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 2/20/2009 1:53:48 PM ET 2009-02-20T18:53:48

The deal
Spring-break time is here, sounding the signal for some no-holds-barred vacationing. As such, we've rounded up the best low-priced deals to party capitals and beach hotspots.

If you're looking for the spring-break staples of bikinis, beaches and beer, we've found bargains to two homegrown beach cities, Miami and San Diego, and, of course, a Caribbean and Mexico option, from just $99/night. Plus, it's tulip time in Amsterdam and we've found an affordable museum package at a famous city hotel from only $216/night. Party on!

South Beach, Miami: Hotel Nash from $99 a night
For spring breakers, this sprawling, sexy, sun-splashed resort playground of South Beach, Miami, is the quintessential party capital: a posh combination of sun, sand and hedonism. After dark, head out to explore “the scene” at the area’s ubiquitous, ultra-cool lounges and nightclubs to mix and mingle with the rich, famous and fabulous. For those of us on a budget, try a stay at the affordable Hotel Nash, a landmark art deco property just one block from the beach.

Book your stay by March 11, and you’ll snag a free room upgrade. Rates start at just $99/night, that’s 35 percent off the regular $189 cost for a room.

Amsterdam: Hilton from $216 a night
Some come for the tulips, some come for the weed, but whatever’s on the vegetative agenda, visitors to freewheeling Amsterdam often find themselves mesmerized by the city’s free-thinking, live-and-let-live mantra. Visit during spring’s warm days to explore city’s picturesque canals, museums and infamous coffee shops within this laid-back, European capital. We recommend a stay at the renowned Hilton Amsterdam, site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous 1969 bed-in for peace, just a short walk from the old city center.

Rates start at $216/night, a price that includes complimentary buffet breakfast and Van Gogh Museum admission.

San Diego: 4-night getaway with flight from $277
It's A Snap! Readers' best shotsPlenty of sun, beaches and bars make San Diego the ultimate spring-break hotspot. Mild spring weather is perfect for strolling downtown city streets, cruising the boardwalk at Mission Beach, hitting the surf, or enjoying a few beers at one of the many outdoor beach bars. Head out after dark to explore the happening club scene in the Pacific Beach neighborhood, with dozens of bars strung along Grand and Garnett avenues, or attend raging bonfire booze-fests at one of the city’s fabulous beaches.

For an affordable spring stay, we recommend this 4-night air-inclusive offer available at the chic 212-room Sofia Hotel, located within walking distance of San Diego’s trendy Gas Lamp Corner. Highlights include a full-service yoga center and a well-reviewed onsite restaurant, Currant, serving French-American bistro fare. Package rates start at $277.

Aruba: All-inclusive Westin Aruba from $400 a night
For balmy dry weather amidst gorgeous stretches of sand, swaying palms and aquamarine Caribbean waters, Aruba is hands-down one of the best places to unwind for a relaxing spring getaway. Spend your time taking long romantic strolls along the island’s sandy shores and enjoy the pampering you’ll receive at top-of-the-line resorts and flashy casinos. Located on Aruba’s lively Palm Beach, the Westin Aruba offers guided scuba diving tours, sunset sailing and windsurfing adventures, along with exciting casino nightlife and a world-class spa.

For a wallet-friendly stay, consider booking the resort’s all-inclusive package, which covers all meals at select resort restaurants (or room service), premium alcoholic beverages, kids activities, snorkeling and sports equipment rental, free access to both the tennis court and the fitness club, and more. Nightly all-inclusive rates start at $400.

Puerto Vallarta: 4-night air inclusive vacation from $679
There is perhaps no place better to celebrate spring break than the Mexican hot spot of Puerto Vallarta, a resort town that uniquely combines a raging nightlife scene with the laid-back atmosphere of a colorful colonial village. After nightfall, live it up by dancing the night away in the area’s many trendy lounges, salsa clubs and romantic oceanfront watering holes. Stroll by day along the town’s famed malecón, a mile-long stretch of oceanfront boardwalk where you’ll find many gift shops, upscale boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

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For accommodations, we recommend the newly renovated Marriott CasaMagna Puerto Vallarta Resort, currently offering a special promotion that gets you a fourth night free and complimentary breakfast. A four-night package with flight included starts at just $679.

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

The catch
Reserve as soon as you can for the best availability at these popular spring destinations. Some of these offers expire as soon as Feb. 21, so don’t delay.

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 2.5 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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