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Sailing in the Sea of Cortes.

If you think most cruises are created equal, you'll be in for a happy surprise when you unwrap the details of a January vacation aboard Safari Quest, a luxurious 22-passenger yacht plying the warm waters of the Sea of Cortes. Both the destination and the vessel are spectacular. The sea, a World Heritage Biosphere bordered by the Mexican mainland and the arid Baja Peninsula, is one of the richest marine environments on the planet. The waters teem with close to 6,000 species, including dolphins and whales. For eight days the Safari Quest cruise, beginning and ending in La Paz, will take you around Isla Partida, Isla Coyote and Los Islotes, stopping at remote bays and coves where you can use the yacht's kayaks and snorkelling gear or go for a spin in a high-speed skiff to get up close and personal with some of the most dramatic scenery in North America. At Bahia Agua Verde, passengers can also take a ride into the mountains on burros supplied by a local ranchero. Each stateroom on the Safari Quest is equipped with TV/DVD players, iPod docks, robes and a bathroom with heated tile floors. The main lounge features comfortable seating, a reference library of books and DVDs, a large-screen TV hooked to underwater cameras and a bar where fine wines and premium spirits are always on tap. On cooler nights, you may want to soak in the hot tub on the top deck. Food is taken seriously and the chef uses only the best local ingredients to prepare some memorable meals.

Depending on the stateroom, the all-inclusive cruises cost from $5,082 to $6,710 a person. Bookings can be made with The Cruise People at 416-444-2410. www.americansafaricruises.com.

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