The 10 best adventure travel bargains of 2008

ByMolly Feltner,

— -- To make's annual top 10 list of best adventure bargains, a trip can't merely be affordable. Anybody can do cheap, and cheap isn't always good. A real bargain adventure has to work hard for the money you put into it, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, teaching you new skills you can apply elsewhere, or providing a depth and breadth of experiences at a cost you'd be hard pressed to match on your own. The very best bargains do all three. Here are 10 great trips that live up to these standards.

Discover the wild side of the Emerald Isle

Provider: Extreme Ireland Length: 15 days Price: about $2,045

Just a few years ago, extreme travel in Ireland meant trying to go pint for pint with the locals and then make it to your accommodations in one piece. But with its velvety green mountains, rocky West Coast, and numerous natural and prehistoric wonders—like the Giant's Causeway and the megalithic tomb of Newgrange—Ireland has always had the potential to be a true adventure destination. Yet, for the most part, escorted Ireland vacations have mostly consisted of overpriced "tea-and-scones" sightseeing bus tours and high-end golf or equestrian trips.

In 2008, thankfully, that's no longer a problem. Three years ago, after traveling the world and seeing adventure travel blossoming in destinations like New Zealand, Ireland natives Keith McDonnell and Mike Murphy started Extreme Ireland, an adventure company that aims to show travelers on a budget the wild side of the Emerald Isle. "We have mountains that rival any in the world. We have the remoteness that many people seek to get away from their hectic lives. If you are interested in mountain biking we have two world-class tracks. We have rock climbing all over the country inland and also numerous amazing cliffs. If you like kayaking you will not be disappointed. The list goes on. I know many countries have [similar attributes] but you mix these with the welcome you get here, the craic (Gaelic word for fun), and the proximity of everything, and you really can't beat Ireland," says McDonnell.

Extreme Ireland's most wide-ranging and best value trip, the Emerald Tour, packs more activities into two weeks than you could hope to organize on your own in a month, all for about $136 a day. Led by McDonnell, Murphy, or another company guide, you'll hike Dingle Peninsula, Connemara, and Donegal; summit Ireland's tallest and second tallest peaks as well as the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick; go cliff walking in County Clare and Donegal; and even learn the uniquely Irish sport of hurling. There are a number of cultural and historical excursions, too, like visits to the ancient Glendalough monastery and the Newgrange tomb.

"Extreme Ireland gave us exactly what we were looking for—personalized service, great support, fantastic hiking, and wonderful accommodations, not to mention the fine and friendly people we met," says James Benn, a writer from the U.S. who recently went on the tour.

The quality of the guides stands out in the minds of other Extreme Ireland guests as well. "Keith [McDonnell] is very professional and has a great sense of humor. He knows all the roads and paths like the back of his hand, and he introduces you to people around the country, so you feel you are really experiencing Ireland and its people," says Israeli Anat Halvey, who on went the trip last year.

Another U.S. tour-goer, Tammy Morgan, liked how she didn't need to break out any guide books because her guide was so well versed in Irish history and lore: "Mike [Murray] proved to be a great raconteur—strangers were flocking to our little group just to hear him speak."

Trip planningRemaining 2008 departures for this trip are August 13 and 29, September 15, and October 1. Prices cover accommodations, ground transportation, breakfast and lunches, attraction entrance fees, hiking, and a guide. Optional activities, dinners, and airfare are extra. Round-trip October fares from Newark to Dublin start at $681, including taxes and fees, on Continental.

Go on safari in Kenya

Provider: Classic Escapes Length: 12 days Price: about $2,995

Among the best places in Africa to view "the Big Five"—elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo—Kenya has long been one of the world's top safari destinations. After political strife erupted following the country's elections in December, however, international tourism dropped off by more than half (although no tourists were hurt). Many Kenyans whose income depends on tourism saw their business dry up: Safari lodges emptied, clientless guides and drivers idled, and game reserves lost income they needed to combat wildlife poachers.

In the eight months since, the political situation has stabilized, but the country still needs more tourists to get back on track. Hoping to lure the safari goers back, many outfitters are discounting package prices. Among them is Classic Escapes, a veteran of Kenya safaris, which is offering $1,000 off its 12-day luxury Kenya package through the rest of 2008. "This is a great time to visit Kenya—not only to support the people but to also see the wildlife and learn the culture before the crowds return," says Executive Director Susan Gettum.

