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TOURS AND CRUISES

Playing Survivor in Baja; Cycling in Spain, Greece

March 04, 2001|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Zoologist Allen Brown, dean of natural science at Fullerton College, will guide his 32nd annual survival expedition to the primitive eastern coast of Baja California from April 7 to 14.

The base camp is near Punta Final at the south end of Bahia San Luis Gonzaga on the Gulf of California. The self-driven 10-car camping caravan typically includes both families and rugged individuals prepared for team challenges and survival contests related to fishing, hiking, kayaking, campfires, camping and swimming. The trip includes guided exploration of the rugged Punta Final headlands and granite canyons with freshwater pools. Other staff include a marine biologist, an oceanographer and a medical technician.

Cost: $575 per car (no limit on the number of people per car). Participants will bring their own camping gear and food. Guide will bring boats and kayaks. One trip-preparation class in late March is included.

Contact: Sanctuary Wildlife Refuge of Laguna Beach; telephone (949) 494-7734.

Spain: Cycling

Historical Cycling International is offering a walking and cycling Jewish heritage trip through southern Spain, May 26 to June 3. The rendezvous site is Granada to visit the city and the Alhambra. Cyclers will also explore Seville and Cordoba, flourishing centers in the Middle Ages of Arab, Christian and Jewish coexistence. Guests will cycle through the countryside's natural landscapes and explore such hilltop towns as Ronda, Grazalema and Arcos de la Frontera.

Cost: $2,890 per person, double occupancy, including luxury accommodations, most meals, services of two guides, a 21-speed hybrid bicycle, route instructions, van support and baggage transfers. Air fare to Granada is not included.

Contact: Historical Cycling International; tel. (310) 289-5099.

Greece: More Bikes

Rated easy to challenging, two bicycling excursions (May 5 to 17 and Sept. 22 to Oct. 4) cover the mountainous Greek island of Crete. The tours, operated by Classic Adventures of Hamlin, N.Y., offer the Lassithi Plateau; the Plain of Messara; archeological sites; and a skein of old villages.

Cost: $2,439 for 12 nights' lodging, all breakfasts and dinners and Athens-Crete air fare. Bicycle rental is $195.

Contact: Classic Adventures; tel. (800) 777-8090, http://www.classicadven tures.com.

French Polynesia: Art

Artist Sally Robertson will lead a tour to the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Huahine to teach watercolor painting. Daily classes are followed by free time to enjoy the beach, snorkel and hike. UC Santa Cruz Extension credit is available.

The tour is July 11 to 22.

Cost: $4,750 per person, including air fare from Los Angeles, lodging, some meals, art classes and ground transportation.

Contact: Art Trek, P.O. Box 1103, Bolinas, CA 94924; tel. (888) 522-2652, http://www.arttreks.com.

Central America: Cruise

A cruise that starts in New Orleans will sail to Cozumel, Mexico, transit the Panama Canal, sail to Costa Rica and finally to Acapulco. The ship is the Crystal Harmony, and a host will join the cruise, departing May 2 for 12 days.

One highlight in Costa Rica is a full-day rain forest experience at a private biological reserve, and lunch at Villa Calletas, set high above the bay and surrounding forest canopy. A tour of antebellum homes in New Orleans before the sailing is also included.

Cost: from $2,910 per person, double occupancy. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Navigant Vacations, Medallion Club in Santa Ana; tel. (800) 517-5391.

Poland: Volunteering

Global Volunteers invites Polish Americans to rediscover the land of their ancestors and give something back by joining two- or three-week service projects in the eastern city of Siedlce or the Zakopane region of southern Poland. Dates for upcoming Siedlce teams are March 16 to April 7, April 21 to May 12, May 12 to June 2, July 7 to 21, Oct. 6 to 27 and Nov. 3 to 24. Teams to Zakopane are planned June 23 to July 7 and July 14 to 28.

Volunteers will be part of a small team of individuals teaching conversational English to youths. Free-time options include Warsaw, Krakow, medieval villages, a salt mine, primeval forests or performances of folk music and dance. Volunteers are responsible for free-time costs.

No formal experience or expertise is required.

Cost: $1,995 ($2,195 for three weeks) per person, including meals, lodging, ground transportation at the site and project expenses. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Global Volunteers; tel. (800) 487-1074, http://www.globalvolun teers.org.

Ireland: Golf

All-Ways Travel in Coronado has created a tour May 25 to June 8 to the Emerald Isle with appeal for golfers.

The group will get tee times at nine Irish courses ranging from Royal County Down in Newcastle to Ballybunion in County Kerry, and Lahinch, home of the Irish National Championship.

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