Thanks to the dismal state of economic affairs, there are still lots of empty rooms in hotels and resorts in the Caribbean. Liberty Travel (tel. 888/271-1584; www.libertytravel.com), which has brick-and-mortar stores in addition to its online presence, is running a sale of up to 75% off Caribbean destinations for stays that start in mid-March or April. The promotion incorporates a range of perks, such as upgrades, resort credits, fourth or fifth nights free, continental breakfast, free stays for kids under 12, and the like. But you must act quickly because the booking deadline is February 9. The usual suspects -- Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas -- along with lesser-considered spots such as Bonaire, Nevis, and Tortola, are all on sale. Most of the packages are for three or four night stays and the valid travel period starts in March or April and runs through much of the summer. A variety of departure cities are listed for your consideration, too.
There's quite an extensive range of properties. Many are all-inclusive chains whose names you may be familiar with: Iberostar, Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Sheraton, Riu, Breezes, Sandals, Dreams, and Occidental. But others are more marquee names. For example, it's not every day you get to stay at a Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, and the one in Rose Hall, Jamaica, is on sale from $539 (including airfare). The lowest advertised price is based on airfare from Miami and reflects a travel period April 15-July 31. For a close-to-nature experience in Turks & Caicos, Coral Gardens on Grace Bay is a moderately priced property available from $585, based on departures from Philadelphia between April 15 and July 31. The small hotel, comprised of condominiums, is situated in Princess Alexandria National Park with a coral reef right out the door.