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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updated 11/10/2008 9:20:22 AM ET 2008-11-10T14:20:22

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Most are valid until December 31

The deal: The ungettable get: Christmas in the Caribbean
Until now, Christmas in Caribbean hotspots like St. Barts and Antigua has been reserved for the moneyed elite with high-season prices at their highest and hotels booked to capacity nearly six months in advance. But, in these unpredictable economic times, with even holiday regulars finding it hard to commit to the standard week block required for Christmas bookings, and a few too many cancellations, resorts are panicking, thus lowering their holiday rates and allowing shorter stays. What this means for you: Savvy travelers can actually use this financial downturn to their advantage. With a little last-minute planning, you can score significantly reduced rates, starting from $130/night, at some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive enclaves. Now that’s what we call a smart splurge!

ANTIGUA: $2,000 air credit and free kids’ stay at Verandah Resort & Spa
Antigua’s new all-suite eco-friendly Verandah Resort & Spa, set on a 30-acre bluff overlooking Diane Bay, features smart cottages, that sleep up to four, with verandahs and kitchenettes. Electric buggies shuttle guests around the property, sunlight is harnessed for power, and seawater is distilled for drinking.

The savings: The resort’s stellar holiday deal includes 7 all-inclusive nights and a $2,000 air credit per room (received at the time of booking). Plus, up to two kids stay for free. This deal works out to be nearly half of the original cost if you figure that regular rates go for $635/night plus $60 for each child, that’s $5,285 for the week — not including air. With this promo, you’re paying only $349 per night or $2,443 for the week.

To book: Visit eliteislandvacation.com and click the Verandah Resort & Spa then save $2,000 Christmas sale.

CURAÇAO: 65 percent off with AAA card at Curaçao Marriott Resort
This popular casino resort sits next to the island’s best beach (there aren’t many on this rocky isle), home to clear waters and coral reefs, making for excellent scuba and snorkeling. The large resort manages to charm, what with its imitation Dutch colonial architecture, water views, and ideal locale near Willemstad.

The savings: Got good car karma? Put your AAA membership to use and snag low holiday rates through December 31 for only $149/night! We’ve checked regular rates here over the Christmas break and found the lowest to be a whopping $429/night so you’ll save nearly 65 percent. If you’re not an AAA member, perhaps it's time to join; initial membership costs $58 for the year.

To book: Visit www.curacaomarriott.com and enter promotional code AAA when making your reservation or call 800-228-9290 and ask for AAA.

NEVIS: Free weekend at the Mount Nevis Hotel
Thanks to the hotel’s money location on the slopes of its namesake mountain, the Mount Nevis offers some of the island’s best views, with 30 rooms spread across 17 acres of a former lime plantation.

The savings: This December 15 through January 10, you’ll get two nights for free when you book the first five — that ends up saving you about 30 percent off your stay (or $800).

To book: Visit www.mountnevishotel.com or call 800-756-3847.

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ST. BARTS: 50 percent off reopening rates at the new Carl Gustaf
The already glamorous 14-suite Carl Gustaf, perched hillside overlooking Gustavia Harbor, has undergone a multi-million dollar facelift, adding the new Boutique Carita Spa — the first in the Caribbean — a made-over restaurant and lounge, and a tricked-out four-bedroom suite.

The savings: Half-price reopening rates (half-price anything is a rarity in St. Barts, especially during the holiday period!) include breakfast daily, airport transfers, and champagne welcome upon arrival, and start at 405 euros per night for travel this December 15–27. If you can’t get away in December, you can still save 30 percent off select dates in January and February.

To book: Visit www.hotelcarlgustaf.com or contact Private Entrance Collection at 212-616-5032.

TOBAGO: 30 percent off at the new Bacolet Beach Club
This stylish newbie, owned by former fashion model Gloria Jones-Knapp, comes with its own secluded beach on Bacolet Bay (which once set the scene for the movie "Swiss Family Robinson"), just minutes from the island’s capital, Scarborough. Sleek rooms come with private verandahs, bay views, and cool, eclectic furnishings.

The savings: Save 30 percent off nightly room rates with welcome drinks, continental breakfast daily, and a complimentary one-day jeep rental included, starting at $130/night.

To book: Visit www.bacoletbeachclub.com or call 868-639-3551.

Click here for $70 one-way fares to Trinidad and Tobago.

Know your dates? Search for the best rates on Caribbean flights with QuickSearch.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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