MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT – JULY 2021
The most recent message I posted here was in March. At that moment I was excited about all the places Toto Tours would be going in 2022 as we relaunched the company after having been on a pandemic-induced hiatus for more than a year. Then I got some really bad news. Please forgive me if I make this message personal. I want to share with you what is happening with me, and consequently with Toto Tours.
I received a “stage three” anal cancer diagnosis in early 2020, just as the pandemic was shutting down all possibilities for international travel. The fortuitous coincidence of the business shutdown with the cancer diagnosis gave me the time I needed to go through a full course of radiation and chemo, followed by six months of immunotherapy infusions. For a while it seemed like those difficult-to-endure procedures had worked. Follow-up scans showed no active cancer, and I eagerly planned a full calendar of tours for 2022. Then came the bombshell.
A periodic check-up on April 22 revealed some suspicious lumps, and a biopsy confirmed the worst – the cancer had survived all the toxins we threw at it and was growing again! I already tolerated the maximum level of radiation allowed, so there is only one treatment option remaining that has the potential to be curative: radical surgery to remove all the affected parts. I embrace this option as a second chance at life, extending my time on earth to do what I love – introducing my community to the wonders of this wonder-full world. The procedure is scheduled for Friday, July 2, and by Independence Day I intend to be celebrating my freedom from cancer!
This prolonged period of unemployment and medical treatments has hit my husband Jonathan and me very hard financially, and it looks like I will be out of commission for a lengthy recovery after this surgery. Our dear friend and Toto Tours associate, Don Hogle, established a “Go Fund Me” page where friends and clients can donate to help us get through the difficult period ahead. All gifts will be used to help with our ongoing living expenses until Toto Tours is up and running again in about a year. Click here to visit that site if you are able to help us out. Thank you in advance!
I hope I’m not getting ahead of the situation by clinging to plans to operate four tours during the second half of 2022. It is important for me to have goals to work towards to help me heal faster. Please read on to discover those adventures for 2022 and mark your calendars to help Toto Tours (and me) rise again after so many challenging setbacks.
In the meantime, I want to shower loving gratitude on all those who have so generously contributed to help meet our personal needs during this difficult time and all who are holding me close in their hearts as I embark on this journey. Bless you, each and every one!!!
Dan Ware / Toto Tours
Adventures in Gay Paradise
It is fitting that our first foray abroad after the pandemic lock-down is to an island country that managed Covid brilliantly. Glaciers, waterfalls, ice caves, geysers, volcanoes, wildlife, boating among icebergs, whale watching – these are just a few of the thrilling adventures awaiting you in the dazzling, pristine landscape of Iceland. And if these highlights aren’t tantalizing enough, we top it all off by participating in one of the most jubilant Gay Pride events in the world! There is no safer place to take an exciting adventure and celebrate Gay Pride next year! Popular Toto hosts Jason and Matt welcome you to join them in all the fun during what will be your most memorable vacation ever!
Venice ~ Florence ~ RomeSeptember 12 – 16, 2022
ITALY TOUR EXTENSION
Naples ~ Amalfi Coast ~ Capri
There is no better way to reboot our international travels than by visiting the country known for its immeasurable riches of art, history, culture, and scenic beauty – Italy! We start in Venice with a tour of the Doge’s Palace and a gondola ride through the beautiful canals. Explore some of the most beautiful islands in the Venetian Lagoon. Walk the historic streets of Verona before continuing to Florence, a city that will leave you breathless at the beauty of Michelangelo’s “David” and other magnificent works of art. Spend a day visiting Pisa and Lucca, among Tuscany’s most perfect towns. En route to Rome visit San Gimignano and Siena. The fabled attractions of Rome and the Vatican are too numerous to mention, but we see all during our four-night stay. Not to be missed are the highlights of southern Italy – Naples, Pompeii, Capri, and the stunning Amalfi Coast – all included on our tour extension. Viva l’Italia!
Jewels of Croatia & Slovenia
With a sublime stretch of coastline on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia feels almost Mediterranean in its pace and warm climate. One of Croatia’s most fascinating places is the fortified city of Dubrovnik. We see the sights and enjoy a special “Game of Thrones” tour, go sea kayaking, take a sunset cruise on a vintage ship, do olive oil tasting, and visit the Botanical Garden on Lokrum Island. Savor an oyster-tasting cruise en route to the Peljesac peninsula and Korkula for wine tasting and overnight. In quick succession we tour and overnight in Hvar, Split, Zadar, Plitvice (stunning waterfalls), before saying farewell to Croatia with three nights in Zagreb. Continue north to Slovenia, a country rich in picturesque alpine scenery, typified by the iconic image of a church floating on a little island in the middle of Lake Bled. The charming capital of Ljubljana is straight out of a medieval fairy tale, with its winding cobblestone streets, ancient churches, and quaint ambience. With stunning scenery, balmy sea breezes, fascinating history, varied culture and exquisite cuisine, this delectable adventure is perfection!
