Saving Your Sand Dollars

We like to be under the sea     Photo: courtesy, Cayman Islands Tourism

Costa Rica
The Hotel Capitán Suizo commands a stretch of quiet Pacific coast beach just north of Playa Tamarindo's bustling surf central—a smaller break for your young rippers. Otherwise, the sprawling pool keeps kids entertained, and howler monkeys make frequent visits to the Swiss-run resort. The most relaxing seats in the 40 rooms and four bungalows are the glossy wooden lounge chairs on balconies that overlook well-tended grounds. Doubles cost $105 per night, including breakfast—a 16 percent savings over winter rates—and kids ages four to 12 stay for $5; under age four, free. 800-948-3770, www.hotelcapitansuizo.com
Panama
The Gamboa Rainforest Resort borders Soberania National Park and has 48 spacious villas with kitchenettes and living rooms. In addition to forays into the park to see the long blue plumes of quetzals and green shrike-vireos, guests can take an aerial tram up into the rainforest canopy on the grounds of the resort, visit the butterfly sanctuary, and explore the turtle and iguana nesting areas. Melt into the trilevel cascading pool or, for a twist, try a tai chi class. Doubles (one-bedroom villas) cost a reasonable $120 per night, year-round; kids under 12 stay free. 877-800-1690, www.gamboaresort.com
Cayman Islands
Set on uncrowded Seven Mile Beach, the miniature city of Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman Resort & Villas has six pools, 289 rooms, and the most comprehensive watersports program on the island, including scuba certification courses. Camp Hyatt entertains kids (ages three to 12, about $12 an hour) with treasure hunts and visits to a nearby sea turtle reserve. Doubles start at $265 per night—a 36 percent savings over winter rates—and children under 18 stay free. 800-233-1234, www.hyatt.com

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