Vikings’ stamping grounds

Times Staff Writer

Warm up to Iceland, North America’s closest European neighbor, on a cultural tour with the Oceanside Museum of Art.

The eight-day tour leaves San Diego on June 2 for four nights in Reykjavik and two nights in Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

The group will visit the stone ruins of Pingvellir, where Vikings settled around AD 900; the wonders of Gullfoss, site of a 105-foot double waterfall; and geysers in Strokkur.

“The cultural and natural environment is spectacular,” said Bob Stok of STS International Tours. “There’s the ice, and then it’s also volcanic. It really is the land of ice and fire.”


The group also will visit the National Museum of Iceland and several folk museums, attend a horse show and bathe in the mineral waters of the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal pool set amid black lava fields just outside Grindavik.

Cost: $2,898 per person, double occupancy ($521 single surcharge), including airfare from San Diego, hotel, most meals, sightseeing, museum fees, guide and contribution to the Oceanside Museum of Art. Transportation to San Diego and airport taxes are not included.

Contact: Beth Smith, Oceanside Museum of Art; (760) 721-2787;, or STS International; (800) 620-9995.




The Derby and much more

WATCH the ponies run at the 131st Kentucky Derby and see the sights of Louisville, Lexington and Berea on a weeklong tour.

The seven-day trip, beginning May 2, includes a tour of Lexington and its museums and historic sites, a trip to Berea, known for its folk artists, and visits to surrounding villages. These include Harrodsburg, founded in 1714; the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and Bardstown, home of the Federal Hill mansion celebrated in the folk song “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Seats for the race are in the Grand Terrace section at the fourth turn.

Cost: $1,799 per person, double occupancy ($400 single surcharge), including airfare from Los Angeles, accommodations, most meals, excursions, Kentucky Derby tickets and festivities, airport transfers, taxes and baggage handling. Beverages are not included.

Contact: Great Western Tours, Pasadena; (626) 578-1161 or (800) 344-7090.




Off-road view of Catalina

EXPLORE the wild side of Catalina Island on a four-hour off-road tour.

Tours leave Avalon at 9 a.m. daily and include a visit to the American Bald Eagle Habitat and a trip through the island’s outback. Passengers are accompanied by a Catalina Island Conservancy-trained guide.

Cost: $89 per person, including tour and lunch.

Contact: Discovery Tours, Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, Avalon; (310) 510-2000, Ext. 1223,




Helping out in Tijuana

MEET the people of Tijuana while working as a volunteer during a four-day UCLA Alumni Travel program.

The program, which begins May 12, will include projects such as cooking and serving at an orphanage, planting a garden and repainting a school.

Cost: $499 per person, double occupancy ($150 single surcharge), including accommodations, most meals, transportation from San Diego, tours, lectures, tools and supplies at project sites. The trip fee is 80% tax-deductible. Transportation to San Diego is not included.

Contact: UCLA Alumni Travel, Los Angeles; (800) 825-2586,



Take a master chef’s tour

SAVOR the cuisine of India’s spice coast and royal north on an 11-day culinary tour with author and chef Julie Sahni in conjunction with the Culinary Institute of America.

The April 21 tour will include demonstrations by tandoor masters, biryani and dosa specialists and spice experts. The group will taste the Mughal cuisine of New Delhi and Agra and visit Jaipur.

Cost: $5,500 per person, double occupancy ($1,085 single surcharge), including deluxe accommodations, meals, train and bus transportation, demonstrations, tours and tastings. Airfare to Delhi is not included.

Contact: Michael Coon, Worlds of Flavor Culinary Travel Programs; (866) 242-2433;


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