Who says there are no travel bargains anymore? Who? I want names! Listen to this: to promote a new route starting in May, JetBlue is flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Bogota, Colombia for $99 one way or $228 round trip (those pesky Colombian taxes!) This includes all taxes AND one free checked bag.
Soak that in for a moment. Colombia! Lest anyone forget, Colombia is one of the great countries of this hemisphere. I’ve been four times. I started this blog in Colombia, in fact, and I have another page here of evocative pix and stirring commentary that you have come to expect from Senor Dromo.
Colombia still has an image problem for people who last looked at a newspaper in 1994 so they anointed a bunch of bloggers to travel around and promote it. I am sure my invitation got lost in the mail (cough!) because I am a huge fan of Colombia and always sing its praises.
Hey, all you Europeans who always ask on Couchsurfing and Lonely Planet Q&A boards for the cheapest way to go between Europe and South America: it’s through Florida. Whether you want to mess with the U.S. visa, transit or otherwise, that has to be factored in, but this is the answer. It’s also the answer to anyone wanting to go the cheapest way to Peru (if you are already in Colombia) and Brazil. You take a $50 flight from Bogota to Leticia on the Amazon, then a boat south to Iquitos for Peru or east to Manaus for Brazil, whereupon both places have cheap flights to the big cities. Piece of cake! You’re welcome!
I flew FLL-BOG (using airport codes makes me sound authoritative; bear with me) for only $83 two years ago. This deal was the foundation of my website to show people how to fly cheaply. I laid out all the details of my three-prong attack here.
Logistically, it’s easy to pull off. Fort Lauderdale is a short transit ride up from Miami, and FLL itself is becoming a hub as an alternative to MIA. If you don’t want to wait until May, JetBlue already flies one way from Orlando (MCO) to BOG for $153 all-in, which is also very good for a four-hour international flight. I did this in reverse two years ago.
A downside of the FLL-BOG flight is the 8am departure. A downside of the MCO-BOG flight is the 9pm arrival. Thus, here’s my question for you: let’s say the flights cost the same. If the choices are flying from FLL at 8am or arriving in BOG at 9pm, which do you prefer? When I think 8am I think of sleeping in the airport because it’s too early to get there from public transport. (I slept in the FLL airport last time; not a big fan.) When I think 9pm in Bogota, I think I won’t get to town until after 11pm and that’s late to get to a hostel or visiting someone and maybe daunting if it is your first time to Colombia. Which is the lesser of two evils?
A note: If I was a real blogger, I would have JetBlue, Kayak and Hostelworld ads all related to Bogota here and get a few cents if you clicked on the links and maybe a couple of bucks if you booked something—but I don’t. I’m still conflicted about ads.