On this safari you'll tour three of Kenya's best wildlife preserves and visit with several tribal groups living in or near the reserves. After a day in Nairobi, you'll head north to Samburu Reserve where you'll meet the semi-nomadic Samburu people and see species not seen elsewhere in Kenya such as the reticulated giraffe and blue-necked Somali ostrich. Traveling to the center of the country, you'll drive through the outer Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru National Park where literally thousands of flamingos congregate along with more than 350 other bird species. Saving the best for last, you'll end with several days in the Masai Mara, a huge game reserve where the epic great migration of wildebeest still takes place. Here is the Africa of your imagination: Elephants, cheetahs, baboons, giraffes, zebra, lions, hippos, rhinos, and hundreds of other species roaming freely and sharing the land with the tall, proud Masai people.

"The trip was beyond our expectations," says Amy Baggott, who traveled on a Classic Escapes Kenya safari in June with her husband and four children. "Our accommodations were indescribable, our guide was top-notch, our pre-trip preparations were a breeze and the itinerary was perfect. Every person we met in the camps, our guide, our naturalists, and the tribe members enveloped us in hospitality and warmth."

Trip planningDeparture dates include September 27, October 11, November 1 and 8, and December 27. Prices cover accommodations, breakfasts in Nairobi, all safari meals, ground transportation and game drives, guides, and park entry fees. Airfare is extra. Round-trip October fares from Newark to Nairobi start at $1,247, including taxes and fees, through Orbitz.

Cycle in Provence, France

Provider: Discover France Length: Eight days Price: from $1,722

One of Europe's most evocative destinations, Provence is meant to be experienced slowly, by all five senses: Time must be taken to smell the scent of lavender in the air, savor dishes delicately flavored with olive oil and herbs, hear the ringing of church bells, see the ancient towns still alive with everyday people, and feel the hilly landscape rising and falling as you travel across it. As such, traveling while encapsulated in a bus, car, or train is inadequate—only by cycling can you indulge your senses, and cover a decent amount of territory during a week-long vacation in the region.

Quite a few operators offer Provence cycling trips, but most tend to be high-end guided affairs involving kingly accommodations and "exclusive" activities, easily costing $600 or more a day. On the cheap side, there's always do-it-yourself planning and camping. For those whose budgets and tastes fall somewhere in between, consider booking a prearranged itinerary that's supported by a tour operator but self-guided. The France cycling and hiking outfitter Discover France puts together such trips, which give you the freedom of not being tied to a group while taking the work out of route planning, accommodation booking, and luggage transfers, not to mention giving you the peace of mind of having emergency support if you need it. And, at about $1,722 for seven nights (including comfortable to luxurious accommodations), it's a great deal.

On the company's Classic Provence itinerary, you'll bike about 186 miles from Avignon to Arles and back, passing through small towns such as St. Remy, where Van Gogh made more than 150 paintings. "The pace was ideal, the sense of adventure was exhilarating, and the ability to stop and 'smell the lavender' or just have a cup of coffee was rewarding and relaxing," says New Yorker Sylvia Stein, who went on the trip in May with her husband for their 25th wedding anniversary.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had (evenings and early mornings) to explore the towns we stayed in along the way. Uzes is a gem we would never have visited otherwise. As bona fide foodies, we had one of the top three meals of our lives in Arles. The charming hotel in Arles, which doubles as an archeological site—a plexiglass floor reveals Roman ruins—truly grounded us in the region. In Saint Remy we followed the trail of Van Gogh. Having grown up singing the song, 'Sur le pont d'Avingon, on y dancez ... ' it was magical to finally explore the Papal city of Avignon."

