Take a step or two off the worn-out tourist track and explore the wonders, natural and man-made, of Jordan. Go floating on the Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth - wind through the narrow gorges of the lost city of Petra and trek through the wilderness of the desert, Lawrence of Arabia style. If you're struggling to find a holiday to please the whole family, look no further. Especially designed for teens from 11 upwards, this tour is challenging, educating, and amazingly eye-opening.
Your tour starts off at the Roman ruins in Jerash, some of the best preserved Roman sites that the country has to offer. You have the unique opportunity to learn all about its history as you wander between the ruins, from its destruction by an earthquake in 749AD to its current growth and importance to the tourism industry. Then it's off for a swim in the Dead Sea, world-renowned for its high salt levels which allow you to float along on the surface, before heading to Petra via Mount Nebo and Kerak Castle, both filled with history and activities.
One of the best parts of the trip is by far the cooking lesson at a local Bedouin school in Petra, where you are taught how to cook a traditional dinner, teens included - a handy (and perhaps new) skill for later life! Make the most of being in a city which has barely changed in 2000 years, and explore its hidden staircases cut out of the rock and the beautiful sandstone architecture that has put Petra firmly on the list of the world's wonders.
Finally - the part that everyone looks forward to - a trek into the desert, where you will camp underneath the stars and have to opportunity to ride camels across the endless stretches of sand and to the edges of immense cliffs. Younger members of the group are then whisked off for a lesson in survival from a local tribesman, who teaches them the secrets of surviving in the barren landscape by tracking animals and finding water.
The trips are usually conducted in groups of around 16, making it personal and most importantly respectful of the local people and their culture. Though the current turbulence in the neighbouring countries such as Syria may put travel to the area off your holiday list, there is nothing to worry about in Jordan and the Foreign Office website doesn't advise against travel to the country.
The tour really focuses on helping local businesses, staying in small hotels, eating in traditional restaurants and employing local guides. It's a great way to explore the particularities and fascinations of Jordanian culture alongside natives who answer every question and query with infectious enthusiasm. This is tourism at its best - educational, respectful and ridiculous amounts of fun.
Tour dates: 27 Oct, 22 Dec 2012
Tel: +44 1273 600030
Prices: prices start from £1343 - £1399 (9 days) including UK flightsLa Rioja, Spain Kafountine, Senegal