Image: Soufriere, St. Lucia
Lynne Sladky  /  AP
A boy walks along the beach in Soufriere, St. Lucia. With the Spring Sale package, get round-trip airfare, transfers and three nights' upscale lodging, and enjoy waterfalls, rainforests, and stunning beaches worthy of a Hollywood film, from $575-per-person.
updated 4/9/2008 12:47:38 PM ET 2008-04-09T16:47:38

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, three nights' accommodations, and transfers, from $575 per person—plus taxes of at least $95.

When: Through June 20, 2008

Gateways: New York City; additional cities available at higher rates

The fine print: Airport-hotel transfers are included. Taxes, fees, and service charges are an additional $95 per person, including a departure tax of $26. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $166. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: April 30, 2008; based on availability

Contact: St. Lucia Now, 877/542-3789, stlucianow.com

Why it's a deal: In a recent Kayak search of Tuesday through Thursday departures in early May, the lowest round-trip fare between New York City and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, was $520 (American Airlines; fare includes airport taxes and fees of $85). For an additional $150 (after accounting for taxes and fees), or about $50 per night, St. Lucia Now covers three nights' lodging at a luxury hotel, as well as transfers.

Trip details: The Spring Sale package includes international airfare, transfers, and three nights' upscale lodging. For the starting $575-per-person package price, you'll stay at Coco Kreole, a 20-room property with an upscale French Creole motif. The rooms are spacious and air-conditioned. Free Wi-Fi is available on the premises, as is a bar, a restaurant, and a swimming pool. The hotel is located in Rodney Bay, the tourist heart of the island.

More than 20 other hotels are using the St. Lucia Now Web site to offer packages at a higher cost. For example, add $400 per person to stay at the Anse Chastanet Resort, a 49-room hotel on a 600-acre estate with two beaches, located next to St. Lucia's iconic twin peaks, the Pitons.

Another example: Add $434 per person to stay at Discovery at Marigot Bay, a set of more than 92 cabana-style lodgings that are terraced amid foliage rimming Marigot Bay, the fanciest yacht harbor in the western Caribbean.

St. Lucia is a former British colony whose main industry is banana production. Tourism is less well established here, offering a low-key feel. You'll only rarely encounter vendors hawking wares on this island, and you'll find that it's easy to hike through the rain forest, which runs along the center of the country like a spine, without bumping into other strangers.

Waterfalls are the island's most distinctive feature; it'll be easy for you to find a waterfall of your own to splash around in. Some waterfalls run hot with water heated by the island's geothermal activity; others run cold. Ask your hotel concierge to direct you to the most convenient one.

Driving in St. Lucia requires nerves of steel. Signs are almost nonexistent; prepare to get lost. Many roads are impassable without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Traffic flows on the left side of the road, which means that your car's controls (from turn signals to brakes) will be on the opposite side from which you are accustomed. Lastly, you'll need to apply for a temporary St. Lucian driver's license for a fee of about $25. All of the hotels listed with St. Lucia Now's Web site can offer shuttle services to various attractions, and these services tend to be cheaper and more reliable than ordering private taxis.

Image: St. Lucia
Chris Jackson  /  Getty Images file
A view of Fondoux Plantation in Soufriere, St Lucia.
Top activities include snorkeling (particularly excellent in the southwestern part of the island near the Pitons) and hiking. Every Friday night, a three-block street party happens in Anse La Raye, a fishing village whose buildings and boats are painted in colorful pastels. The vibe is laid-back, and the tourist crowd tends to consist mostly of married couples.

Farther north on Gros Islet, you'll find a younger, noisier vibe. The "Jump Up" street party, also on Friday nights, relies on a steady flow of rum and Piton beers to prompt visitors to dance with locals to a seamless stream of hip-hop and reggae.

For more tips on what to do on the island, visit the St. Lucia Tourist Board online. You can find the latest exchange rate and the local time at BudgetTravel.com.

