40 Best Bargain Vacations
In April, May, and June
Dominican Republic for $445
American Airlines flights from New York and four all-inclusive nights at the Playa Naco Resort & Spa in Puerto Plata. The resort has eight restaurants, several bars, tennis courts, and a gym. Motorized water sports are included (banana boat, waterskiing, etc.). When: April 1-30 ($490); May 1-26, May 31-June 30 ($445). Other Gateways: D.C. (add $124), St. Louis (add $132), Chicago (add $209), L.A. (add $292). Details: Extra nights $52. Single supplement $120. Contact: Beach Destinations, 877/433-4378, beachdestinations.com.
Jamaica for $670
Charter flights from Chicago, transfers, seven nights at the beachfront Legends Negril, and a $50 food and beverage credit (per room). The small resort on Seven Mile Beach has a restaurant and bar, two pools, and a golf course nearby. When: Wednesday departures April 6-June 29. Other Gateways: None. Details: Kids 12 and under stay for free. No extra nights. Single supplement $290. Contact: Apple Vacations, book through a travel agent, applevacations.com.
Ecuador & the Galápagos for $2,450
Spend three days touring mainland Ecuador, including Quito, the market town of Otavalo, and nearby Indian ruins. Then go island-hopping for five days in the Galápagos, among the iguanas, sea lions, penguins, and turtles that inspired Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Take walks on shore, guided by the tour's naturalist, and snorkel off Isla Española. Djoser's new 11-day package covers American or Continental flights from Miami to Quito, transfers, guided sightseeing in both cities with transportation by private bus, five nights' hotel (three in Quito, one in Otavalo, and one on the island of Santa Cruz), flights from Quito to the Galápagos, and four nights aboard the Darwin Explorer (cabins have A/C and private baths). You'd better book early, as the maximum group size for these new tours is just 16. When: April 20, May 25 ($2,450); June 29, July 27 ($2,600). Other Gateways: L.A. (add $100), Houston (add $175), New York (add $195), Austin (add $225). Details: The land-only price is $1,995. Add roughly $250 for expenses (meals and entrance fees). No extra nights. Single supplement $550. Contact: Djoser, 877/356-7376, djoserusa.com.
Costa Rica for $699
Transmeridian charter flights from Atlanta, Cincinnati, D.C., Louisville, Orlando, Toledo, Rockford, or Syracuse, transfers, and seven nights at the four-star Flamingo Beach Resort, overlooking the Pacific, in Costa Rica's Guanacaste region. The hotel offers a pool, tennis courts, fishing, and water sports. When: Most Saturday departures April 2-June 25. Other Gateways: None. Details: No extra nights. Single supplement $310. Contact: Vacation Express, 877/784-3786, vacationexpress.com.
Guatemala for $727
American Airlines flights from Miami, transfers, five nights at the Hotel Princess Reforma in Guatemala City, a full-day excursion (includes lunch) to Chichicastenango market and Lake Atitlán, and a half-day tour of colonial Antigua. When: Thursday departures until Dec. 9. Other Gateways: Atlanta, Dallas, L.A. (add $50); Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia (add $60); Denver, San Francisco (add $130); Chicago, Detroit (add $180); Phoenix, Seattle (add $230). Details: Add $40 to travel Friday-Wednesday. Extra nights $35. Single supplement $226. Contact: Tara Tours, 800/327-0080, taratours.com.