Photos: Tango time

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  1. The heart of the city

    The Obelisk is a modern monument placed at the heart of Buenos Aires. It was built in May 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first founding of the city. (Dennis Degnan / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Passion dance

    Two tango dancers perform in Calle Caminito, a street in La Boca district of Buenos Aires famous for this passionate dance. (Sergio Pitamitz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Color block

    Colorful buildings are hard to miss on Caminito Street in Buenos Aires. (Sergio Pitamitz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A place in the sun

    Sun-seekers crowd a beach in Mar del Planta - Argentina's premier seaside resort on the southern coast of Buenos Aires Province. (Yann Arthus-bertrand / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A walk on the water

    The 335-foot-long suspension pedestrian bridge, Puente de la Mujer (Bridge of the Woman) was donated by Alberto L. Gonzales and his family to this city of Buenos Aires. Designed by Santiago Calatrava , it is the architect's only work in South America. (Michael Lewis / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Amazing acoustics

    The Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It has 2,367 seats and standing room for 1,000. (Hubert Stadler / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Capital beauty

    Finished in 1906, the National Congress Building in Buenos Aires is four stories high and has two pavilions, one on each side. (Anthony Cassidy / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 11/7/2008 10:30:39 AM ET 2008-11-07T15:30:39

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Through Winter

The deal
Although the dollar’s weak exchange rate may have put that lavish European getaway on hold, a luxury vacation is still within your reach—and at a far more reasonable price. After all, Europe isn’t the only destination where one can find a rich and varied culture with top-of-the-line cuisine, world-class wines, and supremely romantic surroundings. For all this and more, head to South and Central America where you’ll easily find topnotch accommodations that often cost far less than their European counterparts.

Inn at Coyote Mountain in Costa Rica, Observatory Suite from $219
Instead of reserving a room at a costly Chalet in the Alps, consider a secluded mountain getaway at an eco-friendly lodge in Costa Rica. Perched atop the Cordillera de Tiláran mountains, the Inn at Coyote Mountain is an elegant Spanish colonial-style villa surrounded by 70 acres of private nature preserve. Explore the surrounding tropical forest with abundant nature trails and fabulous bird-watching, or relax at this quiet hacienda with an invigorating soak in the hot-tub. For a truly eco-chic escape, book the third-story observatory from $219/night, a spacious suite with a canopy bed, private en suite bath and stunning 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, mountains, and surrounding tropical highlands.

Park Hyatt Mendoza from $250/night
While a trip to the vineyards of Bordeaux or Burgundy may be too extravagant on a tight budget, wine lovers still have reason to rejoice. At the center of Argentina’s illustrious wine industry stands Mendoza, a lively city where one can sample fine vintages and hike the Andean foothills. Starting from around $250/night, the Park Hyatt Mendoza offers spacious rooms with plush beds, marble baths, and spectacular city or mountain views. Located just fifteen minutes from Mendoza’s main vineyards, this elegant hotel offers a range of luxury amenities, including a spa, fine dining restaurant, and lounge specializing in local area wines.

Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires from $475/night
The spectacular port city of Buenos Aires has a European vibe with stylish cafés, world-class operas, and trendy boutiques alongside grand old avenues and tree-lined streets. Located in the heart of the city’s fashionable Recoleta district, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is an elegant luxury hotel where guests can opt for tango lessons, rejuvenating spa treatments or simply unwind at one of the hotel’s six restaurants, bars, and lounges. Spacious rooms look out onto neighborhood streets or offer panoramic view’s of the hotel’s lush gardens. Rates start at $475/night for a Park King room, with 24-hour room service, a luxurious marble tub and complimentary newspaper delivery.

The dollars
Based on double occupancy. Taxes and fees are additional.

The catch
The cost of airfare can be steep. At press time, we discovered round-trip flights from New York City to Mendoza for $1117 (Lan), Buenos Aires for $849 (Lan) and the Costa Rican capital of San Jose from $343 (American Airlines).

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