Published On: Thu, Nov 8th, 2012

New York Times: An island guide to Caribbean deals

WILLEMSTAD – Curacao is once again one of the popular destinations in the Caribbean. On November 8, 2012 the New York Times published an article on their website about great travel deals in the Caribbean.

IT’S the time of year when those of us in cooler climates begin thinking about escaping to the Caribbean. We also begin thinking about how much that would cost. For anyone interested in a bargain basement deep dive, my colleague, Seth Kugel, found a four-day Caribbean vacation (airfare included) for under $600. (Read the story.) But that’s hardly the only path to the beach; there are other deals to be had, even in November. (Just don’t try to book a room for Christmas week.) Here, a quick island guide to help make the Caribbean more affordable.


Palm Beach is considered one of the nicest sandy havens for families on the island, and the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa there (spruced up after a $30 million renovation completed last October) is offering discounts for January and beyond. Rooms will be up to 40 percent off and include a $25 spa credit, money ($100 match-play) to try your luck in the casino and a $50 food and drink credit for stays of four to five nights (or a $100 credit for six nights or more). Rooms (from $347 a night) may be reserved until Jan. 1 for travel between Jan. 2 and Dec. 21, 2013.

At the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino, guests will receive a $300 “one happy island” resort credit (for things like food and spa treatments) if they stay four nights or more through Dec. 19.

Deals from a number of other hotels are available at


White beaches and turquoise water just a short flight from the northeast coast? Yes. Some of the most popular resorts on Nassau Paradise Island are offering hotel and air packages at a saving of $200 (for four-night stays) to $300 (for six-night stays) for those who book by Nov. 12 and stay between now and Feb. 28, 2013 (blackout dates: Dec. 26 through 31). Participating hotels include Atlantis, Paradise IslandBritish Colonial Hilton Nassauthe Cove AtlantisOne & Only Ocean Club; and Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island. Information about this deal and several others, like rates from just $144 a night at the Best Western Plus Bay View Suites, is available at


As reality television fans know, the “Bachelorette” series filmed a few romantic scenes on this Dutch island, and one could argue that the landscape was the best part of the show. Curaçao has more than 30 beaches, dozens of diving and snorkeling sites and a capital (Willemstad) that is a Unesco World Heritage site. Travelers here can soak up not only the sun, but also the Dutch colonial architecture, including buildings that call to mind dollhouses in vibrant pinks and blues, as well as one of the oldest operating synagogues in the Western Hemisphere (founded in the 1600s).

The island is home to several music festivals like the ParadiseWorld Destination Music Festival (Dec. 15).

Dutch Antilles Express airlines flies to the island from Miami, and from now through Dec. 15, for each adult ticket you buy, one child under 12 can fly with you free. Reservations must be made before Nov. 30;

Kura Hulanda Resorts, which has two properties featured in “The Bachelorette,” is offering — what else? — “Bachelorette” packages. The deluxe version includes three nights in an oceanfront terrace junior suite at the Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club and two nights in a superior room at the Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa in Willemstad (the hotel shuttles guests between the properties without cost), a bottle of Champagne, daily buffet breakfast for two, a snorkeling trip and unlimited use of the gym and chaise longues at the pool and beach. Rates: $1,190 a couple through Dec. 23; $1,390 a couple from Jan. 2 through March 31. Information: (877) 264-3106.

For more deals on Curaçao hotels, diving experiences and attractions, see


If you’re not a budget hotel kind of traveler, Puerto Rico offers some of the nicest resorts for prices that still leave you with enough cash for a frosty drink or two. Expedia highlights some of the best. Click on the “deals & offers” tab on, then scroll to “featured destinations” and select “Caribbean.” From there you’ll see the “Puerto Rico does it better” promotion, which offers savings of up to 40 percent or free room nights for hotels that include Gran Meliá Golf Resort, W Retreat & Spa — Vieques Island, and St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort.


Forty islands and cays, most of which are uninhabited, comprise the Turks and Caicos, a deeply serene yet easily reachable getaway. The most active island is Providenciales, where the new Venetian Grace Bay (it opened this year) has free Wi-Fi and lighted tennis courts. This fall and winter the hotel is offering several deals to encourage visitors to linger. For instance, those who stay between now and Dec. 19, or between Jan. 5 and 31, 2013, receive a fourth night free. Information:

Turns out that that sort of deal is popular in Turks and Caicos. At the Tuscany, a family-friendly resort on Providenciales that gives guests international cellphones with a $10 credit during their stay, each fourth night is free as well. Or stay for seven nights and pay for only five. Good for stays through Dec. 19. Another promotion, for 2013 stays between Jan. 5 and Jan. 31, also includes every fourth night free. Information:


Some of the best deals in the Virgin Islands can be found on St. Croix, which often plays third fiddle to St. John and St. Thomas. For the 60th anniversary of St. Croix’s Crucian Christmas Festival (expect parades and donkey races), TravelZoo has collected its favorite deals, like $689 for a four-night getaway at the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, airfare included.

The Sugar Beach Resort is offering rooms for $109 a night (including free Wi-Fi, tennis courts and poolside barbecues) through Dec. 15 ($140 a night from Dec. 16 to Jan. 16). Blackout dates: Nov. 6 to 13.

And there are deals on flights to St. Croix beginning at $341 round trip, including taxes (that’s up to $250 off regular prices).

Information about these and other deals can be found at

The boutique hotels on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are also offering incentives, like room packages that include a $50 dining certificate, a $50 certificate for local attractions and activities and a gift bag with island necessities like rum and a T-shirt. Bellavista Bed & Breakfast on St. Thomas and Villa Greenleaf on St. Croix are among participating hotels. A complete list is at

By Published: November 8, 2012

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