Budget

Best Vacation Deals 2009

by Bob Payne

Mexico

In the belief that the likelihood of catching swine flu is about equal to one's chances of catching an actual swine, some Americans have begun returning to Mexico. But even though the Centers for Disease Control downgraded its Mexico travel warning in mid-May, many more would-be visitors continue to stay away, some also put off by the country's continued drug violence. If you do go, you'll see the beaches as empty as they've been since the Mayan Empire's decline. And, of course, you'll get incredible deals, with flights up to half off and hotels even more deeply discounted, especially in Cancún, a focal point for media attention. If you book four nights at the oceanfront Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort, which has one of the better beaches, doubles begin at $96 a night. Wherever you're staying, plan to eat a few meals in downtown Cancún: The cost of the taxi ride will be balanced by the wider variety of good restaurants at reasonable prices, including Labná, where the Mayan cuisine will be nothing like the Mexican cuisine you get at home. That said, if savings are your top priority, it's hard to beat the all-inclusives, where meals are part of the package. Apple Vacations, for example, can get you seven nights at the new adults-only all-inclusive Secrets Silversands Riviera, including airfare, starting at $99 per person per night. It's not just the Yucatan, however, that has been hit hard by the swine flu scare. On the Pacific side's Costa Alegre, south of Puerto Vallarta, the exclusive Las Alamandas Resort, where in good times the least expensive room starts at close to $500, is offering up 60 percent off its rates. Rates now begin at $190, with free nights on top of that, and kids under 16 stay free.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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