A buy one, get one half off discount on a package for Cayman Brac, the second largest of the three Cayman Islands and an ideal base for diving thanks to the surrounding Caribbean Sea's visibility of more than 100 feet.
The real deal: Seven nights' accommodations, all meals, six days of guided boat dives, and round-trip transfers, from $832 per person.
When: Sept. 3-22 and Sept. 29-Oct. 31, 2007.
The fine print: The buy one, get one half off discount is reflected in the $832 price. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily; hotel taxes and service charges; round-trip local transfers; a total of 12 boat dives; and the use of two tanks, weights, and belts are included. The Brac Reef Beach Resort offers a free night dive on the wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts, for travel during the week of Sept. 15-22. Bookings made within 30 days of departure will be charged a $25 fee. Based on double occupancy. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Caradonna Dive Adventures, 800-328-2288, caradonna.com.
Why it's a deal: Booking this package at the regular price of $1,063 per person would add up to $2,126 for two travelers. But with the discount through Cardonna Dive Adventures, you can get the same package for two for a total of $1,664—a savings of $462.
Trip details: The hotel/diving package includes a seven-night stay at the family-owned Brac Reef Beach Resort, which has 40 rooms. The resort caters primarily to divers, and its team of pros allows you to choose from 120 dive sites, not just around Cayman Brac, but also by its sister island, Little Cayman, five miles away (30-45 minutes by boat).
Your six days of diving will be guided by members of Reef Divers II, an award-winning team of international scuba-diving professionals. You can choose from shore, reef, night, wall, and wreck dives in the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, famed for its 100 feet of visibility. Upon your arrival, the staff will set up your dive gear bags on a boat, where they will be ready for you for the rest of the week. They'll even rinse your gear at the end of each day.
The resort also features plenty of non-diving amenities on its four-and-a-half acres of white-sand beachfront, including a two-story pier, a day spa, fitness center, and a kids club. Bird-watching, caving, biking, fishing, and kayaking are among the available activities, and you can choose to unwind in the evenings with karaoke or a movie on the beach.
Cayman Brac is a rocky 12-mile-long island, home to a 140-foot limestone bluff and some 200 caves. The average temperature in the Cayman Islands is 79 degrees Fahrenheit; July and August are the hottest months, with highs reaching 90. Rainfall peaks in May and October and September through November.
Note: Chances of hurricanes increase from August through October—particularly in September—so keep a close watch on weather reports before your departure (and consult our Hurricane Essentials feature). But no matter what time of year you go, a sweater will come in handy when the temperature drops at night.
Getting there: A recent search on Sidestep yielded these lowest round-trip fares for travel to Cayman Brac, which has its own international airport, in late September: $371 from Miami (Cayman Airways), $453 from Chicago (multiple carriers), $484 from New York (multiple carriers), and $614 from Los Angeles (multiple carriers).
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