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Travel News

By Judy Newell


Mexico Travel News

New Rosewood in Puebla

Luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will debut its fourth property in Mexico next year in colonial Puebla. Located in close proximity to the city’s beautifully restored zócalo, it will be within a complex of buildings encircling a walled courtyard. The centerpiece will be a 300-year-old chapel that will serve as a wedding venue. The hotel will contain 79 rooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, spa, and a rooftop swimming pool with bar.

Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 75 miles southeast of Mexico City. It is best known for its stunning architecture, Talavera pottery, and mole poblano, a thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce made famous in the colonial mountain city. Rosewood’s other properties in Mexico include Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, and Rosewood San Miguel de Allende.

Isla Holbox’s laid-back vacation experience

Isla Holbox (“hole-bosh”) offers a remote, laid-back escape on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula about a 2.5 hour drive from Cancún. There is only one small village, also called Holbox, where less than 1,500 people live, and traffic is limited to golf carts and motor scooters on the sand-covered streets. Holbox offers miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches within a short walk from the center of town. The water is warm and calm, so shallow in places that you can wade out for hundreds of yards.

Visitors from May to September get a chance to see the annual migration of whale sharks. The largest fish in the sea are found throughout the world, but here they feed in shallow waters and stay close to the surface. In 2002, Mexico designated whale sharks an endangered species. Though they can reach 50 to 60 feet long, they are peaceable creatures, filtering their food much the way baleen whales do. Swimming slowly along the surface of the water to gulp their microscopic prey, they tolerate boats and snorkelers eager to swim alongside them.

Pirates who intermarried with the original Maya inhabitants settled Holbox. The small, skinny island (about seven miles by one mile) is still populated by descendants of those settlers. Most are fishermen on the rich waters where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. A contingent of mostly Italian expatriates settled on the island in the 1950s.

To get to isolated Isla Holbox, travelers can take an inexpensive public bus from Cancún to the town of Chiquila (2.5 hours, aboutUS$7), then take a 30-minute ferry ride (about 50¢) to Holbox, and finally, a golf-cart taxi ride to hotels on the other side of the island.

Cruise News

Meuse River cruises

Avalon Waterways will be the only river cruise line offering sailings on Belgium’s Meuse River when it begins service with four departures in April 2016. The nine-day voyages will be aboard the 138-passenger Avalon Luminary and 128-passenger Avalon Artistry II on the “Enchanting Belgium” itinerary. Prices start at US$2,699 per person, based on double occupancy. Most river cruise lines sail from Amsterdam to Maastricht in the Netherlands, weaving between Belgium and Holland along the vast network of canals and rivers. Avalon’s new itinerary goes further south, along the Meuse to the Belgian city of Namur.

International News

World’s Most Bio-diverse Marine Region

International Expeditions’ new tour departing January 30, 2016, Raja Ampat, Jewel of Indonesia, visits the four isolated islands Midsol, Salivate, Bat anta, and Wage. More than 1,500 karst limestone islands make up the majestic archipelago of Raja Ampat, one of the world’s most remote and pristine. The Marine Protected Area is heralded as the most bio-diverse on earth and includes 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 1,200 types of reef fish.

Enjoy a spectacular 11-night voyage aboard the classic South Seas vessel WAOW, a traditionally crafted, three-masted wooden vessel which features nine generous cabins, ample deck space, a dedicated camera room, and other amenities.

Although Raja Ampat is a bucket-list destination for both snorkelers and divers, you will also enjoy hiking, exploring caves, visiting villages, kayaking, learning about the pearl-harvesting process, and even stand-up paddleboarding. While ashore, look for species such as the red bird of paradise, sulphur-crested cockatoo, beach kingfisher, varied honeyeater, spice imperial pigeon, and singing starling in the dense forests.

The tour is priced from US$12,989 per person. Single travelers can save with no single supplement (US$4,559 fee) when they reserve a cabin by May 15, 2015. Very limited single space available.

Deal of the Week

50 Percent off Cruise Spain and Portugal

Experience a brand-new itinerary to Spain and Portugal onboard the MV Tere Moana of Paul Gauguin Cruises. Sailing from Cádiz, one of the oldest cities in Europe, follow the beautiful Mediterranean coast to Málaga, capital of the sunny Costa del Sol. Next visit the British stronghold of Gibraltar en route to Portugal. Here, you’ll call on the Algarve region, home to some of the finest beaches in Europe, and the pretty seaside resort of Cascais before disembarking in Lisbon, one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.

Enjoy superb service, luxurious amenities, and gourmet cuisine as well as extraordinary all-inclusive value, with savings of 50 percent off standard cruise fares! With only 88 guests aboard, space is bound to fill up fast. Seven nights starting from US$1,995 on the departure of November 22, 2015.

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in tours, cruises, and travel for the discerning traveler. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111-8765; Vonage 949 300-3682; email or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Travel Pulse, Travel Weekly, International Expeditions, Paul Gauguin Cruises


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