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The date – which marks the end of the Maya long-term calendar and, so say doomsday theorists, the end of the world – is expected to bring a surge of visitors to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador, the countries of the Mundo Maya. But even if you’re not headed there, you’ll surely be hearing about the hype of 12/21/12: the good, the bad, and the completely unfounded.
Enter Shannon Kring Buset, a world traveler, director, and tour guide to Maya lands who spent 18 months researching her award-winning documentary, 2012: The Beginning. In the film, Kring Buset dispels various doomsday myths through interviews with the world’s leading Maya archeologists, scholars, astronomers, shamans, and living Maya. “The people, places, stories, rituals, and even animals of the Maya world, both past and present, have enriched my life and the world in ways those of us in Western cultures are just beginning to understand,” she says. “I believe we owe it to them to enter their lands with respect and reverence, and to bring home the truth about this still great culture.”
Here are five of the most persistent myths, debunked. Fascinating stuff, no matter where you’ll be on the big day. Read more
People travel for myriad reasons: to see new places, to conduct business, to escape wacky family members. More often than not, people venture out into the world for a respite from their everyday lives. A break from the daily grind is always welcome, and most vacationers are happy to escape to a realm of peace and tranquility.
Of course, in today’s tech landscape, where many of us have our smartphones fused to the palms of our hands, that can be nigh impossible. Even in the most remote corners of the Earth, you can still hear the faint buzzes, bells, and whistles of your or your neighbors’ electronic devices. We’re all guilty of giving in to technology in times when we should log off – checking our work email on vacation, or wondering which Instagram filter will get your sweet landscape photo the most likes. For those of us who need the internet pried from our cold, dead fingers, some hotels are taking a more forceful route.
This weekend ushered in the official start of fall, but that doesn’t mean you need to put away your bathing suit just yet. With beachfront resorts from Mexico to Aruba to Fiji, this week’s top deals allow you extend your summer a little bit longer, so you can dig your feet into the sand – and not dig deep into your wallet.
On Mexico’s golden Pacific Coast, the Paradise Village Beach Resort in Nuevo Vallarta is featuring rates for just $86 per person, per night this fall. That’s a savings of over 25 percent at the sprawling all-inclusive resort. The one catch is that a four-night minimum savings is required to reap these savings, but with a championship golf course, two spas, a marina, and a wildlife preserve, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to stay for less time. In nearby Los Cabos, the upscale Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa is offering all-inclusive rates for as little as $148 per person, per night through October 31 – a savings of 55 percent at this 4.5-star resort on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Read more
Explore the Mayan ruins and white sand beaches of Tulum this summer for only $52 a night. Stay at the Papaya Playa, a beachfront eco-hotel, comprised of 85 cabanas, which offers a savings of 20 percent on competitor sites. Papaya Playa is part of DesignHotels, an independent hotel group with over 200 properties in more than 40 different countries across the globe. This deal is available for any seven-night stay through September 15, 2012.
Tulum is located just an hour from Playa del Carmen and just under two hours from Cancun. Enjoy the old stone buildings and historic landmarks of the city, or take a short hike to El Castillo, Tulum’s largest and most impressive Mayan temple. The rustic yet luxurious charm of this Yucatan paradise, cushioned by the jungle on the Caribbean coast, is the perfect escape for every budget.
The property features a restaurant, which overlooks the crystal clear Caribbean waters. Here guests can feast on freshly baked goods – straight from the clay oven – and local specialties, prepared on the open-air grill. The Beach Club, located directly on the resort’s private beach, allows guests to enjoy drinks and snacks while relaxing under the Mexican sun. The wooden oceanfront cabanas feature a double bed, terrace, shared bathroom, hardwood floors, and an unbeatable beach view. The indoor-outdoor on-site spa offers massage and beauty treatments, in addition to yoga, tai chi, meditation, and fresh juices and smoothies.
Select the 7for5 Promotion when booking. To book, visit the DesignHotels website. For more information, call 800-337-4685.
Though we’re all glad for the warmer weather in summer, when temperatures spike too high it can really be a drag on your vacation. Not anymore! With a bevy of hotel discounts tied to the outside temperature you’ll be praying for a scorcher.
Book a two-night stay at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston from June 29 to July 8 and you’ll receive a discount on the first night based on the temperature at 5pm that day. Plus, you can always beat the heat at the hotel’s swanky Roof Top Pool. Rates for the July 4 Summer Meltdown Package.
Aeromexico is giving us another reason to get sunburned this summer, with its launch of daily direct flights from JFK airport in New York to Cancún, Mexico from starting July 1.
Timed so you can hit the beaches the same day you land, Aeromexico’s flights depart JFK’s terminal 1 at 7:10am daily, and arrive at Cancún International Airport before lunchtime. Return flights take off daily at 5:25pm from Cancún, and land at JFK by midnight.
While summer in the Caribbean means hurricanes combined with high temperatures and soaring humidity, this usually results in off season advantages, like cheap hotel rooms and shorter queues. In addition, Cancún hosts a wealth of warm weather attractions. Visitors can swim with the whale sharks at Isla Holbox, explore the Tulum Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo, go cave diving in the submerged cenote caverns, or just relax at one of Cancún’s many beach resorts.
Other new Aeromexico flights include non-stop flights from Washington D.C. to Mexico City from $529, and a daily service from Atlanta to Mexico’s capital from $449 starting July 1. For nonstop flights to Cancún, both Priceline and Expedia currently list flights starting from $759 on American Airlines.
See our Cancún destination guide for general trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more.
For travelers looking for great travel deals, the summer months offer lots of discounts in the Caribbean and Mexico, because summer generally means hurricanes and risky weather. But the Weather Channel has just issued its forecast for the 2012 hurricane season, and the weather looks promising for those tropical Atlantic travelers.
The experts predict 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) for the 2012 season. The prediction is for storms in the Atlantic Ocean, not necessarily storms that make landfall. These numbers are well below the averages for 1995-2011, which had, on average, 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. However, it should be noted that these are just predictions: in 1992 only six named storms were predicted, one of which was Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history.
Be sure to check out our Top 10 Travel Emergency Tips for advice on how to handle hurricanes and other disasters.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.
With summer — and school break — just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a great getaway for the whole family. These money-saving deals are suitable for a group, whether you’re taking the kids to Orlando for some theme park hopping, planning your next family reunion on a cruise, or hiding out at a Caribbean resort where little ones stay free. We found those deals and more, good for travel throughout summer and fall, starting from just $87. Book soon to lock in the best savings.
My globetrotting ambitions should have been clear to my parents when at age 13 I chose as my bat mitzvah theme “Around the World with Liz.” The place cards looked like miniature passports, and each table represented a different country. Now that I’m twice as old as I was when I was called to read from the Torah for the first time, I decided to look back on that fateful day and count off how many of those “tables” I’ve actually visited:
Summer in Mexico is hot, and the deals are even hotter. At Hotel Riu Emerald Bay in Mazatlan, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, rates start at $73 per person, per night, from May 1 to June 22, 2012 and from August 18 to October 29, 2012. But the best part: you don’t have to hire a babysitter for the kids: they’re free!
In addition to free stays for kids, guests also get special rates on a round of golf at the Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort. Hotel Riu Emerald Bay is a four-star, all-inclusive, oceanfront resort, complete with three fresh water swimming pools, spa, gym, shows and live music, and numerous beach and aquatic activities like volleyball, windsurfing, and kayaking. In addition to several buffet stations, there are Asian, Italian, and Mexican restaurants, too.
To book this deal, visit the Hotel Riu Emerald Bay website.
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