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USTOA Members Offer Culinary Travel OptionsJune 20, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Wine, coffee and food lovers will find travel arrangements to suit every palate, on a variety of programs offered by members of the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA). Coffee connoisseurs can head to Colombia, while seafood lovers can learn to cook paella in Argentina. Fine wines and dining are paired with travel arrangements in Italy, New Zealand and South Africa, as travelers can build their itineraries around their taste buds, according to the USTOA.
USTOA members offered six examples of tour options ranging from four to 12 days in length as follows:
Coffee Tasting in Colombia, Four days/Three Nights
Get to the real essence of coffee on a Colombian Coffee package from Brendan Vacations. Priced at $918 per person, the package includes roundtrip flights from Bogota to Armenia, a full-day coffee farm excursion featuring coffee tasting and coffee plant tours, an excursion to the Corcora Valley, and a trip to ACAIME Nature Reserve. The package is available through December 31, 2011, and provides a savings of 10 percent over making the same arrangements on your own, according to Brendan Vacations. For reservations and more information phone 800-421-8446 or visit www.brendanvacations.com.
Paella Argentine Style, 15 days/14 Nights
Learn to prepare Paella Argentine style s on a two-week “SITA’s Gourmet Tour to Chile & Argentina.” Visiting Santiago and the Casablanca Valley in Chile; and Mendoza and Buenos Aires in Argentina, the 15-day/14-night tour includes accommodations, meals, sightseeing, local guides, transportation, culinary experiences and more. Priced from $5,312 per person, the tour is available for booking through September with travel available through November 15, 2011. For more information, phone 800-421-5643 or visit www.sitatours.com.
Italy Wining and Dining, Nine or 10 Days
Dine alfresco on the terrace of historic Villa Tritone overlooking the Bay of Naples, along with personally selected wines by the villa’s owner and hostess, on an intimate tour from General Tours World Traveler’s “Italy: The Amalfi Coast to Cinque Terre” that tops out at 16 guests. Visiting Italy from coast to coast, this nine-day/eight-night tour takes in Sorrento, Pompeii, Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre. First class and deluxe hotels; 15 meals including fine local wines at lunch and dinner; lunch and wine-tasting on an Umbrian estate, extensive sightseeing and all on-tour transportation are included in the price. Priced from $4,244, this tour is valid through October 14, 2011, and can be booked until departure. Visit www.generaltours.com for more information.
Sicilian wines and restaurants in Palermo, Segesta, Erice, Agrigento, Siracusa and Taormina are highlighted on Travcoa’s Splendors of Sicily, a 10-day/nine-night luxury tour. A Dine-Around program allows guests to dine independently wherever they wish. Price includes accommodation, all meals, comprehensive sightseeing, transportation, services of a travel director and local guides, and more. Priced from $4,199 if booked by September 20, 2011, this tour is valid through October 18, 2011. For more information visit www.travcoa.com.
New Zealand Wine Country, 10 Days/Nine Nights
Create your own New Zealand wine tasting, as you sample classic vintages from premier boutique wineries. Visit Napier, Martinborough, Wellington and Blenheim, all part of New Zealand’s wine trail on your own with a full-size self-drive rental car, accommodations and ferry crossing between the North and South islands on Goway’s “New Zealand Wine Country” vacation. Price begins at $2,190 land only, with air fare available at an additional price. According to Goway, the price represents a 10 percent savings over creating the same itinerary on your own. For more information phone 888 469 2944 or visit www.goway.com.
South Africa Safari & Gourmet Dining, 12 Nights/10 Days
Combine a love of food and wildlife on Great Safari’s “Food & Wine Safari to South Africa.” Valid through December 1, 2011, this individually-arranged 12-day/10-night itinerary visits Cape Town, and includes a safari to a private game reserve and visit to Victoria Falls. Along the way travelers dine in some of South Africa’s finest establishments and also have opportunities to meet the chefs. Priced at $7,000 per person, this trip provides a savings of 15 to 20 percent over planning arrangements on your own, according to Great Safaris. For more information phone 800-409-7755 or visit www.greatsafaris.com.
All prices listed above are based on double occupancy. Restrictions and additional security fees, departure and local taxes and fees may apply. Prices may vary based on departure date.
For more information on vacations with culinary interest visit www.ustoa.com.