Trip planningYou can start this tour most days through October 31; the lowest prices apply to trips departing on or after September 15. Rates include accommodations, daily breakfasts and two dinners, an orientation at the beginning of the trip, detailed maps and route and attraction notes, daily luggage transfers, and emergency support. You may bring your own bike or rent one for about $165. Other meals, activities, and transportation to the trip's departure point are extra. Round-trip October fares from New York to Paris start at $759, including taxes and fees, on Iberia. From Paris, you can take the TGV train to Avignon for about $68 one-way and then take a taxi to the first hotel in Villeneuve-les-Avignon for about ?15 (about $22; for current conversion rates visit

Raft Oregon's Rogue River

Provider: O.A.R.S. Length: Four days Price: $847 to $1,247

Rafting wild whitewater rivers with rapids at every turn and spine-jolting drops can be exhilarating, but sometimes mellower rivers—those which allow you to relax a bit, take in the scenery, and practice new skills—can be best, especially if you're traveling with children or new to rafting. With moderate Class III rapids and sections of flat water, Southwestern Oregon's Rogue River promises just that: calm flowing waters interspersed with the occasional intermediate rapid—enough to satisfy kids and adults' thirst for adventure without being "hardcore."

A designated National Wild and Scenic River (damming and development are banned), the Rogue gives rafters a real wilderness experience. Paddling for 45 river miles through the forested canyons of the Siskiyou Mountains, you'll spend a few days in the realm of wildlife like elk, deer, bears, and bald eagles as well as river fish such as salmon and steelhead trout.

O.A.R.S., the largest and probably most respected rafting company in the country, runs four-day Rogue trips throughout the warmer months, including itineraries designed especially for families and gourmands. On all trips, you'll paddle a portion of the river each day and make stops to hike to waterfalls or side canyons, visit historic sites associated with early pioneers and settlers, and camp along the river's sandy beaches. While on the water, you'll have a choice of paddling in the raft with a guide or, for a more exciting ride, heading out on your own in an inflatable kayak. "When you ride the chutes, waves, and drops [in an inflatable kayak], you get a real sense of what it must be like to be a river otter," says Kristi Reif of O.A.R.S. "They are easy to handle in low-to-mid-intensity rapids, even for beginners."

Hearty wilderness cuisine is also an important part of O.A.R.S. trips, not just the special food and wine departures. On regular trips you can expect the likes of blueberry pancakes, cooked-to-order omelets, grilled steak and salmon, and Dutch-oven lasagna. On culinary trips, guest chefs make gourmet meals with wine on the river shore and invite trip-goers to join in with cooking lessons.

"This trip exceeded my expectations: The wilderness was wonderful—the river, birds, and mammals—the food and wine were exceptional, and the staff was amazing," says Princeton, New Jersey, resident Barbara Andrew, who went on a culinary-themed Rogue trip in June with her husband. "I have traveled with O.A.R.S. before and continue to be completely enthusiastic about their professionalism and good company."

Trip planningRemaining four-day trip dates this year are September 1, 8, and 18. The September 1 departure features gourmet wilderness cuisine, wine, and cooking lessons at a cost of $1,247 per person. Rates cover camping, transfers to and from the river, rafting equipment, guides, and all meals including beer and wine. Sleeping bags and pad, and transportation to the trip start and end point, the Galice Resort in Merlin, Oregon are extra. The nearest airport is about 40 minutes away in Medford, Oregon.

Walk Australian Outback tracks

Provider: Intrepid Travel Length: 11 days Price: about $1,640

Love the American Southwest, with its red rock mountains and canyons, native culture, and Wild West atmosphere? If so, try Australia's Red Centre, a destination that matches the Southwest's beauty but is inhabited by kangaroos and dingoes instead of coyotes and rattlesnakes, and is the realm of Australia's indigenous Aboriginal people.

While planning a trip to the region, Cameron Gaze, a camera assistant from Los Angeles, decided to book an 11-day trip through U.K.-based Intrepid Travel. "I wanted a real adventure and wanted to really experience the Red Centre of Australia, not just see it from a tour bus window," says Gaze who traveled with his wife. "Most other companies offered big bus tours without much on-ground experience or else private tours which were pretty expensive. Intrepid seemed to offer smaller groups and to really get you out there living it."

Starting in South Australia in the burnt umber Flinders Ranges, you'll venture into the Yourambulla caves to see Aboriginal paintings, hike to a natural amphitheater, and then stay with an Aboriginal community where you'll hear "Dreamtime" (Creation) stories and eat traditional foods. Then, you'll follow the Oodnadatta Track, an old Aboriginal trading route, through the desert, stopping at Aboriginal sites, thermal springs, and cowboy outposts en route. Finally, you'll hike around three red-rock icons sacred in the eyes of the indigenous communities: Uluru (Ayer's Rock), the red monolith Australia uses as its calling card to the world; Kata Tjuta, an even larger red rock formation with 36 domes; and Kings Canyon, a nearly 900-foot deep gorge.

