Sometimes, it seems as if all the airlines, travel companies, and web search engines are conspiring together to give you a surfeit of choices for travel to a particular destination. Right now, that destination is the Caribbean, and coupled with a relatively quiet hurricane season thus far (though I don't want to jinx it), airlines and resorts are still offering enticements to travel here; the Bahamas and Jamaica are especially popular, along with Mexico and Dominican Republic. These destinations are so well traveled, and there are so many resorts to choose from, you can get a good deal at almost any time of the year, even during high season.
Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com) just released its top five deals of the week, geared toward families. The Ocean Blue Golf and Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is priced from $599 for seven nights; each child can be added from only $299. The all-inclusive, all-suite resort has activities for everyone, and the special is good for select September departures from Baltimore, Newark and Philadelphia and gives you a savings of up to $2,000 per family. Additionally, Montego Bay, Jamaica's Sunset Beach Resort and Spa is available for three nights from $539. The all-inclusive resort offers free stays for up to two children 12 years and under, as long as they are accompanied by two paying adults. This deal, however, is available only on select September and October dates from New York-JFK, via Air Jamaica.
Among many others, Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; www.cheapcaribbean.com) has an offer for the U.S. Virgin Islands-St. Thomas, called the "St. Thomas Super Surprise Special", priced from $679 per person, including airfare from your departure city for seven nights in a studio suite. The surprise? The company will place you in one of a handful of similarly rated resorts, based on availability, and you can peruse the list beforehand so you can get a sense of what is possible. Some dates, though, are already sold out -- October is showing no availability -- but late August, September and November look promising, but you must check in and check out on a Saturday. The package does not include meals, tips, or beverages, or taxes and service charges. Currently, if you use promo code GETAWAY0607 when checking out, you can receive $300 off your purchase, for a limited time. The sale ends September 30.
Cheap Caribbean is also offering $300 off for "St. Maarten Super Surprise Special", which again, means that you won't know specifically where you're staying when you book. The deal is good for departures any Saturday starting now through March 3, 2007 and is priced from $869 per person, based on double occupancy, for seven nights. Meals, beverages, gratuities and service charges are not included. There seems to be more availability for this package, although October is booked. This sale, too, ends September 30.
Expedia (tel. 800/397-3342; www.expedia.com) is right now running a special on the Caribbean Islands called "Pick an Island, Pick a Deal". The offer entitles you to discounts up to $300 and some resorts are offering a free night, but you must book by August 28. According to Expedia's fine print, the prices reflect travel based on New York departures in the lowest-price room category September 4-October 31.
That being said, you can choose from rock-bottom Aruba (Mill Resort and Suites, flight and four nights from $466) or Bahamas (Nassau Beach Hotel, $493 for four nights and airfare). Or choose the Reef Resort in the Cayman Islands, priced from $748, which offers you the fifth night free. Or investigate Curacao's Floris Suite Hotel, from $741, a four-star property near a private beach that also offers last night free.
Jet Blue (tel. 800/JET-BLUE; www.jetblue.com) just reduced fares originating in New York/Newark and headed to Puerto Rico to as low as $99 one-way, good for a variety of travel dates through December 13, based on availability. Travel is valid to San Juan, Ponce and Aguadilla through December 13 from New York and through September 11 from Newark. New York-JFK to Santiago, Dominican Republic, is priced from $99 one-way, with a seven-day advance purchase requirement, for travel September 25-November 15. Travel between New York-JFK and Bermuda is priced from $129 one-way. New York-JFK to Nassau, Bahamas, is priced from $89 one way; Boston to Nassau starts from $99. The travel dates vary depending on the deal, and many carry either a seven or 14-day advance purchase requirement. Note: If you are a Jet Blue enthusiast you might want to make a note that the airline is scheduled to start flying to Aruba from New York-JFK pending approval, on September 15. Super fly fares are currently priced from $129 one-way.
In terms of accommodations deals, Orbitz (tel. 888/656-4546; www.orbitz.com) has a special offer for the Anguilla Great House Beach Resort, priced from $144 based on an early September stay. The hotel has a pool and restaurant and is located on Rendezvous Bay in a private, uncrowded area. Each of its 35 rooms has views of the Caribbean Sea.
More significantly, Orbitz has a sale of up to $200 savings on travel to the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica, on several five-night all-inclusive vacations. There are several components of the promotion. Occidental all-inclusive properties are listed in the Caribbean and Mexico, offering a savings of $200 if you use the promotion code Fall200 when you book, which must happen by August 27 deadline for travel September 1-December 15. Choose from the Occidental Grand Xcaret, priced from $807, located in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Other properties offer a savings of $100 for the same stay -- five or more nights -- throughout the Caribbean, by using the code Fall100.
United (tel. 800/864-8331; www.united.com) is offering special fares that are only good for travel on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, through September 5 to Bermuda, so act fast (www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,50113,00.html). Sample one-way fares include Washington, D.C. from $120 or Albany from $145 for Tuesday/Thursday travel. Other cities, including Buffalo, Chicago, Burlington, Vermont, Indianapolis, Richmond, and Syracuse, are priced the same as Albany.
Additionally, United Vacations (tel. 800/854-3899; www.unitedvacations.com) has a special for a week in Aruba priced from $799, good for travel through December 15, and kids stay free. The $799 price reflects travel from Baltimore (other cities are available for nominal charge), round-trip airport-hotel transfers, and seven nights at The Mill Resort and Suites in Palm Beach, Aruba, in a studio room. If you are a frequent flier with United, you can earn up to 4,000 bonus miles.
For a shorter trip, you can stay in the Caribbean starting from $499 for four nights for the price of three. Reserve at the Riu Naiboa in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for example, from Washington D.C. from $499 or Chicago O'Hare from $619 per person, for select departures through the end of this month. Round-trip airfare and hotel-airport transfers are included, along with meals, drinks and activities.
Finally, Vacation Travel Mart (tel. 800/288-1435; www.vacmart.com) offers some deals to islands in the Caribbean, including Martinique in the French West Indies. The Karibea Baie Du Galion Resort is priced from $569 for three nights, with airfare from Miami. You can customize it; the longer you can stay the better the deal, with five nights from $639 and seven nights from $719. The valid travel period is through November 30, with some blackout dates. You must book by August 31. Other departure cities are available; New York and Newark are priced a tad lower -- $559 for three nights.
If you want to go to La Romana, Dominican Republic, three nights are priced from $389 for the Santana Beach Resort, which is located about 45 minutes from Santo Domingo. The price reflects three nights' accommodations and round-trip airfare from Miami, September 4-November 15; five nights are priced at $469 and seven at $539. Or choose three nights from New York from $429, or Philadelphia from $409. Better yet, all meals and drinks are included. The booking deadline is November 15 and some blackout dates may apply.
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