With Marc Telio in Alaska
Local knowledge is a great asset when planning a trip to Alaska; a destination with remote locations and limited infrastructure. Our On Location partner, Marc Telio, is an Alaska specialist, ready to share his local knowledge and offer advice to enhance your vacation experience. Contact us so we can work with Marc to create a memorable Alaska vacation designed especially for you!
Marc with wife Karen and children Sofia and Jack.Photo: Marc Telio
"Alaska is one of the world's most spectacular destinations, full of natural and raw beauty. I really believe there is a "feeling" in Alaska that words alone cannot convey. It is more than just a visual or tactile experience. Really, one has to go there to understand. But on a more down to earth level, I would say it is a physically beautiful land, full of extremes and full of some of the warmest, most genuine and quirky people one would ever hope to meet. The people are as amazing as the scenery."
"Alaska is a destination not to be missed with many fascinating places to see both on and off the beaten track. Visitors arriving by cruise ship into Juneau, Seward or Whittier or by commercial jet into Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau or Ketchikan have a wonderful experience ahead of them. The entire state from Southeast Alaska, also known as The Inside Passage, (Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Glacier Bay) to Southcentral (Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage area) to Denali National Park and Fairbanks and even the Far North (Brooks Range and the Arctic) there are amazing adventures you won't find anywhere else."
"For those not wanting to take scheduled group tours, there is a wide assortment of custom-crafted options for independent travellers; singles, couples or groups/families. These give you the chance to select exactly what you want to do in Alaska and have some rather unique experiences. While the tours are independent, larger groups often choose to have escorts and private guides travel with them."
"These are some of the most popular options:"
Marc enjoying the outdoors.Photo: Marc Telio
Private Shore Excursions - "Helicopter Dog sledding is most-often requested as well as whale watching in Juneau or fishing in Ketchikan. Guests rave about exploring Sitka Sound by small boat with a charming local Marine Biologist. Another favourite is flightseeing over Glacier Bay with a private pilot; it's hard to say which gets more thumbs up!"
"Private shore excursions are available in most ports of call with about eight to 10 choices in each location, generally accommodating two to 20 guests at a time. One-of-a-kind excursions based on your specific, even whimsical, desires are possible. This is ideal for those who want to be personally greeted upon disembarkation and gently guided away in a civilized manner to an exceptional and personal tour with engaging locals."
Independent Land Tours - "A pre/post cruise trip to Denali (please allow four-nights) or pre/post bear viewing are very popular. Tours of 10-14 days show you the best that Alaska has to offer with accommodation at small-scale remote lodges often fly-in or boat-in only. There are no roads to some of these locations!"
Bear Viewing - "One of our favourite little lodges located about an hour via float plane from Anchorage is an excellent spot for bear viewing. The lodge is owned by a husband and wife who offer a perfect partnership; she is Cordon Blue chef and he is an incredible adventurer. Their lodge has just three small cabins in a remote wilderness setting. Both brown and black bears can be viewed with pretty good predictability from Mid-June through August."
"Another great spot for big game wildlife viewing opportunities is Denali National Park."
"Kodiak, Katmai and Brooks Falls are some of the best known locations for bear viewing in Alaska, however for most travellers these locations are very problematic due to inclement weather, the far distances and long travel time required - just think of a 12-hour tour to Brooks Falls that involves 6 hours in a small 5-seat airplane - or the lack of appropriate accommodations and services. There are some nice options in those areas and it is possible, with our experienced staff, to work around the logistical challenges."
Marc on a northern expedition.Photo: Marc Telio
"As you know, the Arctic is an enormous region; one that is sparsely populated and offers very few basic services. This really is the last frontier of the Last Frontier. In general, activities in the Arctic are focused on visiting remote locations accessed only by small plane. My favorite way to showcase the region is the Skytrekking program, where guests have their own private plane and pilot. The trips on average are four to six days, "hopping" from scenic vista to scenic vista with stops at small outpost villages that rarely get tourists. One of the highlights of this type of travel is the guest's exposure to authentic Alaskan life and the chance to access regional cultures via the expertise and personal connections of our pilot. It truly is one of the most life-altering ways to see this astounding region."
"For those who don't have the time or budget for such a long exploration, there are Arctic adventure day trips via Fairbanks. An overnight is available for the adventure-minded traveller. Note while this is a very interesting place, it is not one for those looking for luxury."
Winter in Alaska
"Yes, we love winter in Alaska! In general the winter season is from late January through April. It is a magical time to visit - cold crisp days, long nights and Northern lights. Escape to remote backcountry lodges or enjoy "city-based" tours in Fairbanks or Anchorage."
"Activities include; heli-skiing for all ability levels, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, dog sledding, snow machine touring (the Alaskan term for snowmobile), Northern Lights viewing and of course the iconic Iditarod Dog Sled race in March."
- "I love being on the water - either by small zodiac-type boats exploring the coast looking for whales en route to the big tide-water glaciers or even better, travelling by kayak.
- I also love hiking - anywhere, anytime. From the deep dense forests of the Inside Passage to the treeless tundra of the north.
- This past summer I went fly-fishing while being surrounded by amazing scenery and huge brown bears - truly a memory-making experience!
- And my absolute favorite is eating the fresh fish, there is nothing like a fresh bright sockeye salmon on the grill!"
So at any time of year, in any part of Alaska there are some truly amazing experiences to enjoy. Our thanks to Marc for bringing these adventures to life and for providing this excellent information on Alaska travel options.
By Susan Milne