Sunny Central America air and hotel deals

Image: People swim in the Celeste river waterfall at Tenorio Volcano National Park in Upala, Costa Rica.
Want to see lush Costa Rica at super-low cost? Latin Escapes offers a four-day air and hotel jaunt from $459 with a guided tour of nearby volcanoes, rainforests and flower plantations.Juan Carlos Ulate / Reuters file
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through August 2008

The deal
Central America’s high season is coming to an end and prices have finally started to drop. Now that winter crowds have left, you can head south for your share of tropical beach fun and rainforest adventure. We found a threesome of off-peak packages to Costa Rica, Panama and Belize that start at just $459! These low prices are all inclusive of airfare, hotel, daily breakfasts and transfers.

Cost-cutting Costa Rica from $459
Want to see lush Costa Rica at super-low cost? Latin Escapes offers a four-day air and hotel jaunt from $459. Good for travel from Miami through August, this special covers air (from N.Y., it’s $40 extra); a three-night stay at Presidente Hotel in the capital of San Jose; daily breakfast; and a guided tour of nearby volcanoes, rainforests and flower plantations. If you prefer a beach holiday, Latin Escapes also has a five-day escape at Flamingo Beach Resort right on a white-sand beach, from $549, with air from Miami, lodging with breakfast, and in-country transfers.

Deluxe Panama for peanuts: $1,582
If you’d like a beach holiday in Panama for pennies this spring or summer, we found just the right deal for you. A recent addition to Central America’s tourist map, this spectacular country is fast becoming immensely popular. Tara Tours offers an eight-day package at new Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa; airfare from Miami (or another departure city at low extra cost); transfers to Playa Bonita; upscale lodging for seven nights; and buffet breakfast daily. This reduced price is only valid for sojourns between April 16 and September 30.

Belize beach bargain for just $1,179
Belize is another balmy Central American destination you can check out for less. We suggest you visit the scenic offshore island of Ambergris Caye, famous for first-rate snorkeling and scuba-diving. This spring, you can save some serious dollars on a beach hideaway at the Caye. Virgin Vacations offers a seven-night escape at a beachfront resort for $1,179, good for travel between May 1 and June 15. This covers air from your choice of several US gateways (Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix) to Belize City and onward to Ambergris Caye; daily breakfast; and lodging.

The dollars
The package rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy. What makes the above deals such great value is the fact they’re valid in Central’s America low season and thus reduced in price by quite a fraction. The two Costa Rica packages quoted above are typically doubled in price during the peak winter months. The Panama deal costs $1,870 during the high season — that’s $288 less than the spring and summer cost with the same inclusions!

The catch
Some rain included, too!

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