Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: January 25, 2006

FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS of its successful Riviera Maya blog, (http://rivieramayaupdate.blogspot.com), Funjet Vacations has launched a blog for updates on post-Wilma Cancun and Cozumel. The blog, located at http://mexicoupdates.blogspot.com, features interviews with locals, photos and video of hotels and tourism attractions in the two destinations. The blog offers a new online community for enthusiasts of the destinations to add their comments.

COZUMEL, meanwhile, emphasized its post-Wilma recovery by scoring the Mexico Underwater Dive Show, a major trade show for the scuba-diving market that will be held at the Cozumel Convention Center June 1 to 3. More than 35 Mexican destinations representing the countrys 6,000 miles of coastline are scheduled to participate in the event, which is geared to scuba divers, equipment manufacturers and wholesalers and travel agents who sell the lucrative market. The event will include product expositions, seminars, new equipment demonstrations and an underwater film festival, among other things.

AEROMEXICO doubled its nonstop service from San Diego to Mexico City. The airline began operating four nonstop flights a week between the two cities on Jan. 12 while continuing to offer daily service from San Diego to Mexico City after a stop in Los Cabos. Nonstop San Diego-Mexico City flights operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing San Diego at 5:15 p.m. and arriving in Mexico City at 10:35 p.m. Return flights depart Mexico City at 7 a.m. and arrive in San Diego at 8:40 a.m.

CANYON TRAVEL, the Bulverde, Texas-based operator of train trips in the Copper Canyon, has acquired a 1950s Pullman rail car with a 20-foot open deck that the company plans to market as a private railcar for group charters of 12 to 20 customers. The air-conditioned rail car is attached to the rear of the Chihuahua Pacific train that climbs 8,000 feet into the Western Sierra Madre mountains and skirts the Copper Canyon. Canyon Travel offers a number of train departures this year starting at $999 per person, including accommodations in private lodges. For information or reservations, call (830) 885-2000 or visit www.canyontravel.com/trains.htm.

PATRICK-DENIS FINET was named general manager of the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, the upscale 128-villa resort scheduled to open in the fall. Finet was general manager of the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya will include a 25,000-square-foot spa, several gourmet restaurants and two nearby 18-hole golf courses.

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