Latin America Watch

Troubled Varig booted from Star Alliance

As of the end of January, longtime member Varig is no longer part of United Airlines’ Star Alliance. The restructured, greatly scaled-down Brazilian carrier no longer has the schedule required to operate as part of the Star Alliance network.

The alliance is exploring its options to fill the gap.

There is still some Bardot in Buzios

From Rio de Janeiro, you can drive to the seaside resort of Buzios in two hours. Buzios...


Free air, shore excursions and much more!

For U.S. travelers traveling to South America aboard the 5-star MS Deutschland, Peter Deilmann Cruises is implementing an array of enticements. Among them are free airfare from New York City, free shore excursions worth up to $796, free reserved Carnaval tickets and transfers, and free airport-ship transfers.

In addition, there are very low-cost air supplements from up to 40 U.S. gateways, ranging in cost from $50 to $200. Air rates...


(Third of three parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3)

More ports of call

Puerto Limón (Costa Rica)

Limón boasts a population of some 85,000 people, most of whom are of Afro-Caribbean heritage. The town has increased in size steadily since the 1970s and has proven to be a good place for Costa Ricans to settle down. The climate is warm and tropical, the surroundings are beautiful, and a recent influx of tour operators has brought a new focus to the town.



by Deanna Palic (second of three parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3)

One of the most interesting aspects of our January ’06 MSC Lirica cruise was the opportunity to mingle with passengers of diverse nationalities. French, Spaniards, Italians, British, Dutch, Swiss, Austrians, Germans, Montenegrins, Canadians, Israelis, Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans rounded out the passenger roster. American passengers were primarily from the Midwest and the East Coast.



(First of three parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3)

I never imagined that an episode of the “Larry King Live” show would be the springboard for a winter vacation. This particular evening, Larry’s guest was Sofia Loren. Rather than delving into her eminent film career, the discussion centered on her role as spokesperson for MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) Cruises, whose motto is Premium Class With a True Italian Signature. Although their motto is an apt description of the star...


by Deanna Palić

As a delegate to the Latin America Travel Mart in September ’05, I was invited by PeruRail to sample their luxury train, the Hiram Bingham, which links Cusco and Machu Picchu.

PeruRail is widely recognized as having not only one of the highest rail routes on Earth but the world’s most scenic railway service. Their service links most of the tourist highlights of the Peruvian Andes and is undoubtedly the most spectacular way to discover the ancient land of the...


by Deanna Palic

When I arrived in Peru in mid-September 2005 for the Latin America Travel Mart, Lima was in the last throes of winter. Spring was just one week away and temperatures were in the high 60s day, mid-50s evening.

Limeños boast that rainfall there is “less than a tear a year” and that there isn’t an umbrella factory in the city. Except in summer, Dec. 23-March 23, the city is blanketed in a gray pall, a heavy mist that moves in from the sea. The locals call it garua...


Recently, I was a delegate to the 2005 TravelMart Latin America. It is one of the most important business events for the tourism sector in Latin America. This year, Peru was the host country.

Close to one thousand representatives of tourism organizations around the world gathered in Lima, Sept. 14-16. TravelMart brings together sellers (airlines, cruise operators, tour operators, hotels and tourist offices) and buyers (tour wholesalers from abroad) to promote their products.