This may be the least expensive California vacation on the books: $40 a day per couple at Mission San Luis Rey Retreat Center near Oceanside, breakfast and dinner included. (For an additional $40 a week, youngsters under 12 share with their parents.) The adobe-walled mission provides a swimming pool, tennis courts. This is on a 60-acre site less than an hour from Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Seaport Village. None of the frills of a resort hotel, but loads of peace, solitude.
Mission San Luis Rey Retreat Center, P.O. Box 409, San Luis Rey, Calif. 92068. Telephone (619) 757-3659.
In reply to L. R. of Santa Clara about vacation packages on Catalina Island: Catalina Channel Express in San Pedro is offering two nights at the ocean-front Hotel Villa Portofino for $94.20 per person. Includes accommodations for two nights, round-trip transportation to the island and tours. Villa Portofino is within walking distance of downtown Avalon. Other packages: $98/$229 for two- , three- and five-night visits.
Contact your travel agent or Catalina Channel Express, P.O. Box 1391, San Pedro 90733. Call toll-free (California only) (800) 257-2227.
Singleworld (does cruises/tours for the unattached) has published its new '89 catalogue. Trips to Europe, Tahiti, French Canada, the Caribbean. Singleworld splits travelers up in two age groups (those under 35 or "all ages"). Share rates are available. Cruises (three to seven days) are aboard Carnival, Norwegian Cruise and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships. For a copy of Singleworld's 32-page catalogue, contact your travel agent or write to Singleworld, 401 Theodore Fremd Ave., Rye, N.Y. 10580, or call toll-free (800) 223-6490.
Santa Barbara B&Bs
P.K. of Rosemead asks for a listing of B&Bs in Santa Barbara. There's a wide choice:
The Bath Street Inn, 1720 Bath St., Santa Barbara 93101. Telephone (805) 682-9680.
The Bayberry Inn, 111 W. Valerio, Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 682-3199.
Blue Quail Inn and Cottages, 1908 Bath St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 687-2300.
Cheshire Cat, 36 W. Valerio St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 569-1610.
The Glenborough Inn, 1327 Bath St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 966-0589.
Harbor Carriage House, 420 W. Montecito St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 962-8447.
Inn at Two Twenty Two, 222 Valerio St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 687-7216.
The Old Yacht Club Inn, 431 Corona del Mar, Santa Barbara 93103; (805) 962-1277.
The Parsonage, 1600 Olive St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 962-9336.
Simpson House Inn, 121 E. Arrellaga St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 963-7067.
Tiffany Inn, 1323 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara 93101; (805) 963-2283.
For travelers inquiring about bus/subway systems from Heathrow Airport to London, the London Regional Transport has published a pocket-size flier with all the details. Lists more than 80 hotels, indicates the most convenient stops via the Airbus or the Underground. You can also obtain maps of the bus/subway systems, schedules, fares. For a free copy of "Getting Between Central London and Heathrow Airport," write to British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., Suite 450, Los Angeles 90071. Telephone (213) 628-3525.
One of the best buys in the Caribbean is a parador in Puerto Rico. Two inns were added to the list lately. One is Hacienda El Pedregal on the island's north coast (sits high atop a cliff overlooking a popular surfing beach near the town of Aguadilla). Swimming pool, restaurant, bar. Golf nearby. On the east coast in the town of Fajardo the Paradore La Familia provides 21 rooms, a swimming pool, restaurant, bar. Snorkeling at the offshore island of Icacos. We have good reports about three mountain inns (Casa Grande at Utuado, Hacienda Juanita at Maricao and Hacienda Gritinas at Jayuya). The latest inns bring the number of paradores in Puerto Rico to 17. Rates: $40/$70 a night.
For reservations, call toll-free (800) 443-0266. It's a Puerto Rico number; best times to call are weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other details from the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., 3575 W. Cahuenga Blvd., Suite 248, Los Angeles 90068. Telephone (213) 874-5991.
The 1989 "Sunset Road Atlas" ($4.95) contains maps for all 50 states and full pages pinpointing 38 metropolitan areas (Atlanta to Washington, D.C.). Other features: a city-to-city mileage chart, a time-and-distance map and an interstate highway map to assist motorists traveling cross-country. The 176-page atlas provides toll-free numbers for hotel/motel chains, car rental companies and airlines. A good buy.