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BEST FOR EXOTIC WILDLIFE: GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
The lowdown: These Ecuadorian islands are so extraordinary
they inspired a revolution in 19th-century science, and that sense
of wonder is as strong today. With giant tortoises, marine iguanas,
blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins on hand, the only
problem will be trying not to sound too smug telling people
about your adventure afterwards.
The cruise factor: Land-based breaks to the Galapagos are
feasible, but very much the minority; most visitors opt for small
vessels that can skip easily between the islands.
The details: Galapagos cruises come with quite a price tag, but
Journey Latin America's 12-day value option starts at £3,514 per
person with ights, hotels on land, a week-long cruise on the
eight-cabin Cachalote, and daily excursions led by a naturalist.
BEST FOR ADVENTURE: ALASKA
The lowdown: The name 'Alaska' conjures up images of icy
tundras inhospitable to all but the hardiest explorers, yet the
southern reaches of the state are more accessible than they
might seem. That doesn't make the region any less exciting, with
thrills such as spotting bears in the wild or watching as glaciers
carve thundering chunks of ice into the ¡ ords below.
The cruise factor: Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the
US combined - 6,600 miles of it - so cruising is one of the best
ways to cover some of that, often with an escort from the odd
humpback whale or playful Dall's porpoises.
The details: Regent Seven Seas Cruises o£ ers seven-night luxury
sailings between Vancouver and Seward starting at £3,999
on the all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner. Prices include
ights, transfers, all shore excursions, meals, drinks including
Champagne, and tips. rssc.com
BEST FOR DIVING: INDONESIA
The lowdown: Getting o£ the beaten track doesn't just apply
to dry land - with a liveaboard, divers can reach remote spots
teeming with coral and marine life, yet barely touched by other
tourists. The waters of eastern Indonesia, where the traditional
two-masted phinisi yacht Tiger Blue is based, have earned a
reputation as the 'coral triangle', but divers are just as likely to
spot manta rays, barracuda, dolphins, sharks and dugong.
The cruise factor: With only 12 passengers on board, the route
can be tailored to all abilities, and non-divers have time for
swimming, snorkelling, or kayaking.
The details: A week on Tiger Blue's Komodo route starts at
£3,500 through Original Diving, including full-board twin
accommodation, excursions, diving, international and domestic
ights, and a hotel night in Bali on arrival. originaldiving.com
THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH THE GALAPAGOS
WILL BE TRYING NOT TO SOUND TOO SMUG
TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS