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Tours & Cruises

Walk and wine in Argentina, ski in Italy, thrills away from the gambling tables in Las Vegas and see tradition in Myanmar.

October 21, 2012|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times

Argentina: Hoofing it in wine country

Vermont-based Country Walkers offers an Argentina tour that explores on foot the wine country of Mendoza as well as the lakes of Patagonia. Add three extra days in Buenos Aires for free by booking selected spring tours. The walks on this eight-day trip are considered moderate to easy (they don't call it hiking) and usually last half a day. Near the start point in Mendoza, the group visits places such as Bodega Norton, a winery that dates to 1883, and the Horcones Valley at the base of Mt. Aconcagua, almost 23,000 feet above sea level. From there, it's a short flight to northern Patagonia near the border with Chile and the country's lake district. Lodgings overlook Nahuel Huapi Lake, where walks focus on wildlife (this is condor country), the natural reserve of the lake's 12-mile-long Victoria Island and the Patagonian steppe with views of the volcano Mt. Tronador.

Date: Tours departing Feb. 23 and March 9 include the free pre-tour.

Price: $5,198 a person, double occupancy, plus $750 internal airfare. It includes guide, accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, entrance fees to attractions and other extras. International airfare is not included. The free add-on includes two nights in Buenos Aires, most meals with wine or beer, a walking tour of the city, a tango show with dinner, an Argentine barbecue and transportation to the trip meeting point. The add-on is valued at more than $1,700 a person.

Info: Country Walkers; (800) 464-9255, http://www.countrywalkers.com

Italy: Ski the Dolomite Mountains

Food and skiing are the draws for a five-day trip to Italy's Dolomite Mountains. The tour starts in Alta Badia, where skiers stay in a hotel before heading out with a guide for two days on a hut-to-hut tour. Skiers visit the Sella Massif, the high point of the Marmolada Glacier (just under 11,000 feet) and the San Pellegrino and Civetta ski resorts before skiing down the Five Towers and arriving in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Along the way, enjoy meals with wine accenting fresh dishes typical of the South Tyrol and Trentino regions. The trip ends at Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Date: Trips are offered mid-December to mid-April.

Price: $3,686 a person, based on group of at least six skiers. It includes a ski pass and mountain ski guide, lodgings (in hotel and huts), some meals, baggage transfer and more. International airfare is not included.

Info: Dolomite Mountains Ltd.; (303) 898-3376, http://www.dolomitemountains.com

Las Vegas: Non-gambling thrills

Secret Agent 702 sounds like the spy who came in from the heat. But it's the name of a new Las Vegas adventure package aimed at thrill seekers who want to go race-car driving and ziplining rather than gambling when they visit the 702 (that's the city's area code). The two-day package starts with a limousine pickup at the airport and a stay at Hotel32, the boutique hotel atop the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Day 2 begins with an early morning helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon that touches down on a plateau overlooking the Colorado River for a private Champagne breakfast. From there, it's on to a zipline adventure from the 3,800-foot summit of Red Mountain in Bootleg Canyon that begins with a 300-foot plunge in 15 seconds. Three more runs keep the adrenaline pumping as you travel across the desert with a view of the city and Lake Mead. Still on Day 2, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway awaits, where you take a few super-speedy laps in a Ferrari F430 GT race car before returning to the hotel for dinner at Andre's in the hotel and a table at the Bank nightclub at the Bellagio.

Date: Through Feb. 28. Reservations must be made 30 days in advance; some blackout dates apply.

Price: $6,800 for two. (Guests must be at least 21 years old.) It includes a hotel stay for two nights, activities, one dinner and one nightclub pass.

Info: Papillon Group's Secret Agent 702; (888) 635-7272, http://www.papillon.com

Myanmar: Sacred and traditional

It's a new era in Myanmar as the country opens up to political reforms — and to a growing number of tourists. Friendly Planet Travel offers a 13-day tour called Mystical Myanmar with airfare from Los Angeles for $3,299 a person — and an extra $100 discount for those who book soon. The tour starts with a flight to the former capital Yangon via Taipei, Taiwan. The itinerary makes a loop from Bagan to Mandalay, Heho and Inle Lake before returning to Yangon. Pagodas and temples are the draw in Bagan where pony carts take tourists to hard-to-get-to places. Participants also help serve lunch to schoolchildren in a village during their stay. Trip highlights include stops at monasteries and pagodas with sacred statues in Mandalay, a five-day market in Inle Lake and a look at traditions such as silk weaving and arts and crafts.

Date: Trips leave L.A. on Feb. 23, March 9 and 23, April 13 and 27, and May 11.

Price: $3,299 a person, double occupancy. It includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles on China Airlines, domestic flights, accommodations, some meals, tours and tour guide. Use the Travelzoo code TZ101012 and receive a $100 discount per person if you reserve by Oct. 24.

Info: Friendly Planet/Travelzoo; (800) 555-5765, http://www.travelzoo.com

—Mary Forgione

travel@latimes.com

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