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TRAVEL

Tours and cruises in Latin America, Europe and Asia

December 27, 2009|By Avital Binshtock

MONTEREY and LAKE TAHOE

Surf and snow

The five-day Sea & Ski Package splits its time between Monterey's Portola Hotel & Spa and Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort to give travelers a taste of California's legendary surf and almost-as-famous snow. The price represents a 40% savings over booking each resort separately.

Itinerary: Monterey to Lake Tahoe

Dates: Through Jan. 30

Price: $970 for two people, including two nights' accommodations at the Portola Hotel & Spa and two nights at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, plus breakfast and a choice of activities for two each day. These include a visit to a marine sanctuary, sailing, bike and kayak tours and whale watching. At Northstar, daily lift tickets are included, as is access to priority lift lines.

Contact: Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey, Calif.; (831) 649-4511, www.portolahotel.com

SOUTH AFRICA

Cooks' tour

Gastronomes and amateur chefs will appreciate SAA Vacations' 11-day Culinary Safari, during which they'll learn how to prepare South African cuisine from some of the nation's most renowned chefs. The itinerary includes game drives and village tours as well as formal cooking classes, baking demonstrations, wine tastings and dinners under the starry African sky.

Itinerary: Table Mountain to the Cape Winelands to the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

Dates: Departs March 16 (other dates available for private groups of 10 or more)

Price: Starting at $3,990 (double occupancy), including round-trip airfare from New York or Washington, D.C., to Johannesburg (add-on fares are available from 26 other U.S. cities), domestic flights within South Africa, all accommodations, all cooking instruction, the services of sightseeing guides, all transfers and most meals. The rate does not include taxes and fuel surcharges.

Info: SAA Vacations, Toronto; (888) 722-4872, www.flysaavacations.com

SWITZERLAND, FRANCE and ITALY

Alpine adventure

Experienced ski guide Grégory Grandet will take small groups to his secret spots in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps for some choice skiing and snowboarding on the freshest powder during DuVine's 2010 Ski Tour. Start in Switzerland, at Villars sur Ollon and les Diablerets, then head to Chamonix, France, then Italy's Valle d'Aosta, and end at Super St. Bernard, Switzerland, where the eponymous dogs hail from.

Itinerary: Switzerland to France, Italy and back to Switzerland

Dates: Departures on March 14, 21 and 28

Price: $4,990 (double occupancy; single supplement $995), including all accommodations, the services of a certified ski and snowboard instructor and most meals.

Info: DuVine, Somerville, Mass.; (888) 396-5383, www.duvine.com

GUATEMALA

Getaway to Guatemala

See the best of Guatemala by booking Gate 1 Travel's affordable 5 Day Classic Guatemala trip. You'll get escorted tours of Antigua (a Spanish-colonial-influenced UNESCO World Heritage Site), a visit to Chichicastenango's indigenous artisan market as well as the 400-year-old Church of Santo Tomás, plus an excursion to Lake Atitlán, once a volcano.

Itinerary: Guatemala City to Antigua to Chichicastenango and back to Guatemala City

Dates: Departures Jan. 8, 22, 29; Feb. 5, 12 and 26; March 12, 19 and 26, and other dates through December

Price: From $259 land only or $449 with airfare from New York, including airline fuel charges. Both prices include four nights' accommodations, all transportation and sightseeing (including entrance fees), the services of local tour guides and daily breakfast. An optional add-on to Tikal National Park is available for $299.

Info: Gate 1 Travel, Fort Washington, Pa.; (800) 682-3333, gate1travel.com

BORNEO and THAILAND

Southeast Asia Discoveries

Some of Southeast Asia's most alluring wonders are on display during Friendly Planet's 11-day Exotic Borneo & Bangkok tour, which begins on the Malaysian island filled with rain forests and indigenous tribes. The Borneo leg of the trip includes a tour of wildlife-packed Bako National Park and Bako, a fishing village built on stilts; boat rides on the South China Sea and the Batang Ai Reservoir; a visit to the Semengok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center; and a longboat cruise down the Engkari River to an Iban long house, where locals teach about their culture and perform a dance. Five days in Bangkok include a boat ride on Chao Phraya's canals, a visit to the Royal Barge Museum, centuries-old temples including Wat Arun and Wat Po, plus several optional add-on tours.

Itinerary: Kuching to Bako, Batang Ai and Bangkok. A five-day Kuala Lumpur pre-tour extension and a four-day Phuket post-tour extension are available at extra cost.

Dates: Departures Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 16, April 13, May 18 and several other dates later in 2010

Price: $1,599 (double occupancy, single supplement $375), including international round-trip airfare from LAX, intra-Asia flights, all ground transportation, hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and five lunches, sightseeing tours and fuel surcharges. The rate does not include $95 in additional taxes and fees. Book by Jan. 8 to get this deal; afterward, the price will rise at least $300.

Info: Friendly Planet, Jenkintown, Pa.; (800) 555-5765, www.friendlyplanet.coma

itinerary@latimes.com

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