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Tours & Cruises

October 19, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer


Educational solstice tour of tribal lands

Watch sunrise over the stark mesas and badlands of southwestern Colorado on a winter solstice tour to ancient astronomical sites. The seven-day educational tour is centered in the Ute Mountain Tribal Park.

"Few people ever get to see these sites and see the way the light and shadows interact with petroglyphs and formations," said Janet Ross of the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education in Monticello, Utah. "And it's a rare opportunity to see the region in winter."

During the Dec. 16-to-22 tour, participants will visit the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park as well as less known archeological sites and solstice sites in nearby Mancos Canyon, home of the tribal park. The canyon was inhabited by early Native Americans, called Anasazi, who left behind artifacts, dwellings and rock art images. Anasazi farmers used the sun's interaction with the petroglyphs and stone windows to predict growing seasons.

Participants hike and explore Mancos Canyon sites with assistance from Ute tribal members. The tribe limits access to the region to preserve its cultural and historical resources.

Cost: $1,395 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $210), including bed-and-breakfast lodging in Cortez, Colo., meals, transportation to the tour sites, guides and entrance fees. Round-trip transportation from Los Angeles to Cortez is not included.

Contact: Southwest Ed- Ventures at Four Corners School of Outdoor Education; (800) 525-4456,


Ski and


in the Alps

HIt the slopes big time on weeklong ski and snowboarding trips to the Alps that are designed for 18- to 35-year-olds.

The trips, which depart Fridays from Dec. 12 through March 5, are less than $1,000 per person. They are based in the Austrian village of Hopfgarten, where participants stay in a chalet at the foot of Hohe Salve mountain. The area, called SkiWelt, includes 63 beginner runs, 51 intermediate runs and seven advanced runs. There are eight gondolas and 26 chairlifts.

Cost: $459 per person, quad share (twin share is $42 extra per person), including round-trip bus transportation from London to Hopfgarten, six nights' accommodation, daily breakfast and activities. Round-trip airfare from LAX to London is an extra $494 per person. Ski or snowboard passes and equipment rental are not included.

Contact: Contiki Holidays; (888) CONTIKI (266-8454),


Maya history

and culture

in Chiapas

Explore a unique era of Mexican history on a nine-day tour to the southern state of Chiapas, heartland of the ancient Maya world.

The Jan. 16 tour begins in the Spanish colonial town of Villahermosa, in the state of Tabasco, and ends at Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas, visiting Maya ruins at Palenque and Bonampak. The group will travel on jungle rivers and through deep canyons to visit less known sites such as Yaxchilan and Chinkultic.

Besides visiting archeological sites, the tour will focus on the heritage of the Maya, their textiles, crafts and cuisine.

Cost: $1,995 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $385), including eight nights' accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, tours, park entrance fees and bilingual guides. Round-trip airfare from LAX to Mexico is not included.

Contact: Roxanna Galbreath at Los Angeles-based Travel Store Inc.; (800) 343-9779, Ext. 19133, or (310) 752-9133,


Broadway shows

and art museums

at the holidays

Discover the lullaby of Broadway on a weeklong holiday season tour that focuses on art and theater in New York City.

The Dec. 16-to-22 tour will include three Broadway shows and visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the new Museum of Modern Art, Queens; and Dia: Beacon, a contemporary art museum in the Hudson Valley.

Other activities include a tour of historical sites and galleries in Chelsea and SoHo. The tour will be led by artist Diane Calder.

Cost: $1,975 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $700), including round-trip airfare from Long Beach to JFK airport, six nights' accommodations in Times Square, breakfasts, tickets for orchestra seating at performances of three shows and transfers.

Contact: Broadway Melody Tours; (323) 227-8370.


Exploring Paris

and Versailles

over New Year's

Check out Paris when it swings on a holiday tour that includes New Year's Eve.

The trip, Dec. 27 to Jan. 5, is sponsored by the Community Extension department of College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and will focus on art and culture, visiting museums including the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Musee de Cluny and the Picasso Museum.

Other highlights are a day trip to the palace and gardens of Versailles, a cruise on the Seine, dinner at Altitude 95 in the Eiffel Tower and a walking tour of the Marais neighborhood of Paris.

Tour guides will be Pierre Etienne and Robert Walker, professors at the college.

Cost: $2,695 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $660), including round-trip transportation from LAX to Paris, eight nights' accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, transfers, sightseeing and tours.

Contact: Etienne, (661) 362-3069, or Walker, (661) 362-3623.

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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