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Food & Wine:...

Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily

13 days |  15 days with Naples extension
13 days |  15 days with Naples extension
Group size1222 travelers

4.7 star rating

Physical activity
people climbing stairs up to santa maria monastery in tropea italy
red wine being poured into a wine glass
A bucket of fish at an Italian fish market
a row of purple grapes hanging in a vineyard in southern italy
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Taste tradition, history, and TLC in every bite and sip.

Throughout history, southern Italy has served as a cultural crossroads, and a mashup of international influences remains evident in the region’s cuisines. On this small group Food & Wine Tour, explore tucked-away coastal towns, medieval villages, and hillside vineyards—and experience the flavors and culinary traditions that make Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, and Campania so utterly and deliciously unique.

Your tour package includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 5 dinners with beer or wine
  • 3 wine tastings
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Included highlights

  • Baroque Noto
  • Avola wine region
  • Italian contessa dinner
  • Sassi di Matera cave dwellings
  • Campanian cooking lesson
Read more
Start planning today

An expert specializing in tours of this region is here to help.

Talk to a Tour Consultant

Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Catania today.

Catania3 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Catania
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Italy! Tonight, get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers over a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in Catania. Savor the signature flavors of the city—along with local, Sicilian wine—and whet your appetite for more of Sicily’s culturally and historically rich cuisine still to come in the days ahead.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Noto & the Avola wine region
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner

Head outside of the city of Catania today to explore the culinary traditions of southeastern Sicily.

  • Join a local guide for a tour of Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Baroque churches and palaces
  • Wander along Noto’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a long, pedestrian-friendly avenue lined with cafes, shops, and historic buildings
  • Visit the Cathedral of San Nicolò, an imposing Baroque structure that was built in the 18th century and stands at the top of a wide, stone staircase
  • Stop in a local sweets shop to sample Sicilian pastries and chocolates, keeping an eye out for varieties made with almonds or pistachios—both types of nuts grow on the island and are commonly featured in Sicilian confections
  • Enjoy a pasta or seafood lunch on your own in one of Noto’s cafes, or treat your sweet tooth to a distinctly Sicilian dessert; local specialties include dense and creamy gelato, which you can enjoy atop a crunchy cone or sandwiched between two slices of buttery brioche

Travel northeast to the Avola wine region. Its thick-skinned, namesake grape, the Nero d’Avola, has grown on Sicily for hundreds of years. It remains the most widely planted grape on the island—in its indigenous region and beyond—for the production of red wine.

  • Visit a local winery for a behind-the-scenes look at its growing and production processes
  • Learn what factors contribute to Nero d’Avola’s fruit-forward flavor, full-bodied structure, and high acidity
  • Enjoy light snacks paired with a variety of vintages of Nero d’Avola wines

After your winery visit, transfer to a historic countryside villa and the home of an Italian contessa.

  • Enjoy wine with focaccia, olives, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and other antipasti, then sit down for a homemade, family-style dinner set in the villa’s former stables
  • Learn some of the contessa’s most-trusted cooking tips, which will help you recreate her rustic dishes—such as linguine with lemon, and rice with mushrooms—at home
Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Catania
Included meal: Breakfast

Meet your local guide and set out to discover Catania, an ancient port city that sits at the base of active Mount Etna volcano.

  • Discover Catania’s historic city center, with its narrow, stone streets, busy Piazza del Duomo, and Baroque Catania Cathedral
  • Explore the city’s famous, open-air fish market, where you’re likely to spot whole branzino, tuna, and many other freshly caught delicacies neatly laid out on ice
  • Tour the Museo Storico dello Sbarco, a WWII museum focused on the allied invasion of Sicily
  • Try to spot ash from previous Mount Etna eruptions in Catania’s streets as you make your way through the city

Enjoy a free afternoon in Catania or add an excursion.

Mount Etna Wine Region Tasting & Dinner

From $105 per person

Tropea Region2 nights
Day 5: Tropea Region via Messina & Reggio Calabria
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Messina, Sicily’s third-largest city, then take a ferry across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria. You’ll explore this coastal city in southern Italy alongside your Tour Director.

