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Punta Cana

Isla Saona

Tourists flock to Punta Cana for snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and never-ending rum drinks, but outside the resorts, you can immerse yourself in Dominican culture or experience the country’s tropical wonders. Here are five day trips from Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss — and that will get you back in time for some Latin dancing back at the resort.

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Dreams Punta Cana Resort

If you’re yearning to flee the coop this winter for a little heat, Apple Vacations wants to help you out. Its Winter Super Sale kicks into effect for select packages in various sunny locales — shaving close to $300 off busy season prices from booking air and hotel separately. The sale encompasses three-, five-, or seven-night trips between December 18, 2014 and April 30, 2015.

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620x400_TortugaBay1In the last year of his life, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta worked on one of his passion projects — a hotel he helped develop in his native Dominican Republic called Tortuga Bay. Originally opened in 2006, and part of a larger Punta Cana resort, the 13 oceanfront villas offer guests airy open spaces, incredible views of the sea, and impeccable service. De la Renta oversaw a redesign of the villas just this year, and they reopened to the public three weeks ago. We found rates for about $580 per night with a three-night minimum stay for the smaller units in December, but most go for $905 and $1,030, plus tax. If you’re considering a visit — or just need a Hump Day mental vacation — here’s a look at the redesigned rooms, which stand in tribute to the late designer…

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boat being built by hand with petite martinique in backgroundThink you’ve seen everything the Caribbean has to offer? Thankfully, 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting (and change-filled) year for this blockbuster destination. We already told you about what’s new in Nassau. Here’s more of what’s on the horizon… Read more

Crested ButteIt’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more

Hurricane Season Caribbean Travel DealsNine months out of the year, Caribbean islands are a postcard-ready panorama of blue skies, swaying palm trees, and cocktail-sipping, hammock-lounging bliss. But from September to November (as in, right now), they are associated with another thing: hurricanes. As we speak, reports are showing that the season’s first tropical storms are already forming.

But for those willing to roll the dice, hurricane season can also yield up some incredible bargains. Flights, cruises, and hotels often go for a fraction of their peak season rates, at a time when most travelers are too spooked by the thought of having their trip washed, blown, or flooded down the drain.

And if you’re worried about showing up to a ghost town, rest assured: of the 25 million tourists who visited the Caribbean in 2012, roughly a fifth of them were brave enough to travel between September and November, the peak of hurricane season.

To give you a head start, we logged onto Expedia and CheapCaribbean and chose some hotel-and-flight packages for a range of dates in late October and mid-November. All packages are priced per-person, based on double occupancy, with flights from Miami. Other departure cities are usually available for more.

Clearly, none of the following destinations can provide guarantees on anything weather-related (otherwise they wouldn’t be offering the deals in the first place!). But with prices this low, you can afford to have your trip cancelled and still have extra cash lying around to re-book the whole thing from scratch. Now, get out those bathing suits! Read more

New United flights to CaribbeanWith temperatures soaring across most of the country, it’s hard for some of us to think about baking in the Caribbean sun. However, cold weather will be here before you know it, and with it a slew of new flights from the East Coast and Midwest to take advantage of tropical destinations.

Booking now for new JetBlue service from D.C. to San Juan (daily) and JFK to Samana, Dominican Republic (twice weekly) will score you big savings. Launching August 23, one-way fares on the San Juan route will be as low as $129 for travel through November 14 if you book by July 13; this will be the only non-stop flight between the U.S. capital and the Puerto Rican capital. Similarly, book by this Friday to secure one-way fares to Samana starting at $169 for flights from the November 14 launch date through February 9.

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Talk about arriving in style. As a part of the Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana’s Endless Privileges program (which has some sweet perks), guests who book and stay for at least seven nights in a Junior Ocean Front Suite or higher can be transported via helicopter from the airport to the resort. The 20-minute helicopter ride, which detours for a little sightseeing, can accommodate two people and is valued at $520 for a one-way trip.

The resort, which is on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, offers a slew of amenities with its Endless Privileges program. Guests can book a 45-minute horseback riding tour (valued at $125/person) on the beach, complete with a guide to teach how to ride. Unlimited premium brand beverages, a 20-minute spa session, daily meals and fresh fruit baskets, and more are provided as a part of the program, for which guests automatically qualify by staying at the resort.

2012 rates start at $284 per person, per night based on doubt occupancy.

For more trip-planning information, review our Punta Cana Travel Guide, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, cruises, and more travel deals.

Costa RicaThere is no shortage of deals to sunny destinations in the summer months, but once winter rolls around hotel prices typically skyrocket. Not so this year at Barcelo Hotels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. The premise: the farther in advance you book your stay, the great the discount. Reserve a room more than 120 days in advance for 35 percent off; 90 to 119 days in advance for 30 percent off; 60 to 89 days in advance for 20 percent off; and 31 to 59 days in advance for a 15 percent discount. Reduced rates are available in Mexico and the Dominican Republic from November 1-April 30, 2012, and Costa Rica from December 24-April 30, 2012.

THE VALUE: All-inclusive rates at some of Mexico and the Caribbean’s top resorts start under $100 per person, per night.

THE CATCH: You’ll have to nail down your plans pretty far in advance in order to secure the best discounts. However, there’s no cancellation fee if something comes up closer to the date. There may be minimum stays around the holidays, and rates are much higher during those periods.

THE DETAILS: Go to www.barcelo.com to book, or call 800-227-2356.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

For general trip-planning information, see our Mexico Travel Guide, Costa Rica Travel Guide, and Dominican Republic Travel Guide.

Punta CanaStill looking for a Memorial Day weekend getaway? CheapOair has flights from New York City to Punta Cana now through June 14, for just $438 round-trip – including most taxes and fees! Flights in May and June on other airlines are over $857 round-trip, so this fantastic flight fare saves you over 50%. Book by May 13th, and you could shortly be relaxing on the white sand beaches, golfing in the sun, or diving the beautiful clear waters.

THE VALUE: Flights from New York City to Punta Cana average over $800 during this peak travel season, so this deal saves you around $400. Plus, most taxes and fees (including fuel surcharges) are included, which usually tacks on an extra few hundred dollars.

THE CATCH: Government taxes are not included, and tickets are non refundable.

THE DETAILS: Click here to book with CheapOair.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Find a great Dominican Republic hotel deal with our Travel Search price comparison tool. Then figure out what to do when you get there with our Punta Cana Travel Guide.

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