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Whether you're rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in Cabo San Lucas, or hanging with the surf crowd down on the Oaxaca coastline, Mexico's Pacific coast offers something a little different from its east coast Yucatan and Caribbean counterpart. First of all, everything seems to be on a smaller scale, from the hotels themselves to the resort areas. On the Pacific coast, in resort areas like Mazatlán, Manzanillo, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco and even Puerto Vallarta, you can still find intimate haciendas and smaller properties alongside chic designer resorts. You also have the choice to travel between different coastal towns and soak up the culture, history and flavor of Baja California Sur, Colima, Oaxaca State and Jalisco. If you've wanted to visit the Mexican Pacific coast ever since the Love Boat sounded its fog horn and docked in Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco, this summer or fall is a perfect time with a number of heavily discounted packages to some of the west's most beloved destinations.

Expedia (tel. 800/551-2534; www.expedia.com) is currently having a 30 percent off Mexico sale. Book now (no purchase-by date identified) and travel through August 25, 2006. Their airfare and three nights' accommodations packages to Mexico's west coast start from $487. Sample prices for midweek departures include:

Acapulco

  • New York: two-star Alba Suites in Acapulco from $420
  • Los Angeles: two and a half-star Olas Altas Inn in Mazatlán from $458
  • San Francisco: two and a half-star El Pescador or two star Rosira Hotel in Puerto Vallarta from $471
  • Detroit: two and a half-star Los Tules in Puerto Vallarta from $517
  • Chicago: three-star Qualton Club Acapulco Parador del Sol from $538
  • Atlanta: two and a half-star Emporio Mazatlán from $608
  • Boston: three and a half-star Hotel Finisterra in Los Cabos from $668
  • Washington DC: three-star Melia Cabo Real All-inclusive in Los Cabos from $689
  • Chicago: four and a half-star Grand Bay Hotel Isla Navidad in Manzanillo from $726
  • Dallas: four-star Las Hadas Manzanillo from $778

Other departure cities available. Prices are per person based on double occupancy with taxes and fees included in the above prices.

Worry Free Vacations (tel. 888/225-5658; www.worryfreevacations.com) is featuring a "Double Discount Days" special where you can save you up to $600 on a package to Mexico. For a limited time (book before July 29, 2006), they are doubling their standard early booking discount, so you can save up to $600 on an airfare and hotel package to Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta or Vallarta Nayarit when you purchase a qualifying vacation package at least 30 days in advance with travel between August 15 and December 17, 2006. Use promotional code WFDDD06 when making your booking. The deal includes round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations and round-trip airport transfers.

Examples reflecting the discount offer include:

  • From Dallas staying at Hacienda Hotel and Spa - Puerto Vallarta from $333 (departing Saturdays from September 9 to 30 and Mondays, August 28, September 4 and 25, 2006)
  • From Minneapolis/St. Paul staying at Azteca Inn - Mazatlán from $410 (departing Saturdays, October 14 to 28 and November 25 to December 9, 2006)

In the event of a hurricane or warning that affects your destination, you can change your travel plans or cancel your reservation up to the moment of scheduled departure.

Northwest Airlines Vacations (tel. 800/800-1504; www.nwaworldvacations.com) currently has a special with savings of up to $500 on packages to Vallarta Nayarit, located just north of Puerto Vallarta. Packages include round-trip airfare, seven nights' accommodations, hotel taxes, round-trip transfers between airport and hotel, hurricane insurance and 2,500 WorldPerks Bonus Miles in addition to credited flight miles. Sample departure prices for specific travel dates between October 7 and December 16, 2006 include:

  • Detroit: Paradise Village Beach Resort from $636
  • Milwaukee: Samba Vallarta by Pueblo Bonito from $835
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul: Riu Jalisco - All-inclusive from $826
  • Fargo: Riu Jalisco - All-inclusive from $927
  • Sioux Falls: Marival Resort and Suites Nuevo Vallarta - All-inclusive from $985

Packages must be purchased by August 12, 2006, using promotional code WV6541. Travel is valid between October 7, 2006 and January 31, 2007. Taxes are additional.

Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; www.cheapcaribbean.com) is offering fall/winter savings with kids staying free at the three-and-a-half sun rated Royal Solaris Los Cabos Resort and Spa in Cabo San Luca. This six-day all-inclusive package includes round-trip airfare on a major airline from your departure city to San Jose del Cabo, five nights in a deluxe room at Royal Solaris Los Cabos Resort and Spa, all meals, beverages (alcoholic & non-alcoholic), and non-motorized water sports, kids 17 and under stay and eat free (up to two free with two paying adults), ground transportation to and from the airport, all tips and gratuities and the "Free Your Mind" Travel Protection Program. From San Diego, this deal is priced from $709, $809 from Seattle, $909 from New York, Detroit or Chicago and $1,009 from Miami. Additional adults from $689 and children from $359. Use promotional code "CABOMONTH2006" when checking out, and receive $50 off your purchase (the discount will be applied as a refund to your credit card within seven-days of purchase). This deal must be purchased by July 25, 2006 for travel between October 1 and December 15, 2006.

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