Vacations in the Caribbean, the Bahamas & Bermuda, and Latin America

With a Cayman AirTours vacation package for the Cayman Islands you can combine the exuberance of the Batabano Carnival, in April, or Pirates Week, in October, with the fascination of scuba diving. $349-$719 (a range that reflects the range of participating hotels and condo complexes on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac) includes airfare from Miami or Tampa and seven nights’ accommodations. For an additional $40 a day certified divers may sign up for a dive package that includes unlimited airbills, the use of some equipment, and a two-tank boat dive; novices receive a discount on the “Discover Diving” program at participating dive shops. These packages are available April 16-December 14. (800) 247-2966.

Under the Platinum Plan offered by the Elegant Resorts of Jamaica, for stays of three nights or more, you may stay, and eat, at any combination of the six resorts on a visit to Jamaica. The Plantation Inn and Sans Souci, in Ocho Rios, and the Trident Villas, in Port Antonio, would be pleasant and plausible home bases from which to visit Kingston for a performance by the National Dance Theater of Jamaica, in July, or the 25th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations, in July and early August. The Half Moon Club, Round Hill, and the Tryall Golf & Beach Club, in Montego Bay, nearer Negril, would be likelier places to rest up after the all-night concerts of Reggae Sunsplash, in August. About $140-$200 a day (a range that reflects the range of rooms and suites available at each resort, not different prices for different resorts) includes accommodations and all meals and drinks. Airfare, $287 round-trip from Miami or $458 from New York on an Air Jamaica APEX ticket for July or August, is additional. The packages are available April 16—December 14. (800) 2373237 or (305) 666-3566.

Not only may up to two of a family’s kids ages two to seven stay free at Club MedEleuthera, in the Bahamas, in June (when the club reopens after renovations), but also Eleuthera has a Mini Club to keep them amused during their stay. Sounds like a good excuse to drop by Regatta Time in Abaco, on nearby islands late in the month. For adults, $949 includes airfare from New York ($1,249 from Los Angeles or San Francisco), seven nights’ accommodations, all meals, and all sports instruction and use of equipment. The charge for children eight to eleven is $420 for the stay; children two to eleven pay 75 percent of the adult airfare. The younger kids may also stay free at Eleuthera in September and October; and at Club Med-Ixtapa, Mexico, in May, June, September, and October.

The Island Vacation Catalog, which TourScan publishes and sells by mail for $3.50, promises that it presents the best values available for the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. ToufScan compares air-andhotel packages offered by numerous sources, and then lists in the catalogue the least expensive threeand seven-night packages for each of nearly 1,000 hotels and resorts, on 49 islands. The summer/fall catalogue, which will list packages offered through mid-December, will be published in late May. TourScan is also a travel agency and can book the packages that appear in its catalogue. (800) 962-2080 or (203) 655-8091.

Some people consider spring the best antidote to fall. It will be bustin’ out all over in San Antonio de Areco, on Argentina’s Day of Tradition, in November. With an American Express Great Cities package, six nights’ accommodations at one of three hotels in nearby Buenos Aires go for $243$531. Round-trip APEX airfare is $854 additional from Miami, $903 from New York; and a week’s Hertz ear rental to get you to San Antonio de Areco and elsewhere costs $380. Total price for an eight-day vacation for each of two people: $1,287-$1,624, The Buenos Aires package is available yearround. Another possibility from American Express is the November 1 departure of their nine-day Rio—Buenos Aires Express tour, plus a three-night extension in Buenos Aires. Here $1,138-$ 1,524 covers airfare from Miami, four nights’ accommodations and four breakfasts in Rio, and five nights in Buenos Aires. This tour departs weekly, year-round. Call your local American Express travel agency for more information.

Some people, thinking about the fall, warm up to the idea of Belem, Brazil: at one and a quarter degrees south of the equator, it’s right in the heart of eternal summer. Portuguese Tours will take you there for the Cirio de Nazare festival, in October. Combining their Rio . . . The Uncharter package, $179$1,109 for six nights’ accommodations and breakfast at one of seven Rio hotels, with their Belem package, $149-$189 for three nights and breakfast; round-trip APEX airfare from Miami, $660, or New York, $799; and a Varig Brazil Airpass II, for $250, amounts to an 11-day Brazilian vacation for $1,238$2,347. These and similar packages for other Brazilian cities and resorts are available year-round, though Rio prices vary according to the season. (201) 352-6112.

These are but a few samples of vacations incorporating events listed in the Travel Planner; your travel agent will be able to make many additional suggestions. The prices given were current at press time and are per person, double occupancy. Many of the tours and packages described offer options and include amenities, such as airport transfers and sightseeing excursions, beyond those mentioned here.