There’s a lot going on outside of what we cover in detail here, so today we’ll take a step back and look at the travel and real estate news for Latin America.

– Argentina seems to have backpedaled on its unpopular decision to start soaking North American and British visitors an extra $130 or more for the pleasure of spending their money in the cash-strapped country. For the moment anyway, no announcements or collections have taken place. It looks like they have figured out that travel will nosedive when word gets out, especially for families.

– Costa Rica has added a new property tax on houses and condominiums valued at more than $180,800 according to International Living. It’s either a Robin Hood play or a contribution to a good cause depending on how you look at it, with the money going to build affordable housing for locals currently living in shantytowns. Either way, it’s probably not going to impact whether you buy there or not: at a rate of .25% up to $1.36 million, the tax on a $500,000 condo would be $1,250 per year. Still that is far higher than any other country in the region and Costa Rica already has some of the most expensive coastal real estate between Los Cabos and the bottom of South America.

– The always buzz-worthy Francis Ford Coppola has opened another lodging property, this time in Argentina. We won’t be reviewing it since it’s more a rental villa than a hotel, but Jardin Escondido is in the artsy Palermo Soho neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It’s a three-level townhouse that can sleep 13, with a large pool courtyard.

– Conde Nast Traveler just put out its 2009 Hot List for hotels. The Latin American coverage is pretty skimpy, but that’s okay. We’ll continue to bring you detailed reviews of consistently great hotels rather than the trendy flavors of the moment. They did touch on a few we’ve reviewed already though in Luxury Latin America, including Casitas del Colca (Peru), Inkaterra La Casona (Peru), and St. Regis Punta Mita (Mexico).