Fly South to South America and the Latin side of the Caribbean before the Christmas rush and save.
By Max Milano (Caribbean and South America travel expert)*
Fall and early winter is a great time to fly to Latin America. It’s shoulder season in the Caribbean and the Christmas rush doesn’t really begin until the second half of December. Do bear in mind that it will be a tad humid and very hot, particularly in the Caribbean, but you wouldn’t be flying down to Latin America if you didn’t like the heat, right?
Cancun can get several Hurricane alerts during the fall season, but the resort doesn’t actually get hit every year. The less busy fall season plus the abundance of hotels (both in Cancun and along the Riviera Maya) add up to bargains galore until the Christmas rush. Most savvy travelers avoid the Cancun strip and head directly from the airport to the Cancun water taxi pier for the ten minute boat ride to the tropical paradise of Isla Mujeres. There is something so ‘Fantasy Island’ about reaching your resort by boat, that you will half expect Mr Rourke to pop out behind a palm tree in his white suit, holding a couple Pina Coladas in his hands. And if Isla Mujere’s white sands and magenta blue waters don’t float your boat, head south of Cancun to the Mayan Riviera, a wonderful stretch of coastline that stretches all the way to the Belizean border, full of secluded beaches, cenotes (swimmable sinkholes) and Mayan ruins right on the shore (Tulum). Vayama has plenty of cheap flights to Cancun this fall from $170 roundtrip from the east coast.
The former British Honduras will satisfy those who feel that the Cancun strip is too “Las Vegas”. Take a water taxi from the West Indian flavoured Belize City and head out to the diving paradise of Ambergris Key. Ambergris is a flip-flops and beers kind of place, with beach hut bars full of ex pats. There are no large hotels on the island and barely any paved roads, but everyone has a boat, which comes quite handy because the Caribbean’s best diving reef is just off its coast. The locals speak English (it’s the official language), so ordering that lobster at sunset from your favourite beach shack won’t be a problem. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Ambergis Key was voted one of the best islands in the world by Islands Magazine. Fly into Belize City for less with Vayama’s deals.
Nicaragua is a budget traveler’s paradise. With great stretches of Pacific and Caribbean coastline, coffee plantations, cigar factories, great rum and quaint Spanish colonial towns, Nicaragua is suddenly hot and on the travel map. Take a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua and spend lazy days on a working coffee plantation located on an island in the middle of the lake. Or head out to Bluefields on the Caribbean side for that “Mosquito Coast” experience. If eco tourism is not your thing, head down to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast for some big wave action and meet surfers from all over the world. Discover Nicaragua for less with Vayama’s airfare deals.
Panama, Panama-ah! You will feel like singing the Van Halen anthem the minute you step off the plane. Panama city is a mixture of 500 year old Spanish colonial buildings and gleaming modern skyscrapers that rival Miami beach. The night life is wild and the food is fantastic. Then there is the canal. A wonder of the world when it was built, it has lost none of its capacity to awe. Take the Canal Railroad, it runs alongside it, and head into Panama’s almost pristine interior (an unexpected bonus from the American occupation is that most of the jungle near the Canal Zone was off limits for decades, preserving its amazing flora and fauna). Take a day cruise to the San Blas islands, where local Indian tribes still live the traditional way, among the palms trees and bathtub warm beaches. Fly to Panama for less this fall with Vayama’s hot airfare deals to Central America.
Most American travelers have been feeling a bit ‘Euro-Challenged’ this summer. Not only were airfares to Europe high, but so were the prices inside the Eurozone. If you want that Europe fix, but at peso prices, head south to Argentina this fall and fly into beautiful southern spring in Buenos Aires. B.A (as ex pats call it), is the most European city in South America. Its wide avenues and faux French facades will have you convinced that you’re strolling down Pigalle or the Latin Quarter in Paris . Take a tango lesson, go for a late dinner of Pampas asado (grass fed grilled steak) and dance the night away in B.A.’s trendy DJ lounges. Head south to Patagonia for a bit of glacier hopping, or westwards to the wine growing region of Mendoza, located at the foot of the snow peaked Andes. Top your Argentina trip with a trip up north to Iguazu falls, on the Brazilian border. Argentina has it all. Fly south to Argentina for less with Vayama’s airfare deals to Buenos Aires.
* Max Milano is the author of “The Mechanicals of Recoleta“