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As I made myself comfortable in a window seat of a LAN flight from Ecuador’s largest city of Guayaquil to Baltra Island in the Galapagos, I had two reasons to be excited. For one, I was finally visiting this island chain in the eastern Pacific that has been on my travel dream list for years. Two, I was on this route’s inaugural flight (September 16), happy to know this world’s wonder has finally become more accessible to U.S. travelers. For the next 90 minutes up in the air, there was much flashing of the cameras and plenty of champagne flowing, but I spent most of the midair time staring down at the immense blue of the ocean below. I was soon to land in the “living laboratory of evolution,” as Charles Darwin called these isolated and pristine islands.
Flights to South America can be lengthy – and often pricey. LAN’s new sale solves both these problems by offering the comfort of business-class seats for as little as $899 (round-trip). That’s less than the cost of most economy rates! Flights are available to Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina from major U.S. cities like Miami, Boston, New York, Chicago, and more. Plus, to make this offer even sweeter, the airline is tossing in a free domestic flight within South America in economy class – saving hundreds of dollars on your connecting flight. This offer expires September 29.
THE VALUE: An average to ticket to South America will easily set you back around $500 to $1,500 or more in economy class, and $1,200 to $5,000 for business-class tickets (depending on the route). Factor in $100 to $300 for a round-trip flight within South America (which you’ll receive with your business-class purchase) and the savings quickly add up.
THE CATCH: The lowest fares are found from Miami, but you’ll still enjoy significant savings from other cities, too.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.lan.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find great rates on airfare.
Check out our South America Travel Guide for ideas and advice when planning your trip.
The Luxury The Ecuadorian capital, long considered a mere pit stop en route to the Galapagos, is finally getting the attention of in-the-know travelers, thanks to a major restoration of its Unesco-designated Old Town and burgeoning hotel, restaurant, and nightlife scenes. Book the eight-night City Culture and Gastronomic Tour, put together especially for Sherman’s Travel readers by Exclusive Hotels and Haciendas of Ecuador. The trip starts with two nights at bohemian-chic hotel Café Cultura in Quito before visiting the Ecuadorian cloud forest, San Pablo Lake, and the Cotopaxi volcano, with stops at regional eateries and an assortment of luxury haciendas and inns along the way. Then it’s back to Quito for two more nights. Read more
Sure, Patagonia deserves its reputation as one of the most stunning, adventure-rich spots on the planet. But there are plenty of other places to visit throughout the country for hiking, biking, camping and all sorts of other active pursuits. And with a stellar airfare sale from South American airline LAN extended through August 11, it’s a great time to check them out.
The sale offers direct flights to cities including Mendoza, Cordoba, and Buenos Aires in Argentina; Ecuador’s eco-haven, the Galapagos Islands; and Lima, Peru. Tack on a few extra days to the Labor Day Weekend, and you can wrap up summer with a brag-worthy trip.
Here, a few can’t-miss options: Read more
Get front-row seats to Darwin’s discoveries when you book LAN Airlines’ round-trip flight to Guayaquil, a bustling, Ecuadorian port city not yet hit by the tourism wave. Starting from just $499 out of Miami, every ticket is accompanied by free round-trip air to the Galapagos – an evolutionary wonder of natural diversity and one of the most-coveted destinations around the world. Jump on this equally rare, two-for-one airfare steal and pioneer LAN’s first routes to these exotic islands from September 16 and on.
VALUE: Save up to $900 – the going rate for round-trip flights to the Galapagos Islands.
CATCH: Pack layers – June through December is the Galapagos’ dry season, so temperatures can dip to 60 degrees and under.
DETAILS: Reserve with LAN Airlines by June 21.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Find other international flight deals.
Whet your wanderlust with our Galapagos Travel Guide.
Plan another exotic vacation.
FOUND A BETTER DEAL? Tell us.
The ShermansTravel Deals team hand-picks the special breed of deals that promises free perks ? no strings attached. Good little boys and girls stay for free in a suite with parents (maximum of two children) at the five-star, all-inclusive, $257/night Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe on the Sea of Cortez through December 23. This offer covers taxes, alcoholic beverages, daily entertainment, and entrance to their kids-only, water playground, while guests enjoy jetted tubs and furnished terraces in every room. For reservations, call 1-800-BARCELO or visit www.barceloloscabos.com.
Celebrate the arrival of spring by hopping a flight to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize, or other sun-filled destinations from just $163 round-trip (without taxes), courtesy of TACA Airlines‘ new fare sale. This deal is available for travel through May 31, but tickets must be purchased by March 10. In addition to this sale, there are a number of other unadvertised price reductions to Central and South America from TACA’s top competitors. Our editors put these fares to the test and found prices as low as $240 round-trip – taxes included!
Sample fares (round-trip, taxes included):
• Orlando – Managua, Nicaragua: $240
• Orlando – Honduras: $402
• Los Angeles – Costa Rica: $445
• Houston – Belize: $492
• Dallas – Guatemala: $524
• San Francisco – El Salvador: $554
• Orlando – El Salvador: $554
• Chicago – Ecuador: $607
• And more!
Imagine standing on both sides of the equator, the northern and southern hemispheres splayed out before you in a landscape of Amazon rainforest, mountains, and ancient stone monuments. Friendly Planet’s 8-night Exotic Ecuador journey will take you where your imagination can’t. For a dreamlike $1,199 per person, choose between the August 9 and September 6 departures (other dates are available April through October for only $100 more). Book by March 31 to take advantage of this superb offer, which boasts a savings of $800 per couple!
The beloved bohemian hotel, Café Cultura—known for whimsical frescoes, blazing hearths, and a cozy, lived-in feel—has traded its postcolonial villa for a princely mansion in the same New Town district of Quito, Ecuador. Built in 1937, the mansion’s former incarnation was as the elite Club Pichincha where the crème de la crème of society would gather. A striking mixture of Art Deco details and Republican–style architecture, the structure won Quito’s most prestigious architectural award in 1937. Read more
Today, Ecuador-based AeroGal Airlines debuted daily nonstop flights between Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin de Olmedo and New York City’s John F. Kennedy airports – the first-ever daily commercial air service between Ecuador and the U.S. AeroGal, which also has routes to Miami, is self-proclaimed to be one of the world’s safest and most “environmentally friendly” carriers (receiving accolades for its commitment to waste reduction). In-flight meals include traditional Ecuadorian delights such as empanadas and complimentary cups of canelazo, a popular fruit drink seasoned with cinnamon and served hot. Special introductory rates for the new JFK–Guayaquil route start at $548 round-trip (including taxes) and are available through January 31, 2010.
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