Photos: Marvelous Mexico

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  1. Tempting Tulum

    The Mayan City of Tulum, Mexico is located on the Caribbean Sea coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Ml Sinibaldi / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. View from Palenque

    Tourists sit atop a pyramid in Palenque, set in the foothills of the Tumbal mountains of Chiapas Mexico. (Marco Ugarte / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Blessings in Chiapas

    A tzotzil child walks in front of the church of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. (Matias Recart / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Luxury in Puerto Vallarta

    The terrace on the Celestial Suite is seen at Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Ancient stories

    This photo shows details of a Maya stone, relating the coming to power of governor Sir Jupiter Humenate and dated 613 AC, found in Tonina, Ocosingo, Chiapas. (Janet Schwartz / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mexico magic

    Mexico City, the capital city of the nation of Mexico. (Diego Goldberg / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Musical Mexico

    A mariachi band play on a punt at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico City. (Danny Lehman / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Cool Cancun

    Cancun, Mexico is ranked as one of the top international vacation destinations. The beaches of Cancun have been completely restored following damage caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Travelers will find its newly renovated resorts, restaurants, beaches and attractions better and even more accessible than ever. (Business Wire) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Isla bonita

    The ferry landing on Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Isla Mujeres is a tiny island mere miles from the Yucatan coast, and feels a world away from Cancun's hustle and bustle. Isla Mujeres, thriving in its own tourism, manages to maintain the feeling of a small fishing village. (Anja Schlein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Soccer and bullfights

    Estadio Azul (left), a soccer stadium; and Plaza Mexico, the world's largest bullring, in Mexico City. (Danny Lehman / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Azure Cortez

    People kayak in the Bahia de Loreto National Park, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. (Terry Prichard / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 3/6/2009 10:10:07 AM ET 2009-03-06T15:10:07

The deal
Winter is still here, and the urge to ride it out on a tropical beach sounds more tempting with each passing day. But if you hold off until spring, you'll save a bundle on cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico as wave-season rates begin to fall.

It will also still be chilly enough to make a southern cruise worthwhile, and with the wallet-friendly-rates our editors have tracked down on three- to six-night cruises, you'll save up to 76 percent off — and won't need to dip into your tax refund. Prices start at just $249.

4-night Caribbean cruise from $249
If you’d rather sail on a Celebrity ship, try this four-night Caribbean cruise that departs from Miami April 2 and sails on to the vibrant city of Key West. During your time here, enjoy a relaxing glass-bottom boat tour, or experience the lively nightlife. After Key West, the recently renovated Celebrity Century makes its way to Cozumel, Mexico, home to some of the most dazzling coral reefs on the planet. This all-star itinerary is available from just $249 for interior cabins or $399 for oceanview staterooms.

Carnival Mexican Riviera voyage from $259
The Mexican Riviera has found itself on a number of “cruise destinations to watch” lists for 2009. As more cruise ships make their way to this area, it has maintained a traditional feel, while also offering new attractions for tourists, like quiet sidewalk cafes and interesting shops. The first port of call the Carnival Paradise visits is Catalina Island, the tiny rugged paradise just off the coast of California that gives travelers a peak at what Los Angeles may have looked like centuries ago. Next it’s off to the cobblestone streets and surfer-friendly beaches of Ensenada. This four-night cruise sets sail April 20 from just $259.

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3-night Bahamas cruise from $259
Kick off the first week of spring in style with a quick night-night Bahamas fling onboard the Norwegian Sky, available at up to 76 percent off brochure rates. Departing from Miami on March 20, the first port of call is the colorful city of Nassau, where passengers can enjoy beautiful white-sand beaches, or try their luck in one of the Vegas-style casinos. The next stop before returning to Miami is the cruise line’s privately owned island of Great Stirrup Cay, accessible only to Norwegian cruisers. In addition to the great starting price of $259, this offer includes up to $75 of free onboard spending credit.

It's A Snap! Readers' best shots

5-night Yucatan Mexican cruise from $399
This five-night cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas sails from Tampa to the hotspot cruise destination that is the Yucatan Peninsula. First, the ship docks in Costa Maya, the newest port in the Western Caribbean that’s tailor-made for cruise passengers, what restaurants, bars and even a man-made village. Then it’s on to the island of Cozumel for some scuba diving, water sports, shopping and beach-bumming. The cruise sails March 30, with interior cabins priced from $399 and oceanview staterooms available for just $20 more (a steal!).

6-night Caribbean cruise from $449
The Carnival Freedom is one of Carnival’s latest creations, featuring an outdoor theater, mini golf course, a sports bar, piano bar and chic restaurants. This stellar six-night itinerary from Fort Lauderdale is priced at up to 70 percent off brochure rates, starting from just $449. The first port of call is lively Key West, followed by the famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. After that, it’s time for some reggae and rum punch in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, before sailing back to Fort Lauderdale. The ship departs April 19 with free cabin upgrades are available on select bookings.

The dollars
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Accommodations, meals, some beverages, entertainment, and port charges are covered in the cost. Government fees and taxes, as well as off-boat expenditures are extra.

The catch
Having the willpower to wait a few more weeks – we know, it’s been rough!

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