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Mexico•s astounding post-flu-crisis vacation deals

Featured on www.latimes.com, May 21, 2009
bookit.com
Now that the swine flu-related travel advisories for Mexico have been lifted, let•s take a good look at some of the numerous deals available throughout the country.

What with the H1N1 virus in recent headlines, and the drug cartel-related violence before that (and still ongoing), heading south of the border still may not be for everyone. But if you•re game for Mexico, get ready to travel on the cheap like never before. Travel operators, hotels and airlines have slashed rates, and vacation prices right now are at a jaw-dropping low.

Deals: What do you think of a beach resort stay of seven nights with food and flights included for under $600 per person? •Impossible!,• you say? Well, keep reading.

Apple Vacations is running what it has deemed its •Biggest-ever Mexico sale,• offering deep discounts on all-inclusive packages to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel and Los Cabos.

I researched how low they could go for a vacation in Cancun, and for a seven-night stay at Barcelo Tucancun Beach in late June, departing LAX, I got a price of $480 per adult, pre-tax. After taxes and fees, the vacation total for two is $1,162. That includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and hotel tax, roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, meals, drinks, entertainment and tips.

bookit.com is running a •Half-price flights to Mexico sale,• through which you can get up to a $600 flight credit when you book a flight-hotel package of five or more nights.

I tested out a seven-night stay at the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya, 60 miles from Cancun•s airport and just 10 miles from Tulum. For an all-inclusive stay here, based on double occupancy, that total price, with flight credit automatically applied, comes to $1,340 total.

This includes all meals, snacks and beverages at seven different restaurants and bars (including two swim-up bars), movies, disco, non-motorized water activities, golf practice, live musical entertainment, use of onsite gym and tennis courts, all tips, and more. The deadline for booking this deal is May 25.

Funjet Vacations has some well-priced, all-inclusive vacations going as well.

All-inclusive packages can be the best deal, but you don•t have to go that route to wrangle a satisfying bargain. If you•ve got a favorite resort of any kind, or have had one on your wish list, it•d be worth checking out their website now, or calling them directly, to see what specials they•re offering. At a Los Cabos hotel at which I•ve happily stayed, Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach, rates are now as low as $167 per night (pre-tax).

But if there was ever a time to try something new, it•s now. I•ve always thought swimming with dolphins in the Riviera Maya would be fun. And I see Grand Velas is offering a package stay that includes a swim-with-dolphin tour, accommodations, meals, activities and more for $372 per person per night (including tax). Hmmm•.

Note: Some of the package rates at the most rock-bottom feature flights at inconvenient times, plane changes and/or long layovers, so, as always, consider all aspects of the trip carefully before booking.

Will you be taking advantage of the lower prices currently on offer for Mexico vacations?

• Susan Derby, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  
  

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