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Tours and cruises: Myanmar, Iraq, Croatia and Italy, Belize and Montana

January 24, 2010

MYANMAR

Keepers of tradition

Antonia Neubauer, president of the tour company Myths & Mountains, said, " 'The Tribal People of Myanmar' trip is one of my personal favorites." It includes traveling to the country's don't-miss urban and architectural locales, full of imposing pagodas, and to villages to meet tradition-keeping locals. This 19-day experience includes visiting open-air markets, boat-riding on Inle Lake, watching a myth-conveying puppet show and exploring a Buddha-filled cave.

Itinerary: Yangon, Pagan, Mindat, Mandalay, Amarapura, Kengtung, Heho, Kalaw, Pindaya, Inle Lake, Heho and back to Yangon.

Dates: Feb. 28-March 18, though custom dates and prices are available.

Price: From $4,695 (multiple occupancy; single supplement $1,085), including all accommodations and taxes, meals, airfare within Myanmar, ground transfers, guided tours and entrance fees. The price does not include international airfare, visa fees, airport taxes or gratuities.

Info: Myths & Mountains, Incline Village, Nev.; (800) 670-6984, www.mythsandmountains.com

IRAQ

Plenty of history

Distant Horizons has taken three tourist groups to the autonomous region known as Iraqi Kurdistan and reports that all have been safe, which the company attributes to staying east of the "green line." Highlights of the 13-day excursion include a tour of Erbil, Kurdistan's capital and home of the Citadel (the world's longest continuously inhabited urban place), visits to museums and lunch with their directors, stops at Assyrian monuments and a tour of the 7th century Monastery of Rabban Hormizd. Also of interest: Amadiyah, a hilltop fortress that was a Silk Road stop and the onetime home of a large Jewish community. Kurd scholar Douglas Layton, who lived in Kurdistan for more than 16 years, accompanies the tour.

Itinerary: Erbil to Dohuk, Gaugamela, Amadiyah, Sulaymaniyah and back to Erbil.

Dates: April 6-19 and Oct. 3-16

Price: $5,890 (double occupancy; single supplement $1,140), including all hotel accommodations, most meals, guided tours and entrance fees. The price does not include international airfare.

Info: Distant Horizons, Long Beach; (800) 333-1240, www.distant-horizons.com

CROATIA AND ITALY

Exploring the Adriatic

Book Variety Cruises' new "Tales of the Adriatic" journey by Feb. 1 to get a free pre- or post-cruise stay in Venice, Italy, or Split, Croatia, including two hotel nights and a half-day sightseeing tour. The boating part of the trip, aboard a recently refurbished yacht, visits Roman- and Byzantine-influenced destinations along the Adriatic coast over eight days. In Split, see the Arena and the temples of Augustus and Jupiter, plus visit a local wine cellar for tastings; in Venice, visit St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace. The other cities promise town squares, more Roman history and architecture, churches and cathedrals.

Itinerary: Venice to Rovinj, Zadar, Sibenik, Hvar, Split, Pula and back to Venice.

Dates: Departures June 25; July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Aug. 6, 13 and 20. Book by Feb. 1 to get the add-on land program.

Price: Starting at $2,690 (double occupancy; single supplement 50%), including all accommodations, two meals daily, the services of a cruise escort and taxes. Not included are port charges of $390, visa fees, optional excursions, beverages and gratuities.

Info: Variety Cruises, Athens; (800) 319-7776, www.varietycruises.com

BELIZE

In the wilds

Start off in the jungle, then head to a tropical island with Up Close Wildlife Tours' "Another Day in Paradise" package. The jungle part of the trip includes adventures such as archaeological caving. You'll also learn about ancient Mayan culture and rituals, and tour temples and palaces. The island segment can include snorkeling with sharks and stingrays, taking an aerial trek or visiting the Belize zoo.

Itinerary: Itineraries can be customized, but all include four nights in the jungle and three on an island of your choice.

Dates: Available through June 30

Price: $1,855, including all accommodations, most meals, airport transfers, flights within Belize, three jungle tours, two island tours and all taxes. The rate does not include international airfare, certain meals, gratuities or vehicle and boat transfers on the island.

Info: UpClose Wildlife Tours, Belmopan, Belize; (832) 426-2385, www.upclosebelize.com

MONTANA

For rugged women

AdventureWomen, a travel company geared toward active women 30 and older, presents a rugged itinerary called "Hiking Big Sky and Yellowstone, Montana." The highlights include trekking, white-water rafting on the Gallatin River, horseback riding, a gondola ride up a Big Sky mountain, a wildlife safari and a stay at a log-cabin guest ranch.

Itinerary: Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park and back to Bozeman.

Dates: July 24-30

Price: $2,695, including all accommodations and transportation, most meals (but not drinks), entry fees, hikes, a river-rafting excursion, a horseback ride, a gondola ride and a hayride. Not included is airfare to Bozeman, a group transfer from Bozeman to Big Sky (about $60) and most gratuities.

Info: AdventureWomen, Bozeman, Mont.; (800) 804-8686, www.adventurewomen.com

-- Avital Binshtock itinerary@latimes.com

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