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Caribbean deals: Low-season highlights

Not only are room rates as much as 40 percent off peak, but it's also the time when resorts do back-flips to entice the budget-conscious with package deals.
Aruba's Palm Beach.
Aruba's Palm Beach.Pedro Famous Diaz / AP
/ Source: Caribbean Travel and Life

Everybody loves a bargain, and that's why many of us wait until high season passes to take our Caribbean vacations. Not only are room rates as much as 40 percent off peak, but it's also the time when resorts do back-flips to entice the budget-conscious with package deals combining fun and games, spa treatments, airline tickets, meals and more.

To get you the best bang for your hard-earned bucks, we've scoured the region to find the sweetest low-season specials. These aren't backpacker-budget, sleep-on-the-sand packages, they're great values on quality Caribbean vacations.

So whether you're looking for a romantic rendezvous, indulgent retreat, sporty escape or family bond-athon, these deals will get you where you want to be, at the very nicest prices of the year.

Romantic vacations

Turks and Caicos: Nothing says hubba-hubba like jetting down to Provo for a romantic romp on Grace Bay Beach. The intimate water's-edge Turks & Caicos Club makes the ideal setting for a dreamy four-night getaway, complete with champagne in your oceanfront suite, a 30-minute in-room couples massage, a poolside candlelight dinner at Simba and daily breakfast. Slip away on a half-day snorkeling excursion to Iguana Island, or sail on a wine-and-cheese sunset cruise. Package: Romantic Escape by the Sea. Rate: $2,395. Available: June 1 to October 31. Web site:

Turks and Caicos: You don't have to be just-married to appreciate the four- and seven-night romance packages at The Palms, a posh member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World, also located on Provo, Turks and Caicos. Not only are the savings something to sing about -- 45 to 55 percent off prime-time prices -- but the upgrades and amenities will have you hitting the high notes: an ocean-view or oceanfront suite, a couple's massage at the resort's extravagant spa, a bottle of champagne, a special dinner at the superb Parallel 23 and daily breakfast. Package: Romance. Rate: $1,600 for four nights; $2,650 for seven. Available: Through December 19. Web site:

Grenada: Grenada is a rolling, mountainous island covered with fragrant spice trees and rare tropical flowers. But you may never see the outside of your room after popping open the Honeymoon Kit at Blue Horizon Garden Resort. In it you'll find Grenadian Love Tea, Cinnamon Body Oil, Honeymoon Rum and a Clove Dream Pillow. Put the goodies to use in your deluxe one-bedroom suite during the seven-night stay, which also features daily breakfast and a dinner at La Belle Creole. If you do break out of the boudoir, you'll enjoy an island garden tour and a scuba lesson for two. Package: Romance Honeymoon. Rate: $1,374. Available: Through December 15. Web site:

Aruba: Marriage doesn't have to mean compromise at Divi Aruba All Inclusive and Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive, where the elegant lounges, sports facilities, restaurants and amenities are open to guests of both resorts. The neighboring properties offer the same honeymoon package, which includes a candlelight dinner at Sunset Beach Bistro, a party for newlyweds, a bottle of bubbly and a certificate for a free night to celebrate your first anniversary, same time next year. Package: Honeymoon. Rates: All-Inclusive at Divi ($374 to $434) and Tamarijn ($354 to $374) Available: Through December 22. Web site:

Aruba: Get off on the right foot with an idyllic honeymoon in Aruba, where you and your new spouse will be treated to a four- or seven-night retreat at the family-owned Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort. You'll be nestled away from prying eyes in an ocean-front studio with a Jacuzzi and kitchenette. For just $50 extra per night, you can make the trip even more magical by upgrading to the swanky honeymoon suite. A bottle of champagne, cruise for two and dinner by candlelight at Mango's are part of the deal. Package: Honeymoon. Rate: $799 for four nights; $1,199 for seven nights. Available: Through December 17. Web site:

Dive vacations

Bonaire: You and three of your best dive buddies can save more than $500 on a trip to Plaza Resort Bonaire, where you'll have 24-hour access to the property's house reef. You get six days of unlimited air fills for shore diving, a pickup truck for seven days and seven nights in a fully equipped villa. The air-conditioned two-bedroom unit has a kitchen, living/dining room, two bathrooms and cable TV. It's located 100 yards from the beach and pool area. Package: 3-D Drive, Dive Deluxe. Rate: $661 per person for four divers. Available: April 22 to December 15. Web site:

Bonaire: Feel like you could use a brushup on your snorkeling or diving technique? Black Durgeon Inn & Scuba Center on tranquil Bonaire offers a special that includes personalized training from its instructors -- as much as you need to feel comfortable and confident while exploring what lies beneath. After that, you can further hone your skills at your leisure, day and night, at the foot of the inn's private reef-side pier. The deal includes a double room for seven nights and full breakfast daily. Package: Aquatic Skill Enhancement. Rate: $338 per person; divers add $100 per person for tanks/weights. Available: May 1, 2006, to May 1, 2007. Web site:

