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6 Carnival packages, from $170

Join the raucous Carnival fun — live music and parades of masked and costumed performers — in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, New Orleans or Trinidad.
/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

Kingston, Jamaica, from $170 per room per night
The Carnival special at the Radisson Hotel Kingston Harbourfront includes accommodations in a room with views of the harbor and breakfast daily, at about 10 percent off typical rates. Jamaica's Carnival hasn't been around as long as some others (the activities just started up in 1990), but the action will be hot: costumed dancers, reggae and calypso bands, and lots of soca music, dance beats that originate from calypso. Note that the island's Carnival is also unconventional — it kicks off on Easter Sunday.

When: April 12-19, 2009.

Details: Includes all taxes. Based on double occupancy; single occupancy rates start at $145 per night.

Contact: 876/926-5430, radisson.com/kingstonca.

New Orleans, from $259 per room per night
The King Cake and Cocktails package at the W New Orleans French Quarter includes accommodations in a Wonderful room, two Big Easy cocktails and two pieces of king cake at turndown. King cake is a brioche-type roll with cinnamon decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar or icing. Tradition holds that whoever finds the plastic baby inside wins a prize. With this package, the finder gets a free night's stay in 2010. New Orleans's Mardi Gras celebration is February 24 and involves costumes, masks and a giant parade. Rates start at $259 per room per night.

When: Feb. 12-25, 2009.

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent. Based on single or double occupancy. Use promo code WSK.

Contact: 877/822-0000, whotels/neworleans.com.

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, from $260 per room per night
Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival usually requires booking a room up to a year out — but there are still a few rooms available. The Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre has balcony rooms starting at $260 per room per night (down from 2008's rates of $300) during Carnival, and that rate includes breakfast. Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival is February 23 and 24 this year — the action starts at 4 a.m. on Monday with J'Ouvert, when people cover themselves in chocolate, mud, oil or paint to kick off the festivities.

When: Feb. 20–25, 2009.

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Contact: 868/623-4208, cascadiahotel.com.

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, from $299 per room per night
The Hyatt Regency Trinidad is offering a special rate of $299 per room per night when you book four nights over Carnival — a savings of 20 percent. That totals $1,196 for the required four-night stay.

When: Feb. 20-25, 2009.

Details: Does not include taxes of 21 percent. Based on double occupancy; no single bookings. Requires a four-night stay.

Contact: 800/233-1234, trinidad.hyatt.com.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from $420 per room per night
The Carnival package at the Puntacana Resort & Club includes accommodations, airport transfers, a welcome basket with fresh fruit and El Presidente (Dominica's official beer) in your room, an authentic dinner for two at one of the resort's eight restaurants and two VIP tickets to Carnival activities. (Note that these elements would cost about $180 if booked independently.) Punta Cana's Carnival is held on March 7 this year, and your VIP tickets will give you prime parade seats, access to all the events and an official photo op with all the costumed performers. Rates start at $420 per room per night.

When: March 6-9, 2009.

Details: Does not include taxes of 26 percent. Based on double occupancy; no single bookings.

Contact: 888/442-2262, puntacana.com.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, air/hotel, from $1,729 per person
The Carnival Rio De Janeiro package includes round-trip airfare from Miami on a major carrier, six nights' accommodations at Augusto's Copacabana Hotel, breakfast daily and fuel surcharges. You'll be there over Carnaval, one of Rio's most attended and most vibrant events. The four days of celebration culminate with an over-the-top parade in downtown. Tickets to the activities are not included in this package, but you can buy them through a booking site; if you order in advance, they're about $20 before taxes.

When: Departs Feb. 19, 2009.

Gateways: New York City; add $64 from D.C., $128 from L.A., $172 from Denver, $183 from Chicago, $230 from San Francisco, and $369 from Atlanta; additional gateways available.

Details: Does not include taxes of about $100 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $163. Add nights from $125. U.S. citizens need a visa ($130) to travel to Brazil; see advice at the Web site for the Brazilian Embassy, or see all our visa advice here.

Contact: Gate 1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.

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