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South and Central America safaris from $1,609

Have you ever wanted to explore the Amazon, Galapagos and Costa Rica's rain forest? Read on for South and Central American safaris, starting at $1,609.
Image: Land iguanas at Galapagos National Park
Land iguanas are seen at the Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz.Guillermo Granja / Reuters file
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

The deal
Need a break from the nonstop chaos and deafening roar of the city? We suggest you consider a retreat to nature. With this trio of international guided air/lodging packages, you’ll get the chance to immerse yourself in pristine ecosystems far removed from the steel and concrete jungle you’ve become accustomed to. Choose between prime Central or South American eco-tourism destinations and be on your way from $1609. Now’s the chance to relax amidst birdsong in Costa Rica, come face to face with unique species on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and ease into the Amazon in Peru.

Costa Rica rainforest rendezvous from $1,609
With the Caribbean Rainforest Adventure available through Virgin Vacations, you’ll sleep in the treetops and have the chance to see array of wildlife from monkeys to butterflies to caiman. The package features three nights in San Jose, two nights in Sarapiqui and two in Tortuguero. Roundtrip international airfare, transportation within Costa Rica and 15 meals are also included. Between November 11 and December 18, 2008, and again between January 1 and March 24, 2009, this package is available from $1,609. If you want a chance to see the Atlantic green turtle in Tortuguero National Park, you might want to consider traveling between now and October 24 for $1,629 and up. Quoted rates are based on Miami departures, but flights from other cities are available for an additional cost. To avoid extra fees, you should make your reservations at least 21 days in advance of your desired travel date. The purchase deadline for all trips is October 9.

See the Galapagos Islands from $2,299
A six-day package to the amazing Galapagos Islands, home to scores of endemic flora and fauna, comes courtesy of Gate 1 Travel. The trip starts with a flight to Guayaquil, but the next morning you’ll leave the bustle of the Ecuador’s largest city for the enchanting islands, 600 miles off the mainland. The package, which starts at $2,299, covers roundtrip airfare from Miami, transportation to the Galapagos, five-nights’ accommodations (two in Guayaquil, three on the islands) and 11 meals. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, tours with English-speaking guides, and all transfers are also included. The $100 entrance fee and other charges to the Galapagos National Park, and tips for guides and drivers are extra. Trips begin in January 2009 and run throughout the year.

Machu Picchu to the Amazon from $2,189
For an adventure into the Amazon basin, you might like this Peru tour from Virgin Vacations. The 10-day odyssey also spotlights the capital Lima, Cusco — the one-time center of the Inca Empire — and surrounding ruins, featuring excursions to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The package covers roundtrip airfare, transportation within Peru, and accommodations for eight nights including two in a Puerto Maldonado jungle lodge. Tours, guides and 13 meals are covered, as well. The trip, priced from $2,189, is available September 28 to December 9, 2008. That fare is based on a Miami departure and tourist-class hotels. Accommodation upgrades can push the price tag up to as much as $3,479. The purchase deadline is October 9.

The dollars
Rates quotes are per person and based on double occupancy. Hotel taxes and fees, fuel surcharges are included. Airport taxes and fees are not covered.

The catch
You’re outlook on life may be altered.

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