Bahamas: There's no rush-hour traffic to deal with on pastoral Long Island in the Bahamas, but there is an attractive array of beaches, reefs, wrecks and underwater wildlife along two coastlines -- the Atlantic Ocean and Exuma Sound. Stella Maris Resort Club lets you see it all with an inclusive five-night package that features an ocean-view hotel room, round-trip flight from Nassau, three daily meals, evening cocktails and, of course, scuba diving -- a minimum of two boat dives per day (but as many as four). Package: Scuba Summer Special. Rate: $2,800. Available: August 1 to August 31 and October 1 to November 30. Web site:

St. Martin: Famous for haute cuisine, St. Martin is gaining more attention for its two marine parks -- one on the French side of the island and one on the Dutch. Grand Case Beach Club has created a pair of scuba packages to entice divers to the sleepier French side: a three-night stay with two-tank dives daily on two days, and a seven-night package with two-tank dives on four days. Included are continental breakfast every morning and nonmotorized water sports. Bonus: The resort is right by the island's famed restaurant row. Package: Scuba Duba. Rate: Starting at $670 for three nights; $1,575 for seven. Available: April 23 to October 31. Web site:

Honduras: Tons of nature sports plus beaucoup resort amenities equals a great value at Anthony's Key Resort on Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras. You get three single-tank boat dives, two night dives and a buoyancy control workshop; equipment is included. Also included are daily dolphin presentations, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, a beach picnic, island fiesta night, three meals per day and seven nights' accommodations. Package: Dive Package. Rate: Starting at $675 per person for a single oceanfront room. Available: August 26 to November 18. Web site:

Family vacations

St. Thomas: It's easier for today's Bradys to take the whole bunch along on the honeymoon, thanks to hospitable Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas. They've designed a unique deal for newlyweds with built-in entourages of family and/or friends: five nights in a two-bedroom condo, one night of baby-sitting services so you can wine and dine unencumbered at The Beach House Restaurant, plus use of nonmotorized water-sports equipment and scuba intro for kids 12 and up. Package: Family Honeymoon. Rate: $2,442 through August 31; $1,867 September 1 to October 31. Web site:

St. Lucia: Between the massages and manicures, private yoga and tai chi classes, beach picnic and dinner either at the island-authentic fish fry or poolside at Ti Bananne Caribbean Bistro, you and the girls may hardly use your rooms at St. Lucia's new four-star Coco Palm Hotel. This four-night getaway for you and three gal-pals (Your mom called: She says to take her, your sister and that one friend of yours she's always liked) comes with two garden-view rooms and daily breakfast. Package: Island Girls Getaway. Rate: $590 per person. Available: Through December 31. Web site:

St. Lucia: You and your better half need quality time for two, but you also want the kids to have a memorable Caribbean vacation. St. Lucia's Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort hears you. First, they provide a one-bedroom villa with a full kitchen, living room with a sleeper sofa, dining room and sun deck. Then there's nanny service and the Jacquot Children Fun Club (for ages 4 to 12) to keep the young ones entertained during the day. That gives you time for golf, sailing or rejuvenating at the spa. Package: Family Fun. Rate: $300 per night. Available: May 1 to December 20. Web site:

Bahamas: If you have two kids and a hankering to sample some classic charm and neo-luxury on Grand Bahama Island, then Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour had you in mind when they created this four-night escape. Along with two separate rooms, you get a private dolphin encounter, one-hour massage for each adult, four hours of baby-sitting, all meals and use of nonmotorized water-sports equipment, including kayaks, Hobie cats and snorkel gear. Package: Family Escape. Rate: $5,188 to $5,726, depending on travel dates. Available: Through December 12. Web site:

Aruba, Cayman Islands: No more sleeping on the rollaway. Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino has a family plan that reduces the rate of a second room by 50 percent. Another option gets you a fourth or fifth night free, depending on how long you stay. (This deal also applies at Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman Beach Suites.) Package: Family Plan and Sunshine on Sale. Rate: Starting at $285 and $143 per night at Hyatt Regency Aruba; $505 per night at Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman. Available: Through December 19 at Aruba. Web site:

Active vacations

Dominica: You've read our articles about the super-size natural wonders of Dominica -- now here's a great opportunity to go for it. Perched over the electric-blue Caribbean Sea, Anchorage Hotel & Dive Center offers an outdoor-themed package that includes seven nights in a double-occupancy room, breakfast daily, two island tours with a friendly guide and light lunch, a snorkel outing and a whale-watching trip. There's also an onsite dive center offering both PADI and NAUI courses, plus a tempting variety of boat dives and night dives. Package: Adventure in Nature. Rate: $621 per person. Available: Through December 30. Web site:

