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Coming and Going: Post-Flu Bargains in Mexico

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

MEXICO MOVES ON

Post-Flu Bargains

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its H1N1 flu-related warning against travel to Mexico, travel deals designed to bring U.S. tourists back to its beach resorts are flooding the market. Buoyed by the Mexican government's announcement last week that it would invest $92 million in a "Vive Mexico" tourism campaign, tour operators, cruise lines and resorts are offering airfare credits, half-price rooms and reduced all-inclusive packages. Here's a sampling of what CoGo found:

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-- Bookit.com has a Half-Price Flights to Mexico sale, with air credits of up to $600 per couple. For example, a week at the all-inclusive Oasis Cancun in mid-July, including round-trip air, was priced starting at $1,152 per couple, including a $400 air credit. Deadline to buy is June 1.

-- Apple Vacations announced its Biggest Mexico Vacation Sale Ever, with free nights and reduced airfares on specific departure dates through October. For example, a four-night package in early July including nonstop flights from BWI Marshall and all-inclusive lodging at the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa in Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, starts at $1,400 per couple including taxes.

-- Sandos Hotels & Resorts, with two properties in Playa del Carmen, said it will offer all-inclusive rates starting at $61 per person per night, including taxes, through July 10, a savings of $36.

-- Several resorts in Riviera Nayarit, a 192-mile-long stretch along the Pacific Coast, announced they would reduce rates by as much as 50 percent through the summer. For example, rates at the Ayia Punta Mita condominium complex will be $250 per night, including taxes, through Oct. 31 for the best available unit, a savings of as much as $383 a night.

DEPARTMENT OF LIBATIONS

Westward, Ho!

When High West Distillery throws open its doors in July, it will be the first of its kind to open in Utah since Prohibition (http://www.highwestdistillery.com). The Park City ski-in/ski-out saloon, already in operation as a restaurant, has good timing: The first of July will also mark the end of Utah's private club system, whereby patrons are charged a membership fee to drink at bars (unless they are guests of a member).

These are comparatively good times for alcohol imbibers in Utah, which on May 12 saw the fall of the so-called Zion Curtain in restaurants, a reference to the restriction in which bartenders were forced to mix drinks behind a partition and out of the view of patrons.

TRAVEL TICKER

Beginning this weekend, the newly completed 2.2-mile trail around Governors Island in New York is open to walkers and bikers Fridays through Sundays, through Oct. 11. On Fridays, bike rentals are free; other days, they're $15 for two hours. . . . After being underwater since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Fort Pickens Road reopened last week, restoring car and bike access to seven miles of seashore on Santa Rosa Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Fla. The area is also home to Fort Pickens, which predates the Civil War, plus the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route and nesting sea turtles. Info: http://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens.htm. . . . Expedia has eliminated its change and cancel fees on hotel, car rental, cruise and flight reservations, minus a few exceptions, such as some air/hotel packages. Airlines continue to charge their own penalties, which are passed on to consumers.

BARGAIN OF THE WEEK

AirTran is holding a systemwide sale for travel through Oct. 30. One-way fares from BWI Marshall are $39 to $169, and $64 to $140 from Reagan National and Washington Dulles. Nonstop fare from BWI to Burlington, Vt., for example, is $99 round trip, including $21 taxes; fare on other airlines for connecting flights starts at $120. Ten-day advance purchase required; lowest fares apply to Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday travel. Blackout dates apply. Buy at http://www.airtran.com by June 4, or pay $15 extra each way by calling 800-247-8726.

Reporting: Carol Sottili, Scott Vogel, Christina Talcott, Andrea Sachs

Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to: cogo@washpost.com. By fax: 202-912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.




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