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Colors of the Caucasus (June 2020)

(5 customer reviews)

$5,500

Food and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia

Tour leader: Feride Buyuran
Dates: June 15–June 30, 2020
Length: 16 days, 15 nights
Arrival in Tbilisi: June 15
Departure from Baku: June 30
Group size: Limited to 12 participants

 

Colors of the Caucasus

A Culinary and Cultural Tour to Azerbaijan & Georgia

 

Join award-winning food expert and Azerbaijani native Feride Buyuran as she leads you on a captivating epicurean odyssey through the heart of the Caucasus.

Visit two fascinating countries where East and West are intricately woven into history, culture, and cuisine, and where hospitality is a way of life. Explore the vibrant traditions of an ethnically diverse landscape as you travel through these unique Silk Road destinations.


Welcome to Azerbaijan and Georgia!

 

Colors of the Caucasus Map - Feride Buyuran Tours

 

The Caucasus region abounds with fascinating contrasts—with old meeting new as historical town centers sit comfortably against the backdrop of city skyscrapers; unceasing natural gas fire seeping from dry, rugged terrain of the Absheron peninsula and crystalline waterfalls rushing down lush green slopes in the Azerbaijani and Georgian countryside; fire-worshippers’ temples coexisting with Medieval monasteries, churches, mosques, and synagogues; and Soviet-era relics living side-by-side with contemporary, independence-era contributions.

The culinary landscape, likewise, is filled with food, both sweet and sour, spicy and mild, hearty and light, fresh and preserved! In Azerbaijan, enjoy piping-hot tea served in curvaceous glasses, and in Georgia, sip on the prized local wine, matured in special clay pots gvevri.

You will also explore the tradition of craftsmanship by meeting artisans engaged in the preservation of centuries-old arts and crafts, watch folklore performances, and enjoy the nature around you. You will learn about the history and culture in ethnic villages, such as Ivanovka populated by Molokan Russians, Red Settlement where Mountain Jews live, or Lahij where Tat people settled hundreds of years ago.

Of course, one of the biggest highlights of the tour will be local food (and wine!), an indispensable part of the Caucasus culture, which you will enjoy both in celebrated and family-run restaurants or share with the locals in their hospitable homes.

Below, please find preliminary details on this small-group tour designed to allow you the chance to immerse in the local culture of each destination to the fullest. The Caucasus will be your home away from home. Let’s go!

 

Culinary and Cultural Tour to Azerbaijan - Feride Buyuran Tours

Tour Highlights

UNESCO-heritage sites in Baku, Tbilisi and other cities
Old Town Baku and Tbilisi
National Carpet Museum in Baku
Historic churches, mosques, cathedrals, monasteries, synagogues
Ethnic villages (Molokan Russian village, Mountain Jewish village, etc)
Medieval caravanserai
Ancient Caucasian Albanian villages
Remote village of Khinalig (5,000 years old!)
Carpet factory:  meet and see carpet weavers in action
Ancient ruins and archeological sites
Silk factory and silk scarf making demo
Trips to farmer’s markets
Cooking classes at home with the locals (Georgian dumplings, Azerbaijani dolma etc.)
Meet artisans and craftsmen
Winery tours and wine tastings
Learn about ancient wine-making traditions
Baklava and bread baking demos
Lift rides
Local folklore; dances and singing
– and many more!


Price

 

$5,500 per person based on double occupancy (plus $750 single supplement*)
$5,400 if you register before November 30, 2019!
Registration and Deposit deadline: January 30, 2020 ** EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 15, 2020.

* Double occupancy prices per person apply when there are two people sharing a room. The single supplement applies to travelers who require their own room. Solo travelers who wish to avoid the single supplement and share a room with another solo traveler should notify us and we will do our best to accommodate the request.

**If you missed the deadline, please contact us at tours@feridebuyuran.com to check for availability and we will accommodate you if there is space.

