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Travel News

China Beijin temple

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Hyatt Ziva Cancun Opens

Cancun’s first property under the Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive brand has opened. The Hyatt Ziva Cancun, surrounded on three sides by the Caribbean Sea, has 545 rooms, all of which have ocean views.

The former Dreams Cancun underwent a US$85 million renovation and expansion. The resort now has 15 restaurants and bars, a spa with 13 treatment rooms, and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.

World-Class Golf in the Yucatán

It’s no surprise that Mexico has become a hotbed for world-class golfers. The Yucatan Peninsula boasts some of the most luxurious resorts in the world and part of that luxury includes golf, the game of kings.

Currently, the country has more than 160 golf courses and that number continues to rise. Two of the best courses in Mexico can be found at Riviera Maya Golf Club. Completed in 2010, the complex boasts two courses—an 18-hole, par-72 championship course and a nine-hole, par-three executive course—both designed by famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II.

Located about a mile from the sea, the courses are part of Bahia Principe Riviera Maya Residences & Golf complex, a massive compound that includes four properties. Resort guests receive a discount on green and cart fees, including access to a fleet of GPS-enabled carts.

International News

Best Value Destinations for Cash-Conscious Travelers

Estonia, with its white sand beaches and a capital filled with medieval architecture, has been named the best value destination for travelers in 2016. The country has topped the list of Lonely Planet’s annual 10 best value destinations guide and is closely followed by Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam,  and East Africa, New Mexico, and Galicia in Spain.

According to Lonely Planet, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has affected tourism in East African countries despite the region’s distance from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. The guide says “So listen up: London, Madrid, and Paris are hundreds of miles closer to the outbreak in West Africa than East Africa’s tourism heartland,” and touts the current affordable deals to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor in Southeast Asia, also makes the list for its affordability outside of the capital, Dili.

Meet Naledi in South Africa

Standing only five feet tall, you wouldn’t think he could be an athlete, but he can run faster and farther than any modern track star. He can climb trees and swing through branches with more grace than Tarzan. He wears no clothes and only eats what he can hunt and kill by hand. He has a really, really little brain. And he is probably more than a million years old.

This is the newly discovered human ancestor, whose bones were recently found in South Africa at The Rising Star Caves about 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg. There are hundreds —maybe thousands—more skeletons to be excavated from those caves.

For bone diggers and other scientists, one of the most exciting aspects of the Naledi find is future discovery. The head archaeologist, Dr. Lee Berger, has opined that these Homo Naledi were intentionally buried. This means ritual, which was previously thought to be only where these bones were found, in a chamber deep within a cave. After eliminating others being practiced by modern humans, the Homo Naledi discovery has turned paleontology on its head and raised many new questions. It may just prove how little we really know about our earliest ancestors.

A visit to the Cradle of Mankind, where the Rising Star Caves are found, is an easy day extension from Johannesburg.

Cruise News

Seabourn Wins “Finest Cruise Line Dining” Award

Seabourn Cruise Line has been awarded the 2015 Good Taste Award for Finest Cruise Line Dining by culinary magazine Saveur. This is not the first award Seabourn has won from Saveur, as the company was also named the Best Culinary Cruise Line in the magazine’s Culinary Travel Awards in 2013 and 2014.

Seabourn recently announced a partnership with world-renowned chef Thomas Keller. The cuisine on the ships is already award-winning, but the addition of Keller-inspired menus onboard the Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Quest, and Seabourn Sojourn will only help the company solidify its place as one of the best culinary cruise lines in the world. Seabourn offers specialty cruises dedicated to food and wine.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”–Unknown

Deal of the Week

Three Gorges Deluxe River Cruise

Enjoy all the major cities from Beijing to Xian and Shanghai, combined with a fantastic four-day cruise along the Yangtze aboard the five-star deluxe M/S President 8, featuring all outside cabins with full balconies. With most meals, sightseeing tours and excursions, and all intra-China flights included, this program is designed to give you the best of China at a price that you can afford.

The popular tour includes Beijing and the Forbidden City, The Great Wall, a deluxe Yangtze River cruise, the Three Gorges Dam, Xian, the Terra Cotta Soldiers, Shanghai, and five-star accommodations throughout your trip. Three Gorges Deluxe River Cruise is offered April–November, 2016. From US$2,499 per person for the 12-day tour and cruise.

Tour Highlights

Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall and Peking Duck dinner

Chongquin: Panda Zoo and Great Hall

Xian: Terra Cotta Museum with Warriors, Tang Dynasty dinner and show

Shanghai: City tour with the Bund, Yu Yan Gardens, Jade Buddha, Mongolian BBQ and famous Chinese acrobats performance

Included Features

Total of 27 meals (12 breakfasts, nine lunches, six dinners)

Deluxe hotel accommodation with daily buffet breakfast throughout

Three intra-China economy class domestic air segments

Sightseeing with entrance fees as outlined in the program

Air-conditioned tour coaches in each city

English speaking local guides in each city. Three-night downstream cruise between Yichang and Chongqing in category of your choice with private balcony

All shore excursions along the route

All on board lectures, briefings, games, and entertainment


Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for 44 years, heads Perfect Journeys, which specializes in crafting personalized cruise and land itineraries. She designs trips that are carefully tailored to suit a 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 View the latest travel specials on the website, where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Travel Weekly, Travel Age West, The Independent, Great Safaris, Travel Pulse, Value World Tours


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