Punahou alumni value curiosity, conversation and critical thought, and strive to be lifelong learners. The new Punahou Alumni Travel Program extends these core values by providing an opportunity to gain global perspective and connect across cultures. With exciting destinations as their backdrop, alumni from all parts of the world can enjoy the company of old and new friends, and bond through shared experience.

Travel operators are carefully selected for their ability to provide context and creativity to each itinerary, ensuring a high-quality, unforgettable trip.

Coming Up

Explore Turkey!

Travel dates: October 7 – 21, 2019

Turkey is a world of wonder where three world empires flourished, leaving more Greek and Roman ruins than all of modern-day Greece, Italy, Israel, Jordan and Egypt combined.  In a land where Christianity flourished throughout history, Turkey is the only Muslim country with a secular, democratic constitution, where women have equal, legal rights to men, more female university students than males, and women are not required to wear a head scarf. Turkey offers an enchanting blend of antiquity, contemporary, East and West.  

See detailed trip itinerary

$5,045 (Double Occupancy)
$5,920 (Single Occupancy)

Triple arrangements are available, by request only.

Led by Mei-mei Zane ’84 Engel and Turkish guide Mert Taner 

Tour Includes 14 nights hotel accommodation in Turkey, three cooking demonstrations, air travel within Turkey, two boat cruises, most meals, all museum entrance fees, outstanding licensed English-speaking guide, professional driver and air-conditioned bus, luggage handling (one suitcase per person) and hotel gratuity. 

There will also be a hosted pre-tour gathering in Hawai‘i to meet fellow travel companions and discuss trip preparation with Mei-mei.

Tour rate does not include international airfare to Istanbul, Istanbul airport transfers, beverages at meals and optional activities and meals, customary tips for Turkish guide and drivers, trip cancellation insurance (see registration form for more info), visa and passport fees.

Optional Activities:

  • Turkish bath experience
  • Sunrise hot air balloon ride
  • Whirling Dervish ceremony

A non-refundable $1,000 per person deposit secures each space on the Turkey tour. Space is limited, register now! Final tour payment is due Friday, July 19, 2019.

About Mei-mei Zane ’84 Engel and Mert Taner

A visit to Istanbul as a student on an educational program 32 years ago left tour leader Mei-mei Zane ’84 Engel longing for more. Captivated by the richness and sheer awesomeness of its historical sites of architectural, fine art and engineering significance born from three world empires (Ancient Greek/Eastern Roman, Christian Byzantine and Ottoman), she was astounded by the vibrancy and hospitality of the culture.

Partnered with one of Turkey’s most sought after historical guides, Mert Taner, Mei-mei has been guiding groups to Turkey since 2010, creating a deep and personal exposure to the country and culture through delicious and varied culinary experiences, experiences with local vendors and villagers preserving ancient traditions and practices, and world renown natural wonders.

Mert Taner is a native of Izmir, Turkey and current resident of both Istanbul and Kusadasi. A leader of biblical and cultural tours through Turkey for more than 20 years, he is an expert and guest lecturer on the topics of biblical history, archaeology and architecture. Mert guides private tours for Virtuoso clients, and group tours for Rick Steves Tours, Young Presidents’ Organization, Smithsonian Institution, Tauck Tours, Gohagen Alumni Tours (Harvard, Yale, Brown, Northwestern), Seabourn and Windstar cruise lines.  He has had the privilege of guiding many celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Alan Greenspan and Phil Jackson.

Past Trips

Peru: In the Footsteps of Hiram Bingham III

Travel dates: September 22 – 29, 2018

Mystical Peru has been the epitome of adventure travel since Machu Picchu was reintroduced to the world by Hiram Bingham III in 1911. Bingham attended Punahou from 1883 – 1892 and was the grandson of Hiram Bingham, one of the first Calvinist missionaries to step foot in the Hawaiian Islands. This custom expedition, specifically created for Punahou alumni and led by a bilingual guide, retraced Bingham’s steps from Cusco all the way to The Lost City of the Incas. Filled with rich cultural and historical heritage, stunning archaeological sites and endless views of the massive Andes, Peru never fails to exceed the expectation of every traveler.

The eight-day expedition highlighted the primary cultural sites and experiences in the region, as well as Peru’s world-renowned culinary scene. The highlight of the trip was a ride aboard the luxury Hiram Bingham Train to the dramatic landscape of Machu Picchu, a once-in-a-lifetime journey to a once-in-a-lifetime location!

The Italian Renaissance

Travel dates: November 3 – 12, 2017

The Italian Renaissance has held sway over the western imagination for centuries, forming the foundations of any humanities education. This exclusive experience for Punahou alumni in November 2017 was led by Dr. Sean Nelson ’99. The 10-day VIP trip through Rome, Florence and Venice offered travelers special-access visits to some of Italy’s most famous sites – Sistine Chapel, St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Florence Duomo Terraces – in the quiet privacy of our alumni group.

Rome 2017

Did you know Michelangelo originally turned down the job to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel because he thought of himself a sculptor rather than a painter? Luckily for us, Julius II finally talked him into it.

Read More about Rome 2017

Explore Turkey! Registration

This trip is full. Contact alumni@punahou.edu if you have additional questions.


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