Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Le Méridien hotel opens in Mexico City

Starwood Hotels & Resorts continues its growth in Latin America with the debut of Le Meridien in the heart of Mexico City’s financial and cultural district. The seventh Starwood Hotel in Mexico City features 160 rooms − all suites − with skyline views, chic design and the brand’s signature Le Méridien Bed. The hotel also houses a state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and C’est la Vie − a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Clothing-optional resort opens in Nuevo Vallarta

The 133-room, clothing-optional Fantasy Resort and Spa in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, opened October 9. The all-inclusive resort is a conversion of the Taheima Wellness Resort. Facilities include several restaurants, two infinity pools and the Temescal sauna. Accommodations range from studios to two-bedroom suites, some with private pools and hot tubs.

Cruise News

SeaDream plans first cruises in Asia & Australia

SeaDream Yacht Club will send the 112-passenger SeaDream II to Asia and Australia in 2013. It will cruise for more than a dozen voyages ranging from seven to 15 days. Several can be combined back-to-back to create longer sailings.

The ship will remain in Asia from October 2013 through April 2014. Many cruises will begin or end in Singapore or Phuket, Thailand. Bali, Hong Kong and Cairns, Australia, also will be used as embarkation or disembarkation ports. Stops will include Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), East Timor, Northern Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong.

Air News

InterJet service from US$ West Coast

InterJet launched daily roundtrip nonstop services from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California to Mexico City and Guadalajara on October 11, marking the carrier’s first West Coast destination in the US.

The carrier is the second to offer service to Mexico from John Wayne Airport. In June, AirTran began daily nonstop flights from John Wayne to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas. Last fall, John Wayne added customs facilities.

The Mexico City-based low-fare carrier plans on expanding to more US destinations, including Miami and San Antonio. Its daily Mexico City-New York service launched on August 6.

International News

Uganda offers discount on gorilla-viewing permits

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has lowered gorilla permit prices to US$350 (US$150 off the regular price) for foreign nonresidents for use during the months of November, April and May.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda is a UNESCO site and home to some 350 mountain gorillas. To observe the gorillas, visitors need a seasoned guide and a permit secured well in advance, usually by the tour operator. Bwindi is also an ideal area in which to view non-habituated chimpanzees, more than 100 other species of mammals and 346 species of birds.

Berlin to explore Nazi Period in museum exhibitions & events

From January 30 to November 9, 2013, under the heading “Diversity Destroyed,” Berlin will recall the Nazi period in order to mark the 80th anniversary of the seizure of power by the Nazis and the 75th anniversary of the November pogroms. Berlin will commemorate one of the darkest chapters in its history with exhibitions, film and art projects.

The centerpiece exhibition will be at the German Historical Museum, entitled “Berlin at the Time of National Socialism.” All the events, memorial sites and projects will be based there. The main focus will be 1933. This was the year that Hitler seized power, the Nazi dictatorship was established, and the cultural diversity of Berlin in the Golden Twenties was destroyed.

“Diversity Destroyed” will also be visible throughout the city. Squares and streets will be turned into exhibition spaces and temporary memorial sites. What was everyday life like under the Nazi dictatorship? How did the regime manage to take over a city as cosmopolitan and liberal as Berlin? What happened after the war? What traces are left today?

The people who were victims of the Nazi regime are commemorated through “stumbling blocks” designed by Berlin-based artist Gunter Demning. Around 4,000 of these blocks, covered with brass plaques, have been laid on pavements around Berlin. They carry the name, date of birth and key words indicating the fate of the victims.

London, Toronto, Cancun, top foreign destinations

If you’re flying abroad from the US, you’re most likely taking off from New York and landing in London. And if those cities aren’t on your international itinerary, you’re most likely to be leaving from Miami or Los Angeles and heading to Toronto, Cancun, Tokyo, or Mexico City.

Those are the biggest take-off and arrival points for US and international travelers, according to a new assessment of international travel in and out of the US from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

While metro areas around New York, Miami, and Los Angeles were the top take-off and arrival points in the US for international travelers in 2011, Las Vegas, Charlotte, and Orlando are becoming increasingly popular portals, the report says.



Deal of the Week

9-day Southern Dalmatia

This tour of Croatia brings you to some of the most beautiful locations in Croatia and includes wonderful accommodations, transportation throughout the tour, entrance fees to the major sites visited on tour and groups that are limited to 20 passengers. It features Dubrovnik, the jewel of the Mediterranean, the exotic island of Korkula and the beautiful seaside village of Split. From US$950 per person.



Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tour and cruise travel. She presents “Travel Tuesdays,” a free seminar on travel topics at La Biblioteca – the next seminar will be announced. Contact Judy by email at


Sources: Travel Pulse, Travel Weekly, USA Today, Mediterranean Visits


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