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

Snorkle in the clear blue sea

Times Staff Writer


Escape to the blue lagoons of the South Pacific on an eight-day snorkeling vacation in French Polynesia.

The trip, available year-round, includes instruction and snorkeling off the coasts of Moorea and Rangiroa islands, near Tahiti. The package consists of airfare, most meals, four nights in Moorea and three nights in Rangiroa.

"Tahiti is well-known as a diving destination," said tour representative Roberta DiVito. "In addition to our dive packages, we wanted something with wider appeal. Snorkeling is accessible to a broad range of people and, given Tahiti's crystal-clear lagoons, provides instant gratification."

Participants feed rays and take guided excursions to areas rich in marine life. One of the tours includes a drift snorkeling trip to Tiputa Pass, off the atoll of Rangiroa. Snorkelers are dropped off at the pass and float in with the tide, watching the sea life below them.

Cost: $3,295 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $1,370), including round-trip air from LAX, accommodations, most meals, inter-island air transportation and transfers and baggage handling.

Contact: Islands in the Sun, El Segundo, (800) 828-6877, . Other snorkeling programs are available.


Old-world immersion Explore the capitals of Eastern Europe on a two-week tour that visits Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The Sept. 16 escorted tour stops at palaces, museums and theaters in the capital cities of Warsaw and Krakow, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna; and Prague, Czech Republic. There will also be a tour of the mountainous regions of Slovakia and a cruise down the Danube River.

Cost: $2,830 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $800), including round-trip airfare from LAX, transportation, accommodations, many meals, English-speaking tour guides, travel protection plan, airport taxes and transfers and sightseeing.

Contact: Hermes Travel and Tours, Torrance, (310) 791-5556, .


Saddle up for Grand Tetons HIt the riding trails of the Grand Tetons on five-day backcountry trips for women.

The trips, scheduled throughout the summer, are for beginning to advanced horseback riders. Trails wind through meadows and high mountain passes and circle glacial lakes.

Two types of tours are available: back-country camping, planned July 28 and Aug. 3, and condominium accommodations, Aug. 24 and 29.

Cost: Camping trips are $1,135 per person, including gear (except sleeping bag and pad), meals, guide and horse. Condo trips are $1,335 per person including accommodations, meals, guide and horse. Transportation to the Grand Tetons is not included.

Contact: Bar H Ranch, Driggs, Idaho, (888) 216-6025, .


Biking, beer in Bavarian Alps CYCLE the Bavarian Alps — stopping along the way at microbreweries, beer gardens and beer festivals — on a 10-day bike-and-beer tour.

The July 31 trip, which is designed for experienced cyclists, will be based in Schliersee, Germany, in the upper Bavarian Alps and will include road and mountain biking. Each day's tour will end at a microbrewery or beer garden. Other activities include visits to two beer festivals.

Cost: $3,499 per person, including round-trip airfare from LAX to Munich, bicycles, transfers, accommodations, meals, van support, guide and activities.

Contact: Uplifters Spirits, Santa Monica, (310) 399-8472, .


Cruising with antiques show Find fall along the Atlantic coast on a nine-night cruise that begins in Montreal and ends in New York City.

The Oct. 1 voyage, aboard the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator, visits Quebec and Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston and Cape Cod, Mass. Experts from the PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" will be aboard to discuss items that might be found on shopping excursions in the region.

Cost: Rates start at $3,245 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge starts at $811), and include airfare from LAX to Montreal and returning from New York City. Also included are transfers, one shore excursion and dinner and a cocktail party with the "Antiques Roadshow" cast.

Contact: Maxima Travel, Riverside, (909) 776-2950,

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or write via e-mail to

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