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My, Oh, Maya! Cancun, Playa del Carmen and More, All at a Discount

November 5, 2004 -- As winter begins to show its teeth across the Northwest, vacations to warm destinations become more than just a hope and a prayer. With the promise of sun, great hotels, spicy food, friendly people and good tequila, it's no wonder Mexico is such a popular choice. Deals to Cancun, on the Mexican east coast with its soft and easy Caribbean surf, are all-inclusive and low in price. The Riviera Maya is right behind in package deals and choice of lodging.

Star Travel Bargains (tel. 800/759-2399; has a plethora of packages and air inclusive deals to choose from. Their weekly specials are a great place to start. For the Mayan Riviera, three-day trips with Thursday or Friday departures start at $419 and go to $699 for seven-day packages at medium luxury accommodations on or close to the beach. For Cancun, a mid-week four-day trip at the Sheraton Cancun goes for $409. Air and hotel taxes from several popular U.S. gateways are not included. Most of these offers expire November 24, 2004, so book now.

Apple Vacations ( has even lower prices. A three-night air-inclusive vacation from Atlanta starts at $499 and includes airfare, hotel, all meals, all tips and several water and land activities. Accommodations are at lodgings such as the beachfront Golden Crown Paradise Spa. While Cancun is a popular tourist spot, going on off weeks can guarantee privacy and access to sites and snorkeling activities. December 9, 2004 departure dates are still available. This deal with additional dates is available from several United States departure points. Check the website for details. You need to book these deals with travel agents, as Apple is a tour packager, not travel booker. A three-night luxury trip is available for two for $879 at the Riviera Cancun from several departure points. All you need to do is book and go and hit the beach. Even meals are included.

Vacation Express (tel. 800/309-4717; has a three-night package with roundtrip air with hotel at the luxurious Gran Costa Real or the Hyatt Regency (based on departure city) starting at $359 per traveler. You have to book by November 10. Several departure cities are available and almost all departure dates are in December.

For last minute travelers who like to wing it, Vacation Express offers great last minute travel deals. From Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, the tour packager has a seven-night vacation special with air, meals, snacks and taxes all thrown in at the Adventure Spa Palace, one of the Riviera Maya's most plush and fun resorts, for $1,309 per person. These deals usually need to be booked before the Friday of the week. The above deal closed on November 3, but check back at the Discount Vacation site for next week's deals on Monday.

Discount Vacations (tel. 800/650-3612; offers a similar all-inclusive trip to the Riviera Maya starting at $599. The three-night trip with air and meals and lodging at the pretty Reef Playacar was $849 so savings are up to 30 percent on this deal. This trip includes all hotel and air taxes and also, according to the web site, snacks and "local brand bar drinks." This trip costs $659 from New York City, Newark, Dallas or Miami.

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