  • Visit the National Museum of Magna Graecia to view the storied Riace Bronzes—two life-size, bronze statues of Greek warriors sculpted in Greece in the 5th century B.C. and pulled from the Ionian Sea in the 1970s
  • Enjoy free time to explore Reggio Calabria on your own

Then, travel north to Tropea. The town is situated along the coast in Calabria, a southern Italian region whose culinary traditions are rooted in la cucina povera, or peasant food. This evening, sit down for an included dinner. Enjoy wine alongside dishes such as fried seafood and stuffed eggplant, which capture the spirit of Calabrian cooking.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Tropea & Pizzo
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner

Get to know Tropea on a sightseeing tour led by your Tour Director.

  • View the spectacular Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery perched high above the sea in Tropea
  • Stop for a tasting of locally made pecorino sheep’s-milk cheese, salami, breads, roasted vegetable spreads, and cipolla rossa, the sweet red onions for which Tropea is known
  • Continue on to Pizzo for a taste of the coastal city’s famous tartufo di Pizzo—a ball or bombe of chocolate and hazelnut gelato shaped around a hidden center of melted chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder

Sit down this evening for an included dinner served with wine. Traditional dishes to try might include baked spaghetti-and-eggplant involtini.

Matera2 nights
Day 7: Transfer to Matera
Included meal: Breakfast

This morning, pass through the Calabrian countryside on your way to Matera. The ancient town is built on a rocky outcrop in Basilicata, a southern Italian region whose traditions of grain cultivation and baking have endured for centuries.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Matera
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting

Explore Matera, known as the Subterranean City, with a local guide.

  • Visit Sassi di Matera, the two districts that make up Matera, which are known for their 9,000-year-old cave dwellings
  • Stroll through the Old Town, passing Matera Cathedral and the ruins of the 16th-century Castello Tramontano
  • Admire the bell towers, mosaics, sculptures, and other architectural details of the 16th-century Palazzo del Sedile, or Palace of the Seat, which has served as the seat of the municipality of Matera as well as a music conservatory
  • Step inside Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario to see what life was like inside a typical cave dwelling
  • Explore the chiese rupestri, or rock churches
  • Visit a local shop to taste regional breads, such as highly regarded, sourdough-style Pane di Matera, and cheeses, like soft mozzarella and gooey stracciatella

Enjoy a free evening in Matera or add an excursion.

Please note: Depending on the season, this may take place on the afternoon of day 7.

Puglia Wine Tasting & Dinner

From $99 per person

Benevento Countryside2 nights
Day 9: Samnium villages & Sannio wine tasting
Included meals: Breakfast, Liquor tasting, Wine tasting, Lunch

Today, venture to Sannio, a hilly and highly regarded wine-producing area and Domain of Controlled Origin, or DOC. In Sannio, regulations require that grapes—Aglianico, Falanghina, and other varietals among them—be sourced from hillside vineyards, where the climate is ideal for producing high-quality fruit.

  • Walk along steep streets in the medieval town of Guardia Sanframondi, and take in views of its hilltop castle
  • Grab a seat at a local bar and enjoy a cocktail made with Falanghina wine and Strega—a saffron-infused, after-dinner liqueur that originated in Benevento in the late 1800s
  • Visit a sustainable winery co-operative that produces wines under the brand Janare
  • Sit down at the co-operative for an included lunch paired with Janare wines, which are produced from Falanghina and Aglianico grapes grown on Sannio vineyards

Please note: The order of today’s activities is subject to change.

Day 10: Benevento Countryside via San Marco dei Cavoti & cooking class
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Lunch

Today, make your way to San Marco dei Cavoti, located northeast of Naples. This mountain village in the province of Benevento is one of the best-known places in Italy for the production of toronne, a nut-and-nougat confection.

  • Join a local chocolatier for an artisanal chocolate tasting and shop tour
  • Watch a chocolate-making demonstration and try a few different sweet treats, including Croccantino—a crunchy torrone covered in dark chocolate

Later, settle in to your agriturismo in the Benevento countryside. Then, head to the nearby town of Telese Terme for a cooking class in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its creative dishes that marry traditional and innovative techniques. Follow along as the restaurant’s world-class chefs teach you how to craft traditional Campanian dishes, such as tortellini Campagnola, and make note of tips and techniques to try out when you get back home. For dinner tonight, savor the fruits of your labor, along with wine, in the company of your fellow travelers.

