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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Cancun’s First Resort Casino Opens

Oasis Hotels and Resorts is updating its entertainment offerings at Grand Oasis Cancun with the recently unveiled on-property casino and is set to launch the Oasis Arena this month.
The Red Casino at Grand Oasis Cancun stretches over two levels with blackjack, roulette, poker, and slot machines. Dedicated bar areas have large-screen TVs playing sports games 24 hours a day.

Oasis Arena will play host to live performances and sporting events such as boxing, martial arts, and fencing. The new events also offer outdoor deck areas, a beach club stage, and oceanfront poolside terraces.

Located adjacent to the arena will be the Yucatan Salon with movie theater-style ambience and retractable screen for films and multimedia shows.


No Customs Declaration at DF Airport

Mexico City is testing a new customs program that would eliminate luggage checks and customs declarations.

The Tax Administration Service (SAT) is implementing the new program, which aims to expedite the entry process of international visitors. It will apply to foreign travelers, who will no longer be required to make a customs declaration.

The testing at Benito Juarez International Airport began this month at Terminal 2 with the removal of the red light/green light traffic signal for foreign baggage.

In a statement, SAT said that luggage will be checked with mobile x-ray equipment during the transfer from the plane to where passengers collect their luggage. Those who bring additional merchandise in their luggage would only pay by claiming the items. The x-ray scanning process would be in conjunction with the Federal Police.

The SAT is hoping to implement the same model at Terminal 1 at the airport, and then in the customs facilities of the international airports in Los Cabos, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Cancun. Combined, the airports accommodate 85 percent of international passengers arriving in Mexico.


International News

Discovery to Build Theme Park in Costa Rica

Discovery Communications, owner of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, will build a USD$400 million theme park in Costa Rica, the government recently announced. Local investment firm Sun Latin America will be responsible for developing the 1,977-acre project in the province of Guanacaste, a beach tourism destination some 140 miles north of the capital.

The park, which will include hotels, eco-adventure activities, sports areas, and restaurants, will generate some 2,000 jobs during its 2018–2020 construction, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís told a news conference.


Cruise News

New River Cruises in Africa

CroisEurope announced the African Dream deluxe river cruise on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, starting in October 2017. The ship accommodates only 16 passengers on an 8-night program that begins in South Africa.

The itinerary includes 1 night in Johannesburg, 3 nights river cruise, 3 nights in a game lodge, and 1 night at Victoria Falls. From USD$6,319 per person, including meals, safaris, internal airfare, and more.


5 Ways to Cruise to Cuba

Cuba is the hottest new Caribbean cruise destination and with several cruise lines now approved for cruises to the Caribbean island. Here are the five different ways you can cruise to Cuba:

Carnival Cruise Line––Starting in June 2017, Carnival will begin their first cruises to Cuba on Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, Florida. The ship will offer four and five night cruises to Cuba with some voyages including an overnight stay in Havana. The five night cruises will include a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.

Norwegian Cruise Line—NCL will be offering cruises to Cuba through 2018 on the all-inclusive Norwegian Sky. These four night cruises will depart from the Cruise Capital of the World, Port Miami, with the first trip scheduled for May 2017.

Royal Caribbean International—RCI’s first cruise to Cuba will take place in April 2017 on Empress of the Seas. The ship will relocate to Tampa from Miami and sail a variety of four to seven night cruises to Cuba.

Oceania Cruises—Oceania will offer a nice variety of six to 24 day luxury cruises to Cuba on several of their cruise ships. The cruises include multiple stops in Cuba including Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana.

MSC Cruise—MSC offers round-trip cruises to the Caribbean from Havana, Cuba. However, US citizens are not allowed to embark on these voyages.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”—Bill Bryson

Deal of the Week

In Search of the Snow Leopard

The Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh has been hailed as one of the last frontiers for wildlife tourism. This incredible 13-day winter expedition meets the elements head-on, in an awe-inspiring landscape, in search of the elusive snow leopard

Ladakh’s stark, natural beauty is as majestic as the elusive and enigmatic snow leopard. There are many rare and endangered animal species found in this cold desert landscape, including the elusive snow leopard, ibex, Tibetan antelope, blue sheep, shapo, marmot, and Tibetan hare.

You can expect exceptional bird watching opportunities, too. Keep your binoculars peeled for the snow partridge, golden oriole, snow cock, golden eagle, horned lark, and red billed chuff. For the duration of your journey, you will be guided by one of the region’s most expert guides who is incredibly knowledgeable about the fascinating cultural heritage of the region.

13 days/12 nights. Fully inclusive rates per person sharing: April 5–17, 2017, USD$5,726 per person; January 10–22, 2018, USD$6,495; March 6–18, 2018, USD$6,495.

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. View the latest travel specials on the website


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