Cruises, new roads, retirement abroad


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 start at just $50 from Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and six other Eastern cities, $150 from Los Angeles and $175 from 19 other gateways. Those arranging their own air can deduct $1,000 per person from the cruise fare.

The Jan. 25-Feb. 14, 2007, sailing departs from Valparaiso, Chile. Highlights include the Chilean fjords, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, the Cape Horn Passage and the Falkland Islands. Disembarkation is in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Feb. 14-March 5 sailing departs from Buenos Aires with a most unusual itinerary. It will appeal to travelers seeking both scenic and historic South American destinations and relaxing days at sea. The cruise calls at Rio de Janeiro at Carnaval time plus colonial Salvador and Natal before crossing the South Atlantic via the Cape Verde Islands and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands.

All cruise rates include air from New York City. Rates for a twin cabin start at $5,852 per person for the 20-night Valparaiso-Buenos Aires sailing. Singles start at $6,604.

Cabins on the 19-night Buenos Aires-Santa Cruz de Tenerife sailing start at $6,324 per person, twin. Singles start at $6,999.

Call Peter Deilmann Cruises in Alexandria, Virginia, at 800/348-8287 or visit www.deilmann-cruises.com.

Two cultures, one tour

Viaventure Guatemala and Coltur Perú have designed a unique 14-day/13-night program that combines the riches of both countries. Travelers will be exposed to important pre-Hispanic cultures — the Maya and the Incas — exploring famed archaeological sites at Tikal and Machu Picchu plus Indian markets and colonial cities.

The land tour requires a minimum of two passengers to operate. Through 2006, prices range from $3,218 to $3,597, depending upon the hotel category selected. Single supplement is $775-$1,155.

For additional information, contact either company: Viaventure Guatemala (Apartado Postal #089, La Antigua, Guatemala; tel. 011-502-7832-2509, e-mail james.goller@ viaventure.com or visit www.viaventure.com) or Coltur Peru (Av. Reducto #1255, Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru; tel. 011-511-615-5555, e-mail enrique.velasco@coltur.com.pe or visit www.coltur.com.pe).

New road link

The foundation stone for the last section of the Inter-oceanic Highway was laid last year in the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado. It is estimated the project will be completed in 2007. The presidents of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia all took part in the ceremony.

For more than 500 years after the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in South America, it had been impossible to drive across the continent on a continuous paved road. Stretching more than 1,553 miles, the Inter-oceanic Highway will finally connect the Atlantic with the Pacific.

It is hoped that the new highway will stimulate both exports and domestic industries, which should benefit from reduced costs. It should also be an incentive for some new innovative land tours across South America.

Tax exoneration in Peru

The Peruvian hotel industry will continue to deduct the 19% tax from hotel bills only for foreign tourists presenting proper documentation. The requirements are a passport with the Immigration entry stamp plus a copy of the stamped Carta Andina.

The Carta Andina is the landing card that you complete on your flight and present to Peruvian Immigration upon arrival. The official returns a stamped copy to you which you present upon leaving the country.

Reciprocity tax for arrivals in Chile

U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Australian citizens now are required to pay an international arrival tax in Chile. Citizens of the USA pay $100; of Canada, the equivalent of US$132; of Australia, US$56, and of Mexico, $15.

It is reciprocity in the sense that these are the charges the governments of those countries impose upon visiting Chilean citizens. This amount must be paid at the Santiago International Airport in cash or by credit card (travelers’ checks are not accepted). It is a one-time fee for the lifetime of the traveler’s passport.

If, however, your arrival into Chile is from Bariloche, Argentina, via the lake crossing, the tax is not charged.

Quito’s airport tax increases

The airport service fee that passengers must pay at Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito, Ecuador, has increased to US$31.60. Passengers must pay this fee directly at the airport when taking their international departing flight.

Innovative taxi service in Quito

New cabs in Quito have a GPS location system. When you call a taxi company, this system locates the cab closest to you and dispatches it.

Once you’re inside the taxi, the system makes sure the driver takes the fastest way instead of a costly “scenic route” around the city. The new meters cannot be switched off by the driver.

Hilton in Managua

Hilton International has signed a franchise agreement with Princess Hotels & Resorts Corporation for the conversion of a property in Managua, Nicaragua. The 104-room boutique-style Princess Managua is now the Hilton Princess Managua.

Call, toll-free, 800/445-8667 or visit www.hilton.com.

Retirement abroad

A mention in my July 2005 column regarding retirement in Panama generated quite a response from ITN readers. I came across a website geared to Canadians desiring to retire abroad. The practical advice given, however, applies to all nationalities. If retirement abroad is in your future, check out www.voyage.gc.ca/main/pubs/retirement_abroad-en.asp.

Nicaragua is doing its part to attract foreign retirees. At www.granpacifica.com, click on “Condo” and check out Las Perlas de Gran Pacifica, a luxury condominium development located in the Gran Pacifica Beach & Golf Resort. Situated on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, Gran Pacifica is a pleasant one-hour drive west of Managua, the capital city.