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Tours & Cruises

August 03, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

Patagonia

Take the trail to adventure in a trio of parks in Patagonia

Hike to the ends of the Earth on high-country trekking adventures that explore national parks in southern Chile and Argentina.

The 18-day Patagonia tours, planned Nov. 28 and Dec. 18, cross pampas, forests and glaciers on an itinerary that includes trails in three parks: Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park and Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina.

"Patagonia is a vast land of spectacular beauty," said Devy Reinstein, the tour organizer and leader and a Peru native who lives in Santa Monica. Trekking the region "is an adventure of a lifetime." The tour includes visits to the advancing Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, the granite massifs of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in Los Glaciares and a visit to Buenos Aires.

Participants spend eight nights in mountain lodges, hiking lodge to lodge during the day over moderate-to-steep terrain. Seven nights are spent in hotels.

Cost: $3,995 per person, including round-trip airfare from LAX or Miami Beach, intertrip air and ground transportation, accommodations, all meals, guides, sightseeing tours and trekking services.

Contact: Santa Monica-based Andes Adventures; (800) 289-9470 or (310) 395-5265, www.andesadventures.com.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Take in the sights at upper region celebrations

Get a taste of Midwestern hospitality on a 12-day tour that traces the mighty Mississippi River from Hannibal, Mo., to its headwaters at Itasca State Park in Minnesota.

The Sept. 2 tour, which begins in St. Louis and ends in Minneapolis/St. Paul, is being held in honor of Grand Excursion 2004, which celebrates the renaissance of the upper Mississippi River region. Throughout the coming year, communities along the upper 400 miles of the river plan to hold celebrations, educational events and cultural programs.

The tour also celebrates the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.

Tour highlights include visits to Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mark Twain's home in Hannibal and the new National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

Most accommodations will be renovated historic properties on the riverfront or lakeside.

Cost: $1,470 per person, double occupancy (single supplement is $550), including bus transportation along the tour route, accommodations, 20 meals, sightseeing and a cruise aboard a historic paddle-wheeler. Airfare from LAX to St. Louis and return from Minneapolis are not included.

Contact: S.T.E.P. Inc. Tours of Palos Verdes; (310) 377-1601.

CALIFORNIA

Try the pirate's life for a weekend

aboard a schooner

SING "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me" and become a buccaneer for a weekend on an autumn trip to Santa Catalina Island aboard a 73-foot schooner.

The Oct. 4 and 5 trip, which coincides with the island's annual Buccaneer Days, will be to Two Harbors, the isthmus of Catalina Island. The Caribbean-style celebration includes food, music and dancing.

The trip will be aboard the historic sailing ship Dirigo II. Guests are invited to bring pirate costumes.

Cost: $295 per person, including round-trip transportation to Catalina Island, shipboard accommodations and meals.

Contact: Long Beach-based Horizons West Adventures; (562) 799-3880, www.horizonswestadventures.com.

WYOMING

Roam the scenic wilds with bears,

elk and buffalo

Introduce yourself to a grizzly bear on a 10-day tour to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The Sept. 2 trip will include an interpretive tour within the park narrated by naturalists and park rangers. The group also will visit Yellowstone Bear World, a drive-through park where more than 30 grizzly and black bears roam in a natural setting with elk, buffalo, wolves and reindeer.

Other highlights of the trip include a scenic float trip on the Snake River, a guided tour of Salt Lake City and a visit to the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole.

The bus tour includes one-night stays in Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Provo, Utah; and two-night stays in Jackson Hole and at Old Faithful Snow Lodge in Yellowstone.

Cost: $995 per person, double occupancy (single supplement is $375), including bus transportation from Los Angeles, accommodations, nine meals, sightseeing and other activities.

Contact: Torrance-based Main Street Tours; (800) 300-6246, www.mainstreettours.com.

MEXICO

Brush up on volleyball skills

at Baja resort

SPIKE it, volleyball fans, on a fall sports package in Baja, Mexico.

The Oct. 10-to-14 trip to San Jose del Cabo includes four days of volleyball clinics, private instruction and tournaments with professional players.

Cost: $999 per person, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, transfers, ocean-view accommodations at the Presidente InterContinental Resort, all meals, drinks and volleyball activities.

Contact: Pacific Sports Tours Inc. of Redondo Beach; (310) 798-1234, www.pacificsportstours.com.

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

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