Thursday, October 24, 2013

Experiencing Warmth of Stately Homes Bonds Travelers And Hosts On International Culture Xplorers’ Journeys

A deep-rooted network of international hosts who share their stately homes with paying guests is at the core of Culture Xplorers’ travel experiences whose forte is fostering meaningful engagements with local cultures.

“When you admire needlepoint on an antique chair and portraits of ancestors and landscapes on the walls, suddenly doors open to conversations with the hosts. Through their stories they transport you into their worlds and life experience,” explained Jim Kane, founder/owner of Culture Xplorers (

Following are six favorite residences that Kane accesses and shares with his travel clients.

Visconde de Chanceleiros (Douro Valley, Portugal): Ursula and Kurt Bocking fell in love with the Douro Valley in the 1980s where they bought a manor house sorely in need of repairs but with great bones. Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros looks over terraced vineyards down to the Douro River. Twenty-five years of love and labor later, Chanceleiros is what Kane calls “a dream B&B for the handful of travelers fortunate enough to stay in one of its 10 rooms.”  Gardens, a pool and miles of walking trails leading through vineyards add to the allure, as do home-cooked dinners paired with Douro wines.  Experienced on Northern Portugal trips:

Iriarte Jauregia (Bidania, N. Spain): This is a 17th century country palace in the heart of Basque Country completely restored in 2009 to 19 elegant rooms with antique furniture, art and such dramatic elements as original wooden beams, stone, glass and iron. Experienced on Culture Xplorers' Basque Country Bonds and Family Basque Adventures -

Hotel Cirilo (Antigua, Guatemala): Ricardo Recinos, owner, innkeeper and breakfast chef, along with his partner Giovanni Passarelli built this homey, seven-room lodge around the ruins of an 18th century church whose crumbling walls lend a mystical ambiance to a secluded courtyard. The colonial center is a 15-minute walk away. Culture Xplorers guests may experience this gem on Guatemala Up Close trips -

Hacienda Molinos (Salta, Argentina): Set in the quaint Andean town of Molinos in the magical Valles Calchaquíes in NW Argentina, Nicolas Cossio runs this storied 18-room hacienda dating to the 18th century when it was home to the last Spanish appointed Governor of Salta. Nicholas often accompanies riders out on horseback into the countryside and upon request his wife prepares simple, delicious home-style dinners accompanied by regional wines. This lodging can be experienced on Argentina True North trips -

Guayaba Inn (San Cristobal, Mexico): Kiki and Gabriel Suarez, local gallery and restaurant owners in San Cristóbal de las Casas, created this newly restored and redesigned six-room inn from a traditional San Cristóbal home, surrounded by a tranquil stone patio and private gardens bursting with orchids and bromeliads. Most Culture Xplorers itineraries to Chiapas, Mexico include this inn -

Hotel B (Lima, Peru): Lima’s Barranco district is a bohemian neighborhood with galleries, cafés and eclectic restaurants spilling onto tree-lined streets. In the early 1900's it was a favorite summer residence for Lima's wealthy elite, many of whom built summer homes here to be close to the beach. Formerly a private mansion that had fallen into a shocking state of disrepair, the Arts Boutique Hotel B was rescued by its current owners and re-imagined as Lima's first true boutique residence. Guests of this 17-suite registered historic landmark feel they have landed an invitation to the home of a wealthy art collector and socialite. Enjoy the history and amenities on Peru Up-Close trips -

About Culture Xplorers
Culture Xplorers (, a leader in sustainable travel, offers handcrafted journeys that deepen understanding and foster connection between travelers and local communities around the world.

Culture Xplorers trips are created from the ground up, built on three founding pillars: people, traditions and impact. Their travelers meet the people of the places they visit, engaging in the living traditions that make each destination unique, and in doing so, create a lasting, positive impact through tourism. Genuine connections with people and place are formed farm-to-fork and around the table, via participation in local celebrations and through authentic exchange with community leaders and members.

Countries where cultural exchanges are fostered are Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Cuba. The Culture Xplorers Foundation was founded in 2007 to help foster the sustainability of local culture in at risk communities worldwide. Its positive impact partnerships focus on sustaining endangered traditions, strengthening education, fostering community-based travel and breaking the cycle of poverty through the support of comprehensive micro-loan and education programs.  See:

For information, tours, availability and reservations contact Culture Xplorers at (215) 870-3585 or email:

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