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Clayton, CA 94517
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President’s Picks Collection and Why We Do It

"I love the phrase stretch your legs, only partly because I am tall. Mostly, it’s because the phrase represents a powerful challenge to get out in the world," says Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Big Five Tours & Expeditions. "This is especially true when talking about our President's Picks, a rotation of 12 successfully operated journeys that showcase our creative strength and originality when we stretch our legs."

For example, Adventure Guatemala & Panama, one of the newest in the series, focuses on the lesser-known aspects of these two well-established countries. It is an amazing blend of outdoor adventures with a rich array of archaeological treasures.

This journey is a natural, pardon the pun, for outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities to hike up volcanos, climb canyon walls, take on world-class rapids, kayak, and swim in a natural waterfall pool.

For those passionate about history and archaeology, this adventure is richly rewarding as it explores the ancient Mayan world at the remarkable archaeological sites of Quirigua, Yaxha and world-renown Tikal.

However, President's Picks adventures seek to take guests beyond – in this case, via a special helicopter trip to the ruins of El Mirador, a remarkable yet off the beaten path Pre-Classic Mayan city, not often visited. As the helicopter approaches, it is clear that archeologists are still excavating much of the site; however, the jungle remains in charge. El Mirador flourished as a trade center from about 300 BCE to 150 CE. The main attractions, two large pyramid complexes, El Tigre and La Danta, face each other. The ruins of this ancient city are more overwhelming than most Mayan sites. The Tiger Pyramid is startling 18 stories high and it base covers the area of three football fields. The first mention of the site was in 1885, when engineer Claudio Urrutia, who surveyed the area, sited a “ruinas grandes,’ but El Mirador was not officially reported until 1926. Scientists have noted that a large amount of construction predates other Mayan sites including the more famous Tikal.

At Big Five, we don’t look outside the box. Indeed, we say, “What box?” Journeys such as our President’s Pick reinforce our motto that We Don’t Tell Stories Better, We Tell Better Stories®.

Big Five Tours & Expeditions, www.bigfive.com, 800 244 3483, info@bigfive.com