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Travel News

By Judy Newell

México News

Jalisco Looks to Promote Off-the-Beaten-Path Areas

The state of Jalisco on México’s Pacific Coast is aiming to broaden its tourism product with new developments in Costalegre and a continuation of the Magic Towns program.

Plans call for new highway development and officials are having “conversations” about an airport in the area, which would mark Jalisco’s third airport and make the state the only one in México to have three airports. That project would involve the development of a small airport into one capable of handling tourist traffic.

In terms of hotels, officials are looking to double capacity over the next two years, with one highlight being the new Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo that’s set to open in 2020.

Elsewhere in the state, work is continuing on a massive expansion of Puerto Vallarta’s airport—the biggest investment in 20 years—that is expected to more than double the facility’s arrivals capacity.

Finally, the state is continuing the promotion of México’s Magic Towns, a program that was started by the federal government and that officials hope to continue even in the absence of funding for the national México Tourism Board. State funds will help in the promotion and maintenance of the towns.

There are eight Magic Towns in Jalisco, the newest of which is Tlaquepaque. Part of the Guadalajara metro area, approximately 20 minutes from downtown, it maintains a small town feel, with a great variety of historic, colonial architecture.

International News

In the Footsteps of the Sefarad

A series of cultural and historical tour programs, specially designed by Discovery Tours Group in cooperation with Jewish Heritage Alliance, will provide an all-inclusive, five-star experience, operated by highly trained tour experts.

The Jewish presence in the Iberian Peninsula existed long before Portugal and Spain became countries. The contribution of Sefardic Jews to the arts, philosophy, commerce, and sciences, helped create the cultural heritage of the region.

Jewish existence in the Iberian Peninsula does not end on a high note, and the Jews are confronted by forced conversions, leading to pogroms and massacres. The tour will bring this segment of Jewish history to life by visiting some of the most popular region of Portugal and Spain, including places of Jewish and crypto-Jewish points of interest. Experience first-hand how many who were forced to convert continued their Jewish practices in secret.

Jews of Portugal tour (limited special offer): This 10-day Discover Historical Portugal tour will introduce guests to Portugal’s Jewish heritage, visiting Lisbon and its surroundings, including historical heritage towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Porto, and Belmonte. The tour leader is Dr Rabbi Peter Tarlow, a renowned academic expert on Jewish heritage in Portugal. August 25–September 3, 2019; US$2,997 including airfare.

Jewish Heritage of Spain and Portugal tour: The ultimate luxury, all-inclusive travel experience to Portugal and Spain includes a specially designed 10-day tour to introduce guests to the amazing history of the Sefarad, with a four-day extension to Andalusia. 10-day tour, September 9–18, 2019; 14-day tour September 9–22, 2019; from US$3,500 land only.

Cruise News

Norwegian Fjords and Scottish Isles

On a voyage aboard the new National Geographic Endurance, sail across the North Sea in the wake of legendary explorers and seafarers, traveling from Norway’s breathtaking fjords and snow-dusted mountains to Scotland’s rolling green hills and ancient ruins.

Glide beneath the dramatic cliffs of the second-largest fjord in Norway, explore the rich traditions and evocative seascapes of the Shetland Islands, and travel back in time amid the Stone Age sites of the Orkney Islands.

With a knowledgeable expedition team, encounter an interwoven tapestry of histories and cultures as you explore on foot, by kayak, and by Zodiac.

Nine-day expeditions in May 2020 aboard the new National Geographic Endurance, with only 126 guests. From US$7,970 to US$15,530 per person.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

Deal of the Week

From Southern California to Baja: Sailing the Pacific Coast

Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez a “living aquarium.” Home to an impressive variety of marine mammals and birds, its islands are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Discover the pure wildness of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez in the most exhilarating way possible—aboard a 62-guest Baja cruise expedition ship.

This remarkable region is full of wildlife and beauty. On this cruise, you’ll have incredible opportunities to discover it all. Think expedition landing-craft cruises for up-close encounters with gray whale mothers and calves. You’ll take strolls in the lively cities of Loreto and La Paz, each packed with culture and history. There’ll be naturalist-led hikes through sculpted sand dunes and forests of giant cacti, epic sunsets, plus barbecues under star-studded skies and so much more.

From Southern California to Baja: Sailing the Pacific Coast: Be among the first aboard National Geographic Venture. Explore the California coast on one of the first voyages of National Geographic’s newest ship. Receive a US$350 airfare credit on this cruise.


Discover one of the nation’s best-kept secrets—Channel Islands National Park.

See why everyone is talking about the vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe.

Learn about the region’s culture with exclusive visits to the world’s largest salt mine in Guerrero Negro, and tour the small fish processing plant of Isla Natividad’s fishing coop.

Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena, and count the 40 species of birds that inhabit this area.

Watch the sunrise illuminate El Arco de Cabo San Lucas.

Snorkel in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, the only hard-coral reef in North America, featuring over 220 species of fish.

December 12, 2019, from US$9,390 to $16,070. The premium on solo cabins is waived for this departure from Southern California to Baja: Sails the Pacific Coast.

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 custom-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; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Carr. a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website

Central, Discovery Tours Group, Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic

Baja cruises


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