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TOURS & CRUISES

South American Beauty in Chile and Argentina

November 12, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Captivating Chile and Astounding Argentina" is a three-week trip that will depart Los Angeles on Jan. 7. It will focus on the natural wonders of both countries. Glaciers, active volcanoes, emerald lakes and mountain peaks will provide participants the sites to explore new cultures.

The itinerary includes Torres del Paine in Patagonia, a cruise on Lago Argentina to view surrounding glaciers, Chiloe Island, Lake Todos los Santos and Iguacu Falls.

Cities include Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires.

Cost: $6,995 per person, double occupancy. A two-week version is available at $5,185. Both programs include round-trip air fare, ground transportation, hotels, most meals, guided sightseeing and taxes. Group size is limited to 16.

Contact: Glorious Adventures, 10007 Gaynor Ave., North Hills, CA 91343; telephone (818) 893-9030, Internet http://www.mariposagrp.com. (Click on "Trips That Make a Difference.").

South Africa: Walking

Country Walkers of Waterbury, Vt., is offering a walking tour of South Africa. The start is slow and easy--two hours of roaming around Cape Town--but the trip gets more strenuous with hikes in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, atop Table Mountain and through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

There's also a trip around a wine estate and a day of doing nothing or seeing the Grootbos Nature Reserve. Other walks are in the Little Karoo and Seweekspoort Pass, and along the Garden Route. A Port Elizabeth-Durban flight will lead to hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains, visiting a Zulu farming settlement, bird-watching in the St. Lucia Wetlands and viewing game in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park. Departure dates are Jan. 2, Aug. 13, Sept. 10 and Oct. 22.

Cost: $5,998 per person, double occupancy, including 15 nights' lodging, all meals, ground transportation and one internal flight. Transatlantic air fare and a flight from Richard's Bay to Cape Town or Johannesburg are extra.

Contact: Country Walkers; tel. (800) 464-9255, Internet http://www.countrywalkers.com.

Peru: Amazon

Southwind Adventures of Colorado is offering six Amazon rain forest journeys to Peru's Manu National Park in 2001, departing monthly, May through October. This remote jungle offers wildlife viewing, exotic plant life and native cultures. The abundance of biodiversity has earned Manu designations as a World Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.

The 12-day Manu Rain Forest Adventure is a low-impact soft adventure that reaches into the heart of this reserve. Accommodations include hotels, lodges and four nights of comfortable camping.

Cost: $2,965 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, transfers and most meals, ground and river transportation, a domestic flight, park entrance fees and local naturalist guides. International air fare is not included.

Contact: Southwind Adventures; tel. (800) 377-9463, Internet http://www.southwindadventures.com.

Italy: Shopping

Artist and shopping guide Roberta Kritzia is offering four 11-day shopping trips to Italy, visiting her favorite places for leather jackets in Florence; Etruscan-inspired jewelry in Siena and San Gimignano; ceramics in Deruta and Siena; and gourmet cooking ingredients in Norcia.

Museums and historical sites will be included on these tours. The group will also get boat passes to visit the two islands in Lake Trasimeno and the villages around its shores. Departure dates are June 4 and 16, and Sept. 3 and 17.

Cost: from $3,195 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, most meals, entrance fees and guides. Round-trip air fare is not included.

Contact: Roberta Kritzia Tours; tel. (818) 994-2402.

Germany: Munich

The friendly city of Munich features Baroque and Rococo architecture, lush gardens and grand boulevards, along with the beer halls and breweries that cater to Oktoberfest throngs and lederhosen-clad locals. All will be seen on a seven-night "Munich Winter Escapade" offered by AHI International. Scheduled departures are Jan. 31, Feb. 6 and 12, and March 2 and 8.

Cost: $1,495 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Chicago, motor coach transportation, six nights' accommodations at the deluxe Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, tour of Munich, American breakfast daily, baggage handling and gratuities.

Contact: AHI International, 6400 Shafer Court, Rosemont, IL 60018; tel. (800) 323-7373, Internet http://www.ahitravel.com.

Italy: Cruise

Peter Deilmann's ship Casanova will cruise the Po River in Italy for seven nights beginning Aug. 11. Wine expert Jim Clendenen, owner of Au Bon Climat Winery in Los Olivos, Calif., will lecture on Italian wines. Passengers will begin the trip in Venice and sail to the villages and medieval cities of Cremona, Verona, Bologna and Padua.

Cost: from $1,780 per person, double occupancy. Air fare to Italy is extra.

Contact: Elite Travel Adventures, 460 Ward Drive, Suite E, Santa Barbara, CA 93111; tel. (800) 563-9252.

Brazil: Cruise

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