Beach Budget Getaways

Alex%20Bramwell_beachF.JPGThinking about a trip to a sunny beach destination but don’t want to spend a fortune? Check out these budget beach getaways to Barbados, Florida, Mexico, and Thailand. The resorts we’ve listed are luxurious but also budget friendly. Rates shown are for the winter months January through March 2008.

El Dorado Maroma
Where: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cost: rates from $213
Guests at this luxury beachfront resort on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast enjoy large ocean-view suites with marble floors, four-poster beds, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. Prices are all- inclusive, so you don’t have to shell out extra bucks for meals and drinks (including premium liquor and beer). Activities include parasailing, snorkeling, scuba-diving and kayaking, horseback riding, and dance classes. If you feel like leaving the resort, consider a day trip to see the pyramids in Chichén Itzá or the Mayan ruins in Tulum. See Karisma Hotel for information.

Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort
Where: Rocky Point, Mexico
Cost: rates from $129
The undiscovered town of Rocky Point is situated on the northern Sea of Cortez, a few hours drive from Hermosillo Airport, which has flights to and from several U.S. cities. The $129-per-night golf package includes accommodations in a one-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot ocean-view suite with balcony, living room, state-of-the-art kitchen, a round of golf on the 18-hole golf course, welcome cocktails, a full breakfast, and free Internet. The property fronts a large beach and has a pool with a swim-up bar and a new 35,000-square-foot spa. Snorkeling with sea lions, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, and boating are popular activities. See Las Palomas for information.

Patong Villa Hotel
Where: Phuket Island, Thailand
Cost: rates from $90
At 72-room Patong Villa Hotel, located on idyllic Patong Beach, even the basic rooms are large and have balconies and huge bathrooms with showers and separate soaking tubs. The hotel, surrounded by rich greenery, has a pool, sauna, and a range of watersports such as snorkeling and scuba diving. Nightlife, shopping, and restaurants are a five-minute walk. See Patong Villa for information.

Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Where: Amelia Island, Florida
Cost: rates from $285
This 13-mile-long island is just a half-hour drive from Jacksonville. Check into the Ritz-Carlton, a swanky beachfront property with 444 ocean-view rooms with balconies and marble baths. Check out the Reconnect Package, which includes breakfast, valet parking, and a $25 spa credit. Book a table at Salt, the triple AAA five-diamond restaurant, play a round on the 18-hole golf course, or schedule a treatment at the 27,000-square-foot spa. Off-site activities include kayaking along the intercoastal waterway where dolphin sightings are common. See Ritz-Carlton for information.

Dover Beach Hotel
Where: Barbados
Cost: rates from $140
A visit to Barbados usually means parting with lot of dough. That’s not the case when you check into the Dover Beach Hotel, which rests on a secluded stretch of a powdery white beach. Rooms are big, surrounded by lush gardens, and each one has a private balcony with a sitting area. The property has a large ocean-facing pool with a bar and is a short walk to the restaurants, clubs, and duty-free shopping of St. Lawrence Gap. Parasailing, kayaking, water skiing, boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities. For $190, you can upgrade to an ocean-view studio. See Dover Beach for information.

Hotel Lagoa e Mar
Where: Salvador, Brazil
Cost: rates from $50
It’s just a short flight from Rio or Sao Paulo to reach this popular Brazilian beach town. Stay at the Hotel Lagoa e Mar on Jaua Beach, a mile-long stretch of sand dotted with white dunes. The property has 12 freestanding bungalows built around a tropical garden and a large swimming pool. Each has a king-size bed, a living room, and a verandah with a hammock. The price includes a hearty breakfast of breads baked on site, eggs, ham, and fresh fruit. Snorkeling, swimming, and surfing are popular activities. See Hotel Lagoa e Mar for more information.

Shivani Vora

Photo credit: ©Istockphoto/Alex Bramwell.

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