By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Wine and Food Festival in Mexico City
Head over to Mexico City to enjoy fresh fare and the finest of wines, all crafted by award-winning chefs and wine experts from across the globe, for the biannual Wine and Food Festival. The festival, September 24-27, will include four days of presentations, tastings, and meals. Highlights are a walk-around culinary journey, a tribute gala, a dinner for James Beard award-winning chef José Andres, and a tasting series that will feature international wines and spirits. For details go to www.wineandfoodfest.com.
New tourism minister
Enrique de la Madrid was appointed the new Secretary of Tourism when President Enrique Peña Nieto shuffled his cabinet on August 27. He replaced Claudia Ruiz Massieu, who was named the country’s new Minister of Foreign Relations.
De la Madrid is the son of the late Miguel de la Madrid, who was Mexico’s president from 1982 to 1988. He had been CEO of Bancomext, the Mexican state-owned bank that finances companies involved with foreign trade and tourism.
Exploring the Mayan world
Sometimes it’s easier to find the culture, history, and noteworthy attractions in Mexico by booking an escorted tour. On Intrepid Travel’s 15-day Expedition—Exploring the Mayan World itinerary, travelers will follow the steps that archaeologist Giles Healey took in 1946.
Leaving from Mexico City, the tour is led by a Maya guide and a local archaeologist, who help guests “discover” some of the lesser-known Maya sites in Mexico. Included are visits to Teotihuacan, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas, and the ruins of Palenque and Bonampak. This tour, slated for November 14-28, is best for people looking for jungle exploration and physical challenges, including river rafting, camping, and hiking.
The company also offers tours that combine visits to ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, with an extensive, 25-day Mayan Highlights tour that starts in Cancun and ends in Playa del Carmen.
Bus travel will transform France
Tourists have long taken advantage of the French rail system to travel from city to city, but a new law will make bus travel more prevalent—and cheaper. The Macron Law, named for the French economy minister who proposed it, affects commerce all over France—including allowing retail stores to be open up to 12 Sundays per year. But the biggest change is that it will allow bus companies to compete with the most popular train routes for the very first time. This change will have repercussions beyond France, as new bus companies are opening up routes along popular lines from cities in France to other European hot spots like Amsterdam, Brussels, and Barcelona.
The price-comparison website GoEuro is now including buses in its trip-planning options. For example, a search for “Paris to Lyon” delivers several options, including a flight on Air France for US$162, as well as two different bus routes, each about six hours and thirty minutes long, for as little as US$6 each way. Meanwhile, a Paris-Lyon train through France’s state-run SNCF network starts at US$73 for a second-class ticket, although the trip only takes about two hours.
France’s neighbor, Great Britain, started the Megabus brand in 2006, offering fares as low as US$1.50 on popular routes like London to Manchester. The company later expanded to international routes. Today travelers can get from London to Paris by bus—an eight-hour trip— from US$30 to US$62. Some buses offer amenities like comfy reclining chairs and free Wi-Fi, although you shouldn’t expect drink-and-snack service … yet.
Longer life? Shower turtles with money
Visitors at the Zhengzhou Zoo in the Henan Province of east-central China have been showering money on a group of turtles in an apparent attempt to gain a longer life. In a report from FoxNews.com, visitors have started to throw vast amounts of cash and change into an enclosure housing several giant Thai turtles. The belief from zoo patrons is that the ancient turtles hold the secret to long life—the animals live up to 150 years—and that by donating money to them, guests will be blessed by the creatures and awarded a longer life.
More cabins for solo travelers
In a new program, AmaWaterways says it is setting aside double-occupancy cabins on every sailing that solo travelers can book at no extra charge. They will be in addition to single occupancy cabins that exist on many AmaWaterways vessels. AmaWaterways markets more than a dozen river ships in Europe on more than half a dozen rivers including the Rhine, Main, Danube, and Seine. Fares start at US$2,499 per person for a seven-night trip. The company also sells voyages in Africa and Asia including seven-night sailings on the Mekong that start at US$2,299 per person.
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in crafting personalized cruise and land itineraries for couples, singles, families, and small groups. She designs trips that are carefully tailored to suit client’s interests, ability, and budget. 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 email@example.com or view the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.
Sources: Wine and Food Festival, Travel Weekly, Intrepid Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Pulse, USA Today, AmaWaterways