Monthly Archives: May 2009

CDC Lifts Travel Ban to Mexico, Effective May 15, 2009

“Despite the spread in the United States, the CDC lifted its warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico. So far that country has experienced the most severe outbreak, but officials in Mexico predicted Friday that they would bring it under control by the end of the month. The CDC said individuals with other health conditions should consult with their doctors before traveling to Mexico,” according to an article published in the Tacoma, Washington newspaper excerpted from a story that was syndicated by the Washington Post, May 16, 2009.

Time to buy your ticket?  We did two weeks ago 🙂  Good deals still to be found, I’m certain!

Oaxaca Health Update: May 2009

This just in from Gary Titus, director of the Oaxaca Learning Center, that is a schoolfor locals and a guesthouse and tutoring service for visitors:
“…Mexico is getting some bad press both from the H1N1 flu and the drug cartels.

Well the flu did scare us. We closed the center for 10 days in keeping with the closure of all schools in the nation.  We instituted hand washing and did in-house education. We had three cancellations for May, but four days later the couple who had rented the apartment saw that the situation was not as bad as originally thought and arrived.  They are happily tucked in upstairs.  At this point, life is back to normal.

That very special Oaxaca normal.

It is true that there is trouble with drug cartels, especially on the border with the US. However, we are fine here in Oaxaca and have had a lot of visitors in the last few months. With the exception of the month of May, we have had a very good year with lots of guests and a full tutoring service with a waiting list.

Remember also that in these times of economic hardship, it is less expensive visiting Oaxaca than a lot of other places. This is an excellent time to come. In the newsletter, you will see a list of rental times still available over the next few months.

When you come, bring along that used lap top or digital camera you are no longer using. Our students can make good use of these.  Also, please forward this information to your friends.

Hoping to see you soon,  Gary
Please email me at

$480 USD RT Airfares to Oaxaca

and $260 USD RT airfares to Mexico City on Continental Airlines!  Now that’s a bargain.  Stephen and I booked flights to Mexico City leaving on July 15.  We’re going to land, take a bus to Puebla (40 minutes from Mexico City) to oggle Rococco buildings with facades covered in talavera tile, then after two days of sightseeing, head on down to Oaxaca, a four-hour bus ride from Puebla, to arrive in time for Guelaguetza.  With airport and immigration taxes, the total airfare per person was $371.

This is rock-bottom pricing, lower than any “best fare” I’ve seen over the last four years.  So, I went ahead and bought my Day of the Dead ticket to return at the end of October for a week.  I’m still hoping that people will come to their senses and realize that this is not an epidemic.  I hope we will have participants sign up for the Day of the Dead tour I am offering in Teotitlan del Valle and Oaxaca from October 29 to November 4.  And, in anticipation of this, bought my round-trip ticket from Raleigh-Durham to Oaxaca (via Houston) for another great rock-bottom fare of $480 RT plus taxes.

I went online to and found a 50% off room at the 4-star Camino Real Hotel Puebla, located in a 16th restored convent.  Cost is $68 per night when booked and paid in advance — an unbelievable price. Una buena discuenta.

Last week, the New York Times reported two deaths from the H1N1 flu virus.  It is evaporated from the front page.  Yet, the hysteria does not seem to be subsiding.  My friend Sheri Brautigam says there are no tourists on the 16th century cobblestone streets of Oaxaca.

I am defying the fear-factor and intend to take advantage of these great prices to get back to Mexico.  What about you?

Swine Flu: False Alarm for Mexico?

I will be brief.  I’m in Columbus, Ohio, with my girlfriend Sam Robbins.  She is a master quilter and has a ticket to Oaxaca for June to teach a workshop at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca (textile museum).  Do I go or not go? she said yesterday as we talked about the impact on Mexican tourism and health safety.  We’ll need to wait it out to see what is happening.

So, lo and behold, this morning in the NY Times the headlines blare that this whole “epidemic” scare for Mexico could be over-inflated and the deaths attributed to this new flu virus is now pared to less than half the original estimate.  Cases thought to be — ARE NOT.

This  is beginning to feel like one more example of media hype similar to the drug wars fears that beset Mexico tourism fears a couple of months ago.

Now, I can return to NC and we can lift the travel ban for our students heading off to Oaxaca to volunteer in the public health clinic, and Sam can go to Oaxaca with an easy mind.  I would encourage you, if you  have travel plans, to monitor the news in the next few days.  It looks like the whole thing is a FALSE ALARM.