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Travel News

Travel News

Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Pacific Coast Hotels with Nature Tours

What draws many visitors to destinations is the natural beauty of the location. An increasing number of hotel properties has made it easier for guests with on-site nature preserves, trained guides, and a variety of property excursions and activities for adults and children alike.

Guests can learn a lot about nature just steps from the reception desk. Majahuitas Resort, near Puerto Vallarta, features eight casitas on communal land that belongs to the indigenous community of Chacala. Reachable only by boat via the Bay of Banderas, the property is heaven for bird watchers, with the endangered military macaw, grey hawk, golden-cheeked woodpecker, and black-throated magpie jay among the local residents.

Farther down the coast, Las Brisas Ixtapa offers a guided nature walk, which starts with a “mocktail” made with the local tetechas cactus flower. A professional nature guide leads guests through the jungle that surrounds the hotel, providing insight about the vegetation and wildlife, which includes more than 320 bird species.

In Los Cabos, Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort offers the Cacti Mundo tour, which visits a nearby botanical garden. The tour is open to guests at any Pueblo Bonito property, and an expert guide provides details about the many species of cacti in the gardens.

Mexico’s interior also provides travelers with unique opportunities to connect with nature. At Hacienda Jurica by Brisas in the colonial town of Querétaro, guests can request a guided tour that focuses on the property’s 16th century history as well as the grounds’ lush flora.

International News

AccorHotels to Plant Gardens to Cut Food Waste

AccorHotels has announced plans to plant hundreds of vegetable gardens across its portfolio of hotels, the Agence France-Presse reported. The French hotel group is aiming to cut its own food waste by as much as 30 percent and serve guests more locally-sourced food.

The Paris-based group will start by measuring its food waste, requiring restaurants at its properties to weigh and record food that is thrown away. AccorHotels plans to use that data to determine potential solutions. The group will also slim down its menus to 10, 15, or 20 main courses, with more local products. Currently, its restaurants offer up to 40 main course options.

AccorHotels has set lofty goals in terms of garden development, with the group aiming to have 1,000 vegetable gardens created by the end of the decade. The motivation is simple, given the potential benefits of cutting waste, as food accounts for anywhere between one-quarter and one-third of AccorHotels’ revenue, per the AFP.

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that as much as one-third of food that is produced is ultimately wasted. And given the financial impact of the unnecessary production, travelers shouldn’t be surprised to see other hotel chains launch similar initiatives down the road.

Cruise News

Regent Cruises Will Fly You Business Class … for Free

It’s a new meaning for “all-inclusive.” Regent Seven Seas Cruises saw the need for a seamless home-to-plane-to-ship experience, so come its 2017 season, the company is including free business class airfare for everyone who books their cruises. That’s on top of the company’s existing roster of free amenities, which include free unlimited shore excursions, fine wine and spirits, unlimited internet access, ground transfers, and luxury pre-cruise hotel stays.

So, how can you get in on the deal? First, of course, you’ll need to book passage on one of Regent’s cruises, which are consistently ranked in the top group for medium-sized ships in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards. The free business-class air travel deal extends to everyone booked on a Regent cruise, no matter their cabin class, and applies to 26 cities throughout the US and Canada whether you’re flying to get on board a ship, returning home from an overseas itinerary, or both.

If that’s not enough incentive, just browse some of Regent’s new 2017—2018 itineraries, which include a 21-night sail from Dubai to Barcelona (with stops in Luxor, Jerusalem, and Sicily) from US$9,999 and a high-end 44-night itinerary from Bangkok to Athens, calling at Singapore, Phuket, Mumbai, and other spots, starting at US$25,999.



Keep an eye out for some of the ports making first-time appearances on Regent itineraries, including Jakarta, Nantes, Antwerp, and Norfolk Island, Australia.

New Cruise Line Is Setting Sail for Cuba

Ponant, the world’s only French-flagged line, is the second cruise company, and the first luxury line, to offer trips to Cuba for Americans. From January through early April 2017, Ponant will bring its unique brand of upscale, small-ship cruising to the island nation.

Like Carnival Corporation, which is docking in Cuba for the first time next month, Ponant’s Cuba itineraries will fall into the US government-authorized category of people-to-people travel. Havana and Santiago de Cuba are on the agenda, which probably means travelers can expect trips to Casa Fuster, salsa dancing lessons, and visits to Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunts.

A highlight of the 7 to 8-night itinerary is the ship itself, Le Ponant a yacht that hosts an intimate group of no more than 64 cruisers in its 32 cabins, all with ocean views. Specific activities and prices have not yet been released.

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”—Lin Yutang

Deal of the Week

2-for-1 Jacques Pépin Cruise

This culinary sojourn is hosted by world-renowned master chef Jacques Pépin, who is Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises. Guests will be treated to specially designed signature menus, engaging lectures, culinary demonstrations, and much more.

“Medieval Artistry” is a 10-day voyage aboard the Marina from Rome to Venice on November 1-11, 2016. The voyage fare features 2-for-1 Cruise Fares plus Free Airfare and Free Unlimited Internet. And you can choose one extra offer: four free shore excursions, free beverage package, or free US$400 shipboard credit. Fares from US$2,999 per guest.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in personalized cruises and tours. She designs trips that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities, and budgets. 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 Her office hours are Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm, Office 1A, Rancho Los Labradores, Car. D. Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website, where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Go Mexico, Travel Pulse, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Travel+Leisure, Oceania Cruises


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