Top five off-peak destinations for summer

Hotel: Black Orchid Resort, Burrell Boom VillageRoom type: Double roomOff-peak rate: $100 (July 1 to November 30)Peak rate:$120 (December 1 to June 30)

Hotel: Coral Bay Villas, Ambergris CayeRoom type:One bedroom beachfront condoOff-peak rate:$105 (May 1 to December 15) Peak rate:$150 (January 1 to April 30)

Hotel: Sailwinds Beach Suites, Caye CaulkerRoom type: Beachfront suiteOff-peak rate:$99 (May 1 to October 31)Peak rate:$149 (December 16 to January 6)

Hotel: Belize Jungle Dome, Cayo DistrictRoom type: Pool-side standardOff-peak rate: $95 (June 1 to October 31)Peak rate:$105 (November 1 to May 31)

Prices are per night based on double occupancy and were found on each hotel's website.

Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, two of Belize's popular islands, are great destinations for beach time and watersports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and sport fishing. Lively nightlife and restaurants can be found on Ambergris Caye, while Caye Caulker is perfect for a relaxed, quiet visit. Inland, the Cayo District is home to many Mayan ruin sites, plus jungle lodges and resorts that can easily arrange adventure trips such as river rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

For more information on planning an off-peak sojourn to Belize, check out the Belize Tourism Board's website.

St. Maarten

Experience a taste of Europe in the Caribbean on St. Maarten/St. Martin, the small Dutch/French island in the Lower Antilles. This summer, the tourism department of St. Maarten, the Dutch side, is running specials that can make a trip to the island especially affordable during this year's off-peak season. Best of all, even if you choose to take advantage of the accommodations discounts on the Dutch side of the island, making a trip to the French side, St. Martin, is quick and easy.

St. Maarten's accommodations specials include free nights and extras. Book a five-night stay and get the fifth night free, plus 50 "St. Maarten Bucks," which can be used towards rental cars, shopping, dining, or activities. Book a seven-night stay and receive 100 St. Maarten Bucks and get the fifth and seventh nights free. The nine participating properties will appeal to a variety of budgets, most of which offer discounted summer rates anyway.

Hotel:Coral Beach ClubRoom type:Two bedroom villaOff-peak rate:$575 (April 15 to December 14)Peak rate:$825 (December 15 to April 14)

Hotel:Mary's Boon HotelRoom type:Mini studioOff-peak rate: $75 (August 1 to September 30)Peak rate: $125 (November 1 to April 30)

Hotel:Princess Heights ResortRoom type:Deluxe one bedroom suiteOff-peak rate:$225 (August 15 to October 14)Peak rate: $350 (December 15 to April 14)

Hotel:Turquoise Shell InnRoom type:One bedroom suiteOff-peak rate:$95 (July 15 to November 14)Peak rate:$145 (November 15 to April 15)

Prices are per night based on double occupancy and were found on each hotel's website.

Long days spent on St. Maarten's wide, sandy shores are why many choose to visit the island, but there is plenty of activity off the beach as well. Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, offers enough duty-free shopping, restaurants and cafes, and nightlife to keep you occupied, plus a handful of Las Vegas-style casinos. A foodie heaven, the entire island is known as the "Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean," offering varied dining options from traditional French fare to Tex-Mex.

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