The Real Deal: Seven nights' accommodations at the three-star Casa de Goa; three hands-on cooking lessons with an English-speaking instructor; some meals (including lunch after each cooking class); a guided visit to the local food market; a half-day excursion to a local spice garden and plantation; round-trip transfers to the airport and the cooking school; equipment such as a spice guide, a recipe book, and an apron; and all taxes and fees; for $1,629 per person.
When: Departs Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 4–Dec. 12, 2010.
The fine print: Includes all taxes and fees. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $749. International airfare is not included. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: On the Go Tours, 866/377-6147, onthegotours.com.
Why it's a deal: The trip price breaks down to about $233 per person per night, and that includes accommodations, the cooking classes, and guided sightseeing. If booked independently, the seven-night hotel stay would cost about $400 per person; the value of this package lies mainly in the coordinated activities and transportation. The cooking courses — held at a school on the banks of the Mandovi River — include an introduction to Indian cuisine, a class on Goan food (which has strong Portuguese influences), and a class during which the students challenge the instructor to make local specialties from scratch.
More: A five-star version of this package is available at varying rates, depending on travel dates. If you're looking for a more classic sightseeing tour, try On the Go's eight-night Kerala adventure.