Tracking lions, tigers and bulls
Conservation scientist Robert Buchsbaum will lead the trip, which will visit sanctuaries in western and central India.
"The tour goes to some of the last remaining habitats of the Bengal tiger and the Asiatic lion," said Karen O'Neill of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. "Some are remote."
The tour visits Gir National Park, the Little Rann of Kutch National Park, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary and Kanha National Park, where participants will ride elephants in search of tigers.
Among the mammals participants may see are blue bulls, wolves, foxes and gazelles. Bird species are diverse, including black-headed cuckoo shrikes, shaheen falcons, black vultures and white-necked storks.
Cost: $5,400 per person, double occupancy ($1,200 single surcharge), including accommodations, meals, internal airfare, ground transportation, jeep and elephant safaris and entrance fees. International airfare is not included.
Contact: Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln, Mass.; (800) 289-9504, http://www.massaudubon.org .
Holidays at Hearst Castle
GET a head start on the Christmas season with a holiday tour of Hearst Castle and historic Monterey.
The three-night bus tour departs Ventura for Monterey on Dec. 8. The group spends two nights there, touring Monterey Historic Park aglow with candles and carolers, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carmel.
The tour heads south on Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur to Hearst Castle, which will be decorated for the holidays.
The group will stay in San Simeon before heading south to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for lunch and back to Ventura.
Cost: $525 per person, double occupancy ($130 single surcharge), including transportation from Ventura, hotels, some meals, admissions and luggage handling. Transportation from Los Angeles to Ventura is not included.
Contact: Ventura County Museum of History and Art, Ventura; (805) 653-0323, Ext. 17, http://www.californiadiscovery.com .
Learn Spanish, see the sites
STUDY Spanish and the culture of Mexico during a seven-night stay in Mexico City and Cuernavaca.
The study tours are offered Nov. 13, Feb. 12, Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.
In addition to a daily hourlong Spanish lesson, participants will tour the Borda Gardens and the Cuahnahuac Museum (formerly the Palace de Cortéz) in the resort town of Cuernavaca.
The group will travel to Taxco de Alarcón to see paintings by colonial-era artist Miguel Cabrera.
Other stops in the area include a visit to the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán and the temples and pyramids of Xochicalco near Cuernavaca in Morelos.
In Mexico City, the group will tour the Museo Nacional de Antropología the Catedral Metropolitana and the Palacio Nacional, which houses murals by Mexican social realist Diego Rivera.
Cost: $1,990 per person, double occupancy ($400 single surcharge), including hotels, meals, excursions, classes and taxes. Airfare from Los Angeles to Mexico City and airport transfers are not included.
Contact: Alumni Holidays International, Rosemont, Ill.; (800) 323-7373, http://www.ahitravel.com .
Winter wildlife in Yellowstone
CHILL out this winter in Yellowstone National Park on tours that begin Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.
The five-night tours include two nights in Jackson Hole and three nights at Old Faithful Snow Lodge in the park.
Participants tour Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in heated, track-driven snow buses in search of elk, moose, Canada geese and a variety of waterfowl that winter in the area. They may catch a glimpse of the elusive wolf.
"We don't go to Lamar Valley searching for wolves," said Wayde Fullmer of Main Street Tours, "But last year all of our participants saw wolves."
Cost: $1,175 per person, double occupancy ($350 single surcharge), including airfare from Los Angeles, lodging and ground transportation. Most meals are not included.
Contact: Main Street Tours, Torrance; (800) 300-6246, http://www.mainstreettours.com .
Send tour information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or e-mail email@example.com.