"The major sites like Uluru and Kings Canyon were amazing but our leader took us to some off-the-beaten-path areas where we swam in crystal clear water holes, which was just so amazing—it felt like we were the only people on Earth," says Gaze."[This trip] was by far one of the most memorable adventures I've ever had. It was pretty 'out there' at times, sleeping in swags (small, one-person tents) and eating around the campfire each night. By the end of it I was covered in red earth and smiling like crazy."

Trip planningTrips depart every Sunday, plus every Wednesday from January through March, 2009. Rates cover accommodations (hotels and camping), ground transportation, guides, entrance fees and hikes, and most meals. Optional activities, sleeping bags, and airfare are extra. Open-jaw fares from Los Angeles to the trip's departure point in Adelaide and from the trip end point in Alice Springs back to Los Angeles start at $2,203, including taxes, on American.

Learn to kiteboard in Florida

Provider: South Florida Kiteboarding Length: Two or three days Price: $790

A sport just out of its infancy that's now taking off at wind-swept coasts around the world, kiteboarding combines elements of windsurfing and wakeboarding with a new way of harnessing wind power: specially designed kites that pull riders across the water at high speeds and allow them to perform high jumps and other tricks impossible with other watersports. While it all sounds a bit "extreme," kiteboarding is relatively safe in lighter winds and can be learned in just a few lessons with a good instructor and the right conditions.

Picking a quality kiteboarding school is essential. In the past few years, a lot of operations have opened seemingly overnight, and not all have the experience, or the insurance, to offer students safe and productive lessons. However, South Florida Kiteboarding (SFKB), the largest kiteboarding school in the state, has been teaching lessons since 2000, just a couple years after the sport began. The company has perfected its teaching techniques and facilities: Beginners get one-on-one training with certified instructors—no groups—and are taught in safe, flat shallow water or, when winds are below 12 mph, in the Cable Park, a system which simulates kiteboarding on a freshwater lake.

"Kiteboarding can be learned relatively quickly in the right environment," says Manager Stefan Pantu. "Our main selling point is that all kiteboard lessons are given in super easy waist-deep water. This greatly accelerates the learning experience. Many other schools teach in difficult open-ocean conditions with breaking waves, people on the beach, and deep water."

"I came across the guys at SFKB and quickly realized that shallow water is where it's at when learning how to kiteboard," says SFKB student Chris Pendl, who had tried lessons with other schools but wasn't happy with the results. "Don't waste your money on those guys at the deep water beach who want to give you lessons. Leave it to the pros at SFKB and get it right the first time."

If you want to learn to ride on your own, you can book the Addicted lesson package, which spreads nine hours of instruction and supervised practice time over two or three days. "Students typically learn to use the kite (without a board) in a two-to-four-hour lesson," says Pantu. "On no-wind days, students can learn kiteboard skills at the Cable Park. This is done in parallel with the kite-only class. Once students have the board skills, we put the kite and board skills together in another class. After that, the student can practice with minimal supervision at our facility in Crandon Park, Key Biscayne."

Trip planningThis package can be arranged at any time, but the best wind conditions typically occur between October and May. Rates cover one-on-one instruction, use of kiteboarding facilities and equipment, and supervised practice time after lessons. Lodging, meals, and transportation are extra. South Florida Kiteboarding offers private upscale accommodations in Dania Beach for $60 per night with kiteboarding packages. The accommodations are located just a few miles from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Southern India culture and wildlife

Provider: Wildland Adventures Length: 12 days Price: from $2,250

On Wildland Adventures' 12-day Southern India trip, you can stay in former palaces, participate in a 2,000-year-old Hindu ritual set in one of the subcontinent's grandest temples, ride elephants from village to village in the tropical countryside, and perhaps even spot a tiger in the wild, all without having to pay a Maharaja's ransom. There are numerous options for India tours, but this award-winning ecotourism company's emphasis on in-depth cultural encounters and creature comforts make it an appealing option for travelers not up for roughing it but eager to experience the real India.

"Our mission is to create 'authentic' experiences for the traveler; to meet on an equal footing [Indian] people just like us," says Adrian Chalker, Wildland's in-house India expert. "We make a serious effort to create situations and environments that promote insightful contact."