Please note: The order of today’s activities is subject to change.

Salerno2 nights
Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Benevento & Salerno via Taurasi wine region
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Wine tasting, Farewell dinner

Take a guided sightseeing tour of Benevento this morning.

  • Marvel at the Arch of Trajan, a triumphal arch built by Emperor Trajan in the second century
  • Continue past the 10th-century Church of Saint Hilary, a stone structure that has served as a church, a convent, and a farmhouse
  • Enter the UNESCO-recognized Church of Santa Sofia, which was built in the eighth century and features an unusual, star-shaped structure and radial arrangement of columns and pillars
  • Cap off your guided tour with a taste of ice cream or chocolate infused with Benevento Strega liqueur

Then, continue on to the Taurasi wine region. This is where the flagship red wine of southern Italy is produced from 100% local Aglianico grapes or, in some instances, a blend of Nebbiolo and Sangiovese grapes as well.

  • Walk through a vineyard alongside a local wine expert to learn about the harvest and wine production processes
  • Enjoy light snacks and a taste of white and red wines—including Taurasi, the region’s signature red, which is known for its structure, complexity, and aging potential

Continue on to Salerno, a lively port town steeped in cultural tradition. This evening, celebrate your trip over a farewell dinner served with wine. Menu items might include regional products such as seafood, prosciutto, sardines, zucchini, and other local specialties.

Please note: The order of today’s activities is subject to change.

Day 12: Mozzarella farm & Paestum
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Explore the coastal area of Cilento today. This spot is known as the birthplace of the widely celebrated Mediterranean diet, which is a set of skills, rituals, symbols, and traditions centered around food production and consumption—and which UNESCO declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  • Tour a local, organic dairy farm, and savor freshly made mozzarella, ricotta, and buffalo-milk gelato during a light lunch and tasting served with wine
  • Travel to nearby Paestum for a guided tour of the ancient city’s Greek and Roman ruins
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Paestum to see the Tomb of the Diver, which was created around 470 B.C. and contains a rare Greek wall painting

Raise a toast to your trip—and your fellow travelers—as you enjoy a farewell drink this evening.

Flight Home
Day 13: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Naples airport for your flight home or extend your stay to visit Naples.

Extension to Naples
What’s that line that Dean Martin sang? Ah yes... “That’s amore!” He was singing about Naples, of course, and for good reason: There’s so much to love about this busy coastal city. Discover that feeling while exploring with a local guide and seeking out your interests, be they history, food, or both, with the help of your Tour Director.
Naples2 nights
Day 13: Transfer to Naples & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting

After a short ride to Naples, set off on an afternoon tasting tour in the city with a local guide.

  • Walk through Piazza del Gesù to view the Church of Gesù Nuovo
  • Stop at a local cafe to try a dark and dense espresso Napoletano
  • Enter the Basilica of Santa Chiara, the largest Gothic church in Naples, to see its beautifully tiled cloister
  • Step inside a shop to taste the famous Vesuvius chocolate
  • Walk along Via dei Tribunali and enjoy a cuoppo, or cone, filled with fried street foods such as arancini, polenta, croquettes, and vegetables
  • Sample sfogliatella, a flaky pastry, near the Church of San Domenico Maggiore
Day 14: Free day in Naples
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Naples or add excursions.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

A Naples Tradition: Neapolitan Pizza

From $75 per person

The Lost City of Herculaneum

From $69 per person

Flight Home
Day 15: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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4.7 star rating

Overall rating 4.7 out of 5

Based on 123 authentic traveler reviews
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    Greatest time ever
    6/11/23 by 1st-time traveler Barbara

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    6/18/23 by 1st-time traveler Donna

    4.0 star rating

    Italy Food and Wine Tour 2023
    6/18/23 by 1st-time traveler Anonymous

    We thoroughly enjoyed our experience! This is our first organized tour and the following are the overall suggestions that are based on our expectations prior to the food and wine tour and also, some wishes we had during the tour. 1. Food The venues were great but I expected to have a more guided ex...

