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Travel News

A Perfect Week in Japan

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Tulum Hotel Project Canceled

Grupo Posadas’ hotel project in Chemuyil, Quintana Roo, has been canceled as a result of a failure to meet the necessary environmental requirements, according to Mexican trade publication

Despite six years of proceedings, the US$600 million plan to construct three different concept hotels has been quashed, with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources refusing to endorse the ecological management plan put forward by the municipality of Tulum.

Grupo Posadas boasts half a dozen different brands, including Live Aqua, Fiesta Americana, and Vacation Club. Based in Mexico City, it is Mexico’s largest hotel holding company and operates more than 140 properties across eight different brands.

International News

Balkan Odyssey with Famous Author

Patricia Schultz, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, will serve as host on the first 2017 departure of MIR’s Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Cultures, May 11–26, 2017.

A world traveler and expert on must-see sites around the world, Patricia will offer her observations and share her expertise with other MIR travelers as they make an overland journey to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo.

Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox, politically contradictory, ethnically varied, this kaleidoscopic region offers an apprenticeship in diversity. Travelers will immerse themselves in the complex history, landscapes, and cultures of the Balkan Peninsula on this 16-day journey as they:

•Visit the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum with a survivor who used the tunnel to escape the shelling

•Discover the UNESCO-listed area around the Old Bridge in Mostar, rebuilt over five years in an effort to heal the deep ethnic divide that characterized its destruction

•Walk UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik’s wide city walls, which have protected it since the 13th century

•Browse the wooden stalls of the medieval Turkish bazaar in Kruja, a great place to shop for traditional Albanian handicrafts

Take to the waters of UNESCO-listed Lake Ohrid on a private traditional boat, enjoying sweeping views of Ohrid’s Old Town, St. Stefan, and Tito’s villa

•Experience a Macedonian feast in Skopje, with live music, Balkan dancing, and a table piled high with succulent dishes.

The maximum group size for this departure is 16 passengers and space is already filling up. In addition to the special departure with Patricia Schultz, there will also be a fall departure of Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Culture, September 14–29, 2017.

Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Cultures, May 11–26, 2017, US$7,695 per person, land only, based on double occupancy.

Cruise News

Aqua Amazon Sinks, Four Crew Members Missing

After an accident and subsequent explosion, Aqua Amazon, an upscale vessel operated by Aqua Expeditions on the Amazon River in Peru, sank in the river on July 16. While no passengers were onboard, several crew members were injured. Four are still missing.

It’s been a challenging year on the Amazon. Two guests died in April when fire broke out in their cabin on an International Expeditions ship.

More recently, Delfin Amazon Cruises’ Amazon Discovery, an Amazon ship that had been chartered by Avalon Waterways, was boarded by robbers – who stole US$20,000 in money, jewelry, and valuables from guests and crew.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“A bad day in Paris is still better than a good day anywhere else.”-Anonymous

Deal of the Week

A Perfect Week in Japan

Experience a classic six-night Japan vacation from US$2,899 per person. The itinerary showcases three completely different places: first, Tokyo, famous for its cutting-edge modernity, neon-lit landscape, and towering skyscrapers. It is also home to cherry tree-filled parks, peaceful shrines and temples, and lovingly tended gardens; then, Hakone, a natural nature wonderland, famous for its hot springs and superb views of nearby picturesque Mount Fuji; and finally, Kyoto, the nation’s former capital, which was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. Its geishas, tea houses, and temples impart a sense of history to all who visit.


Ride the subway in Tokyo and explore the “station cities” below the streets

Stop for green matcha tea and sweets in a teahouse on a small island in the middle of a lake

Ride through the mountains on a switchback train

Spend a night in a traditional ryokan—a Japanese inn with sumptuous cuisine

Take a thrilling bullet train journey to Kyoto

Explore Kyoto’s Nishiki Market—5 blocks of stalls and restaurants where it’s all about food


Six nights’ accommodation on twin or double share basis

Daily breakfast

Shared airport transfers

Private day tours with English speaking guides

Private transfer, ryokan—Odawara station

Bullet train, Odawara—Kyoto

Private transfer Kyoto station—hotel

Entrance fees to the places indicated on the itinerary

Current applicable taxes.

Minimum 2 guests. Departs daily. From US$2,899. Price is based on per person, double occupancy, and low season travel. Single supplements apply. Pricing, itinerary, and routing are subject to change without notice.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She designs journeys that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo; hours MonFri, 11am–4pm. View the latest travel specials on the website


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