Image: Waikiki
Lucy Pemoni  /  AP file
People walk along the beach as the sun sets on Waikiki.
updated 2/8/2007 10:40:47 AM ET 2007-02-08T15:40:47

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through spring 2007

The deal
It may be peak season for beach vacations, but that doesn't mean you have to pay a high price for your well-deserved tropical escape. If the chilly temperatures have you dreaming of a warm and sunny getaway, you're in luck. Now is the time to ditch your coat and hat for SPF and sunglasses, because we've rounded up six stellar air-land specials to a variety of sun-drenched locales that start from just $499. Pick between the Bahamas, Hawaii, Belize, Mexico, Key West, and St Croix and you'll be soaking up the sun while saving some serious dollars.

Bahamas Blowout for $499
For an unbeatable Bahamas bargain, look no further than CheapCaribbean.com, where a five-day escape to Paradise Island is priced from just $499. Besides the sun and sand, you'll also get four nights of all-inclusive lodging (all meals, drinks, and non-motorized water sports) at the beachfront Paradise Island Harbour Resort, airfare to / from Orlando (or several other gateways for an additional cost), transfers to and from the airport, a complimentary room upgrade upon availability, and all tips and gratuities. Book this deal by February 14 and depart through next winter.

Hawaii Bargain for $527
Sunning yourself on the beaches of Hawaii is the stuff vacation dreams are made of. Make it a reality this winter when you book this trip from PandaOnline.com: $527 (including tax) gets you five nights at the OHANA Waikiki Malia on the island of Oahu and airfare from Los Angeles. The OHANA Waikiki Malia is a family-friendly hotel with basic accommodations and a great location just three blocks from Waikiki Beach. This deal is good for travel through March 31.

Spring Fling in Belize for only $880
If you can stand to wait until spring for your tropical getaway, you can score a great bargain to Belize. Tara Tours has a seven-night beach special for $880 to this hot Central America destination, valid for travel April 16–June 16. Lodging is on Ambergris Caye, the largest of Belize's islands, at the recently opened Banana Beach Resort. This spot occupies a stunning stretch of beach and offers first-rate snorkeling just offshore. Also covered is airfare from Miami, flights between Belize City and the Caye, and daily breakfast. Want to leave sooner? The deal is still a steal at just $1078!

Cancun in Four-Star Style for $1069
You don't need to go budget to save a bundle this winter. Expedia offers a four-star package to Mexico's Cancun this peak season for just $1069. Valid for only one departure on March 8, this low price includes airfare from Los Angeles and a four-night stay at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach. This luxury offer gets you value rates at what Frommer's calls a " ... spectacular hotel. . . with one of the best locations in Cancun." Prices here run up to a wallet-busting $800/night in one of the balconied suites, so you'll save big bucks with this deal.

Escape to Florida Keys for $914
For an upscale winter fling in the Florida Keys, think smart. Smart luxury that is. The Orbitz deal we found is just that: A three-night getaway at Hyatt Key West Resort & Marina has been reduced in price to just $914. The price is based on airfare from Atlanta to Miami if you depart on March 19 and return on March 22. At the peak of the winter season, you'd normally be paying at least $350 to spend a night at this "relaxing resort with a glorious view of the water," as WCities.com describes the property.

Slideshow: Around the World

Cost-Cutting in St. Croix from $1143
Want to save a serious chunk of change with a jaunt to St. Croix this winter? You can live it up in four-star style with this special from Expedia. For only $1143, jet off from New York to the US Virgin Islands on select dates through March 31 for a four-night fling at the island's top-rated resort, The Buccaneer. Fodor's writes, "On the grounds of an old 300-acre sugar plantation, this complex has it all: sandy beaches, swimming pools, golf, and many activities." No wonder rack rates at this spot are known to break the bank, running up to a whopping $840/night during winter season.

The dollars
All package pricing is based on double occupancy and excludes air taxes and fees. See above for details.

The catch
You’ll have to share the beach with peak-season hordes of sun-worshippers.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 2.5 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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