnic lunch at Vayu
  • Visit to the Donkey Clinic and City tour of Mannar
  • City tour of Jaffna & Ice Cream at Rio
  • Culinary Experience at Thinnai Farm
  • Sunrise Cruise in Trincomalee
  • Sigiriya Lions Rock Experience
  • High Coffee Experience
  • Temple of the tooth Experience
  • Chasing Waterfalls and Picnic
  • Loolecondera Tea Estate Experience
  • Culinary Ceylon Dining Experience
  • Colombo City Walk
  • All Applicable Governmental Taxes
  • All national park admissions & fees
  • Tips for guides & driver

*For guests extending their stay, the transfer to Colombo airport is not included, but we are happy to arrange this for you*

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Alcoholic beverages (allow approximately USD$200-USD$250 for meals not included)
  • Pigeon Island excursion
  • Any optional activities offered at luxury hideaways (unless otherwise stated)
  • Visa fees (https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/apply.jsp#byapp)
  • Emergency Travel protection (travel medical insurance is mandatory for this tour)

Pricing & Payment Schedule

Total Per Person Based on *Single Occupancy: CAD$5400

*Rooms are all single occupancy with the exception of Mannar where guests will share occupancy for one night*

Deposit of CAD$500 due at time of booking (*non-refundable without travel protection insurance)

Full Balance Due: July 10, 2020 (Intermittent payments can be made)

CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT BOOKING FORM

Cancellation Policy

In addition to the non-refundable deposit, the penalties are as follows:

  • 10% cancellation if informed 100 – 61 days prior to arrival
  • 40% cancellation if informed 60 – 31 days prior to arrival
  • 80% cancellation if informed 30 – 14 days prior to arrival
  • 100% cancellation if informed within 14 days prior to arrival

Tour Operator

"Artisans travel, curating luxury"

Tour Hosted By:

Life's a trip. Take One.
Created By
Jordana Manchester
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