It’s June—the month when resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico look ahead at their low-season bookings, from now until just before Christmas, and announce offers of up to 50% off to entice travelers during the summer and fall. June is also when airlines lower their late-summer fares to these destinations, hoping to get travelers past their hurricane jitters and fill seats during a slow period. Whether you’re seeking an August family trip before the kids go back to school (and if you are, you should read my post for TripAdvisor on family beach vacations that won’t break the bank) or a romantic tropical getaway this fall, now’s the time when you can find substantial room availability at highly reduced prices.
While August through October is hurricane season, the chance of a hurricane hitting your destination while you’re there is pretty rare (and you can buy travel insurance that protects you). You’re far more likely just to see a few showers. As a native New Yorker who has been to Mexico and the Caribbean several times in August, September, and October, I am here to tell you that August heat and humidity are worse in midtown Manhattan than they are on breezy Caribbean beaches, and that a couple of rain storms shouldn’t spoil a vacation at a big resort where there’s plenty to do.
To help you pinpoint the best summer and fall values for your dollar right now, I reached out to Mexico travel specialist Zachary Rabinor, who lives in Puerto Vallarta and takes his wife and kids to resorts all over the country, and also to Caribbean travel specialist Lindsey Epperly, who matches travelers to the right Caribbean resort at the right price. They both send such a large volume of travelers to their destinations that they are able to pass along extra value-added benefits such as free upgrades, meals, or resort credits. Here are a few of their picks at this moment:
1. Viceroy Zihuatanejo, 10 miles from the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Airport, Mexico
This is a resort for romance-seeking couples who want to luxuriate on a 600-foot stretch of beach. It’s offering 50% off rates that start at $176 for a deluxe split-level room and include daily complimentary breakfast for two. Available through December 21, 2014.
2. Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
A two-bedroom, 3,229-square-foot Panorama Suite here is a great option for families, says Rabinor: Each suite has a kitchen, dining room, living room, and private terrace with Jacuzzi. It’s virtually 50% off, as every second night costs only $1. The rate with the discount equates to $400 per night, and that includes all meals and snacks, non-motorized water sports, taxes, and gratuities. Book before July 1, 2014. Available until December 22.
3. Dream Sands Cancun Resort, Cancun, Mexico
This property doesn’t open till September 1st, but prices start at just $99 per person, per night, and kids stay and eat for free (that is, two kids staying in the same room as two paying adults). Given everything that’s included in your room rate (all gourmet meals, top-shelf spirits, and a supervised kids’ club open from 9 am till 10 pm), this deal seems like a gift to parents in need of a break and a few “date nights.” Book by June 30 for stays from September 1, 2014 to April 10, 2015.
4. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
A 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta airport, this property offers activities as varied as surfing, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, and horseback riding, and it’s got a supervised–and complimentary–children’s program, not to mention a lazy river for family floats in inner tubes. The resort is offering a third night free (during certain blocks of time, and based on availability), with rooms starting at $507 per night. Available until December 23.
5. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Located on a small island of undeveloped white-sand beaches and secluded coves, this resort suits both couples in need of tropical tranquility and parents looking for a child-friendly vacation. There’s a complimentary Rose Buds supervised children’s program available from 9 am to 4 pm (closed Thursdays and Sundays). If you pay for five nights—starting at a rate of $415 per night—you get two additional nights free. Available until December 18, 2014.
6. The Ritz-Carlton Cancun, the Ritz-Carlton Aruba, and the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas
If you stay seven nights at any of these properties, you receive 40% off your bill. Doubles start at $175 per night in Cancun (where the deal is valid through December 24), $269 per night in Aruba (valid through December 19), and $299 in St. Thomas (valid through December 22). Book before June 30, 2014.