Image: Mazatlan, Mexico, Old Town Square
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Escape to Mazatlan and get round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations, and a $150 activity credit voucher, from $599 per person.
updated 10/23/2007 12:18:56 PM ET 2007-10-23T16:18:56

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations, and a $150 activity credit voucher from $599 per person—plus taxes of up to $140.

When: Through Dec. 15, 2007.

Gateways: Los Angeles; additional cities available. Note that the package is advertised as starting at $599, however for a few combinations of travel dates and departures cities, the rate is even lower. We found rates as low as $444 for departures from Chicago and $499 from Houston on November 12.

The fine print: A $150 voucher that can be applied toward the cost of activities is included. Additional taxes are $70 to $140 per person, depending on the U.S. gateway. Meals are not included, but kids eat free when they dine with paying parents. Airport-hotel transfers are $13 each way or $26 round-trip per person. The lowest rates are for weekday departures. Weekend fares (Friday-Sunday) are an additional $200 to $400 per person, depending on departure city and time of year. Based on double occupancy; single supplement from $221. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: Dec. 1, 2007.

Contact: Pleasant Holidays, 800/742-9244, pleasantholidays.com.

Why it's a deal: In comparison, the lowest Los Angeles-Mazatlán round-trip fares we found on Sidestep start from $367 for Nov. 12 departures (Mexicana). For a mere $232 more—or $58 a night—Pleasant Holidays cover four nights' resort accommodations.

Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare on Mexicana Airlines or another carrier (depending on what city you're departing from) and four nights' accommodations at El Cid Granada Country Club, about a 30-minute drive from the airport.

The three-story hotel, with 119 rooms, is surrounded by picturesque gardens and has a 27-hole golf course, a pool, a Jacuzzi, 10 tennis courts, a gym, and a spa. Dining options include El Patio Poolside Restaurant and Bar for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and the elegant Villa Italia or La Cava restaurant for dinner. You can extend your stay for $60 per person per night.

Beaches, inexpensive accommodations, and abundant sports and fishing opportunities typically draw visitors to Mazatlán, just north of Puerto Vallarta and about 674 miles from Mexico City. But aside from being a popular resort area, Mazatlán (which means "the land of the deer" in ancient Nahuatl) is Mexico's major Pacific coast port, home to the country's largest shrimp vessel fleet.

For those who favor guided tours and activities, Pleasant Holidays offer plenty of options at an additional cost ranging from $24 to $60 per person. Here's a sampling: a Mexican fiesta ($36), a sightseeing tour of Mazatlán ($24), a harbor cruise ($24), a tour of the surrounding countryside ($60), a jungle excursion ($54), and a Blue Agave Tequila Tour ($44).

For more tips on what to do in the area, visit Mexico's official tourism Web site. You can find the latest exchange rate and the local time at BudgetTravel.com.

Thanks to its warm, tropical climate, Mazatlán is great to visit any time of year. But it can get a bit crowded during the big vacation seasons in July-August and mid-December-January. Luckily, with this package you will just have missed the winter rush. Before you go, check the weather forecast.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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