Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Los Cabos to hold first-ever comedy festival in October

The first Cabo Comedy Festival will run October 2-6. The five-day event, which will use the slogan “Where the Land Ends and the Laughs Begin,” will feature some of the entertainment industry’s top stand-up headliners along with a best new comic competition comprised of opening act-level performers.

The festival will also include panel discussions with writers, producers and cast members from some of television’s top comedies, celebrity golf and poker tournaments. The festival will culminate with an awards presentation and celebrity roast.

The festival is sponsored by the Los Cabos Tourism Board with support from the Mexico Tourism Board.

Two new hotels to open in Riviera Nayarit

Two new hotels are slated to open in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit this year, including the Iberostar Playa Mita, and Tau Resorts Nahui.

The 452-room Iberostar I Playa Mita will open to the public in late 2013 in Litibú, located at the north end of Banderas Bay as an all-inclusive property. It will feature two pools, a Kids Club, four specialty restaurants, three bars and meeting facilities.

Tau Resorts Nahui is building two resorts, the first of which will open late this year with 172 two-bedroom units. Amenities at Nahui will include a village, Beach Club, golf course, hiking trails and oceanfront water sports center.

Marriott Resorts offer stress-reducing rates

Eight Marriott resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are offering travelers “De-Stress For Less” packages in April featuring 20 to 30 percent of published rates. Bookings must be made by April 30, 2013, for travel between April 15 and August 31, 2013. A minimum two-night stay required.

Participating resorts are located in Aruba, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Curacao, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, and St. Thomas.

International News

Amsterdam reopens Rijksmuseum after decade of renovation

The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix officially reopened the Rijksmuseum on April 13 after 10 years of renovation and restoration. It’s one of the world’s preeminent museums. With its main building completely modernized, the Rijksmuseum will now host 8,000 works from its collection of Dutch master works and history from the late Middle Ages to the present day.

One of the most notable changes in the new Rijksmuseum is the presentation of its collection. Masterpieces will be displayed in chronological sequence through 80 galleries, depicting Dutch history.

The new building features what’s described as a “spectacular new entrance” and a sunken below-ground-level single atrium, shops, decorated rooms, restaurants, and an outdoor exhibition space.

The inspiration behind the building and one of the museum’s most prized possessions, “Night Watch” by Rembrandt van Rijn, is the only masterpiece to return to its original location.

Marriott & Ikea team up in Europe

Ikea has been filling college dorms, apartments and starter homes for years in the US and around the world. Now, the Swedish company’s teaming up with Marriott to give younger, price-conscious travelers rooms on the road.

Marriott and a unit of Ikea next year will launch Moxy, a European budget chain that has been designed to please people who love design, technology, interesting lighting, music — and a bargain price.

Rates will start at around €$60, which today means about US$75. And yes, that will include Wi-Fi both in the lobby and your room. The first hotel will open in Milan.

See Europe with right-thinking folks

Sick of traveling with liberals who yammer on about women’s rights and the environment? If so, former Republican Senate candidate Ken Chase’s “Conservative Tours” may be for you. Chase, whose 2009-founded company offers luxury group tours of Europe for US right-wingers, gave an opinionated interview to “Outside Magazine” this month.

The 51-year-old Massachusetts native called his core clientele “traditional Americans” who are “not angry…not bitter…just pleasant.” (Except when they can’t get freedom fries in Paris.)

Cruise News

Carnival to reimburse government for Triumph costs

Cruise giant Carnival will repay the US government for the costs incurred by the US Coast Guard when the Carnival Triumph caught fire.

Carnival made a statement that it is in the process of voluntarily submitting payment to the US Treasury to reimburse the government for its costs associated with the February incident as well as a fire in 2010 on the Carnival Splendor. In the case of the Carnival Splendor fire, the US Navy was involved as well as the US Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has calculated that its cost to respond to the Carnival Triumph and Carnival Splendor incidents was US$779,000 and US$1.5 million, respectively. The Navy incurred another US$1.9 million during the Carnival Splendor incident, according to Senator Jay Rockefeller.

Deal of the Week

Last chance to book “Splendors of Turkey”! Tour must be booked and paid by April 30. The 14-day tour of Turkey is July 9-22 and features a four-day cruise aboard a luxury gulet in the Turkish Mediterranean. Highlights include a two-night stay in a cave hotel in Cappadocia, the magnificent ruins of Ephesus, Perge and Aspendos, and four days in incredible Istanbul. US$4,225 per person based on double occupancy. Contact Judy Newell at Perfect Journeys for details.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in tour and cruise travel for everyone. Her private trips this year include “Splendor of Turkey” on July 9-22 and “Celebrate Ireland” on September 21-October 8. Contact Judy at cell 415-111-8765, email, or website

Sources: Travel Pulse, USA Today, The Globe and Mail


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