The Republic of Georgia - 2019
June 29th-July6th, 2019
Featuring Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Kakheti, and Borjomi
8 days* - 18 meals
*Two additional days required for international travel.
Have you ever wondered what an exchange student's home country is really like? World Link is offering host families and volunteers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of your exchange student with an authentic experience of Eurasia’s undiscovered country, Georgia.
During the 8-day exchange experience; you will walk ancient streets of this former Soviet state, try your hand at cooking traditional delicacies that your student may have cooked for you, and visit historical sites on personal tours led by World Link alumni.
Tbilisi, Georgia; a city perfectly situated in the middle of the East and West, is the birthplace of wine. The country will win you over with its eclectic charm, stunning views, and rich history. Get a special taste of traditional wine country aged in underground clay vessels in the Kakheti Region, situated under breath-taking views of the Caucasus Mountains. You'll also travel back in time when visiting Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, and Akhaltsikhe in the south-eastern region including medieval historical sites. In Tbilisi Old Town, you will walk in the footsteps of the Silk Road where the spice parcels from the Orient were switched from camels to donkeys for the remaining trek into Europe.
At a Glance:
- Enjoy a mix of the ancient and the modern during walking tours of Tbilisi.
- Be treated to Georgia’s unique traditional dancing and music while feasting during a traditional ‘supra’.
- Taste wine produced the same way as in 8,000 BC in the Kakheti Region.
- Learn how to make traditional bread, sweets, and the most famous Georgian dishes.
- Experience Mtskheta, founded in 5th century BC, the “Holy City” and headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
- After exploring the Medieval Rabati Castle and the ancient cave dwellings of Vardzia, relax in the natural Borjomi Hot Springs and treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa day.
What Makes Our Tour Different:
World Link Cultural Tours are led by World Link alumni; giving you local insight and information on every step of the journey. World Link Tours also include ample free time with one-on-one alumni guides for a personalized tour catered to your interests.
Have you hosted a World Link exchange student? We want you to see them! We welcome your student to join us during the trip to be your one-on-one guide, host you in their home for a night, or if you choose to, we can help you arrange an extended stay once the tour concludes in Georgia.
Day 1 - Tbilisi
Accommodation: Betsy's Hotel
After a little time to rest from your travels, we start the exchange experience with a welcome lunch and cultural workshop. After lunch we will have World Link alumni lead us on a walking tour of Tbilisi starting at Freedom Square, where we will see the old Parliament building and National theaters. We will pass over the Kura River via the Bridge of Peace, a contemporary style, LED-lit glass bridge connecting Old Tbilisi with the new district. From there we will take a cable car to the top of Sololaki hill for a sky view of Tbilisi and stand next to Kartlis Deda; a 65ft. statue deemed "The Mother Of Georgia". We'll end our day with a traditional Georgian supra surrounded by their unique cultural dancing and songs.
Day 2 - Kakheti Region
Accommodation: Betsy's Hotel
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to try your hand at making some of the delicious traditional cuisine you tried the night before. Our day starts out with a stop in Tsinandali, home to the Alexander Chavchavadze Family Estate turned museum and historic winery where a famous white wine is still produced. After touring the estate, we will have a picnic lunch in the gardens surrounded by a mixed variety of flora from all over the world. We will then make our way to Kindzmarauli Winery, set in the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains. Our visit will include making Churchkhela; a traditional Georgian sweet, Khinkali; the unique Georgian dumpling, Khachapuri; their famous cheese and egg bread, and Mcvadi; skewered meat roasted on an open fire. We will also get to try samples of their famous wine while learning about the brewing process that has been followed for thousands of years in Georgia.
Day 3- Borjomi
Accommodation: Rixos Hotel
A short bus ride will take us to Mtskheta; one of the oldest Georgian cities, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the birthplace of Georgian Christianity. There we will walk the city streets and visit the famous 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. After lunch, we'll continue traveling west, with a stop in Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. We will end our day at the Rixos, a hotel and spa resort in Borjomi where we will relax, dine, and explore nearby park and the famous hot springs.
Day 4 - Borjomi
Accommodation: Rixos Hotel
Rabati Castle will be our first stop on this day set in the past. This medieval castle complex will give you a glimpse into centuries of time along with the dynamic history of this region. After lunch, we will head to Vardzia Cave Monastery carved into the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain. The caves span along the cliff over 1,600 ft. and 19 tiers high. After a day in the past, we'll come back to the hotel where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains or listen to some live music at the resort bar.
Day 5 & 6 - Tbilisi
Accommodation: Betsy's or pre-arranged host stay
Upon arrival back to Tbilisi on day 5, you will have through Day 6 (or beyond if you choose to extend your trip) to spend with your World Link exchange student. At this time you may choose the leave the group for good and go on with your travels with your exchange student, making arrangements to meet their natural family and be welcomed into their home. You also have the option to stay at Betsy's hotel at night if a host stay with your student cannot be accommodated. If you do not have a Georgian exchange student or your exchange student cannot yet meet with you by this time, World Link will ask other alumni in the area to take you around Tbilisi and the surrounding area to places and cultural sites of your interest. World Link can also get you to the airport and see you off to visit your exchange student in another country if you choose.
Day 7 - Departure
Official end of the tour. We will get you to the airport and see you off on your departure back to the U.S. or off to visit your exchange student in another country if you choose to extend your trip.
8- Day Tour Price (per person): $1,188
World Link Cultural Tours are conducted as non-profit tours with proceeds benefiting a local alumni project. The Tour of Georgia includes a donation to the Future Farmers of Georgia (FFG), a secondary school based rural youth program designed to help rural Georgians pursue further study in agriculture or start their own farm businesses when they graduate from secondary school as a self-employment career path. Formed through a World Link exchange program, the FFG involves many alumni of World Link exchanges who are trying to help rural youth find alternatives to leaving their homes and going to the Capitol city. A minimum payment of $400/person (included in the tour price) will go to the Future Farmers of Georgia to be used for leadership activities in rural schools. The actual donation may be higher based on donations of services from our Georgian partners. Each participant will receive a tax deduction certification letter that will allow you to apply your donation to your 2019 taxes as applicable.
Price Includes: Most meals, tickets and admissions for scheduled activities, transportation for scheduled activities, accommodations (double-occupancy)*, tax-deductible donation to FFG.
Price Does Not Include: Airfare**, Personal expenses, travel insurance (recommended), cost of activities and meals not included on itinerary.
*An additional fee is required if single hotel occupancy is desired.
**World Link will work with you on booking round-trip airfare. We will recommend flights to take in order to get the group to Tbilisi at the same time and recommend return flights from the city and date of departure of your choice.
Extend Your Trip:
Once in the Caucasus region, it is easy to travel between countries. If you have an exchange student living in a nearby country such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, or Ukraine; you’d like to connect with or you simply want to extend your stay in Georgia or venture somewhere on your own to explore the region, World Link will work with you on those general arrangements.*
*The participant/s resume responsibility for all other added costs to extending their trip such as, but not limited to: travel to other destinations, accommodations, and meals.
Ready to take the first step in your Eurasian adventure?
Still have a few more questions?
The Republic of Georgia 2019 Tour is limited to 20 participants, with 16 being the minimum. Deadline to sign-up and first non-refundable deposit is due by March 1st, 2019.