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Gone Fishing for Costa Rican Natural Wonders

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A tour to Costa Rica to see nature and enjoy world-class fishing departs from LAX Aug. 2 and returns Aug. 16. The tour includes visits to six national parks and reserves. In addition, eight days of fishing are available.

The group will travel from the Pacific Coast, where they will fish for marlin and sailfish, to the Caribbean, where snook and tarpon are caught. A visit to the Arenal Volcano area will offer the chance to fish at Lake Arenal, which has rainbow bass. Tours are made into the Costa Rican rain forest at Manuel Antonio National Park, Carara Biological Reserve, Cahuita National Park and Tortuguero National Park. Tropical biologist Paul Abravaya and fisherman Glenn LeVars will accompany the group, along with local bilingual naturalist guides.

Cost: $1,950 per person, double occupancy. A 10-day trip departs on the same date for a cost of $1,650. Included: round-trip air fare from LAX to Costa Rica, all hotel accommodations, tours, ground transportation, and 17 meals. Fishing fees are not included.

Contact: Tropical Eco-Tours; telephone (805) 492-0365 or (888) 900-1ECO.

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European Hikes

Trips n’ Trails is offering three hiking trips to Europe this summer. The itineraries are suitable for hikers of all abilities. Hiking each day starts from picturesque mountain villages where visitors will stay in family-owned and -operated hotels in rooms with private baths.

The first trip is to Switzerland, July 6 to 18. Participants will explore three regions. Cost: $2,150.

The second trip, July 18 to 31, is from the sea to the Alps of Italy. It starts in the Cinque Terre and ends with hiking in the Dolomites. Cost: $2,200.

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The third trip explores the Tirolean region of Austria, Aug. 1 to 13. The group will stay in small villages. Cost: $1,950.

All costs are per person, double occupancy, including transfers, hotels, taxes, all breakfasts, most dinners and services of local guides. International air fare is not included.

Contact: Trips n’ Trails, P.O. Box 210, Calpine, CA 96124; tel. (800) 969-3575.

Millennium Cruise

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Be the first on your block to celebrate the millennium on a cruise on the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The cruise sets sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dec. 22, 1999, for 12 days and stops at Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), St. Croix, St.-Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Martinique and Venezuela. An optional flight over Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world’s highest waterfall, is available.

Cost: from $2,049 per person, double occupancy. Air fare is additional.

Contact: Carolyn Edwards, travel operator; tel. (805) 684-6601.

Sri Lanka Festival

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An “Elephant Perahera Pageant” tour to Sri Lanka is available from July 30 to Aug. 14. The ancient elephant festival is held under the August full moon. Ornately decorated elephants with musicians, dancers, fire-walkers and whip-crackers wind through the streets of Kandy on a pilgrimage to the Temple of Lord Buddha’s Tooth. The itinerary also includes the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, Dambulla, Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, Bundala Bird Sanctuary, the British Hill Station of Nuwara Eliya, Hikkaduwa on the south coast beaches and Colombo.

Cost: $3,295 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip economy air fare via Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, most meals, sightseeing, transfers and entrance fees.

Contact: Select Tours International, P.O. Box 210, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; tel. (310) 374-0880.

Italy’s Folk Crafts

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Artist-lecturer Roberta Kritzia will lead a tour to the medieval hill towns of Umbria and Tuscany from Sept. 1 to 12. The focus in these historic villages will be the craft studios of local artists. In Siena, guests will be invited to a wine sampling party at a private home where the garden terrace offers views of Siena and San Domenico. Guests also visit San Gimignano, Deruta, Spoleto, Assisi, Gubbio, Siena and Florence. A five-day extension is also available to Venice.

Cost: $2,950 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, motor-coach transportation, all breakfasts, eight meals, a gourmet picnic and sightseeing. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Personalized Travel, 5455 Sylmar Ave. Suite 902, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401; tel. (818) 994-2402 or (888) 994-2404.

More Italy

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The Tuscany Institute for Advanced Studies, located halfway between Rome and Florence, is offering two cultural excursions this summer. The first program, “Art and Architecture From the Etruscans to the Renaissance,” will be held from June 23 to 27 and led by an art history professor. The second program, “Words and Landscape: Visions of Continuity,” will be held from July 5 to 11. An Italian literature scholar and native of Trieste, Italy, will lead the group.

Participants in both programs will stay in a refurbished, centuries-old farmhouse with views of the countryside. Each program offers daily excursions to nearby medieval and Renaissance towns and hilltop villages, including Pienza, the setting for “The English Patient.” Enrollment in each program is limited to eight.

Cost: The five-day art history program is $1,675, and the seven-day literature program is $2,045. Prices include four half-day instructional programs, excursions, lodging (double occupancy, private bath), two daily meals and ground transportation. Air fare is extra.

Contact: The Tuscany Institute; tel. (800) 943-8070.

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Gold Rush Country

Pan for gold and strike it rich on a five-day trip to the California Gold Rush country. The tour runs June 12 to 16 and visits Oakhurst, Jamestown, Angel’s Camp, Jackson, Sutter’s Mill, Bass Lake Cruise, Thomas Kincaid Gallery and the Golden Chain Highway.

Cost: $499 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, motor coach transportation from Los Angeles, daily sightseeing, seven meals and admissions.

Contact: Daphne Bendel, Fitzgerald Tours and Cruises, 575 Anton Blvd. Suite 440, Costa Mesa, CA 92626; tel. (626) 358-7981.

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Sound of Music

A musical tour that introduces travelers to the music and lives of composers such as Beethoven, Bruckner, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn and Strauss runs Sept. 12 to 19. The musical meandering through Austria begins in Salzburg and ends in Vienna, stopping en route in St. Florian (Bruckner) and Eisenstadt (Haydn). Participant will visit composers’ birthplaces; see where they lived and worked; and tour the countryside, the churches and palaces that inspired them.

Cost: $2,545 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York, accommodations, two meals per day, travel by motor coach, all musical events, lectures and sightseeing excursions.

Contact: Herzerl Tours; tel. (800) 684-8488.

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Mayan Studies

Casa Xelaju, an educational institute in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, is offering three-week study tours from June 7 to 26, June 28 to July 17, and July 19 to Aug. 6.

Each package includes one week of Mayan civilization study, one week of Spanish studies and one week of Guatemalan literature. Participants will visit Quetzaltenango, Lake Atitlan, Santiago Atitlan, Chichicastenango, Antigua and Tikal.

Cost: $1,500 per person, including accommodations, classes, ground transportation, tours and some meals. The price does not include air fare.

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Contact: Julio E. Batres, Casa Xelaju; tel. (512) 416-6991.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.


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