El Segundo, California – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine
Luxury travel company Travcoa announced the official resumption of leisure travel to Libya this week with the arrival of its first group of US travelers into Tripoli in more than five years. Libya’s recently reinstated visa issuance to American travelers has again opened the door to a country whose cultures and renowned archeological sites have been largely inaccessible to US citizens over the past 40 years. Overcoming the complex new visa requirements and concerns surrounding arrival procedures, the Travcoa group was expedited through Libyan immigration without delay.
Travcoa led annual expeditions to Libya until 1969 when the North African country stopped issuing visas to US citizens. With the exception of a brief period in 2004 and 2005, Libya was effectively closed to American visitors. “The chance for us to offer travel to Libya again means that Travcoa will have more experience than any other US travel company,” said Travcoa President, Jerre Fuqua. “We’re enormously pleased that the door to Libya is open to our guests again. I had the pleasure of visiting Libya in July under the new visa policy and was amazed by the well-preserved archeological sights, the warmth of the Libyan people, and seeing a country that will change dramatically in the coming years.”
Modeled after the sold-out expeditions of 2004 and 2005, the current Travcoa travel itinerary takes guests on a 13-day exploration across a large portion of the country, from Tripoli, Libya’s capital, to the ancient Greek and Roman ruins of Sabratha, Apollonia, Leptis Magna and other legacies of Libya’s history as a major trade center of the ancient Mediterranean world. The journey also includes a two-night desert experience at the oasis town of Ghadames.
The Travcoa journey begins where the Sahara meets the sea in Tripoli, Libya’s most cosmopolitan city. Travelers will discover Tripoli’s historical significance as a key North African port on the Mediterranean Sea through visits to a mélange of artifacts and architectural gems of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Ottoman Empires.
Travcoa travelers also visit Sabratha, a major city in the Roman Tripolitania Province. Known for its extraordinary architecture, Sabratha’s role as a key Phoenician and Roman trade center created immense wealth and power in ancient Libya. Sabratha’s theater, built in the second century A.D., is the most complete theater in the Roman world and a centerpiece of the city’s astounding attractions.
A highlight of the journey is the sprawling, seaside UNESCO World Heritage site, Leptis Magna, the third city of the Tripolitania Province and the largest, best-preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean region. An immense arch dedicated to Septimius Severus, the Libyan-born Roman Emperor of the second century A.D., greets travelers as they enter the ancient city. There will be opportunity to view many of the city’s original intricate and colorful mosaics, created during Leptis Magna’s Golden Age, one remarkable example stretching over 30 feet in length. Travelers on the Travcoa journey will also explore the Greek ruins of Cyrene and Ptolemais.
In addition to the many historical sites, Travcoa travelers will also fly across the Libyan Desert for a two-night stay at the walled Taureg Berber oasis town of Ghadames. Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, Ghadames is known for its traditional architecture and ancient, labyrinth streets. During their stay, travelers will venture out into the desert at sunset in 4-wheel drive vehicles to enjoy tea and a performance of Taureg songs and dances.
Travcoa has organized six, small-group Escorted Journey departures travelers through the end of 2010 and 11 departure dates in 2011. Each departure is limited to a maximum of 18 guests and is led by a Travcoa Travel Director in addition to expert local guides. The price for the Escorted Journey, Libya: The Forbidden Sahara, is $6,995 per person based on double occupancy, including top quality accommodations, all meals, sightseeing and services.
In addition, Travcoa offers pre-planned and pre-priced priced Independent Journey packages to Libya for those who prefer to travel privately, starting at $5,725 per person, including flights within Libya. Independent Journeys to Libya are hosted by local guides and available based on any Tuesday or Thursday arrival. Customized expeditions are also available for friends or family who wish to choose the specific destinations, experiences and dates best suited to them.