Tucson's visitors bureau has produced a slick, 76-page magazine that's packed with details on Tucson and surrounding areas. Tells about accommodations (resorts, guest ranches, B&Bs), transportation (airlines, car rentals, bus system, limousine services), day trips (to Nogales, Bisbee, Tumacacori National Monument, Tombstone, etc.), tours, dining, shopping. And all it's going to cost you is a stamp. For your free copy write to the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, 450 W. Paseo Redondo, Suite 110, Tucson, Ariz. 85701 or telephone (602) 624-1817.
Tucson's major attractions: the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Colossal Cave (one of the world's largest dry caverns), Kitt Peak National Observatory, Mt. Lemmon (highest peak in the Santa Catalina range), Old Tucson (site of dozens of Hollywood Westerns with gunfights staged daily), Saguaro National Monument, Coronado National Forest, San Xavier Mission, University of Arizona.
Mexican Food Capital
Tucson has proclaimed itself the "Mexican Food Capital of the World." Not just Arizona, mind you, but the whole blinking world.
There are dozens of restaurants, but El Charro is familiar to practically everybody in town.
"Tucson's oldest restaurant in continuous operation by the same family" is how owners Ray and Carlotta Dunn Flores describe it. Carlotta's great-aunt, Monica Flin, launched El Charro (served as cook, waitress, hostess, cashier and even washed dishes in her spare time).
If you enjoy Mexican food, this is the place. Fresh onions, garlic, tomatoes, green chile, mint, cilantro, sour cream. Tamales made in-house. So are the tortillas. The beef is sun-dried. (Sonoran-style cooking versus Tex/Mex.) Try the chimichanga (deep-fried burritos) and tostados con quesos (cheese melted on tortillas). Dozens of other items.
Great atmosphere. The old home with its four small dining rooms is in the El Presidio Historic Section at 311 N. Court St. For reservations telephone (602) 622-5465. Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. til 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on weekends).
A new handbook that's free to members of American Youth Hostels Inc. names hostels from Alaska to Alabama. (Non-members pay $5 plus $2 postage.) Describes more than 250 AHY-chartered hostels along with details on hiking/cycling trails. Four new California hostels are in the lineup. One in the Redwoods dates from 1900, stands on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Another hostel in Tennessee is accessible only by foot or horseback (horse feed available at the hostel). In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., you can book accommodations at a hostel that's only a block from the beach.
Hostels provide dormitory-style facilities, kitchens. Several are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Rates from $4 to $10 a night. AHY is an affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation representing more than 5,000 hostels in 64 nations. Contact American Youth Hostels, P.O. Box 37613, Dept. 950, Washington, D.C. 20013-7613.
During March vacationers may spend a week in Norway for only $524, including round-trip air from New York, accommodations, breakfasts, sightseeing in Oslo. Or there's a one-week ski package for $295 with most meals (air fare is extra). These trips are packaged by SAS and Bennett Tours. Available from your travel agent. Vacationers also get a 50% discount on $100 worth of gifts purchased at the Steen & Strohm department store in Oslo. Other details from your travel agent or the Norwegian Tourist Board, 655 3rd Ave., New York 10017.
Montana, Idaho, Wyoming
Bill and Pam Bryan of Montana offer a new service for travelers planning visits to the northern Rockies (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming). Information provided on ranches, fishing, backpacking, river rafting, skiing, mountaineering. "Our service is personal," say the Bryans. No two itineraries alike. You tell them where you wish to go and they take it from there. There's a charge for their services, depending on the amount of time spent planning your itinerary. They'll work with you on the telephone, in person or by mail. Contact the Bryans c/o Off The Beaten Path, 109 E. Main St., Bozeman, Mont. 59715 or telephone (406) 586-1311.
Europabus does tours in Europe. Forty-six trips planned in '87 in 16 countries. Portugal to Scandinavia, Austria to Britain. (These buses operate as far north as Czechoslovakia, Hungary.) In France a four-day tour from Paris by train to Strasbourg and then by bus into the Alsatian vineyards will cost you $485. Or there's a four-day trip from Paris to Normandy, Mont Saint Michel and the Loire Valley for $680. Another tour features Spanish paradores. Details on these and other tours from Europabus, P.O. Box 325, Old Greenwich, Conn. 06870-0325.