Times Staff Writer


On steps of Machu Picchu

Hike the ancient Inca Trail through a cloud forest to the Gateway of the Sun -- the entrance to the legendary lost city of Machu Picchu -- on 10-day tours to Peru.

The four-hour hike is one of several soft adventures on the escorted tours, which depart several times a year, including March 11, April 1 and May 13.

"We focus on the wonders of Peru: Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu," said Peruvian native Devy Reinstein, organizer of the tours. "It covers the main attractions and is designed to accommodate people who want some adventure but don't want it to be too intense."

Cost: $2,195 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $250), including round-trip airfare from LAX and flights within Peru, accommodations, meals, guides and sightseeing.

Contact: Andes Adventures, Santa Monica; (800) 289-9470,



Sightsee, paint what you see

PAINT a thousand words with your pictures on a 15-day art trek through Tuscany.

The June 18 tour, with art instructor Carol Levy and art historian June Hager, will begin and end in Florence.

"Every day we just set up and paint in the beautiful Tuscan environment," said organizer Carol Duchamp. The tour will focus on the region's gardens and hill cities.

Cost: $3,945 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $945), including accommodations, many meals, museum entrance fees, art history presentations, art walking tours, daily painting classes and guides. Transportation to Italy is not included.

Contact: Art Trek, Bolinas, Calif.; (415) 868-9558,



Lake Erie to Lake Louise

MaKE tracks across Canada on an eight-day journey from Toronto, Ontario, to Calgary, Alberta.

The May 23 trip begins in Buffalo, N.Y., with a two-day visit to nearby Niagara Falls. The next stop is Toronto, where participants board the Canadian transcontinental train, heading west.

In Jasper, the group moves to a bus for a Rocky Mountain drive along the Icefields Parkway to Banff, Lake Louise and Calgary.

Cost: $2,195 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $300), including airfare from LAX to Buffalo and Calgary to LAX, two nights in sleeper cars aboard the Canadian, hotels, 14 meals, Niagara Falls cruise, transportation and admissions.

Contact: Great Western Tours, Pasadena; (800) 344-7090.



Garden tour

of London

Stop and smell the roses this spring on a weeklong tour to some of London's best-known gardens and a stop at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The May 23 tour includes visits to the Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew; Hampton Court Palace and Gardens; Winston Churchill's home Chartwell and its gardens; and the Royal Horticultural Society Garden Wisley.

The tour will be led by English native Nick Milburn, a horticulturalist at Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar.

Cost: $1,999 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $499), including accommodations, many meals, entrance fees and tours. Airfare to London is not included.

Contact: Enchanted Garden Tours, Santa Ana; (714) 633-4639.



As if to the manner born

Picture yourself as lord or lady of the manor on a 12-day trip that includes stays in castles. The June 4 tour includes stops in Limerick, Kilkenny and Dublin.

Cost: $2,530 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $580), including accommodations, many meals, transportation in Ireland, escort and guide. Airfare to Ireland is not included.

Contact: Adventureland Travel & Tours, North Hollywood; (888) 980-7070 or (818) 980-3730,

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; e-mail to travel@

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