The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare and three nights' accommodations from $488 per person—plus $40 in taxes.
When: May 3, 4, 5, 2008, were available for $488 at press time. The package is available on an ongoing basis, and rates fluctuate depending on departure dates, gateway city, and availability (note, for instance, that JetBlue advertises a starting rate of $469).
Gateways: New York City; additional cities available.
the fine print: Hotel taxes are included. Airfare fees are an additional $40 per person. The starting rate is based on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday departures, with returns on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Based on double occupancy; no single supplement. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Contact: JetBlue Getaways, 800/538-2583, jetblue.com.
Why it's a deal: At press time, the Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort is offering a Web special for airfare and four nights for $865 per person, which breaks down to about $216 per person per night. Compared to that rate, the $488 JetBlue package for three nights (about $163 per person per night), will save you $53 per person per night. And according to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fare between New York City and Ponce in mid-April starts from $264 (JetBlue). For an additional $224 per person, or about $75 a night, this JetBlue package will also cover three nights' accommodations and most taxes.
Trip details: The Ponce Getaway package includes round-trip airfare to Ponce on a JetBlue carrier and three nights' accommodations at the 253-room Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, about 10 miles from Ponce's Mercedita Airport.
The resort's most popular attraction is the casino, which features 337 slot machines and several blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker tables. Guests can also keep themselves busy on the 27-hole PGA-championship golf course, part of the Costa Caribe Golf and Country Club. Other amenities include a free-form pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, a fitness center, tennis courts, and spa services. Dining options range from casual outdoor venues such as La Terraza and El Bohio Sports and Pool Bar to the elegant La Cava restaurant.
No longer in the shadow of its big sister San Juan, Ponce has become a travelers' magnet in its own right—partly thanks to the direct-flight connections with the U.S. added in 2005. Founded sometime around 1680, Puerto Rico's second largest city is home to the country's principal shipping port, Playa de Ponce. The city's well-preserved architectural marvels date back to the late 17th century and include plazas, churches, fountains, and elaborately decorated colonial homes.
While a three-night stay may not be enough to cover all sightseeing attractions, here are a few worth checking out: the downtown Plaza de las Delicias; Parque de Bombas, a wooden firehouse built in 1882; La Guancha Paseo Tablado boardwalk; the Museum of Puerto Rican Music; the Ponce Museum of Art; and the ancient archeological finds at the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center.
If you'd like to extend your stay, you can add extra nights, but prices vary depending on travel dates. For more tips on what to do in the area, visit the official Web site of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.