Just as this story was being put together, Hurricane Paul was downgraded to a tropical storm, bringing a lot of rain and wind to the Pacific Coast, specifically San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. Paul was the third hurricane this season to threaten the area. Traveling during hurricane season presents some real live risks. If you're a calculated risk taker, you might benefit from traveling to the area's fishing villages, resort areas, golf clubs and beaches at this time of year, but buying independent travel insurance is advisable.

Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; consistently offers trips to Mexico. If you're okay with risk-taking, you may want to investigate this deal, which is a "Last Minute Los Cabos Surprise Special" for seven nights in a standard room with airfare priced from $679 per person, through December, in Cabo San Lucas. You must book by November 30, however, and your trip must be Saturday to Saturday. You will be placed in a three-star condominium somewhere in Cabo -- the site lists a half dozen resorts. The price does not include any meals, tips, gratuities, taxes or service charges, or airport-hotel transfers.

In the early winter, hundreds of whales migrate from arctic waters to warm waters of the Baja Peninsula, and from January to March, visitors can take advantage of whale watching as part of a vacation. The web site for La Paz (tel. 877/MY-BAJAS;, the capital of Baja California Sur, gives an overview of the area, complete with fishing reports, eco-tourism, shopping, dining, and of course, whale watching. Female whales arrive first and the warm waters are ideal for birthing and nursing their offspring. Whale species found here include humpback, beluga, gray and blue whales. Hotels and marinas in the area will arrange trips out into the waters on small fishing boats, called pangas, where you can get up close and personal with the whales. Specials advertised on the tourism site include a three-night stay at Hotel Marina (tel. 800/685-8800;, which includes daily buffet breakfast, complimentary welcome drink, roundtrip airport transportation, a two-hour observation of the whales with a special guide and roundtrip transportation to the lagoons. It is priced at M$3,495 (about $330) based on double occupancy.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, (tel. 888/767-3966; an ultra-luxury, five-diamond resort in Los Cabos, is offering a "Runaway to Paradise" three-night package for two, priced from $2,950. The package includes three nights accommodations, full breakfast for two daily, sea and stars massage for two (80 minutes), one aromatherapy facial per person (80 minutes), unlimited use of spa and gym facilities, roundtrip airport transfers, and a resort air meal upon departure. Packages are offered based on availability, through 2006.

Mexico Mayan Resorts (tel. 877/894-1801; has a new "booking bonus" offer. If you book through December 18 at any one of their resorts (they have locations in Acapulco, Puerto and Nuevo Vallarta, and Los Cabos) for stays through December 21 (blackout dates apply during Thanksgiving week), you can choose one of three deals: a free vacation rental stay, a second room free for friends and family, or get one free roundtrip airfare from select departure cities if you stay at Mayan resort. The offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can read the fine print here here.

Orbitz (tel. 888/656-4546; has a sale for warm destinations, including Los Cabos. Orbitz gives you the price for a three, five or seven-night stay, with airfare at a half dozen hotels, from the three-star Villa del Palmar Beac Resort and Spa ($549 per person for three nights) in Cabo San Lucas, the four-star Villa Del Arco, also in Cabo San Lucas, priced at $652 per person for three nights. The prices posted reflect travel departures from Los Angeles to San Jose del Cabo in late January 2007. If Los Cabos doesn't suit you, opt for Acapulco, across the Sea of Cort├ęz and a little further south. Prices posted -- they start at around $749 for airfare and three hotel nights for the Avalon Excalibur Acapulco -- reflect travel from Dallas Ft-Worth to Acapulco in early January.

Depending on your departure city, the packages offered by Pleasant Holidays (tel. 800/742-9244; to Baja California may be a better deal. There are a handful, including Los Cabos (five days from $525), Mazatlan (five days from $405) and Puerto Vallarta (five days from $405), based on flights from Los Angeles. The Los Cabos package priced at $525 also includes a special that enables kids 12 and younger to stay free at the Tesoro Los Cabos, located at the marina. You can upgrade and opt for an all-inclusive special at Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos, priced from $715 for five days. These packages are valid for select dates November 7-December 11.

Packages to the mainland harbor town of Mazatlan include the El Cid Granada Country Club, where kids 14 and under stay and eat for free, El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel for a bit more ($429) but for a beach location. Or opt for Puerto Vallarta, starting from $405 and going up to $595 for the all-inclusive Golden Crown Paradise Resort, an adults-only destination located on Banderas Bay. Meals, snacks, 24-hour room service, nightly entertainment, non-motorized sports, and more are included. All these "hot deals" include roundtrip airfare, five days/four nights hotel accommodations, roundtrip airport-hotel transfers, and hotel taxes. Trips with different departure cities will of course reflect different prices.

Pueblo Bonito Hotels (tel. 800/430-5675; operates oceanfront resorts in Mexico. Right now it's offering a special for booking in advance to four of its resorts in Los Cabos: book 30 days in advance and save 10 percent, book 60 days in advance and save 15 percent, or book 90 days in advance and save 20 percent.

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