New York Trip Deal: $669 round-trip business class (lie-flat seat!) from JFK to Lima, Peru on Avianca

Avianca, which is part of the Star Alliance, is putting its business class flights from JFK to Lima, Peru on sale! Flights start at $669 round-trip, after taxes with great availability through December 2018, with many routes including a lie-flat seat.

This is a really incredible deal — last year, Avianca ran a similar promotion, but with business class seats costing around $992.

Last year, I flew Avianca’s business class from Bogotá, Colombia to Santiago, Chile and wrote a review about it. Although it wasn’t my favorite flying experience ever, I’ve heard the U.S. to South America routes have better service and that, coupled with the lie-flat seat, definitely make this a fare worth checking out.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for business class flights between JFK and LIM.

Portland Trip Deal: $271 round-trip from PDX to Quito, Ecuador on American Airlines

American Airlines is putting flights from Portland, Oregon to Quito, Ecuador on sale! Flights start at $271 round-trip, after taxes with availability in September and October 2017.

This is an incredible deal to South America and if you’re thinking of going, this deal won’t last long!

To find this deal, use Kiwi.com or Google Flights and search for flights between PDX and UIO.

How Copa Airlines’ direct San Francisco to Panama City flight changed the way I travel

Back in 2015, Copa Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, started operating direct flights from San Francisco to Panama City, Panama. In a marketing ploy, Panama City has named itself the Hub of the Americas, but this advertising campaign is not far from the truth. An approximately 7.5 hour flight away from San Francisco, Panama City provides unparalleled access to South America and several islands in the Caribbean (such as Aruba), which has truly changed the way I travel.

In previous blog posts, I’ve discussed how Central and South America have become favorite destinations of mine as a freelance/remote worker. My clients are on Pacific Time, so most of my trips needs to take this into account. I prefer traveling to time zones which are ahead of California, mostly because I don’t really start working until 11am or so (I am decidedly not a morning person).

Copa Airlines’ model is quite simple – because their flights are almost always less than 8 hours, they don’t offer lie-flat seats.

I would rank Copa Airlines economy well above Delta, American, United, and even Alaska for a few reasons, the main one being that every flight originating from the U.S. has a dedicated TV screen, with entertainment you can access for free, and a working USB port to charge your phone. This might not sound like a lot, but I’ve found that a lot of my long-haul flights on United, American, and Alaska (haven’t taken many on Delta recently) often come without in-seat entertainment and often have plugs that don’t work. With Copa Airlines, I am always sure I’ll be entertained and leave the flight with a fully charged phone.

Notably, Copa Airlines does not currently offer WiFi on its flights, so it’s not the best for business travel.

Also importantly, Panama City’s Airport, while not perfect, makes connections very easy. I’ve landed with as little as 45 minutes before my next flight, and had no issues making the connection. The airport is aware that a large percentage of visitors are coming in on a connection, and the airport is set up (nearly) perfectly for that – with only a few terminals so far away that you have to hurry to reach your connection.

Throughout the last few years, I’ve booked flights on Copa Airlines to Santiago, Chile, Medellín, Cartagena, and Aruba. All of these flights came in at below $500, which is insane for round-trip travel from SFO to these destinations.

Taking Uber in Medellín, Colombia

When I first visited Medellín in June 2016, I fell in love with the city. It’s so beautiful, the people are amazing, and it’s so cheap.

Back then, Uber not only existed in Medellín, but it was thriving. They had a product called UberEnglish, where you could pay more to be matched with a driver who spoke English, helping foreigners like myself explore this incredible city.

Before coming to Medellín this time around, I realized something had changed. Before my trip started, I got a message from a friend who had recently returned from Medellín telling me explicitly not to use Uber, because it was now illegal.

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Beautiful Medellín

My Spanish is pretty awful, so I was concerned with this. One of my favorite parts of using Uber abroad is putting in the destination where I’m going, as it’s hard to explain directions in a foreign language.

When I got to Medellín, I asked a few people if Uber was legal and got varied responses. Basically, the one I found to be true, is that it both is legal… and it isn’t.

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Though I am no expert in Colombian law, it seems that UberBLACK is legal whereas UberX is not. With an UberBLACK, you get a car that basically looks like a more fancy taxi, with the license plate number displayed clearly on the side of the car. Important note: it’s only the case that UberBLACK is legal if you get a car that has the credentials printed on the side of the car, which you can’t predict in advance (though for 4 out of 5 of my rides, I did get one of these). On my way from El Poblado to the airport, I got an UberBLACK that did not have one of these license plat numbers on the side, and the driver specifically told me that if the police stopped us, we would need to tell them we were “friends.”

The good news is that UberBlack is incredibly cheap here. Most of my UberBLACK rides came in at around $2 USD – meaning that if there wasn’t a legality issue, I would have stilled have used UberBLACK anyway.

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Picture taken outside of Uber’s offices in El Poblado

Though I can’t point to any laws here to backup the proposition that only UberX is illegal here, on a tour I took with a friend, the tour guide offered to give my friend a ride to the airport the next day. My friend liked the guy and agreed, though on the way to the airport by police officers, checking to ensure he was not in an Uber ride.

If you’re coming to Medellín and want to use Uber, I would recommend using UberBLACK to be safe.

New York Trip Deal: $992 round-trip business class from JFK to Lima, Peru

Avianca, which is part of the Star Alliance, is putting its business class flights from JFK to Lima, Peru on sale! Flights start at $992 round-trip, after taxes with great from July through May, and most routes include a lie-flat seat.

Earlier this year, I flew Avianca’s business class from Bogotá, Colombia to Santiago, Chile and wrote a review about it. Although it wasn’t my favorite flying experience, I’ve heard the U.S. to South America routes have better service and that, coupled with the lie-flat seat, definitely make this a fare worth checking out.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for business class flights between JFK and LIM.

San Francisco Trip Deal: $608 round-trip from SFO to Santiago, Chile on Aeromexico, LATAM

Aeromexico and LATAM are putting flights from San Francisco, California to Santiago, Chile on sale. Flights start at $608 after taxes, although I’ve so far only found this price for travel from May 8-31. Flights can also be found for the low $700’s from April through May.

Santiago is one of my favorite cities in the world, and one I’ll be visiting again in a few weeks.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between SFO and SCL.

San Francisco Trip Deal: $449 round-trip from SFO to Lima, Peru on Aeromexico

Aeromexico is putting Lima, a gateway to Machu Picchu and Peru, on sale from San Francisco for travel with limited dates in January and February, with flights starting at just $449 round-trip, after taxes.

These flights have one layover, and time in at around 13-14 hours each way.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between SFO and QUI.