Bonaire: Adrenaline junkies will eat up the six days of spelunking, kayaking, snorkeling, mountain biking and hiking offered at Buddy Dive Resort in Bonaire. This action-packed special includes eight days and seven nights in a fully equipped apartment, a pickup truck for the week and breakfast daily. You can fill the two bonus days with extras like offshore sport fishing, windsurfing and diving. Plans range from one person in a studio to six people in a three-bedroom apartment. Package: Six Days in Six Ways. Rate: Starting at $715 per person, based on six people. Available: Through November 24. Web site:

Here's your chance to experience the championship-quality Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and stunning Atlantic and Caribbean views from Frigate Bay Resort. Their new seven-night golf package for two promises a poolside bay-view room, daily breakfast, two rounds of golf per person at the adjoining course (cart fees included) and an educational tour of the island. Traveling with a non-golfer? Play four rounds rather than two, or deduct $250 from the tab. Package: Golf Package. Rate: $1,575. Available: Through October 1. Web site:

St. Lucia: Recreation and romance go hand-in-hand at the outdoorsy-but-comfy Ti Kaye Village Resort on St. Lucia, and this package gives you an excellent taste of both. Choose between a boat ride to Castries for sightseeing and shopping or a snorkeling trip to Soufriere; a rainforest hike, a Gros Piton mountain climb or a land tour of Soufriere; a beginners' scuba lesson or two boat dives for certified divers. Any way you slice it, the deal covers seven nights in an ocean-view room, a massage for two and full breakfast daily. Package: Adventure Lovers. Rate: $1,850. Available: July 16 to December 15. Web site:

St. Croix: Don't miss out on this rum-enhanced special created exclusively for CT&L readers at the European-style Hotel Caravelle, known for its convenience to St. Croix's great shopping, historic sites and fine dining. The trip kicks off with a complimentary bottle of Cruzan Rum and features a guided tour of the Cruzan distillery, Whim Greathouse (a 16th-century Danish plantation), St. George Botanical Gardens, the island's two towns, a tropical rainforest and the site where Christopher Columbus reportedly first set foot in the islands. You also get three nights in an ocean-view room and breakfast daily. Package: Rum Punch. Rate: $275 per person, based on double occupancy. Available: Through December 14. Web site:

Spa vacations

British Virgin Islands: We gave you a taste of the relaxed elegance of Peter Island in "Beach-Lover's Guide to the BVI," and (as if you needed one) here's another great reason to go: Paradise Now is a five-night deal featuring an ocean-view room, three daily meals, a private lunch on a secluded beach and airport transfers. Add the Pleasures in Paradise Enhancement package for continued bliss: a 75-minute massage, 50-minute body scrub, 50-minute body wrap and Thalasso mud rub. Package: Paradise Now and Pleasures in Paradise Enhancement. Rate: $2,605, plus $360 per person for the spa treatment package. Available: Through October 31. Web site:

Grenada: Whether you're on a spiritual journey or just looking to recharge, you'll leave Grenada a changed person after a week at Maca Bana Villas. Relaxed in the privacy of your villa or on its sun deck, surrender yourself to one full-body massage (choose from Swedish, Indian and Shiatsu techniques), a Chandra massage (focusing on the head, neck and shoulders), a foot reflexology session and a facial. Keep the tranquility flowing with a tai chi, meditation or a yoga lesson. Package: Spa. Rate: $985 per person for two people in a one-bedroom villa; $895 per person for four people in a two-bedroom villa. Available: Through December 14. Web site:

Dominican Republic: Experience the good life for three nights at stylish Sivory Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, starting with a private transfer from the airport and a private check-in at the hotel. Live it up in your ocean-view suite and wind down in the spa during an aromatherapy massage session. A selection of house wines and a box of Arturo Fuentes cigars complement your evening after a dinner at one of the resort's gourmet restaurants. Package: The Good Life. Rate: $1,595 through July 31 and from September 1 to December 21; $1,727 from August 1 to 31. Available: Through December 21. Web site:

Turks and Caicos: Turks and Caicos have an extensive coral reef system and some of the most pristine beaches in the world, but visitors can also turn inward for some "me" time. Point Grace's Spa Getaway package pampers you at their award-winning European-style facility on Provo with an exfoliating body brush, full-body massage, facial, and manicure or pedicure. You'll also have a daily continental breakfast, lunch at the beach or pool, a dinner at acclaimed Grace's Cottage and a bottle of champagne. Three nights in accommodations ranging from a cottage suite to an oceanfront suite. Package: Spa Getaway. Rate: Starting at $2,171 for a cottage suite. Available: May 29 to October 28. Web site:

Turks and Caicos: Once you arrive on resort-chic Provo, you'll be whisked away for a five-day spa ritual at Grace Bay Club. Have your three treatments -- Exotic Lime & Ginger Salt Glow, Aroma Hot Stone Therapy Massage, Japanese Silk Booster Facial -- at the Anani Spa or on the beach, as you prefer. Also included are a one-, two- or three-bedroom air-conditioned suite, daily breakfast and nightly candlelight dinners at Anacaona. Package: Spa Ritual. Rate: Starting at $3,125 for a one-bedroom suite. Available: June 1 to October 31. Web site: