THE OCTAGON TOURTM   The tour that is all about Jesus!

Our next tour is April 14-23, 2023. This tour is almost full.

This is the only Holy Land tour in the world that is dedicated exclusively to the life of Jesus.

How is an Octagon Tour different?  Watch this video.

Join us on our next tour, April 14-23, 2023!

We specialize in only one thing - Holy Land Tours, and we do it very well. 

  • Specific questions about this tour?  Call Octagon Tours at 405-227-8243. 

  • To register for this tour, click here.
  • Co-Founder of the OVRtour App

  • Founder of The Octagon Project

  • Co-producer of the virtual reality exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.

  • Author of The Merged Gospels

  • Professor of History, Archeology and Linguistics

  • Veteran Holy Land Tour Guide

  Meet Your Guide -

  Dr. Gary Crossland

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Check out Gary's Linkedin page here

This is a totally FREE interactive eBook version of our live Octagon Tour to the Holy Land. We just started publishing it, so there are only a few videos in it right now.  However, every month we will be uploading new videos, and each time we do you will receive a notice. This free eBook can be loaded onto any mobile device, or you can view it on your computer. There are links to Google Maps, so you can know exactly where each site is located.

 

Use this book as a primer before you visit the Holy Land on a live Octagon Tour, while traveling, or as a refresher when you return home.

Since this eBook is totally free to distribute, you can share it with a friend who is contemplating traveling to the Holy Land.

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Our Typical Itinerary

(It's all about Jesus, and all of the sites in our tours are referred to in the Gospels) . Current conditions may not allow us to visit all of these places during your particular tour.

  • The actual site of the Sermon on the Mount (MT 5:1, 5:2-12, LK 6:17-26)

  • The cave where Jesus prayed all night (MT 5:1b, MK 3:13, LK 6:12)

  • Where Jesus appointed His Apostles (MT 5:1b, 10:2-4, MK 3:13-19, LK 6:12-16)

  • The mountain of the miracle of the swine (MT 8:28-34, MK 5:1-21, LK 8:26-40)

  • The site of the feeding of the 5000 (MT 14:13-21, MK 6:32-44, LK 9:11-17, JN 6:1-14)

  • The site of the great catch of fish (MT 4:18-22, MK 1:16-20, LK 5:1-11)

  • Peter’s home (MT 8:14-15, MK 1:29-31, LK 4:38-39)

  • The Capernaum synagogue (MK 1:23-28, LK 4:33-37)

  • Chorazim, the town that Jesus cursed (MT 11:21, LK 10:13)

  • Herod’s palace in Tiberias (MT 14:6-12, MK 6:21-29)

  • The home of Mary Magdalene (MK 16:9)

  • A praise boat ride across Galilee (MT 14:22-33, MK 6:45-52, JN 6:15-21)

  • The ancient Galilee boat museum (MT 14:34-36, MK 6:53-56)

  • Jacob's Well, the site of the woman at the well (JN 4:4-42 )

  • Jesus' boat dock at Gennesaret (MT 14:34, MK 6:53)

  • The Mountain of Temptation (MT 4:1-11, MK 1:12-13, LK 4:1-13)

  • Herod’s Jericho palace (MT 2:20)

  • Jesus’ baptism site (MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11, LK 3:21-23)

  • The birthplace of Jesus (LK 2:1-7)

  • The infant home of Jesus (MT 2:9, MT 2:11)

  • The shepherds’ field (LK 2:8)

  • The shepherds’ caves (LK 2:20)

  • The home of Mary (LK 1:30-38)

  • The wedding chapel at Cana (JN 2:1-11)

  • The Nazareth synagogue of Jesus (MT 13:54-58, MK 6:1-6, LK 4:16-30, JN 4:44)

  • Ancient Nazareth (MT 2:23)

  • Where John spent his life in the desert (LK 1:80)

  • The Upper Room (MK 14:15, LK 22:12)

  • The Via Dolorosa, and the stations of the cross (MT 27:31, MK 15:20b, JN 19:17)

  • Mount Calvary (MT 27:33, MK 15:22, LK 23:33, JN 19:17)

  • Jesus’ Tomb (JN 19:41)

  • The Western Wall of the Temple (MT 24:1, MK 13:1, LK 21:5)

  • The Temple Mount (LK 1:9)

  • The Pool of Bethesda (JN 5:1-47)

  • The Tomb of Lazarus (JN 11:38)

  • The site of Jesus’ ascension (MK 16:19-20, LK 24:44-53, AC 1:4-12 )

  • The road where Jesus rode the donkey (MT 21:8-9, MK 11:8-10, LK 19:36-40, JN 12:12-13, 17-19)

  • Where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer (LK 11:1-4)

  • The place where Jesus met Nicodemus (JN 3:1-21)

  • The gate through which Jesus carried the cross (MT 27:31b, MK 15:20b, JN 19:17)

  • The Pool of Siloam (JN 9:7)

  • The synagogue, from which the man born blind was cast (JN 9:13)

  • The palace of Caiaphas (MT 26:57, JN 18:24 )

  • The Garden of Gethsemane (MT 26:36-46, MK 14:32-42, LK 22:39-46, JN 18:1)

  • The Cave of the Ten Lepers (LK 17:12)

  • The final path of Jesus after Gethsemane (MK 14:53, LK 22:54, JN 18:13)

  • The stairs that Jesus ascended before His trial (MK 14:53, LK 22:54, JN 18:13)

  • The rock of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane (MT 26:39, MK 14:35, LK 22:41)

  • Sebastia, the burial site of John the Baptist (MT 14:12, MK 6:29)

  • Bethphage, from which Jesus took the donkey (MT 21:2, MK 11:2, LK 19:30)

  • Gabbatha, where Jesus was tried by Pilate (JN 19:13)

  • The Potter’s Field (MT 27:7)

  • The Mount of Olives (JN 8:1)

  • The Tower of Siloam (LK 13:4)

  • Gehenna (Hinnom Valley) (MT 5:22)

  • The site where Jesus spent the first 27 years of His life. (LK 2:40)

  • The site of Jesus post-resurrection fish breakfast at Galilee (JN 21:1-23)

  • The un-excavated ruins of Capernaum (JN 2:12)

  • The courtyard of flagellation (JN 19:1)

  • The prison of Jesus and Barabbas (probably also John and Peter) (Acts 5:18-23)

  • The crushed 1st-century street of Jerusalem (MT 24:2, MK 13:2, LK 21:6)

  • The site of Peter's Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2:14-41)

  • The road of escape for the Magi (MT 2:12)

  • The Church of St. Gabriel, with the Spring of Mary (LK 1:26-28)

  • The Chapel of the Holy Innocents (MT 2:16-18)

Questions and Answers

 

What is the cost for this tour?

This tour costs $3,995 per person (double room occupancy).  There is an additional single's supplement of $949 for travelers wanting to reserve a room for just one person). 

What does the tour price cover?

It covers everything, including airfare to and from Houston Intercontinental Airport, complete buffet breakfast and dinner (not lunches), hotel, guides, tips, and all entrance fees.

How much is the deposit?  When is the final amount due? 

The deposit is $300 per person.  The remaining balance is due three months prior to travel (Feb 1, 2023).  We recommend that you don't wait long to get your deposit in, since space on this tour is limited.  You pay all of this to our tour provider, Pilgrim Tours.

If the tour is sold out, what are my options? 

We will put you on a waiting list after you pay your deposit.  If we don't have any cancellations, you will recieve your full deposit back. If there are cancellations, we will contact you in the chronological order of the wait list, and notify you or your inclusion on the tour.

When is the 2024 Octagon Tour? 

The 2024 Octagon Tour will be March 8-17.  We aren't taking reservations for this tour yet, but if you leave us your email address here we will contact you immediately when this tour becomes available.

I am single.  Is it possible that I can room with another lone traveler to avoid the single supplement?

If this is your desire, we will try to make this arrangement.  These assignments will be made prior to 90-days before the trip.  On every trip we have always been able to pair singles who want a roommate (although this is much more common among women than men). When we do this the supplement will be erased for both. 

Is there a discount for children 12 and under?

Yes. That discount is $300 if they room with a parent.

How does the Octagon Tour compare to Pilgrim's "Best of Israel" retail tour on the same date?

There is a vast difference between the two tours, and the chart at this link will tell you all you need to know about the differences. 

Who do I call if I have questions?

Start by calling Octagon Tours at 405-227-8243. 

Do I have to be vaccinated against Covid 19 before I can travel to Israel?

No. Also, at this moment you DON'T need to have medical insurance that covers Covid related illnesses, nor emergency medical insurance, nor emergency medical evacuation insurance.  This is explained in the next paragraph.

Tell me about the insurance (Updated 9/14/22)

The State of Israel no longer requires its tourists to have medical insurance nor any insurance that covers Covid related illnesses.  However, if you wish to purchase insurance for any reason (including trip cancellation) there are very affordable options. You can shop many affordable plans and prices here - https://www.squaremouth.com.  Also, Pilgrim Tours sells insurance. If you have any questions about purchasing insurance, you may call us at 405-227-8243.

