The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, and all meals, from $961 per person — plus taxes of about $232.
When: Through Dec. 10, 2007; add $99 for Apr. 1-Dec. 10, 2008; $297 for Jan. 3-Mar. 31; $637 for Dec. 25, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008.
Gateways: Miami; add $200 for Orlando; $250 for New York City; $290 for L.A.
The fine print: Airport-hotel transfers, hotel taxes, all meals, and beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) are included. Airport taxes and fuel surcharges are approximately $232 additional per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $443. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Tara Tours, 800/327-0080, taratours.com.
Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fares for travel to San Andrés in early December are $665 from Miami (Copa), $717 from New York City (Copa), $996 from L.A. (Avianca), and $1,171 from Orlando (multiple airlines). You'll spend less for this Tara Tours package than for some flights alone, and the package covers not only the airfare, but a six-night stay at an all-inclusive beachside resort.
Trip details: This San Andr package includes round-trip travel on Copa Airlines (via Panama City) and a six-night stay on San Andrés, one of two main islands in an archipelago located about 450 miles off the western coast of Colombia (closer to Nicaragua and Jamaica than to Colombia). The islands retain an Afro-Caribbean vibe, and Creole and Spanish are the main languages.
Upon your arrival in San Andrés, Tara Tour reps will meet you at the airport and escort you to the Royal Decameron Aquarium, a 250-room beachside property at Punta Hansa on the north end of the island, just a few blocks from the downtown commercial area.
The resort offers three bars, a dance club, and four restaurants serving breakfast, lunch buffets, à la carte dinners, and unlimited alcoholic beverages. There's also a swimming pool and free access to windsurfing equipment, Sunfish sailboats, and kayaks. Jet Ski rental costs $25 per hour, and half-day fishing and scuba excursions are offered for about $150 per person.
For a more secluded resort experience, consider spending $100-$300 per person to upgrade to the smaller 128-room Super Decameron Marazul, located in the Orange Hill area of the island, with a private beach surrounded by tropical gardens. Extra nights cost approximately $88 per person at the Aquarium and $99 per person at the Marazul.
San Andrés has a remarkable range of natural wonders and landscapes. You can explore the island's tropical mangrove forests and secluded lagoons, home to alligators, lizards, iguanas, and many species of local and migratory birds. See a blowhole at high tide, when a remarkable natural geyser forms to shoot water clear into the sky from a series of subterranean tunnels in the coral reef. The island is also a scuba diver's paradise; there are a variety of underwater environments where you can explore hidden caves, walls, cliffs, and sunken ships.
Nearby Providencia island is smaller and less populated than San Andrés, with many secluded beaches and opportunities for scuba divers and snorkelers alike. For $448 per person, Tara Tours offers a three-night extension to this laid-back island, where you'll stay at a bed-and-breakfast and have time to explore the surrounding natural scenery and colorful coral reefs now protected as a national park.