Lots of interesting news recently from Latin America that relates to travelers.

Mexico just decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs so they can focus on the big boys moving serious quantities. Smoking a doob on the beach is fine now if you don’t have more than five grams on you.

Mexico City is offering free health insurance for visitors. And it’s not just for swine flu—it covers whatever ails you while you are in the city and you just have to ask at your hotel.

Costa Rica tourism is down 13% and both Mexico and Honduras have been struggling this year, but some destinations are making out fine. Nicaragua saw visitor numbers increase 11% the first five months of this year and Panama tourism has been up as well.

2008 was a good year for Latin America. Latin Trade magazine’s LT500 saw an increase in sales and profits: “Latin America‚Äôs biggest publicly traded companies, in aggregate, saw net sales jump 1 percent and net income rise 202 percent in 2008 compared to the 12 months prior.”

The W Santiago just opened in Chile. We hope to get someone in there to review it this fall.