Passport to Discovery
The Caltech Associates Travel Program is designed for the intellectually curious traveler who enjoys unique destinations and five-star amenities. Each experience is enhanced by a Caltech faculty guide whose expertise will illuminate the journey.
We work with premier tour operators to prepare itineraries incorporating the locale's scientific, cultural, and historical highlights. We frequently enjoy exclusive, private access to laboratories, museums, observatories, and other facilities not readily available to the general public. Every detail is arranged so that you may immerse yourself in the adventure.
Many Associates trips are only available to President's Circle members. You can upgrade your membership at any time to enjoy these unique opportunities.
Hidden Treasures of Italian Libraries
October 4 to 13, 2023
Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics, will be our faculty guide on an exquisite tour of Rome, Florence, and Turin unlike any other, featuring the hidden treasures of Italian libraries. Italy's libraries are a feast not only for book lovers, but also for art, history, and architecture enthusiasts.
While in Rome, we'll enjoy a private, after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums and the marvelous Sistine Chapel with a convivial dinner at the Bistrot del Cortile della Pigna in Vatican City. In Florence, we'll walk in Galileo's footsteps with a private visit to Villa Il Gioiello, where he spent the last years of his life, tour the Galileo Museum to see Galileo's only two extant telescopes, experience a home-hosted meal with a Florentine family, and attend a star-gazing session using a telescope at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, one of 16 research facilities that are part of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics. Our adventure concludes in Turin, where, accompanied by an expert Egyptologist, we'll explore the Egyptian Museum, the world's oldest museum dedicated to Egyptian culture. We'll also make an exclusive visit to the library of the Academy of Sciences, guided by its curator.
Great American Solar Eclipse
April 5 to 9, 2024
Witness a rare total solar eclipse in the Texas Hill Country with our faculty guide Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy, holder of the Terence D. Barr Leadership Chair and director of the Caltech Center for Comparative Planetary Evolution.
We'll begin in vibrant Austin, Texas, with tours of the Austin Central Library and the University of Texas campus, plus a visit to a leading local brewery for a tasting. En route from Austin to San Antonio, we'll stop to explore Natural Bridge Caverns, one of the state's largest underground formations. Next, we'll have lunch at the Buckhorn Saloon, where it is said that "Teddy Roosevelt recruited Rough Riders, and where Pancho Villa planned the Mexican Revolution." Our exploration of the San Antonio area includes visiting the Alamo, a chartered river cruise along the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, and shopping at El Mercado to experience the area's culture and history. Our accommodations near the eclipse viewing site will be at the historic Kendall Inn in Boerne, Texas. The trip's highlight will be witnessing the total eclipse from a private viewing site, followed by a celebratory glass of champagne.
August 23 to September 1, 2024
If personally experiencing the place that inspired Charles Darwin is on your list of life travel adventures, then an expedition to the Galápagos Islands is authentic wish fulfillment. Leading you on this adventure will be our faculty guide and Galápagos expert Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics.
Where else on Earth can you get this close to wildlife? Swim with penguins, marine iguanas, and playful sea lions—these are just a few wild experiences you will never forget. Our itinerary ensures that you will encounter a variety of iconic species that make this region unique as you explore the archipelago and its immense marine reserve. There's something for everyone and every activity level, from casual shoreline walks to more energetic hikes, from Zodiac cruises to excursions on a glass-bottom boat. Explore the islands from our floating basecamp, the National Geographic Endeavour II, equipped with snorkel gear for every guest, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks. With lavishly windowed public spaces and cabins, the National Geographic Endeavour II provides panoramic archipelago views and seamless access to the natural world. Onboard and onshore, we've designed a Galápagos expedition ideal for guests of all ages and activity levels. Every day will deliver unforgettable adventures!
The Caltech Associates travel program has visited incredible locations around the world to explore the history and future of science and the humanities. Review a selection of our previous trips to gain a better understanding of the experiences we curate for our members.