 

 Included in the Price

  • Tour leadership by Feride Buyuran (with Georgian co-leader)
  • Arrival and departure transfers (only on scheduled arrival and departure dates).
  • 15 nights’ accommodation in 3- and 4-star hotels and guesthouses in both countries (e.g. family-run rustic guesthouses in villages)
  • All daily meals with group: breakfast, lunch, dinner, except arrival day meals, which are independent. Lunch and dinner on the departure day are also independent.
  • Complimentary bottles of water, daily
  • All ground transportation, including private air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinter van or similar
  • Official guided tours, including site admissions
  • Private cooking classes/demos, market trips
  • Wine tastings as noted in the itinerary
  • Folklore performances and entertainment


Not Included in the Price

  • Airfare to Tbilisi and from Baku (no flight is required between Azerbaijan and Georgia)
  • Travel insurance, overseas medical insurance, or trip cancellation insurance
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable)
  • Transfers to and from airports for travelers who arrive and depart independently, not on scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • Extra meals, snacks, and beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages (other than in wine tastings and with some (!) of the meals included in the itinerary)
  • Souvenirs or any personal purchases
  • Excursions, services, and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Personal hotel expenses, such as laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or e-mail service
  • Tips to hotel staff for luggage assistance or other personal services
  • Tips to local guides, performers, drivers


To Register

 

To register for the tour and secure your spot, a deposit of $1,000 per person must be submitted using the button below BY JANUARY 30, 2020. EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 15, 2020. If you don’t have a PayPal® account, please click on the ‘Pay with Debit or Credit Card’ button on the following screen. The deposit can also be paid by check (details on the registration form). The sooner you save your spot, the more chances you have to join the tour as space is limited.



The balance $4,500 (plus single supplement) is due by March 15, 2020. Please pay by check or by direct bank transfer (request  details). Alternatively, pay via Paypal by credit card, but add 3% Paypal charge. Download and print the tour reservation form, sign and mail it to us with your balance payment (can also email signed form).


Why Us?

 

  • We offer 100% authentic, immersive experiences and make you feel at home in the Caucasus!
  • We have a deep passion for and understanding of our culture
  • We care for our communities and support family-run businesses and artisans
  • We support farm-to-table concept when drafting our menus
  • We promote sustainable tourism to make a positive impact on the local society, economy, and environment
  • We strive for our travelers to have a once-in-a-lifetime, eye-opening journey


Important Notes

 

Culinary and Cultural Tour to Azerbaijan - Feride Buyuran Tours

Number of Participants

This intimate, friendly tour will have a maximum of 12 PARTICIPANTS to ensure the best possible experience.


Tour Length

The tour is 16 days and 15 nights, including the arrival day in Tbilisi and the departure day from Baku. The tour dates are June 15–June 30, 2020.


Accommodations

You will stay in 3- and 4-star hotels and guesthouses in both countries, selected for their location, service, and atmosphere, and level of comfort. Your accommodation will reflects the culture and personality of your destination – such as, a historic building now hotel in Baku’s Old Town and a rustic family-owned guesthouse, designed in the local style, in the remote village of Lahij. Note that the tour price is based on double occupancy. If you are a single traveler, we highly recommend that you register early as the number of single rooms available on the tour may be limited.


Activity Level – Moderate

General fitness level is required for the tour, which involves a good amount of walking on uneven surfaces and over difficult terrain such as cobblestones and steep city hills, as well as hiking hills and climbing stairs at locations not always accessible by car. Be ready for early morning wake-ups (particularly to travel to far destinations) and other typical travel-related scenarios. This tour is suitable for travelers who are in good health, are physically fit, and comfortable with long days of touring.


Summer fruit in Azerbaijan - Feride Buyuran ToursFood on the Tour

Food is one of the highlights of the tour. Although the itinerary does not provide detailed menus, rest assured that you will find yourself in a foodie paradise! On the registration form, please list your tastes and preferences and dietary restrictions, if any, so that our menus reflect your choices.


Information Package & Reading List

In advance of your trip, you will receive an information package to help you better prepare for the tour, including details about obtaining a visa, local currencies, clothing and packing tips, airport guidelines, and other know-hows. You will also receive the final tour itinerary and a list of suggested reading.


References

We encourage you to check out testimonials from our past travelers HERE and on TripAdvisor.

 

Email Us to request the full tour brochure with itinerary. Note that we can also customize this experience for a private tour.

 

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5 reviews for Colors of the Caucasus (June 2020)

  1. Charles Perry

    I have gone to places as far off the beaten track as Yemen and Uzbekistan, but nowhere that combined the fascination of the exotic with sheer beauty like Georgia and Azerbaijan. (For one thing, I’ve never seen so many waterfalls outside a rain forest.)

    You could go for the history, the music, the architecture or the famous oriental rugs, but I wanted to explore the distinctive cuisines of the region, which love cooking meat with fruit and putting as many as four fresh herbs in a single dish. To say nothing of Azerbaijan’s unique baklavas made from doily-like crepes of rice batter.

