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Tours & Cruises | COSTA RICA

Some wild views in vivid hues

September 17, 2006|Maggie Barnett | Times Staff Writer

EXPLORE the wilder side of Costa Rica on treks to the southern part of the country Jan. 12, 26 and Feb. 10.

"This tour sees a more authentic side of Costa Rica," said Greg Lais of Wilderness Inquiry, which organizes trips designed to make adventure accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

"The southern half of the country is more wild and natural than the north."

The nine-night tours travel to the private reserve Hacienda Baru on the southern coast of Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula and Chirripo National Park in the heart of the Talamanca Mountain Range.

Participants will hike the rain forests of Hacienda Baru and snorkel in the coral reefs near Corcovado. They will spend a day in the city of San Isidro before taking a drive into the mountains to the Cloudbridge Preserve, a private nature reserve, for a hike into the cloud forest. Tour-goers stay in small local hotels or tent cabins.

Wilderness Inquiry trips are designed to include people of all ages and abilities. The nonprofit provides support staff, such as sign-language interpreters or personal-care attendants, at no additional charge.

Cost: $1,945 per person, including accommodations, meals, ground transportation, adaptive gear as needed and entrance fees. Airfare to Costa Rica from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: Wilderness Inquiry, Minneapolis, Minn.; (800) 728-0719, (612) 676-9475 TTY, www.wildernessinquiry.org.

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ITALY

Slices of life and pizza

DISCOVER a pastoral slice of Italy south of the Amalfi Coast on six-night culinary tours that begin Oct. 7 and 21.

The tours' base is a country estate near the fishing village of Agropoli. From there, participants will take trips to villages in the region and a day trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Tour-goers will visit a buffalo farm, where organic mozzarella cheese is made; they'll also go to Cilento National Park, along the Costa di Cilento, stopping at local wineries. The group will learn the art of pizza making in a private home in Agropoli and explore a traditional olive oil mill near the coastal city of Castellabate.

Cost: $1,595 per person, double occupancy ($800 single surcharge), including lodging, meals with local wines, tastings, ground transportation and excursions. International airfare and entrance fees to temples and museums are not included.

Contact: In Italy Online, Los Angeles; (877) 655-9221, www.initaly.com.

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AFRICA

Animals in their element

EXPERIENCE the culture and wildlife of South Africa, Zambia and Botswana on a 13-night tour.

The tour, which begins Nov. 2, will explore Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kruger National Park in South Africa; Chobe National Park in Botswana; and villages and Victoria Falls in Zambia.

The group spends six nights in Kruger National Park, taking daily game drives in open vehicles. In Chobe National Park, participants cruise the waterways in search of herds of Chobe elephants, giraffes, lions, impalas, zebras and wildebeest.

Cost: $4,995 per person, double occupancy, ($500 single surcharge), including airfare from Los Angeles and internal flights, accommodations, most meals and excursions.

Contact: Worldview Travel, Santa Ana; (800) 627-8726, Ext. 1235, www.worldviewtravel.com.

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MEXICO

Wine tasting in Ensenada

WINE and dine in Ensenada on a tour of wineries in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California.

The daylong bus trip leaves San Diego at 9 a.m. Sept. 23, returning at about 7 p.m. The tour group will stop for tastings at Monte Xanic, Casa Pedro Domecq and Chateau Camou wineries.

Cost: $89 per person, including transportation, tastings and lunch.

Contact: Baja California Tours, La Jolla; (800) 336-5454, www.bajaspecials.com.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or travel@latimes.com.

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