The Travel Industry Changes Its Vacation Plans; Latin American Bargains
By TONY SMITH
April 20, 2003
There are no huge discounts on trips to Brazil or Argentina, but the sharp devaluations in both countries' currencies make them bargains for United States and European travelers anxious to steer clear of conflict zones and the threat of terrorism.
In Argentina, the peso's value has sunk from one to the dollar early last year to three to the dollar today. Brazil's real is also worth around three to the dollar, 35 percent off its value early last year.
That means lower prices in dollars. Last year, Sergio Pappatico of Patagonia-Argentina.com, a Buenos Aires online travel agency, was selling four nights among Patagonia's stunning glaciers and forests for $1,400. Today, the same package including return flights from Buenos Aires is less than $700.
Buenos Aires is swarming with foreign tourists who are shocked at how inexpensively they can dine at the most elegant restaurants: the bill may total just $20, including wine, per person.
Travelers to Brazil's beaches, however, may find that the dollar rates quoted by tour operators have yet to match the real's decline in value. ''So far there hasn't been a change in prices,'' said Jerry Marques of brol.com of Miami, which specializes in Brazil.