    Feride Buyuran knows and loves this region and its unusual ethnic mosaic. I’d say her tour was the most enjoyable trip I’ve ever been on.

  2. Kathy S. Rice

    Being a world traveler, I have experienced many interesting things for sure. However, this adventure was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Thank you for making the trip one of the most special, unique, and amazing things I have ever done. I’ve been trying to describe it to people. They find the pictures beautiful, of course, but it’s hard to convey in words what it’s like to be in these villages with these people making your food and treating you like family. It was an unforgettable journey, and I am so happy that I was a part of it! Thank you, Feride!

  3. Jude and Woolf Kanter

    We signed up for this trip on the recommendation of our old friend Charles Perry. I had to Google Azerbaijan knowing it was near the Middle East but not knowing exactly where it was. I was somewhat reluctant when I found it to be just above Iran. My wife was hesitant to visit a country she never heard of and was not going to go until she called Feride and talked with this passionate young lady. Both Jude and I are foodies and Feride has written a cookbook on Azerbaijan food.

    We arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in the evening and were greeted by Feride at the airport. She whisked use off to an air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinter and we headed to the old city section of Baku. Just inside the old city walls was our hotel. It was very pleasant.

    This was the start of our adventure. We were on the move constantly, going to many different dining experiences, cultural and historic sites (among them UNESCO World Heritage sites), operating rug factories, baklava bakeries, museums, palaces, mosques, old bathhouses, monasteries, churches, you name it – we went there!

    This trip was amazing. We ate in great restaurants, but the true experience was when we ate in private homes and had authentic home cooking. We participated in the preparation of many meals and learned a great deal about local food.

    If you are looking for a unique experience, this tour is for you. Feride is passionate about her country and wants to show you everything.

  4. Darrow Soares

    If you’re looking for a great cultural adventure, I recommend Feride Buyuran Tours. I first learned of her trip to Azerbaijan and the Republic of Georgia while attending one of her cooking courses. It sounded so interesting and unusual that I recruited my middle son and we immediately planned to explore that part of the world. It turned out to be a once in the life time experience between a father and son.

    It’s impossible to describe the best part of the trip since everyday was a great adventure. We talk a lot, however, about the families we shared great meals with, how much we learned, and how we may never have an experience like that together again.

    Visiting the remote village of Khinalig, high in the Caucus Mountains could top the list. To get there, we all piled into old Soviet Lada Zhiguli autos and ascended the mountain roads to the village. The trip was a beautiful rugged experience through steep dirt roads, sheer cliffs, and rocky rivers. Once there, we found an agrarian community frozen in time. We encountered few vehicles, homes made of dry-stack stones, and people and children that were friendly and engaging. In the clear distance were beautiful grassy mountains with grazing livestock. Later, we shared lunch in a village home and learned more about food, history and life.

    Equally interesting were our excursions into the Jewish and Russian enclaves of Azerbaijan. The Russian village of Ivanovka stands out as one of the many fascinating relics of Soviet influence gone by. There, we visited families and were invited into homes. We met a an elementary school principle that allowed a tour of her school and provided a lecture on the history of Molokan Russians in Azerbaijan. The mix of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures struck me as remarkable.

    Crossing over into the Republic of Georgia was equally fascinating. Being an Eastern Orthodox Christian country, we visited many magnificent 5th – 15th century cathedrals and monasteries. Over the years, these beautiful structures were hammered by the crusaders, other foreign invaders, and then by Soviet neglect. It was amazing to witness their reconstruction and recovery. Today, their outlook appears very positive.

    Every day was interesting. Every day we met new people that were friends, neighbors, or relatives of our tour guides. As a result, we were always treated with hospitality and curiosity. It was a great experience to learn from and share with my son. I will absolutely tour again with Feride Buyuran Tours when time allows.

  5. Brian T.

    The June 2019 Colors of the Caucasus tour led by noted cookbook author, Feride Buyuran, who grew up in Azerbaijan, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for its opportunity to journey to places I had never envisioned visiting. But the tour opened my mind and heart, and helped me gain a deep appreciation of the local Azerbaijani and Georgian life and culture. The balancing of lunches and dinners with local families, staying in quality guest houses and hotels, and visiting famous sites along with obscure villages to meet the locals made this a very special experience. Very highly recommended for adults, and late teen and older youth who seek to experience other cultures and are open for adventure!

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