Operators offer range of outdoor programs in South America

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NEW YORK -- Specialty tour operators are offering new paths to the adventure of travel in South America, taking to the open road on foot and on bicycles and traveling by boat along Amazon waters and aboard sea kayaks in the Galapagos Islands and Tierra del Fuego.

Following are some of the new opportunities offered by companies experienced in outdoor vacation travel; prices are per person, double.

  • Southwind Adventures in Littleton, Colo., invites clients to Bike Chile, a cycling adventure that spends nine nights in the Lake District of northern Patagonia, where participants ride in the shadow of volcanoes, over rolling terrain through Las Cascadas en route to Puyehue National Park and explore Osorno Volcano by foot and/or bike.
  • Activities include seven days of van-supported bike touring, averaging 25 miles per day, with accommodations in hotels and inns. Departures are scheduled for Oct. 21, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9, and the land cost starts at $2,025.

  • Backroads in Berkeley, Calif., introduced a multisport mountain bike and hike program for eight days in Peru, exploring Cusco and Machu Picchu, and pedaling through the Sacred Valley of the Incas outside Cusco to visit villages.
  • The land cost is $3,298 on departures scheduled for Sept. 3 and Oct. l, with deluxe accommodations at the Hotel Monasterio del Cusco. Travelers can add three days of boating and hiking in the Amazon for an additional $1,200.

    The operator also offers hiking and/or multisport vacations to Ecuador and the Galapagos; the Lake District of Chile and Argentina, and southern Patagonia.

  • Roads Less Traveled, based in Boulder, Colo., will journey among Ecuador's snow-capped volcanoes and explore the Andean countryside by foot, mountain bike and horseback.
  • Participants also will visit Indian markets and raft a tributary of the Amazon River. Tour dates are July 5 to 15 and July 19 to 29, and the cost is $1,795.

    The operator will also offer a multisport adventure in Peru, with monthly departures August through December.

  • Mountain Travel Sobek in El Cerrito, Calif., unveiled a trip for the experienced white-water rafter called Expedition Bolivia.
  • The river is the Tuichi, the country's premier white-water river, with rapids ranging from Class II to IV.

    Other features of the trip include a two-day trek from the Andes to the Amazon basin, as well as a Jeep safari across the altiplano, skirting Lake Titicaca. Departure dates for the 12-day trip are June 24, July 8 and 22 and Aug. 5, and the land cost starts at $2,590, depending on the number of participants.

    The adventure operator also offers trips in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Venezuela.

  • Wilderness Travel in Berkeley, Calif., will takes travelers on an 18-night program in Patagonia, starting in Argentina's Valdes Peninsula and continuing to Tierra del Fuego, the Fitzroy Massif, Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park and Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
  • Tour members will participate in day hikes from lodges over terrain often rugged and mountainous but with no altitude extremes. Trips depart on Oct. 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 19, and the tour costs from $4,195, depending on the number of members.

    The operator also has adventure programs to Peru, and is introducing this year an itinerary called To the Ends of the Earth, featuring hiking in Patagonia and sea kayaking in Tierra del Fuego.

  • Ecotour of Jamestown, R.I., will be offering two special-interest Amazon cruises aboard its river boat Tucano, an elegant small vessel with air-conditioned cabins and private baths.
  • Amazon Nature Through the Lens is escorted by Dr. John Feltwell, a professional ecologist and photographer who lives in England and is a plant collector for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew; the departure date is May 9, and the cost is $1,925.

    Fur, Feathers and Medicinal Plants is the program led by Dr. Dale Gephart, who has taught economic botany for 26 years at Dartmouth College.

    His trip will focus on the rain forest's diverse wildlife, and visits will be made to local settlements. The cruise departs on May 23, and the cost is $1,925.

    Backroads
    Phone: (800) 462-2848
    Fax: (510) 527-1444
    Web: www.backroads.com

    Ecotour Expeditions
    Phone: (800) 688-1822
    Fax: (401) 423-9630
    E-mail [email protected]
    Web: www.naturetours.com

    Mountain Travel Sobek
    Phone: (888) 687-6235
    Fax: (510) 525-7710
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web: www.mtsobek.com

    Roads Less Traveled
    Phone: (800) 488-8483
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web: www.roadslesstraveled.com

    Wilderness Travel
    Phone: (800) 368-2794
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web: www.wildernesstravel.com

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