Sea ~ Mountains ~ Desert ~ Kasbahs
Starting in Casablanca, our first few days center on the lovely seaside towns of Asilah, Tetouan and Chefchaouen while residing in magnificent Tangier. Continue to the cultural heart of Morocco, magical Fes, whose sprawling medina takes you back in time to the Middle Ages. Walk among the largest and best-preserved Roman ruins of Volubilis. Cross the middle Atlas Mountains before taking a thrilling four-wheel-drive excursion across the sand dunes to our exotic and luxurious tented camp in the middle of the desert. Here we enjoy watching the sun set over the high dunes of the Sahara followed by dinner and traditional entertainment. Travel through the southern slopes of the High Atlas range and follow the Dades Valley past oases and kasbahs to Ouarzazate. The fortified village of Ait Benhaddou is the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbah in the Atlas region. It provides a fantastic photo/hiking stop on the way to Marrakech, the heartbeat of Morocco. In Marrakech palaces and monuments of unrivalled refinement sit calmly alongside snake charmers and drummers at Jemaa El Fna, the most exuberant marketplace in the world. After sampling the abundant mysteries of Marrakech we continue to the astonishing fortified town of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Here we relax at a seaside hotel, explore the historic town, and celebrate the conclusion of our journey with a special event at a private riad on the ramparts.
PANDEMIC POSTPONED Tours
April 17 – May 1, 2020
IllyriaAlbania ~ Macedonia ~ KosovoDetails
May 7 – 15, 2020
ANIMAL KINGDOMBOTSWANA FLY-IN SAFARIDetails
June 6 – 13, 2020
Lisbon Ext. June 3 - 6
Atlantic ArchipelagoTHE AZORES (plus Lisbon)Details
June 25 – July 5, 2020
Incredible IndonesiaSingapore ~ Bali ~ FloresDetails
July 29 – August 9, 2020
Spice IslandFlavors of Sri LankaDetails
August 15 - 23, 2020
PRIDEStockholm / Gothenburg / Copenhagen PrideDetails
September 6 – 15, 2020
Extend to Cinque Terre Sept. 15 - 19
Cinque AquaeItaly’s Lake DistrictDetails
October 9 – 20, 2020
Orissa Extension to October 24
BENGAL BAYKolkata, Sundarbans, Andaman IslandsDetails
November 23 – December 2, 2020
Jordan Ext. Dec. 2-6, 2020 - Postponed
River of the PharaohsLuxury Egypt (plus Jordan)Details
December 7 - 19, 2020
Last ContinentAntarctica CruiseDetails
Toto Tours has been serving the LGBT community since 1990. We have the distinction of being the only gay tour company in existence which has been operating with the same ownership and management for such a long span of time. We are dedicated to creating exciting travel opportunities that enable our community to explore the wonders of the world in comfort and safety while having the time of our lives. Our clients come back year after year to travel with friends they met on previous trips, meet new people, and explore different parts of the world. We constantly develop new adventures to appeal to everyone, from those venturing on their first international trip, to even the most experienced and frequent world travelers. Our name is derived from the Latin word meaning "all-inclusive." The rainbow colors of the gay flag weave through the word TOTO to symbolize our connections to each other, our communities, and the world. Welcome to Toto Tours, where gay men, lesbians, their close friends and adult family members are invited to travel together to discover all the delights this world has to offer -- "in Toto."
KEEP HOPE ALIVE
In this difficult time we have created a short video message (at the right) to offer encouragement, and to remind everyone that this pandemic will someday be a memory. We might feel helpless right now, and unable to do all the things that we love (like exploring the world), but we can use this time to take an exciting inner journey to explore more about who we are and what we believe. We could very well emerge from such an adventure as more centered humans who are better able to cope with unexpected situations, and grateful for all the good things we have. This is the Toto Spirit. We support you on this inner journey and look forward to the day when we can once again travel together! -- Dan Ware, Founder
Blog posts from Recent Tours
Words cannot describe the beauty of Africa -- seeing wildlife in their natural habitat along with the beauty and landscape of the Namibian desert. I had such a great time that I returned for my second Toto Tour (to the Balkans) one year later!
Grover Hartt & Charles Foster
The meticulous arrangements, including knowledgeable and accessible lecturers with comfortable and luxurious accommodations, impressed us a lot during our incredible trip to Antarctica.
Nick Barrett and Piero Bonino
Our Normandy tour with Toto in 2016 was fascinating, with a brilliant local guide who had an encyclopedic knowledge of French History, Customs and Culture.
I had an excellent time with the Toto Tours family for our Antarctica cruise. Dan is always making sure everyone is taken care of and included. I would encourage people to give Toto Tours a try because it is awesome!
I am a retired illustrator, and I enjoy traveling all around the world with Toto Tours. I've gone with them to Costa Rica, Newfoundland, Germany, Turkey, and most recently to Tanzania where we saw incredible wildlife! I love meeting new friends on Toto Tours, and hope I will meet you on a future tour -- somewhere in this beautiful world!
While creating lifelong memories, tour members also snap incredible photos which we share at the end of every tour. Here are a few wonderful moments out of thousands.