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7 Beach Resort Bargains for Spring

These seaside all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico
offer seasonal relaxation on a budget

By Lucy Spicer

Vacations Magazine: 7 Beach Resort Bargains for Spring
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
When resort rates include the cost of food, drinks and fun, even the budget-conscious traveler can indulge in a seaside stay. Timing helps, too -- those in search of a getaway often save big on tropical lodgings by selecting dates between spring break and the busy summer season.

Booked through the travel discounters at Vacations To Go, a weeklong, mid-April stay at the following all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico can be had for less than $122 per person, per night, with all meals and a host of amenities included.

To find your own slice of beachfront paradise this spring, speak to a resort specialist by phone at (800) 998-6925, or check rates online.

Two free-form pools, a trapeze and water polo are just a few of the unique features of this retreat in Punta Cana, on the east side of the Dominican Republic. If you can tear yourself away from beaches fronted by stunning sapphire waves, this all-inclusive, 798-room resort offers entertainment options galore.

Barcelo Punta Cana is full of amenities for the whole family. In addition to two large outdoor pools, it has a water park for the kiddies. The daily activities program can include anything from rock climbing to dance lessons to fruit-carving classes. In the evening, dine at one of the seven restaurants and take in a show at the theater.

For those who want to venture beyond the resort grounds, Barcelo organizes more than 20 excursions for an additional fee, all of which encourage you to make the most of your time in the Dominican Republic. Venture into the jungle on a horse ride before exploring a mesmerizing network of caves and tunnels, or set out for Dolphin Island Park to get up close and personal with its playful namesake.

A week in mid-April: $736 per person.

Dorada is right: Whether it refers to the sand or your tan, Iberostar Costa Dorada is full of "golden" opportunities. Located in Puerto Plata, a resort area on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, this 516-room property features a multitude of perks to help make the most of your time by the sea. Fitness junkies can play beach volleyball or attend an "aquafit" class in the surf. For an extra charge, try scuba lessons or set out on various underwater excursions through the resort's on-site dive center. With riflery, archery, aerobics and other activities included in the package, the only thing you'll be missing is enough time to sample every offering.

If you've come to the shore to relax, a trip to the spa or a beachfront massage will do the trick, but escaping to the adults-only pool for a drink at the swim-up bar can feel equally rejuvenating. Iberostar Costa Dorada can fill your vacation schedule with as much or as little as you desire.

A week in mid-April: $603 per person.

What could be more peaceful than watching the sunset over a Jamaican beach? The Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay does one better: A small, private island dotted with palm trees sits just offshore, making for more than one spectacular view. Fresh off a $15 million renovation, the updated retreat offers 518 rooms and suites.

Services and amenities here reflect a family-friendly attitude. Daily children's activities include basketball, table tennis, concerts and more. While the young ones are occupied, the grown-ups can visit the casino or indulge at the on-site Sol Mer Spa, located in a scenic garden courtyard. Evening meal options range from an indulgent buffet (complete with daily pizza specials for the kids) to a teppanyaki-style Japanese spot.

The Holiday Inn is just 6 miles from downtown Montego Bay and 5 miles from Sangster International Airport, and a plethora of island attractions await outside its doorstep -- though few are more enticing than the sunbathing opportunities around the resort.

A week in mid-April: $831 per person.

Surrounded by lush, natural flora, the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, will make you feel as though you booked a stay in the jungle. Animal encounters are common at this 956-room property, where monkeys, iguanas and exotic birds often roam the grounds. A commitment to peaceful coexistence with nature is evident thanks to an environmental policy that encourages recycling and the use of biodegradable sunscreen. The immersive experience continues with a visit to an on-site cenote, a natural pool full of diverse underwater plants and animals.

From the setting to the entertainment, this resort strives to represent an authentic Mayan cultural experience. Special events inspired by the Xcalacoco region are put on throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule for gatherings ranging from parades to traditional cooking lessons.

These unique offerings accompany the usual all-inclusive resort comforts and options, like four pools, a golf course, a spa and fitness center, plus nine restaurants and buffets.

A week in mid-April: $853 per person.

Colorful creatures dart through the shallows fronting El Cozumeleno Beach Resort, where snorkeling and diving are favorite activities. The 252-room property, located on the northwestern shore of Cozumel, Mexico, overlooks the Caribbean Sea. All accommodations at El Cozumeleno have a private balcony with an ocean or island vista, and guests can watch the sunset from the comfort of their spacious rooms.

There are countless ways to take advantage of the views, like a leisurely stroll along the resort's private pier or a bicycle tour of the area. Though golfing excursions incur an extra cost, guests receive discounts at the nearby Cozumel Country Club, a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Thanks to conservation efforts, crocodiles, iguanas, blue crabs and various species of birds call the course and surrounding rain forest and marshlands home.

Despite a feeling of tropical privacy, El Cozumeleno is only about 4 miles from downtown San Miguel, a picturesque spot to shop for souvenirs, and Cozumel International Airport.

A week in mid-April: $559 per person.

The on-site infinity pool gives way to the Caribbean, creating a seemingly endless blue horizon at this all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. Balcony views of the ocean -- a feature in all 617 rooms -- are equally breathtaking, with turquoise water lapping at white-sand shores. It seems that every scene is postcard worthy at the Crown Paradise Club Cancun.

This property excels at providing personalized fun for the whole family. There is a free daycare service for babies and toddlers, while a water park with slides and a pirate ship playhouse await children 12 and under. Organized activities ranging from soccer tournaments to face-painting sessions to movies are scheduled for kids and teens alike. And, when not relaxing by one of four pools, adults enjoy a wealth of complimentary land and water sports, including mini-golf and tennis lessons with a pro.

A week in mid-April: $792 per person.

SAMBA VALLARTA by Emporio Hotels & Resorts

For those who want the all-inclusive beach resort experience without the crowds, the 183-room Samba Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, is roughly
30 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta overlooking the alluring waves of Bahia de Banderas. Because of its smaller size and distance from the more popular tourist hub, this getaway enjoys a more intimate feel and relief from cramped shores. Twelve miles of uncrowded beach provide the perfect opportunity for a peaceful twilight stroll beside the sea.

The property's modest size ensures that its three restaurants (buffet-style, Italian and authentic Mexican) and three bars (including a poolside spot for snacks and cocktails) never will be too full to accommodate guests' needs. Live music and other shows provide ample and varied nightly entertainment.

A week in mid-April: $494 per person.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2016. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 998-6925 for current rates and details.

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