The Real Deal: Multicity airfare on an American Airlines carrier, arriving in San José and departing from Panama City, plus two regional flights on Nature Air or Air Panama (from San José to Bocas del Toro and from Bocas del Toro to Panama City), 14 nights' accommodations, daily breakfast, shuttle transportation between cities, and hotel taxes, from $1,225 per person—plus airport taxes and fees of at least $84.
When: June 10, 2009. There are additional departures available on an ongoing basis, but the prices vary by departure city and travel dates and can change throughout the course of a single day.
Gateways: Miami; add $60 for Houston; $73 for Chicago; $85 for New York City; $154 for L.A.; $198 for Seattle; additional gateways are available. Airline carriers vary by departure city.
The fine print: Valid for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday departures. Airport taxes and fees are at least an additional $84 per person for Miami departures on June 10. Taxes and fees vary by airport and departure date and can be as high as $450 per person. While transportation between the cities on the itinerary is covered, airport-hotel transfers are not. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $810. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Latin Destinations, 866/645-2846, latindestinations.com.
Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest multicity fare between Miami and San José and Panama City and Miami is $232 with taxes for departures on June 10 (Taca). For an additional $1,077, the Latin Destinations package covers international airfare as well as two full weeks of accommodations, daily breakfast, flights to and from Bocas del Toro, shuttle transportation between cities, and all taxes. Plus, you get the convenience of having all these trip details coordinated for you.
Tour itinerary: You'll arrive in San José, Costa Rica, then take a shuttle to the Arenal Volcano, followed by a visit to Monteverde Cloud Forest. Then take the shuttle back to San José for an overnight stay before boarding a two-hour-and-45-minute flight to the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in Panama. From there, take a one-hour flight to Panama City. Here, you'll hop on a shuttle to the nearby Gamboa Rainforest Resort. The intercity shuttle transfers are about three hours long. Note that there are no sightseeing activities included.
Lodging: The starting rate includes two nights (the first and the fourth) at the Britannia Hotel in San José, three nights in Arenal at the Tilajari Hotel Resort and Conference Center, two nights at Claro de Luna in Monteverde, three nights at Hotel Vista Mar in Bocas del Toro, two nights at the Country Inn and Suites El Dorado in Panama City, and two nights at Gamboa Rainforest Resort in Gamboa. Other hotel options are available, but the rates may vary.
More: Travelers can choose from a variety of optional activities, which start at around $45 per person, based on double occupancy, for a half-day Arenal Volcano hiking tour. You can add extra nights at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort for $71 per person based on double occupancy.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.