Focusing on the two states that make up India's southern tip, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, you'll visit sacred temples in Tiruchirappalli and Madurai, explore a national reserve by boat to view elephants, and perhaps even a tiger, stay on a working spice plantation, and see Cochin, an ancient port city with ties to Portuguese explorers, early Christians, and one of the world's oldest Jewish communities.

"The temples of South India are truly outstanding in every way," says Dave Hofeditz of Seattle, who recently went on the trip, about his three favorite trip experiences. "It was truly a privilege to take part in the evening procession at Shree Meenakshi Temple in Madurai—the 'closing ceremony' where an image of the god Shiva is carried in procession to Parvati's bedroom where it remains until [being] ceremonially escorted back the next morning.

"Periyer National Park was also outstanding. There were ruined temples and lush cultivated villages, hundreds of wading water birds and palm trees. It was a magical place that seemed to have been deliberately left to go back to its natural state.

"And, of course, the overnight in a spice plantation, the elephant ride, and talking to the spice workers and plantation staff about their lives. The peculiar artistry and craftsmanship of just being alive that was so evident amongst these people gave me a sense of serenity, of touching something larger than myself."

Trip planningDepartures are scheduled for December 22, 2008, and January 2 and February 9, 2009. Prices include airport transfers, accommodations, ground transportation, drivers and guides, entrance fees and some activities, and daily breakfast and some lunches and dinners. Optional activities, some meals, and airfare are extra. Open-jaw tickets from Newark to the trip start point in Chennai, India, and from the trip end point in Cochin, India, back to Newark start at $1,353, including taxes and fees, through CheapTickets.

Ice climb in New Hampshire's White Mountains

Provider: REI Adventures Length: Two days Price: from $425

Whether you're preparing for a technical climb up a snowy peak like Mt. Rainier or want to take up a new winter sport that's way cooler than snowshoeing or skating and less pedestrian than skiing, learning how to ice climb is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Best of all, it's not necessary to be a star rock climber or buy expensive technical gear in advance. All you need is some athletic ability, a desire to learn, and a good teacher.

This past winter, Seattle area resident Roger Bischoff, who was training to climb Alaska's ice-bound Denali (Mt. McKinley), took a three-day ice climbing course in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with REI Adventures. "I trust REI Adventures as I've been on other trips with them, and I didn't have much time to plan the trip in advance, so it seemed like a no-brainer to sign up with them," says Bischoff. He also brought along his 14-year-old nephew, Zak, who had no experience with winter mountaineering.

"The group climbing was small so I felt like we had quality time with the guide," says Biscoff. "We had a blast and explored all of the basics. I walked away from the experience with an appreciation of the sport and felt that I learned enough to be more confident if we encountered technical ice on the McKinley route. My nephew had a blast too. He's been asking me when we can go again, saying that I got him hooked on ice climbing."

During REI's course, you'll spend two full days learning how to safely use equipment like ice axes, crampons, and rope systems and how to properly dress, eat, and condition yourself for winter climbing. You'll practice your skills in various locations in the White Mountains, depending on weather conditions, perhaps climbing the frozen waterfalls of Frankenstein Cliff in Crawford Notch or the ice-encased ravines of Mt. Washington, New England's highest peak.

"The White Mountains are pretty spectacular, and in the winter they're just magnificent," says Bischoff. "In all, the experience [of the course in its entirety] was the highlight—doing something I haven't done before with a cool group of folks on a well-organized trip in an amazing landscape."

Trip planningThis trip has openings for its January 16 and February 13 departures. The $425 rate is for REI members; non-members pay $465. If you're not already a member it's worthwhile to get a lifetime membership as it only costs $20. Prices cover accommodations, breakfasts, instruction and guides, all group climbing gear and technical equipment, and permits. Personal cold weather gear, some meals, and transportation to the trip start point in Plymouth, New Hampshire, are extra. Plymouth is about a 65-mile drive from the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Summit South America's tallest peak

Provider: INKA Expediciones Length: 16 days Price: from $2,985

Ever fantasize about being the next Edmund Hillary or Ed Viesturs, or at least making it to the top of one of the world's tallest mountains? While climbing a peak like Everest or K2 is physically and financially out of reach for most adventure travelers, summiting the highest mountain outside of Asia and the second-most prominent peak on Earth is not a pipe dream.

