The booking agents at Jacada Travel, a luxury private-guided tour company headquartered in London, are referred to as “travel designers”—experienced and independent globetrotters who go beyond the pre-set menu of a travel itinerary to build individual, customizable trips, while always keeping the client’s interests in mind.
According to Jacada founder Alex Malcom, “Unlike selling pre-set packages and tried and tested tourist routes, a travel designer at Jacada Travel sells their personal connections, contacts with long-time friends on the ground, and personal experience all packaged into a perfect itinerary featuring top-level service and accommodations.”
So where can your clients go with these one-of-a-kind personalized tours? Jacada’s portfolio of destinations is concentrated in Africa, Central and South America and Antarctica—with 13 countries in Latin America (Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay ) and 12 countries in Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, The Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar).
“We’ve always worked on the philosophy of being truly specialized,” says Malcom. “Since my knowledge as founder was
strongest in Brazil and Argentina, that’s what we started with. Overall, I don’t think that clients have changed so much in the last five years. However, I believe that people are always looking for new experiences. For some, WiFi has become a must-have in even the most remote locations, whilst in others we see the opposite, preferring a true disconnect and retreat.”
Jacada not only sells custom-designed tours to individual travelers or groups, but has even dabbled into the experiential side of travel tours by offering specialized, themed itineraries from gourmet tours for foodies to honeymoon-focused tours; cultural immersion tours; and adrenaline-inducing tours for thrill seekers—all of which can be altered or enhanced based on the client’s preferences.
As an example of the company’s outside-the-box philosophy, earlier this year, Jacada introduced Tech Detox tours for people who have a hard time putting down the iPhone and are in major need of a personal and spiritual recharge. There’s the 10-day Costa Rica: A Wind Down & Wellness Getaway trip (from $5,957 pp; land-only), for example, which begins at a 500-acre private reserve in the cloud forest hills of Bajos del Toro in the Central Highlands where travelers can hike the rainforest trails and meditate with yoga lessons. For three days guests stay at El Silencio Lodge and Spa, an eco-lodge with only 16 luxury casitas (no TVs or WiFi allowed here). Of course, a wellness trip is not complete without spa treatments, and there are plenty on this itinerary as travelers then head to Manuel Antonio National Park on the southern Pacific coast to stay at modern and stylish, 20-room Gaia Resort, a boutique property in the jungle with enough outdoor activities to help guests forget that social media even exists (well, almost).
The Costa Rica tour, and others like it, is what Jacada calls Example Plans: templates the travel designers can work with that are not set-in-stone itineraries, so if the client wants to change accommodations or alter any travel plans, it can be done. Each trip does come with its own guide, an offering that Malcom says allows travelers greater flexibility and time to “relax rather than endlessly researching places to go and sites to see since they know they are in the safe hands of a local expert.”
According to Malcom, Jacada’s tours are also ideal for multigenerational family travel since the trips are varied and seamless, all thanks to those travel designers we mentioned earlier; honeymooners can also benefit from a fitted Jacada Travel vacation in exotic locales, places that Malcom says, “capture the romance of travel” such as Patagonia and Kenya.
For clients with an unlimited budget, Jacada has its Elite Tours to a shorter list of destinations from Argentina to South Africa, Chile and Kenya. An Elite Tour is for a traveler who has deep pockets and is seeking an out-of-this-world experience.
“Our expertise really shines for these high-net worth clients who can take advantage of our wealth of local knowledge and contacts. We’ve booked many Elite Tours and know how to make these out-of-the-box ideas become a seamless reality,” he says.
On Jacada’s Elite Tour of Brazil, for example, clients can take a private super-yacht tour along the Amazon River; jump from Rio to Sao Paulo to Bahia on a private jet charter; take scuba diving trips to the paradise island of Fernando de Noronha; and all this while staying at the highest level of hotels and private villas.
our friends across the pond
Don’t let the long distance turn you away from calling Jacada Travel. Malcom says they strive to make the process easy for North American clients, “including staying up late to ensure we answer their questions on time so that they never feel we are far away,” he says. Jacada is
creating white-label marketing tools for agents to ensure personal branding throughout the booking process, and may extend its portfolio to hotspots in Europe and Asia.
Jacada Travel: (866) 610-1533; jacadatravel.com