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Tours & Cruises

Dipping Into Southwest's Meteor Craters, Geology

November 25, 2001|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

About 50,000 years ago a meteorite hit northern Arizona, leaving a crater 700 feet deep and 4,000 feet wide. Meteor Crater will be one of the sights on a trip to Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado led by geologist Jack Murphy of the Denver Museum of Science from May 13 to 18.

For two nights, Moab, Utah, will be home base for tours of Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dead Horse Point State Park. In Monument Valley, Navajo guides will lead a three-hour, four-wheel-drive trip and discuss their culture and habitat.

On the way to Flagstaff, Ariz., stops are planned at Sunset Crater Volcano, Wupatki and Petrified Forest national monuments, which was formed by volcanic activity.

Cost: $1,155 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, some meals, guides and ground transport. Transportation to Utah and from Albuquerque is extra.

Contact: Denver Museum of Science; (800) 925-2250, http://www.dmns.org.

Canada: Dog Sledding

Guests at the Wolf Den Inn of 100 Mile House, Canada, and Outdoor Adventures can drive a team of friendly and obedient Siberian huskies on two-night winter trips to rugged Moose Valley Provincial Park in the South Cariboo, about 175 miles northeast of Vancouver.

Guests can stay at the inn or in heated prospector tents in the park. Activities include snowshoeing, sledding, caring for the huskies and watching for wildlife. The trip can be booked through April.

Cost: from $270 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, guides and some meals. Transportation to the inn is extra. Travelers fly to Vancouver, then take a bus, train or car to the inn.

Contact: Wolf Den Inn; (877) 397-2108, http://www.dogsled-canada.com.

Hungary: Capital

Explore Budapest, the "Queen of the Danube," on a tour to Hungary that departs weekly until March 31. The five-night trip includes city tours, museum visits and shopping.

Participants will be given a three-day public transportation ticket that will let them see the sights on their own. An optional two-night tour to Prague, Czech Republic, is also available

Cost: $815 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles to Budapest, hotel, daily breakfast and museum entrance fees.

Contact: Tradesco Tours; (800) 448-4321, http://www.tradescotours.com.

Europe: Danube Cruise

This spring the 130-passenger barge Amadeus will cruise down the Danube River through four countries, stopping in Budapest; Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Drnstein and Melk, Austria; and Passau, Germany. The vessel will also carry bicycles for passengers to use. Six-night cruises will depart on various dates from April 1 to Nov. 1.

Cost: from $3,995 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York, cabin, all meals on board and some shore excursions.

Contact: The Barge Lady; (800) 880-0071, http://www.bargelady.com.

France: Barging

A fancy new 50-passenger barge from Continental Waterways will begin its inaugural season with sailings through the Provence and Camargue regions in southern France. One six-night cruise will carry passengers on the Rhone River. Starting from the town of Andance, which is south of Lyon, the barge will stop at Tournon for a private wine tasting at a vineyard, Valence, Montelimar, the medieval Chateau de Grignan, Avignon, St. Remy-de-Provence and Arles. Cruises will depart weekly through November 2002.

Cost: $2,190 per person, double occupancy, including cabin, all meals on board and shore excursions. Air fare to France is extra.

Contact: The Barge Broker; (800) 275-9794, http://www.continentalwaterways.com.

Costa Rica: Sports

Costa Rica Expeditions' new "MultiSport Adventure" isn't for the faint of heart. It includes two days of mountain biking around the foothills of the Tilaran Mountains and Arenal National Park, two days of kayaking or canoeing through a rain forest, a day of rafting the rapids on the Pacuare River and hiking through Tortuguero National Park. Biking and river guides and a support vehicle accompany the participants. Departures are throughout the year.

Cost: from $1,798 per person, including lodging, meals and sports gear. Air fare to San Jose, Costa Rica, is extra.

Contact: Costa Rica Expeditions; 011-506-257-0766, http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com.

Mexico: Yucatan

Remote, seldom-seen ancient Mayan ruins will be included on a tour to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Participants will see well-known sites, such as Chichen Itza and Uxmal, as well as the colonial city of Merida. But the more interesting sites may be the caves where Mayans made ritual offerings. Participants will meet with an archeologist at the excavation sites of Labna.

One overnight stay will be at a 17th century hacienda. Two nights will also be spent at a resort on the Caribbean coast. Tour dates are Jan. 11 to 21.

Cost: $3,695 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Houston, lodging, most meals and guides.

Contact: Far Horizons; (800) 552-4575, http://www.farhorizon.com.

Vietnam: Biking

With "easy to moderate" cycling routes, your legs won't complain too much on a trip through Vietnam from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5. Travelers will pedal by fruit orchards, have lunch with a farmer's family, explore fish farms and visit villages in the Mekong Delta.

Included are stops in Hanoi, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and the beaches of Dailanh. A boat ride to coastal islands and an overnight sleeper train to Danang, where participants will climb Marble Mountain, are also planned.

Cost: $2,630 per person, double occupancy, which includes hotels, bike rental, internal flights and train trips, support van, guides and most meals. Air fare to Vietnam is extra.

Contact: Asian Pacific Adventures; (818) 886-5190, http://www.asianpacificadventures.com.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators.

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