Argentina's 22,840-foot Aconcagua, which translates as "Stone Sentinel" in the local language, can be conquered by fit, healthy climbers with some familiarity with mountaineering skills and the mental toughness to overcome high altitudes and potentially cold, windy weather.

A few U.S.-based adventure companies run Aconcagua treks, but INKA Expediciones, a local Aconcagua specialist with 15 years of experience, runs dozens of summit climbs each year and has a high rate of successful summit attempts. "The last climbing season, 92 of 102 guided expeditions reached the summit with our guides," says Head Guide Sebastian Tetilla. "The average success rate for the season was less than 35% of the general climbing population attempting Aconcagua. However, more than 68% of our clients reached the top during the same period." The company also owns and operates its entire ground operation and uses local guides and staff, so it charges several thousands less than most foreign-based companies.

Most trips climb via the Normal Route, a moderate trek that's mostly a walk-up not requiring much use of crampons or ice axes. While the actual climb takes about six days from the base camp to the summit and back, the trip requires about two weeks time because of the need for acclimatization and rest days and also in the case of bad weather delaying a summit attempt.

"INKA's physical support is tremendous," says full-time mountaineer and climber Kenneth Honig, who climbed Aconcagua twice with INKA this past winter. "By far the number one highlight was the personal relationships established with the guides. I do not think you could find a better organized, prepared, and client-oriented guide service."

Trip planningFourteen Normal Route expeditions are scheduled between late November 2008 and late February 2009. Rates cover guides, ground transportation, hotel stays and camping, all meals, and porters and mules. Personal equipment such as clothing and boots, ice axes and crampons, packs, and sleeping bags and pads is not included but can be rented from the outfitter. Airfare is also extra. Round-trip late-January flights from Miami to the trip's departure point in Mendoza, Argentina, start at $1,233 including taxes and fees on LAN.

Active and cultural adventure in Bali, Indonesia

Provider: G.A.P Adventures Length: 15 days Price: $875

A trip to Bali, Indonesia, and its neighboring islands might be the perfect introduction to Asia. Just a hair larger than Delaware, Bali encompasses an interior of mist-shrouded volcanoes and terraced hillsides glistening with a hundred shades of green, and wears a belt of black and white sand beaches, some wild and lonely, others buzzing with surfers and sun bathers. The Balinese people are welcoming and deeply devoted to Agama Tirta, a unique and colorful form of Hinduism. Dramatic daily ceremonies and rituals play out in the open, and flowers and food on palm leaves and other offerings to the gods can be seen at temples (there are about 20,000) all over the island.

For adventure travelers, the activity options on this small island are astounding as well: volcano treks, snorkeling and diving, surf lessons, sailing, and even whitewater rafting. On G.A.P Adventures' low-priced 15-day Best of Bali and Lombok tour, you'll get to sample many of Bali's adventure and cultural highlights, as well as visit it's quieter neighbor island, Lombok, which is starting to be recognized for its own adventure possibilities.

On Bali, you'll tour Ubud, the island's spiritual and cultural capital, where you can visit temples and watch religious ceremonies and performances like shadow puppet plays and masked dances. Then you'll travel to more remote parts of the island to view wildlife and climb to the top of Mt. Batur, an active volcano. You'll also have free time to take part in optional adventures or indulge in a treatment at one of Bali's affordable spas.

Later you'll take a ferry to Lombok and embark on a multi-day trek to the rim of the Gunung Rinjani volcano. "We hike through mountain forest and emerge on to the moonscape slopes of the ancient volcanic cone—the view is breathtaking and worth the climb," says G.A.P's Communications & Marketing Manager Kira Zack. After this strenuous hike, you'll end your trip with a relaxing few days on Gili Islands. Says Zack, "[The Gili Islands] are three tiny, yet beautiful islands ... home to the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Lombok. There are no cars on the island and life moves at a very slow pace."

Trip planningThis trip departs monthly except during April. Prices include accommodations, ground and boat transportation, daily breakfasts and one dinner and lunch, guides, and some sightseeing and excursions. Most lunches and dinners, optional activities, and airfare are extra. Round-trip February flights from Los Angeles to Bali's Denpasar airport start at $1,174, including taxes and fees, through CheapTickets.

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