The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Tours & cruises: Mexico, Brazil, Europe and Borneo


Winter blues? Not here

Party your way down to Cabo for a great price; Carnival's Elation makes a fun, affordable five-day trip.

Itinerary: San Diego to Cabo San Lucas to Ensenada and back to San Diego.

Info: Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami; (888) 227-6482,

Dates: Departure dates include Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and 17, Jan. 10 and Feb. 7.

Price: Starting at $239 a person, double occupancy, including port charges but not including fuel surcharges or taxes. Carnival charges $4 a person per day for third, fourth and fifth guests in a cabin.


Talk about your snow birds

Get on the snow and ice with Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel's "Nordic Heaven at Mammoth" package at the national park.

Info: Xanterra Parks & Resorts; (866) 439-7375,

Dates: Available Jan. 4 through March 8. Minimum two-night stay.

Price: $175 per person, double occupancy; $259 for single occupancy, including a full-day ski rental, one ski drop, unlimited ice skating and skates, a one-hour hot tub rental, two breakfasts, a Snow Card (good for local discounts) and a welcome gift. The price does not include tax.


It's carnival time in Rio

Cross an item off your life's to-do list by heading to Rio for the world's most exuberant carnival celebration. General Tours World Traveler provides the navigation once you're there with a six-day key to the city.

Info: General Tours World Traveler, Keene, N.H.; (800) 221-2216,

Dates: Feb. 20 to 25.

Price: $1,399 per person, including private airport transfers; sightseeing tours with a personal car, driver and guide; a choice between ascending Sugarloaf Mountain by cable car or Mt. Corcovado by train to see the famous Christ statue up close; five nights in your choice of seven upscale hotels and five meals. Airfare is not included.


Ah, the romance of it all

Dream yourself into three of Europe's most romantic cities for an eight-day visit spanning Paris and Venice and Florence, in Italy, on the "European Dream" package.

Info: Adventure Vacations, La Jolla; (800) 600-5587,

Dates: Available through March 31.

Price: Starting at $1,590 per person, double occupancy (single supplements start at $280), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles; airfare from Paris to Florence; first-class train fare from Venice to Florence; three hotel nights in Paris, two in Venice and two in Florence; breakfast daily; guidebooks to each city; maps and discount coupons. The price doesn't include airport taxes, which add about $130.


Explore the Rajang River

Be a travel pioneer by taking one of the first tourist cruises on the Rajang River, where you'll see lands that are home to crocodiles and hornbills as well as the Iban people, who practiced headhunting until the 1950s. The trip will be aboard the new 60-passenger Orient Pandaw, a replica of a colonial river steamer.

Info: Pandaw River Cruises, Singapore; (800) 798-4223,

Itinerary: Sibu to the Pelagus Rapids to beyond the Baleh River and back to Sibu.

Dates: Starting July 1, eight-night cruises will depart three times a month.

Price: $2,248 per person for main-deck cabins, including shore excursions (jungle treks; boat trips up tributaries; tours of indigenous longhouses, colonial ruins, pepper farms, fruit plantations and weaving workshops); all meals, snacks and cocktails; evening entertainment; transfers in Sibu and port charges. Airfare to embarkation is not included.

Binshtock is a freelance writer.

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