Photos: Big Easy returns

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  1. Katrina's mess

    A junked car lies near empty houses in the Lakeview neighborhood near the site of the levee breach on the 17th Street Canal, August 29, 2005. More than five months after caused by Hurricane Katrina made landfall, there was little progress in some areas of New Orleans. Today, tours are offered to visitors to have a better understanding of events pre and post Katrina. (David Rae Morris / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Big Easy blues

    Costumed revelers dressed as blue roof tarps pose at the annual MOMs Ball, thrown each year by the Krewe of Misfits, Orphans and Mystics in New Orleans. Many of this years Mardi Gras floats and costumes reference the blue tarps that still protect broken roofs across the city after Hurricane Katrina. (Matthew Cavanaugh / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Soul sounds

    Jen Pearl (L) and Michelle Loughnane stand under an umbrella with a reference to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 2006. Jazz Fest '07 will be held on April 27-29 and May 4-6. (Lee Celano / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Dancing in the streets

    A member of the Young Olympia Aide and New Look Social Aid and Pleasure Club dances in a second line parade at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. (Lee Celano / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Jeweled celebration

    Members of the Krewe of Thoth throw beads as they travel down St. Charles Avenue where thousands of revelers showed up to enjoy 2006 Mardi Gras festivities. Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is the day before Ash Wednesday, and a celebration of the last the day before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Mardi Gras 2007 will be observed on Feb. 20. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Eye candy

    Revelers ogle a woman exposing herself on Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Closing time

    Orleans Parish mounted Police Officers march down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter announcing the official end of Mardi Gras 2006. (Sean Gardner / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A shout for freedom

    "Big Chief" Victor Armstrong wears an elaborate Mardi Gras Indian costume. The Indian tradition of Mardi Gras pays homage to the relationship between Native Americans and escaped African slaves of the 1700s. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 2/9/2009 9:42:29 AM ET 2009-02-09T14:42:29

The deal
The ancient festival of Carnival originated as the last big blowout before Lent, but nowadays it’s an annual no-holds-bar bash. So put on your party dress and head to Trinidad, home to the Caribbean’s liveliest celebrations and costume parades; Rio de Janiero, the ultra-sexy party capital of the world; or New Orleans for Mardi Gras debauchery. Deals start at just $260/night for Carnival/Mardi Gras dates this February.

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, from $260 a night
Trinidad holds its annual carnival celebration this year on Feb. 23 and 24. Although people generally book far in advance, rooms can still be found at some top area hotels. Nestled in the island’s scenic St. Ann’s Valley, the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and sauna (so you can re-energize after all the non-stop parades, concerts and masquerade costume balls). Rates start at $290 for single occupancy and $320 for double occupancy.

4-night New Orleans package
There is no scene quite like the scene in New Orleans’ French Quarter during Mardi Gras. Luckily for you, Bookit.com is offering 25 percent off stays of four nights or longer at the Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans. This conveniently situated hotel recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and is in topnotch shape. A four-night stay starts at $437/person, with flight included.

5-night Rio de Janiero package
Rio de Janeiro turns the volume way up every February with music, dancing and all night parties. Carnival showcases the best of Brazil, and with this five-night Carnival Package from the super luxurious beachside Copacabana Palace, you can enjoy everything the city has to offer. Package highlights include five nights’ accommodations in a room or suite, daily buffet breakfast, and access to the hotel’s onsite fitness center, tennis courts and sauna. Rates start at $750/night.

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

The catch
Masks and colorful beads not included.

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