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On a Budget

Foreign Shores Offer Beachgoers Bargains

June 09, 2002|ARTHUR FROMMER

Looking for a summer vacation that's a bit more exotic than driving to the nearest beach? If so, deals await you.

If Tahiti interests you, South Pacific specialist Discover Wholesale Travel, (888) 824-4841, www.discoverwholesaletravel.com, offers seven nights at the Beachcomber Resort, which is owned by Inter-Continental Hotels. The price, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, starts at $899 per person. Or for $1,075, vacationers can try the new Pearl Beach Resort on the island of Moorea in the Tahiti group. (The Pearl Beach is scheduled to open on Cook's Bay on July 1.)

Air transportation is on the French charter carrier Corsair, which leaves LAX at 1:50 a.m. Mondays and returns a week later on Tuesday mornings. The basic $899 rate is valid from now until June 29; the price then increases to $1,020 per person for the rest of the summer and returns to $899 from Sept. 3 to Dec. 9.

If you can stand the heat, Cancun, the largest resort community in Mexico, often has vacancies during the summer. Vacancies mean discounts. Cancun's Club Med, a popular adults-only resort, has weekly rates of $1,176 per person during early July, including round-trip air from Los Angeles. Prices bounce up and down by $100 to $200 for the rest of the summer. As with all Club Med vacations, the rate includes French food, wine and beer at meals, live music on many nights and recreational oddities like free water-skiing instruction. Call (888) 932-2582 or go to www.clubmed.com.

Mazatlan is another steamy summer destination in Mexico that offers off-season deals. You can enjoy a long weekend this summer in Mazatlan for $333 per person for four nights, including air fare from Los Angeles.

Lodging is at the Star Oceano Palace Resort, another all-inclusive hotel, meaning meals and activities are included in the price, good through June 30 (after which the charge is $420). Right on the beach, with an oversized free-form pool and swim-up bar, the hotel has three restaurants, two bars, two tennis courts, a gym and a nightclub. It is within walking distance of the many nightclubs, shops and cafes of downtown Mazatlan. Again, the tour operator is Discover Wholesale Travel.

And finally, in Jamaica, summer rates start at $695 for seven nights in Ocho Rios at Crane Ridge, a hillside hotel, including round-trip air from Los Angeles. The tour operator is Atlas Vacations, (800) 634-1057, www.atlasvacations.net.

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