Deadline nears for ALA’s summer tours to Latvia

The March 30 deadline is fast approaching for persons who want to join the American Latvian Association’s (ALA) educational trips this summer to the homeland.

The ALA is organizing a total of four tours through the youth-oriented “Heritage Latvia” and the family-oriented “Hello, Latvia,” said Program Coordinator Anita Juberts.

“Heritage Latvia” is an English-language educational tour that “has been popular with young people of Latvian descent who do not speak Latvian, but are interested in seeing the homeland of their Latvian grandparents,” Juberts said in an e-mail. This year’s tour is set July 6-19 and includes visits to the International Folk Festival Baltica, which will be held in Rīga, Jelgava and other locations in the Zemgale region.

Young persons must be 13-15 years old at the time of the trip. Cost is USD 3,000 and includes air fare from Chicago or Newark to Rīga. Also included in the cost are all meals, transfers, accommodations, tickets to museums, concerts and other attractions.

“The tour includes day-long visits with students at two Latvian schools, as well as the opportunity to spend a day with the students in Rīga,” Juberts said. “For many, this is one of the highlights of the trip to Latvia.”

“Hello Latvia” is a bi-lingual tour for adults and families. It also runs July 6-19 and will include visits to the Baltica festival.

The trip includes a full-time English-speaking guide, transfers and transportation in Latvia, accommodations in high quality and comfortable hotels and guest houses, all breakfasts and most other meals (with the exception of those during free afternoons and evenings) as well as attendance at a number of concerts, Juberts said.

The tour will visit the Rundāle Palace, an operetta performance in Tukums, the seashore of the Gulf of Rīga, the Baltic Sea port cities of Ventspils and Liepāja, Latgale region and Daugavpils, and the scenic banks of the Daugava River.

“We have planned a stay in a new four-star hotel recently opened in the Vecgulbenes manor,” Juberts said. “The trip back to Rīga features cultural and scenic highlights of Vidzeme, including Vecpiebalga, Cēsis, Rujiena, Valmiera and Sigulda.”

The “Hello Latvia” trip costs USD 3,300 per person and includes round-trip airfare from Chicago or Newark to Rīga.

Each tour has a maximum of 20 participants and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, contact Juberts at the ALA, +1 (301) 340-8719 or Information also is available on the ALA’s Web site,

The ALA also organizes the Latvian-language “Sveika, Latvija!” summer tour aimed at children finishing the eighth grade in Latvian schools in the United States.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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