Dave and Aleta Nissen, Owners
Wanderlust Tours exists to vibrantly share the natural and cultural history of the Central Oregon region to small groups of interested guests while touring via canoeing, kayaking, caving, volcano tours, snowshoeing, hiking and nature-based sightseeing.
Wanderlust Tours, a private corporation, was founded in September 1993 and is owned by David and Aleta Nissen. The passion they bring to the company shines forth daily on the interpretive tours that you will or may have already experienced. Their interest is the story that the landscape has to share with locals and visitors and getting people more involved in that story in their daily lives. Nature provides such wonder; it is a wonder worth sharing and people recognizably love being introduced to what at first does not meet the eye.
In 1993 few were thinking about sustainable business behaviors; the Nissens, however, were. We believe our mindset molded Wanderlust Tours and gives life to how we interact with you, our guest. We have always believed that an element of sustainablity means, "How will our decisions about company operations best meet our client's needs. Or, how will this cave tour be meaningful, fulfilling and fun for our guests?" If our tours are not relevant and meaningful to you and your families' lives, we are missing our mark.
Perhaps due to our passion for our quality tours, Wanderlust Tours has racked up a few awards over the years. That tells us we are doing something right. More importantly, though, it has become our guests comments that tell us we are doing our work well. Our incredible office staff and guides along with the grandeur of nature will ensure the time you choose to spend with us will be long remembered as an outstanding event in your lives. Such a legacy as part of our history is what matters most to us.
Discover what’s around this Bend!
What Makes Wanderlust Tours Different?
Our guides – mature, experienced, local residents, year round, professional naturalists Wanderlust Tours’ guides are year-round Central Oregon residents with a passion for the outdoors and the place they call home. They’ll not only show you those tucked-away, natural places that locals love, they can even recommend great spots for dinner or share local happenings for you and your family to enjoy. Our trips are truly half-day experiences – more “tour” than driving Wanderlust Tours’ half-day trips truly give you a half-day of wonderful experiences. Your Wanderlust Tour begins the minute you meet your guide at the pick up point. That guide is yours for the entire tour. Your personal guide begins sharing fun information about the area and showing you the beauty of Central Oregon before you even get to the point where you’ll begin canoeing, snowshoeing, caving, or hiking. And you’ll experience your actual activity, on the water, snow, trail, or in a cave, for the majority of the time since our drive distances are typically short. From pick-up to drop-off, your Wanderlust experience is rewarding.
Why go with a guide?
Simply said, our guides are incredible! The fun and intriguing information they share with you in the beauty of nature will remain with you and your family for many years. Not only that, but we strive to make your vacation easy. We eliminate the hassle involved in planning your outdoor adventure. There’s no need for you to locate and rent equipment, load your own canoes, secure your own permits, find yourself in a cave without the right lighting or protection, or get lost or turned around trying to find the best places to explore. Wanderlust Tours strives to be a “cut above”. You may have traveled to other places and experienced all types of guided trips. You’ll find Wanderlust Tours a “cut above” the rest – smaller vans, always clean with upholstered seats and air conditioning in summer or heat in winter. Guides that open your door and bring a step out for you to make everything just that much more enjoyable. Little extras like homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows on snowshoe trips and moonlight tours – all in real cups, no throwaway styrofoam cups are used on our trips. Lunch on full-day tours that offer you a choice of meats, cheeses and breads to make your own creation on real plates - instead of packaged box lunches and plastic utensils.
We make it easy and answer our phones every time
We are a small, locally run company that puts you and your needs ahead of all else and we know your vacation time is precious. We answer our phones personally within just a couple of rings – no voicemail to direct you to 5 options. Whoever answers your call has been on all of our tours – if not guided them, so you can ask specific questions about our trips to see what fits your needs. If you happen to get a message in the middle of the day, our clients express great pleasure and surprise that they get a call back within minutes – or as soon as we open the next day if you call and leave a message after hours. It’s just hard to find customer service like that anymore and Wanderlust Tours takes pride in our diligence and care for you.
We offer trips for all ability levels and ages
Families are traveling together more these days, trying to have reunions more often and create family vacation memories and traditions that will last for years. That’s hard to do if your 5-year-old is too young to join you on a tour, or nothing’s offered that will appeal to both your “coolest” of teenagers and your parents. That’s why Wanderlust offers trips and experiences for every age and ability level. Your 2-year-old will love sitting at the front of the canoe and watching the water go by while safely at your feet. Your baby can ride in your backpack on snowshoe trips and hikes - and go free! Your mom will love riding in the front of the guide’s canoe where she can paddle or not as the mood comes to her. And your teens will love following your guide jumping off snow covered lava flows into bowls of powder while the rest of you choose to either follow or cheer them on! And this was the teen that an hour ago was pouting because, as with everything else, he thought this was going to be boring! Capture that smile on film – it’s not everyday you see it!
Lastly, we listen to what you have to say about your experience with Wanderlust Tours. After each tour, we ask for your input on a comment card…and then we actually follow up on your suggestions. Wanderlust Tours continues to improve its operations and enhance its offerings based largely on the suggestions and needs of our guests. Who knows, we might even call you to follow up on your ideas!
Thank you for choosing Wanderlust Tours. We are different from many tour companies around the world and we strive to continue to be just a little more than you ever expected.