The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare and five nights' accommodations, from $719 per person—plus taxes of $99.
When: Mar. 29-Apr. 25, 2008.
Gateways: Chicago, Miami; add $10 for New York City; $30 for D.C.; $40 for Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale; additional cities available.
The fine print: Taxes and fees are an additional $99 per person ($69 per child). Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $320. Meals and airport-hotel transfers are not included. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Feb. 27, 2008.
Contact: Cheap Caribbean, 800/915-2322, cheapcaribbean.com.
Why it's a deal: In comparison, the lowest round-trip fares we found for St. Maarten in late March were $439 from Chicago (US Airways) and $462 from Miami (American), including estimated taxes. For about an additional $350, Cheap Caribbean provides the airfare (with taxes) as well as the five-night stay. To put it another way, Cheap Caribbean says the package price represents a savings of 30 percent.
Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare to St. Maarten on a major carrier and a five-night stay at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The pastel-colored rooms each have either a private patio or a balcony, and there are swimming pools, restaurants, a beachside bar, and tennis courts on-site.
The resort lies on a semiprivate peninsula between two bays on the southern coast of Dutch St. Maarten. Philipsburg, the capital and a popular stop for cruise ships, is about two miles away.
If you make it to the French side of the island, be sure to check out Loterie Farm, a 150-acre nature reserve where you can hike among mahogany and mango trees—or sail between the trees on zip lines in the Fly Zone (011-590/590-87-86-16, reserve admission $5, Fly Zone $40).
You can extend your stay for an additional $70 per person per night. For more tips on what to see and do, visit the official tourism site of St. Maarten. And before you go, check the weather forecast at BudgetTravel.com.
In the news: JetBlue launched service to St. Maarten in January and is now touting its own air/hotel packages. The current offer starts at $665 per person for round-trip airfare and four nights at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino on the Dutch side of the island (book by Mar. 31 for travel Apr. 1-June 30).