From LAX, Connecting service (change of planes) to Athens is offered on Air France, British, Lufthansa, Alitialia, Continental, Delta, US Airways, KLM and Swiss. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,070.
The airport has most major car rental agencies. When leaving, take the main road west of Hania to Tavronitis, From there, it's a bumpy, hour-long drive across the island to Palaiochora on the southern coast.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 30 (country code for Greece), 28 (the area code) and the local number
WHAT TO DO
Nature Maniacs, Loutro, Crete; 250-91017, http://www.itanostours.gr or http://www.naturemaniacs.com. Nature Maniacs has eight-day guided sea kayak tours from Palaiochora and other destinations along the south coast, from $922 a person.
The Northwest Passage, 1130 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette, Ill.; (800) 732-7328, http://www.nwpassage.com. Northwest Passage has eight- to 10-day tours that depart from Iraklio on the north coast of Crete. Special-interest tours range from yoga and women's-only groups to educational tours at discounted rates for teachers, from $2,995 a person.
WHERE TO STAY
On the Rocks hotel, Daskaloyanni, Palaiochora, Crete; 230-41713. Rates for a standard double in this family-run hotel start at $129. If you seek more luxurious surroundings, book one of the sea-view, two-bedroom penthouse suites from $353.
Artemis Studios, Agia Roumeli, Crete; 250-91377, http://www.agiaroumeli.com. Twelve spacious studios on the outskirts of this peaceful seaside resort, which is accessible only by foot or by boat from Hora Sfakion, Loutro, Sougia and Palaiochora. Rates for a two-person studio with kitchenette from $68.
Hotel Porto Loutro I, Loutro, Crete; 250-91433, http://www.hotelportoloutro.com. Rates for a double room in this comfortable beachside hotel run by the friendly Adroulakakis family start at $89.
WHERE TO EAT
The Third Eye Vegetarian Restaurant, Palaiochora, Crete; 230 41234, http://www.thethirdeye-paleochora.com. Serves a range of meatless meals using fresh local ingredients. Entrees start at about $7.
Marmara beach restaurant, Marmara beach, Loutro, Crete; no phone. This isolated cove's only tavern serves rustic, traditional Cretan snacks. Entrees from $5.50.
Stratis Taverna, Loutro, Crete; 250-91348. Popular taverna surrounded by ancient olive groves, specializing in barbecued meat dishes. Entrees from $7.
TO LEARN MORE
Greek National Tourism Organization, 26A Amalias Ave., Athens; 210-3310529, http://www.visitgreece.gr.