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TOURS & CRUISES

Angling for Trophies Near Puerto Vallarta

September 24, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sierra Pacific Fishing Adventures will take anglers on a trip Nov. 7 to 12 to Costa Azul Adventure Resort, about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. From here, guests will take daily boat trips to fish for sailfish, tuna and rooster fish.

Cost: $1,545 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, four days of fishing from boats, accommodations, all meals and hotel transfers.

Contact: Sierra Pacific Fishing Adventures; telephone (562) 493-7942.

New Zealand: Gardens

Richard Lyon, a landscape architect from New Zealand, will lead a small group of travelers on his ninth annual "Gardens, Wine and Wilderness" tour to New Zealand from Jan. 12 to Feb. 3. The trip is offered in association with the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

The first evening is spent cruising Auckland Harbor on a whaling ketch. Opportunities for sailing and other water sports are offered throughout the tour.

The itinerary balances guided tours of private gardens and vineyards with free time, opportunities to play golf, go boating and fishing, and swim in thermal pools. The trip covers both the North and South islands.

Cost: $6,545 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, accommodations, ground transportation, most meals and entry.

Contact: Richard Lyon; tel. (877) 323-3300.

France and Germany

The Tasting Spoon Cooking School is sponsoring a culinary and Christmas Market tour of France and Germany from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3. In the month before Christmas, many towns in both countries set up outdoor markets. Guests will tour Paris and Nancy on the Meurthe River in France; and Freiburg, Heidelberg, Rothenburg and Mainz in Germany. Besides Christmas stands, the tour visits castles, cathedrals and museums. A cooking class in Paris is included.

Cost: from $1,700 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, breakfast daily, a dinner cruise in Paris and ground transportation. Air fare is extra.

Contact: the Tasting Spoon; tel. (310) 306-8851, Internet http://www.tastingspoon.com.

Italy: Christmas

The art department of Cal Poly Pomona is offering its seventh annual "Christmas in Venice and the Alps" tour from Dec. 17 to 27. This program focuses on the art, architecture, history, culture and cuisine that are unique to Venice and will be led by two art professors. Visits to view art include the Accademia and Correr Museum, the Ducale Palace and cathedrals.

The program includes a seven-course traditional Christmas banquet in the penthouse dining room of a palace followed by midnight Mass at St. Mark's Basilica. On Christmas Day the group will drive to the Alps for a country dinner. Another feature is a tour of the museums and synagogues of the historic Jewish ghetto with a Jewish scholar as a guide. Other activities include a Vivaldi concert and drinks at Harry's Bar.

Cost: $2,925 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations at the deluxe Europa & Regina Hotel, full breakfast daily and some dinners, transfers, all admission fees and guides. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Cal Poly Pomona Art Department; tel. (909) 869-3512.

Japan: Crafts

Journeys East, a Northern California-based tour company specializing in back-country adventures to Japan, is offering "Brushes With Inner Japan," which focuses on traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and crafts. The 15-day trip starts May 19.

The itinerary includes flower arranging at the Sogetsu School of Ikebana in the center of Tokyo, participating with Shinto priests in an evening candle-lighted waterfall ceremony in the mountains north of Ise and visiting the outdoor studio and home of the late Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

From Tokyo, travelers will journey by train to a restored samurai manor house on the tip of Izu Peninsula, by cable car to the Buddhist mountain sanctuary of Koyasan for a temple stay, and on a bullet train to the willow-lined canals of Kurashiki for an introduction to the folk crafts movement. The final four nights are in Kyoto.

Cost: $4,485 per person, double occupancy, including all transfers, lodging and most meals. Two leaders will accompany a maximum of 16 participants. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Journeys East, P.O. Box 1161-B, Middletown, CA 95461; tel. (800) 527-2612.

India: By Train

The Society of International Railway Travelers is offering a tour of India on a 100-year-old steam engine from Oct. 22 to 30.

Over a 55-mile route, passengers will travel through main streets of villages and past colorful bazaars. Guests get good views of the Himalayas because there are no tunnels.

The land tour begins in Calcutta with a night at the Taj Bengal Hotel followed by a daylong sightseeing tour. Tour members then board a sleeper car on the overnight Sealdah NJP Express to Jalpaiguri.

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