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An e-mail arrived just last week from Dr. Richard Finch, recently retired geology prof from Tennessee Tech and guide extraordinaire, reminding us about his wonderful and wonder-filled tours of Central America we've touted in the past. As a matter of fact, this Newsletter did mention this very same trip way back in January, but as time draws near to the departure date of July 20, there are still a few spaces to be filled, and you, dear reader, should not miss this opportunity.

Dr. Finch has been traveling to Central America since 1967 (we like to refer to this as "experience") eventually leading student groups for research and study through the isthmus-straddling nation. He also began adding interested "civilian" wayfarers to his journey--to the point where he now runs his very own cottage industry of travel. Well, cottage isn't exactly right, since he and his wife base their operations out of their converted barn. But, hey, you get the idea, and the low overhead is passed directly on to you.

And low it is! For the $1,720 asking price you get the experienced hand of Dr. Finch guiding you for a full 21 days through the top attractions in Guatemala plus you get the benefit of his insider's knowledge of those lesser known locales (cloud village, anyone?). The extensive itinerary, which you can see for yourself at www.rutahsa.com/guate-02.html, includes the aforementioned cloud village (a sanctuary for the mythic and rare quetzal), Mayan ruins, a manatee reserve, in-depth village visits, an active volcano and more--as if that's not enough.

The trip is for a maximum of 16 persons (minimum of 8) running from July 20 through August 9. You can extend the stay for a few more days for an additional fee. Your fee (based on the usual double occupancy, single supplements available upon inquiry) covers the tour and comfy accommodations--no roughing it, unless you choose otherwise. Depending upon your city of departure, Dr. Finch can arrange relatively low airfare (starting at a little under $500) through Rutahsa Adventures' planners, and meals, while also not included, can be had for cheap. Don't worry, he'll point the way.

We've heard nothing but praise from our readers upon their return. To investigate further, read through the itinerary linked above, or e-mail Dr. Finch directly at rfinch@tntech.edu.