Beautiful Maldives And Dominican Republic

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This Indian Ocean archipelago has a reputation for sky-high prices but don’t let that put you off. “Many resorts have slashed prices by as much as 30 to 60 percent and some resort brands, such as Villa Hotels, are also offering extra perks like upgrades and kids stay free, to attract more visitors”, explains Maldives travel specialist, Liswith Obinamuni, of Desti Asia.

You can now bag a three-star Maldives private island resort for as little as $137 per night, while airlines such as Qatar are tempting travelers with unlimited date changes, fee-free refunds and special online fares. Visit during the (surprisingly light) rainy season, May to September, for even lower rates.

To save even more cash, check out for this lesser-known option: Hotel rooms located in island villages (known locally as ‘guesthouses’, but more like boutique hotels) start at $50 per night. Take a public ferry to your island for just $3-5 (compared to $200 for resort transfers) and eat at local restaurants for under $10/meal.

Where to stay: The new Amaya Kuda Rah four-star private island resort is currently 51 percent cheaper than normal. It’s located in South Ari Atoll, which has some of the best scuba diving in the country.

With US airlines expanding their routes to the Domincan Republic, you can expect a slew of deals to follow. American Airlines is launching a new route on June 5 from Charlotte, NC, to El Catey, while budget operator, Spirit Airlines, has just launched routes between Orlando, FL, and Punta Cana. Not to be left out, Frontier Airlines is increasing the number of flights it offers between Miami and Punta Cana from March.

While the tropical nation is known for its beaches, golf courses and resorts, it also has rainforests, savannah and highlands (including Pico Duarte, the tallest mountain in the Caribbean) to tempt outdoor adventurers, as well as 500-year old Spanish landmarks like the gothic cathedral in Santo Domingo.

Where to stay: Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana is a great option for an affordable but upscale beachfront resort, with frequent discounts, a huge beach and attractive freeform pools for lazy lounging.

This lush island is consistently rated as one of the Caribbean’s most affordable destinations. Despite being a popular pitstop for cruise ships (during normal conditions) and having featured in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, Dominica has not been ruined by over-tourism. In the untouched interior, over 350 waterfalls and rivers surrounded by thick jungle beckons hikers, rock climbers and kayakers.

But those who enjoy a slower pace of life will love the eco cottages, boutique hotels and private villas (in contrast to the big flashy resorts of other Caribbean islands). The golden beaches are framed by soaring cliffs and mountains rather than high-rise hotels.

Where to stay: Simple, friendly and for under $60/night, Soufriere Guesthouse ticks a lot of boxes for good value budget accommodation. It’s in easy reach of diving and snorkeling sites, as well as hiking trails.

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