Photos: Cancún caliente

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  1. Mexican magic

    An aerial view of Cancun Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coast at sunset. Cancun was purposely built as an ideal tourist spot by the Mexican government. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Postcard perfect

    Lounge chairs wait for tenants on the beach at Club Med. There's more to do in Cancun than one person can in one vacation - water sports, fine dining, nightlife, culture and more. (Macduff Everton / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Dance the night away

    Visitors and locals dance at the discotheque in Cancun. (Demetrio Carrasco / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Authentic arts

    Hanging puppets are for sale at one of the many shops in Cancun. (Bob Krist / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Water world

    Snorkelers explore the warm, clear waters of the Xel-Ha Lagoon near Cancun Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Dave G. Houser / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mango Tango

    The facade of the popular Mango Tango Restaurant - famous for its seafood and entertainment - is seen in Quintana Roo, Cancun. After dark, the restaurant turns into one of Cancun's hottest nightspots. (Carl Purcell / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Otherworldly discoveries

    A scuba diver discovers shipwreck debris. (Joe Mcbride / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Pretty in pink

    A town scene on Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico. (Nik Wheeler / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Sail away

    Sailboats sit on the waters of Isla Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico at sunset. (Nik Wheeler / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 10/21/2008 9:52:47 AM ET 2008-10-21T13:52:47

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, three nights' accommodations, all meals and beverages, and some entertainment and activities, from $425 per person — plus estimated taxes of $194.

When: Nov. 3-Dec. 15, 2008.

Gateways: Orlando, Tampa; add $45 for Boston, Chicago, D.C., Detroit, New York City; additional gateways are Atlanta, Atlantic City, Fort Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach.

The fine print: Lowest rates are based on Monday departures. Airport-hotel transfers, all meals, snacks, beverages, nonmotorized water sports, and some entertainment are included. Additional airport taxes and fees are $194 per person. Depending on availability at the time of check-in, honeymooners will receive a free accommodations upgrade, a fruit basket, and a bottle of wine. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is about $100. One child through the age of 12 can stay free in a room with at least two adults; the second child is surcharged. Kids are subject to the same airfares as adults. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: Nov. 10, 2008.

Contact: Spirit Vacations, 800/617-3325, spiritvacations.com.

Why it's a deal: The lowest round-trip airfare between Orlando and Cancún starts at $297, including taxes, for travel in mid-November (multiple carriers), according to a recent Kayak search. In comparison, this package from Spirit turns out to be a great deal: It covers airfare as well as a three-night hotel stay, all meals and beverages, airport-hotel transfers, some activities, and all airport and hotel taxes, for an additional $322 per person ($619 total).

Trip details: The Cancún/Riviera Maya package includes round-trip airfare on Spirit Airlines to Cancún and a three-night all-inclusive stay at Santo Caracol Beach Resort & Spa. The 45-minute transfer between the airport in Cancún and the hotel is included.

The resort is on the Riviera Maya, across from a white-sand beach, and surrounded by lush vegetation. You'll have free access to nonmotorized water sports, a fully equipped gym, spa facilities, four pools, and two tennis courts. The resort provides shuttle service to Playa del Carmen, about 10 minutes away.

Accommodations are in a standard air-conditioned room, which has a maximum capacity of four (either two adults and two children or three adults and one child). Rooms have two queen-size or one king-size bed, a private bathroom with a shower, and a balcony with a garden, a jungle or a pool view. You'll also find most standard amenities such as satellite television, a phone, and a mini bar.

All meals are included, and you have six dining options at the resort, including Italian buffet-style restaurant La Toscana; Las M'scaras, serving Mexican food; El Gaucho steak house; and La Riviera, featuring Mediterranean specialties. You won't go thirsty either — take your pick from nine bars and lounges, including a swim-up bar, a poolside bar, a beach bar, a sports bar, a piano bar, two terrace bars, and a cocktail lobby bar.

Need more time to soak up the sun? You can extend your stay at the Sandos Caracol Beach Resort & Spa for an additional $80 per person per night. But be aware that the total package price will vary, depending on your departure and return dates and air availability. For tips on what to do in the area, visit the official Web sites of the Cancun CVB and the Mexico Tourism Board.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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