The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations, and all meals, from $445 per person—plus taxes of about $127.
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When: Depart Sept. 15, 19, 20, 22, 28, 29, 2008; additional dates may be available through Oct. 30, but the rates may vary.
Gateways: New York City; add $90 for Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Portland, Rochester, and Syracuse; additional gateways may be available at a higher rate.
The fine print: Hotel taxes, all meals, unlimited local alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, nonmotorized beach equipment and activities, and some nightly entertainment are included. Airport taxes and fees are an additional $127 per person. Airport-hotel transfers are not included, but can be purchased for an extra $61 per person round trip. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $87; third and fourth adult in the same room pay $379 each for the entire package. Generally, the lowest rates will be for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday departures. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: The package is available on an ongoing basis as long as there is availability; the starting rates listed here are valid for bookings made by Aug. 31, 2008.
Contact: JetBlue, 800/538-2583, jetblue.com.
Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fares between New York City and Santo Domingo, departing on Sept. 15 and returning on Sept. 19, start at $386 including taxes (Continental). For an additional $186, including taxes, JetBlue covers airfare, a four-night stay, and all meals and beverages.
Trip details: The JetBlue Santo Domingo getaway features round-trip airfare to Santo Domingo and four nights at the all-inclusive Hotel Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach on the country's southeast coast, just 17 miles from La Romana airport. All meals, cocktails, and wine are included at five of the resort's seven restaurants: La Terraza, La Rocha, Viva Mexico, Viva Cafe, and La Pizzeria.
The resort boasts 530 rooms with island-inspired decor, three beachfront freshwater pools (two with a kids' area), four lighted tennis courts, and a fitness center with a sauna and showers. Guests can take advantage of free group lessons for windsurfing, sailing, daytime and nighttime tennis, and archery.
You can also choose from an array of optional activities for an additional charge, such as scuba diving at the Viva Wyndham Diving Center (PADI certificate courses), fishing, water-skiing, snorkeling, banana-boat rides, or horseback riding. If you're looking for an underwater adventure, an excursion to the uninhabited Isla Catalina—reportedly home to some of the region's finest snorkeling and scuba diving—may be just the thing for you.
History buffs can wander the old city of Santo Domingo, whose sights include Alcázar de Colón, a palace built for Christopher Columbus's son Diego and his wife; Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor, completed in 1540; and the Museum of the Royal Houses, which displays maps, tapestries, and artifacts. And then there's Altos de Chavon, a re-creation of a 16th-century Italian village with cobblestoned streets, artisans' workshops, and an archaeological museum.
The Dominican Republic is twice the size of Vermont and is located about 50 miles west of Puerto Rico. Prices on the island are lower than in Puerto Rico and many other Caribbean destinations—and it's the only Caribbean island where you can go white-water rafting. For more information, visit the official Web site of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.