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Travel News

Love Affair with Latin Am

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Hotel Amapa to Open in Puerto Vallarta

Hotel Amapa will open in the vibrant and historic old town of Puerto Vallarta in early February 2018. The hotel, part of Design Hotels, will have 55 rooms, located just one block from Playa Los Muertos.

Named after the neighborhood within the Zona Romantica in which the hotel is located, Hotel Amapa is filled with bespoke local craftsmanship. The hotel will provide several foods and beverage options highlighting coastal Mexican cuisine as well as a rooftop pool and bar.


Trending Destinations

Traveling in Mexico this year? Check out Grand Costa Maya, located about four-and-a-half hours south of Cancun by car in the south of Quintana Roo state.

The top destinations in the region include Chetumal—Quintana Roo’s capital—Bacalar, and Mahahual.

In Chetumal, top attractions include the Museum of Mayan Culture and Boulevard Bay, which acts as a manatee sanctuary.

Bacalar is home to the Fort of San Felipe de Bacalar—which was built in 1733 in response to pirate attacks—and numerous cenotes, including the Blue Cenote, which, at 660 feet wide, is considered the largest in Mexico.

Just off the coast from Mahahual, travelers can visit the Mesoamerican Reef. In addition, there are six different Mayan archaeological sites.

Regional airline Mayair flies from Cancun International Airport to Chetumal Airport Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with two daily flights on the first and last days. Return flights operate the same days.


International News

Put Qatar on Your Travel Radar

Don’t wait until the 2022 FIFA World Cup to begin planning a visit to Qatar. You will want to be able to say you were there while it was still off the beaten path.

Doha is a modern and sophisticated capital city with a rich history. Peak travel to the country is December through May, when the weather’s warm and dry and not terribly hot.

It’s easy to find things to do, as everything from high-end shopping, gourmet dining, and adventurous excursions await you. Qatar always has something festive going on. There are events that celebrate everything from pearl diving and kite-flying to books and film.

One of the most popular festivals is the Qatar International Food Festival, which takes place in March. The gastronomic event draws makers of cuisine from around the world and is centered on Doha’s Corniche.

For those who love to shop, souqs and malls abound. Souqs are still a part of daily life in Qatar. Souq Waqif is Doha’s central market. Visitors can spend hours wandering through its maze of alleyways in search of carpets, textiles, coffee pots, antique silver, and more.

Qatar’s malls are legendary. The Villagio Mall is not only home to top luxury brands, it also has a network of canals on which guests can enjoy gondola rides. There is also an ice skating rink, a theme park, an IMAX movie theater, and more.

There are a host of museums in Qatar, most located in Doha. Two of the most popular are the Museum of Islamic Art and the Msheireb Museum, located in four historic heritage houses that feature exhibits on the slave trade, petroleum industry, and Qatari family life.

A stop to see the Pearl Qatar, a manmade island, is also a must. Home to marinas, villas, hotels, and luxury shopping, popular dining spots; Pearl Qatar is often described as the Arabian Riviera.

Exploring beyond the city is essential. Travelers can take a safari to Qatar’s famous dunes, ride in a dune buggy, go sandboarding, marvel at the unique Ras Abrouq rock formations, go for a camel ride, or camp in Bedouin-style tents.

Cruise News

2018 Alaska Cruises from US$819

Holland America has nine 2018 Alaska cruises from which to choose, with fares from USD$819 per person. The cruises depart from Vancouver, BC; Fairbanks, AK; or Seattle, WA, departing May–September 2018. Book through Feb. 14, 2018, for these special rates.

Holland America Line

Transatlantic Fashion Week

Witness glamorous catwalk shows during the annual Transatlantic Fashion Week, aboard Cunard’s 7-night Westbound Crossing on the Queen Mary 2, departing Sep. 2, 2018.

Cunard is renowned for glamour, dressing up, and unforgettable special occasions, and you can join its luxurious flagship for a spectacular array of fashion shows and exhibitions, audiences that feature special guests, hosted dinners, and more. The cruise arrives in New York in time for Fashion Week. Graduates from world-famous Fashion College and models from a leading modeling agency will also be on board.

Fares range from US$1,249 inside, US$1,899 ocean view, and US$1,899 balcony. Princess and Queens Grill suites are sold out.


Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.” —Alain de Botton

Deal of the Week

Love Affair with Latin America

Be enchanted by the natural beauty, genuine people, and unique customs in fascinating Latin America. Central Holidays has expanded its array of programs with 16 new packages for this year.


  • Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos, daily arrivals, independent, 12 days from US$3,894 (Lima–Cusco–Magadelena–Quito–Cruise
  • Fascinating Argentina, daily arrivals, independent, 8 days from US$1,899 (Buenos Aires–Iguaz–Bariloche)
  • Classic Peru, guaranteed departures, 7 days from US$899 (Lima–Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu–Cusco)
  • Images of Colombia, daily arrivals, independent, 9 days from US$1,419 (Bogota–Medellin–Cartagena)
  • Rio de Janeiro & the Amazon, daily arrivals, independent, 8 days from US$1,949 (Rio de Janeiro–Manaus–Amazon)
  • Cuba: A Cultural Experience, group tour, Thursday arrivals, 10 days from US$3,599 (Havana–Cienfuego–Camagüey–Santiago de Cuba–Holguin)

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 your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; e-mail Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: TA Central, Travel Pulse, Holland America Line, Cunard Line, Central Holidays


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