Do I need a visa?  What are the rules regarding passports?

You don't need a visa for traveling to Israel.  Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after your return date.

Is it safe in Israel?

It is probably accurate to say that one of the safest places in the world at any particular moment is on a tour bus in Israel.  Everyone who lives in Israel loves tourists, for obvious reasons - Jews, Christians and Arabs alike.  And besides, we never do anything that would be considered unsafe.  Israel is one of the hottest tourist destinations, and the high level of security in every corner of the country means that everyone can relax and enjoy their pilgrimage.

 

How do I stay in touch with people back home?

Your phone will work anywhere we go.  Check with your mobile provider about charges while traveling.  In addition, we recommend using mobile or computer apps that allow you to communicate for free or cheap.

 

How different is this tour than other Israel tours?

Our travelers who have been to Israel before tell us that it's about 75% different than other tours.  That's because we take you to places that are related to the life of Jesus, and this often takes us away from the typical tourist trail.  Our goal is to put you into Jesus' three-foot circle as many times as possible.

 

How physically fit do I have to be? 

We are very conscious of the fact that our travelers have different levels of mobility.  For this reason, we design our tours with this in mind.  They are not too strenuous, although we do occasionally walk up a small hill here and there.  At most of our stops the bus will take us close to where we want to be.  And, of course, there are many stairs in Israel.  If you can keep up with a group of people who are walking at a casual pace, then you'll be good to go.  There are also many rest stops and places to sit all along the way.   

Can I fly a different airline and just purchase the land portion of the tour?

Yes.  All you would do is pay the land portion of the tour, and arrange your flights separately.  The thing you want to do is to schedule your arrival in Tel Aviv before our group flight arrives, so that we can all leave the airport on a bus together.

 

How long is the flight?

This flight is about 17 hours with a 3-hour layover.  The longest stretch will be about 12 hours.  Of course, these times are approximations.

What hotels will we be staying at?

In Galilee we are staying at the Nof Ginosar Resort.  In Jerusalem we are staying at the Olive Tree Hotel.

What will the weather be like?

At this time of year, the weather is almost always identical to what it is in Dallas, Texas.

Can I come to Israel sooner, stay longer, or extend my trip to some other location?

Yes, and that's another issue that you can discuss directly with us when our tour is scheduled.

Can I upgrade my airfare to first or business class?

Yes.  These arrangements can be made with Pilgrim Tours prior to travel.

Do you have a recommended packing list?

About two months before we depart we will send each traveler a travel packing and tip sheet.

What about taking medical equipment or medical electronics on the plane?

We recommend that you get an official letter from your doctor.  It is best to pack these items into checked luggage, but if you need them handy during travel, then this letter is a good thing to have.

What are the rules regarding luggage?

Airlines normally allow two checked bags for international travelers.  However, for this tour we can only allow one checked bag.  This is because our buses in Israel don't have the storage capacity for two bags per person.  That being said, there are three types of bags that you are allowed on the plane. 

 

  • One checked bag (23 kg, or 50.7 lbs, overall dimensions - 158 cm, or 62 inches). 

  • One on-board bag (8 kg, or 17.6 lbs, overall dimensions - 118 cm, or 46 inches).

  • One personal bag, such as a purse, briefcase, computer case or backpack.  We generally recommend the backpack solution, since there is no size or weight requirements for personal bags, and backpacks hold the most stuff.

  • Of course you can also carry stuff in your pockets, and the more pockets you have, the better.

 

What airline are you flying on this trip?

We have two airlines working for us, both departing from Houston.  Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.  We don't know yet which travelers are going to be which planes, but here are the details anyway::

 

Turkish Air:

 

Apr. 14 - Depart Houston 2:55 PM, Arrive Istanbul 10:50 AM (next day)
Apr. 15 - Depart Istanbul 2:00 PM,  Arrive Tel Aviv 4:05 PM
Apr. 23 - Depart Tel Aviv 8:30 AM,  Arrive Istanbul 10:50 AM
Apr. 23 - Depart Istanbul 2:10 PM,  Arrive Houston 7:10 PM

Lufthansa:

Apr. 14 - Depart Houston 3:45 PM, Arrive Frankfort 8:20 AM (next day)

Apr. 15 - Depart Frankfort 10:20 AM,  Arrive Tel Aviv 3:25 PM (forty minutes before the Turkish flight) 

Apr. 23 - Depart Tel Aviv 4:50 AM,  Arrive Frankfort 8:20 AM

Apr. 23 - Depart Frankfort 10:00 AM,  Arrive Houston 1:45 PM