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    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
    Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze

    This charming hotel is located on Catania, Italy’s famous Via Etnea. Guests enjoy Sicilian specialties for breakfast, Turkish bath, and gym. Nearby yo...

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    Popilia Country Resort
    Popilia Country Resort

    This elegant hotel is located in Maierato municipality of Calabria. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a restaurant. Nearby, you'll find C...

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    Hotel San Domenico al Piano
    Hotel San Domenico al Piano

    This recently renovated hotel is located in the center of Matera. Guests enjoy the quiet and comfortable rooms, the on-site restaurant, and compliment...

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    Villa Traiano Hotel
    Villa Traiano Hotel

    This sleek hotel is located in the historic center. Guests enjoy a covered garden, a bar, and WiFi. Nearby, you’ll find the Roman Theatre, the Arco di...

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    Lloyd's Baia Hotel
    Lloyd's Baia Hotel

    This seaside hotel is located in the town of Vietri sul Mare. Guests enjoy a private beach, nightclub, and pool table. Nearby, you’ll find the Path of...

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    Grand Hotel Oriente
    Grand Hotel Oriente

    This modern hotel is located in the historical center of Naples. Guests enjoy a restaurant, a lounge bar, and meeting space. Nearby you’ll find Castel...

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    Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
    Add our airfare package and you'll get:
    • Round-trip flight for your tour
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    • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights


    Print FAQ
    Passport, visa & entry requirements
    • In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
    • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
    • Beginning in 2024, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must register for an ETIAS travel authorization in order to enter many European countries.
    • Passport holders from over 60 visa-exempt countries (including the U.S. and Canada) will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization in order to visit 30 European countries. That means that even if you’ve previously traveled to any of these European countries without a visa, starting in 2024, you’ll need to get ETIAS authorization to visit them again. If you’re traveling to multiple countries with this requirement, you only need to complete the form once. All Go Ahead travelers are responsible for obtaining their own ETIAS travel authorization before departure. For more details, please visit our Help Center.
    • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code TSI.
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    Tour pacing & mobility
    • You will walk for at least 2 hours daily across uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and paved roads, with some hills and stairs.
    • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the amount of walking on your tour.
    • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
    • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
    • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
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    Transportation & arrival information
    • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Catania and depart from Naples. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
    • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
    • A ferry between Messina and Reggio Calabria is included in the price of your tour.
    • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
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    Baggage allowance
    • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
    • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
    • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
    • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
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    Clothing & packing tips
    • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
    • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
    • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
    • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
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    • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
    • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
    • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code TSI.
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    • The cuisine of Southern Italy is often what diners think of when imagining Italian flavors—pasta with tomato sauces, olives and olive oil, zucchini, veal, and fish are all featured prominently on menus throughout the region.
    • Sicilian cuisine in particular is heavily influenced by Spanish, Greek, and Arab traditions. The Spanish brought New World influences to the region in the form of tomatoes, chocolate, and maize, while the Arab influence can be tasted in recipes that include rice, spinach, saffron, and citrus fruits. Regional specialties include arancini, cannoli, and granita.
    • The incredible wine regions of Southern Italy and Sicily grow prized grapes thanks to volcanic soils. Try varietals or blends made with grapes such as nero d’Avola and anglianico.
    • For more authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants set away from the main piazzas. A typical Italian meal includes wines and the occasional beer, followed by a few sips of after-dinner drinks like grappa or limoncello.
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    Electricity & air conditioning
    • Italy operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C, F, or L plugs with two or three small, round pins.
    • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
    • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
    • Your hotel may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
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    • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
    • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
    • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
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    Time zones
    • Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
    • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.
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    • You will use the euro on this tour.
    • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
    • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
    • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
    • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
    • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
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    • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
    • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $8USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
    • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
    • Tips can only be paid in cash.
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    Purchasing excursions on tour
    • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
    • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.
    • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
    • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
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