Mexico Travel News

By Judy Newell

Strong progress on National Agreement on Tourism

Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo said the National Agreement on Tourism has achieved 85 percent of goals committed to by the federal government and is expecting 2012 to be a record-breaking year.

Tourism represents nine percent of Mexico’s GDP and generates more than 2.5 million jobs. The administration of President Felipe Calderon created the agreement for the development of tourism in Mexico and it was one of the administration’s principle achievements.

Because of coordinated efforts during 2011, Mexico reached a record-breaking number of tourists, with over 191.5 million domestic and international travelers. Ms. Guevara noted that by the end of 2012, more than 200 million domestic and international tourists are expected to Mexican destinations, exceeding last year’s record-breaking figure.

Wine & Food Festival scheduled for March

The second annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival will take place from March 14 to 17, bringing together consumers and prestigious food, wine, spirits or coffee producers, importers and distributors.

Under the theme “Europe Meets the Americas,” the festival will celebrate Italy and feature avant-garde chef Massimo Bottura of three-star Michelin restaurant Osteria, and Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose restaurants Osteria Francescana and Pujol were ranked No. 5 and No. 36 in the world, respectively.

The 25-plus events will include a conference on “The Future of Cuisine” by the two star chefs;  exceptional wine and spirits tastings; celebrity chef cooking demos; the American Express gourmet tasting village where guests will savor signature dishes from the 20 best restaurants of Cancun and Riviera Maya; and a closing fiesta with the theme, “Italy meets Mexico: Same Colors, Different Flavors.”

Airline News

Surprising things you can pack

Airline security seems like it’s all about the word “no” these days. But you might be surprised to learn what the TSA says “yes” to − including these seven items. So leave your 151-proof alcohol at home, but go ahead and pack your meat cleaver.

Snow globes

This formerly forbidden souvenir has now been given the OK by the TSA to be packed in your carry-on bag. Keep your snow globes small, though − the tchotchke must contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid and fit in a quart-sized resealable bag.

Martial arts and self defense items

Most people’s packing staples are things like sunscreen and toiletries, but if you can’t fly without billy clubs, brass knuckles, police batons, nunchucks, stun guns, and throwing stars, the TSA is cool with that too. All of the above can be safely packed in your checked luggage. Go ahead and throw in some pepper spray, too.

Human remains

Even TSA agents might not know this, but you can bring the cremated remains of humans or animals in carry-on luggage. TSA workers are not allowed to open a crematory container, so make sure that the ashes are kept in a receptacle made out of something that is easily screened (such as wood or plastic), because if the X-ray machine cannot see through the container, your loved one’s remains might not be allowed onboard.


Don’t just throw your machine gun in a carry-on bag and roll up to the TSA checkpoint. But, if you feel naked without your firearms, you can pack them in your checked bag. You’ll need to declare your weapons during check-in, and all firearms must be unloaded and in a locked hard-sided container. Be sure to check the local gun laws if you are flying between states or out of the country, as gun possession laws may be different in your destination.

Lighters and matches

Remember the failed shoe bomber who we can all thank for making us take our shoes off at security checkpoints? Well, shoes are still a no-go, but the matches and lighters you could use to light a bomb are now OK. In 2007, the TSA lifted the ban on lighters in carry-on luggage after agents were wasting time confiscating around 22,000 of them every day. You can also bring one book of safety matches in your carry-on, but you can’t check them.


We’re not monkeying around − “helper monkeys” and other service animals are allowed on flights. Be sure to tell TSA agents if the animal accompanying you onboard is a service animal, as they can move you to the front of the line to accommodate the longer screening process required. Also know that TSA agents are not supposed to touch your animal without permission.


If your plane goes down on a deserted island, you’ll be one step ahead of the other survivors by packing a speargun in your luggage. You’ll need to put this one in your checked baggage, but otherwise, you can treat it the same way as packing anything else − no need to declare it or any other scuba-diving equipment. However, be sure to wrap or otherwise encase the speargun so that it doesn’t cause injury to baggage handlers or security inspectors.

Deal of the Week

Exotic cruise aboard L’Austral

Cruise from Recife, Brazil to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands from March 19 to April 4, 2013 aboard the mega-yacht of Compagnie du Ponant.  There are only 132 cabins on the luxurious French vessel. L’Austral will depart from Recife, cross the Atlantic, and then sail along the African coast where the Bissagos Islands will reveal their distinctive villages and authentic traditions. Go ashore on some of the most beautiful volcanic islands of Cape Verde, discover the volcanoes and tropical forests of the Canary Islands, visit with natives in local villages, and make excursions to national parks via Zodiac to explore the more remote destinations. 17 days/16 nights, from $5887 per person.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in tour and cruise travel for everyone. She also conducts private small group tours from San Miguel de Allende. The 2013 tours will be announced in January.  Contact Judy by email at

Sources: Travel Pulse, Smarter Travel, Compagnie du Ponant


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