When booking your trip, consider that the valid travel dates for this package fall during a pleasant weather season—April through June, when the skies are typically sunny, except for an occasional brief rain shower. Temperatures hover at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you go, check the weather forecast.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

Photos: Caribbean way of life

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  1. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority shows Harrismith Beach, Barbados. Sun, surf and sand are the main draws on this tropical Caribbean island. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Barbados

    This undated photo courtesy of Barbados Tourism Authority shows The Watering Hole rum shop in Barbados. The rum shops on the island are good places to sample local food and drink, watch a game of dominos, or just get to know the friendly and hospitable Bajans. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. St. Lucia

    Developed, beautiful and situated in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia is accessible from Europe and Canada, and reachable -- albeit not as easily -- from the United States. St. Lucia is known as a romantic destination. The island gets plenty of visitors, including wedding parties. (Holger Leue  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. St. Lucia

    Cocoa pods lie on the ground ready to be processed at Fondoux Plantation in Soufriere, St. Lucia. Cocoa is one St. Lucia's main produce alongside the more obvious banana crop. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. St. George's

    The capital of Grenada, St. George's is considered one of the prettiest harbor towns in the Caribbean. Grenada's unique layout includes many finger-like coves, making the island a popular sailing destination. (Richard Cummins  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The Cayman Islands

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Stingray City

    The Cayman Islands very popular attractions, Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as the Sandbar, provide the only natural oportunity to swim with Atlantic Southern Stingrays. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. St John's

    In high season, up to five cruise ships visit St John's, Antigua, each day. The boats unload mostly American and European passengers who fan out across the island visiting the casinos and beaches. Antigua is easily accessible, and can offer good values for tourists. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Antigua

    Antigua, located in the Northeastern Caribbean, is a popular tourist spot. While there are high-end, stylish hotels, the island also features a large number of mid-priced options. Visitors will find beach bars, restaurants, casinos and shopping. (Richard I'Anson  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Antigua

    People walk along an area known as Devils Bridge in Indian Town Point, Antigua. Antigua is a wintertime destination for many visitors from the north. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Dominica

    Not as well known as other Caribbean islands, Dominica is green, fertile and mountainous. Visitors will find some opportunites to scuba dive, but watersports are not its main draw. The island does, however, offer a slew of rainforest trails -- great for hiking and sightseeing. (Greg Johnston  / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Dominican Republic

    An old church building is seen in La Romana, the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. (Wayne Walton / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Belize

    Belize gets more than 850,000 visitors each year. The hot spot allows watersports such as kayaking and snorkeling, as well as inland activities like hiking and birding. The Mayan ruins of Altan Ha, pictured, are easily accessible from Caye Caulker. (Andrew Marshall / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. La Tortuga

    A fisherman repairs his nets on Cayo Herradura, off the island of La Tortuga in Venezuela. The country offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, but remains undervisited -- especially compared to its South American neighbors. (Lynne Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cuba

    Cuba blends the fantastic attractions associated with other Caribbean destinations with an amazing history. Tourists can stroll white sand beaches, take in the incredible architecture and party into the early-morning hours. (Javier Galeano / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. St. Barthelemy

    St. Barthelemy is a vacation spot of stars and millionaires. Trendy, chic and sexy, St. Baarths is safe for tourists, but expensive to visit. About 8,700 people reside on the island. (Mark Mainz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Puerto Rico

    A man climbs to a 40-foot waterfall at the south side of the Caribbean National Rain Forest, commonly called El Yunque, near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Most visitors hike the well-marked paths in the northern half of the park's rain forest but the trails in the south allow hikers and nature lovers to explore the only tropical forest in the U.S. national forest system. (Herminio Rodriguez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Puerto Rico

    The cupola of San Juan Cemetary as well as colorful homes sit next to the ocean in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The old city is a historic district of seven square blocks made up of ancient buildings and colonial homes, massive stone walls and vast fortifications, sunny parks and cobblestoned streets. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Puerto Rico

    Men play dominos in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is a well-preserved colonial city that allows tourists a peek into the past. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Guadeloupe

    Guadeloupe isn't as developed as some other Caribbean islands, but it offers a variety of beaches -- some active with watersports, some secluded. The island also offers beach bars, restaurants, mid-range hotels and other tourist amenities. (Marcel Mochet / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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