The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, interisland catamaran transportation, four nights' accommodations, and all transfers, from $1,455 per person—plus taxes of at least $93.
When: Nov. 1–Dec. 10, 2008.
Gateways: L.A. only.
The fine print: The starting rate is based on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday travel. Hotel taxes, airline fuel surcharges, interisland catamaran transportation, all transfers, a fresh-flower lei, and a black-pearl pendant are included. Airport taxes and fees are at least an additional $93 per person. A $50 late booking fee may apply. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $405. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability. Airfare must be ticketed at least five days prior to departure.
Contact: Pleasant Holidays, 800/742-9244, pleasantholidays.com.
Why it's a deal: According to a recent Kayak search, the lowest round-trip airfare between L.A. and Papeete, Tahiti, starts at $1,077, including taxes, for departures in early December (Air Tahiti Nui). For an additional $471, this Pleasant Holidays package covers round-trip airfare, plus four nights' accommodations, a catamaran transfer between Tahiti and Moorea, all applicable transfers, hotel and airport taxes, and fuel surcharges. If you travel sooner, say, in mid- to late November, you'll save even more, given that the cost of a L.A.–Papeete flight for that time period skyrockets to $3,318 (Air New Zealand/Air France), according to Kayak. That's $1,770 more than the entire package price, including taxes.
Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare on Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete, the bustling capital of French Polynesia's 118 islands. You'll board a catamaran for the 30-minute trip to Vaiare, Moorea.
You'll spend four nights at the seaside Hotel Hibiscus, in the Haapiti district on Moorea's northwest coast. The 29 bungalows have natural thatch roofs, kitchenettes, and ceiling fans. (There's also a newer building featuring 12 air-conditioned rooms.) The starting rate includes accommodations in a garden-view bungalow. Guests can lounge by the outdoor pool, rent water-sports equipment, or linger over mai tais at the beachside Sunset Restaurant and Pizzeria.
Though only 12 miles west of Tahiti, Moorea feels removed and more tranquil. It's a heart-shaped island fringed with sandy-bottomed lagoons and languid resorts. Rumor has it that Moorea inspired James Michener's fictional tropical paradise, Bali Hai. The rainbow-hued reefs are perfect for snorkeling because the water here is no more than 15 feet deep. The island's easily recognizable trademark is "Shark's Tooth," as the towering Mount Mouaroa is commonly known.
While additional nights cannot be added, you can choose a five-night version of this package featuring one night in Tahiti at Le Royal Tahitien before going on to Moorea. Pleasant Holidays is also offering similar packages at other Moorea hotels, starting from $1,611 for air and four nights at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa.
Getting there: If you don't live in the L.A. area, you could still take advantage of this package by purchasing a flight from your hometown to L.A. Here are some sample fares for mid- to late November, according to Kayak: $270 from Phoenix (United), $279 from Miami (American), $296 from Houston (United), $318 from New York (United), and $359 from Chicago (United).
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.