Travel tips

Horseback riding in Costa Rica. A nine-day equestrian tour of Costa Rica offers visitors a chance to ride among forests, cattle ranches, rivers, and mountains, plus several days of non-equine adventure. These feature a train ride through the rain forest, a cruise to an island barbecue, rafting down the Rio Coribici, or a jungle walk through the Carara biological reserve. The cost of the nine-day tour of Costa Rica is $975 per person, not including air fare. For a free brochure, contact FITS Equestrian, 2011 Alamo Pintado Rd., Solvang, CA 93463, or call (805) 688-9494. One call books New England ski week. The eight ski resorts that make up Ski New England expect their new booking system to lure skiers to Northeastern resorts this winter. The system allows an individual or travel agent to call a resort and talk to a reservationist about special Ski Week packages. Packages are explained and a booking can be made with tickets sent directly to the caller. Options with or without lessons, include air fare, rental car, transfers, lodging, lifts, taxes, and tips. Prices are per person, double occupancy: $408 from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington; $479 from Atlanta; Charlotte, S.C.; and Greensboro, N.C.; $589 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Memphis; and Minneapolis. For details, call a travel agent or Ski New England at (603) 236-8832.

Gal'apagos Island tour. For those interested in seeing two of the world's great marvels, Maupintour offers a 14-day tour in South America. A four-day cruise to the Gal'apagos Islands provides views of the exotic bird and animal life unique to the islands. Participants will also ascend Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, discovered in 1911 after being hidden for four centuries. The tour includes several nights in Ecuador and Peru, meals, accommodations, excursions, and tips. Cost is $2,469 per person excluding air fare. For more information, write to Maupintour, 1515 St. Andrews Dr., Lawrence, KS 66046, or call (913) 843-1211 or 800-255-4266.

European Ski Resorts rated. This year's 10 most popular ski resorts in Europe have been rated according to advance group reservations for the 1987-88 season. They are: 1.Innsbruck, Austria; 2.Chamonix, France; 3.St. Anton, Austria; 4.Interlaken, Switzerland; 5.Gstaad, Switzerland; 6.Grindelwald, Switzerland; 7.Lech, Austria; 8.Davos, Switzerland; 9.Kitzb"uhl, Austria; 10.Val-D'Is`ere, France. Ratings provided by Powder Ski Adventures of Mission Viejo, Calif.

New `Made in Britain' brochure. The British Tourist Authority has put together a brochure called ``Made in Britain'' to help visitors locate craftspeople who demonstrate their crafts in their workplaces, such as the well-known factory of Wedgwood Pottery. Many of the workplaces have free admission and some, like the Chewton Cheese Dairy near Bath, offer samples. For a free copy of ``Made in Britain,'' contact the British Tourist Authority in Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas, or write to BTA at 40 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 581-4708.

California tours. Cardin Tours offers one- and two-week personalized tours in California starting from San Diego. The tours are offered in two categories: Select and Superior. Select provides for good-quality hotels and a compact car, while Superior provides for high-quality hotels and a medium-size car. The one-week trip concentrates on San Diego and may be tailored to suit individual interests by adding golf, tennis, sailing, fishing, and more. The two-week trip includes visits to the Anaheim area, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs. Extensions can be arranged to other destinations. Routes are designed to take travelers down back roads to see citrus groves, ghost towns, scenic areas, and other highlights. Prices vary, but generally run from $65 to $75 per person, per day, for the Select tour and $85 to $95 for the Superior tour. For more details, contact Cardin Tours at 1158 State St., San Diego, CA 92101 or call (800) 624-2232, ext. 255.

Stay with a family in Britain. Stayaway Abroad offers visitors to London the opportunity to stay in family homes. The homes are all convenient to London and range in price from 10 to 18 ($17.50 to $31.50). Accommodations are on a bed-and-breakfast basis, with a minimum stay of three nights and payment in pounds paid in advance. For more information, contact Julia Stebbing at Stayaway Abroad, 71 Fellows Rd., London NW3 3JY, England.

Van Gogh exhibit opens. A new wing for special exhibitions has opened at the Noordbrabants Museum in 'sHertogenbosch, the Netherlands. The first exhibition, ``Van Gogh in Brabant,'' includes paintings and drawings the artist made in his native countryside from 1881 to 1885, some of which are on display for the first time. The show is open daily except Mondays until Jan. 10.

Hawaii by bike. An eight-day bicycle tour of Maui and Molokai features cycling through exotic rain forests, picnicking by cascading waterfalls, and sunning on secluded white-sand beaches. Monthly departures will be offered December through June as well as November and December of 1988. A special Thanksgiving tour is planned Nov. 21-28, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco for $1,490. Rates, including meals, use of 15-speed bike, all-terrain bicycles, tour escort, support van, and sightseeing fees, are $960 per person, double occupancy, plus air fare. For the brochure ``Island Bicycling: Tropical Winter Getaways to Hawaii and the Caribbean,'' contact Progressive Travels Ltd., PO Box 775164, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477, or call (800) 245-2229 (nationwide) or (303) 879-2859 (inside Colorado).

African gorilla tours. Adventure Center is offering tours to Africa to view the endangered mountain gorilla. There are three- and four-week ``Gorillas, Volcanoes & Pygmies'' tours and a 34-day ``Mountain Gorillas Safari.'' The tours continue through February. Visitors spend time in Zaire at the Virunga National Park, which has the largest population of hippos in Africa, and will be guests on a hunting party with Mbuti pygmies. Included are five days in Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Volcanoes National Park, to observe mountain gorillas. The three-week trip costs $1,360; the four-week trip costs $1,430, plus air fare. An optional one-week hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is available as an extension. Contact Adventure Center, 5540-PR College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618, or call 800-227-8747 (outside Calif.) or 800-228-2747 (inside Calif.).

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