Swimming in a sea of myths
REALITY: December to February airfares are expensive. Otherwise, the Caribbean has always had a second, more affordable economy for locals and budget travelers. Buses and minivans substitute for car rentals on many islands, offering a great cultural experience for those who dont mind close quarters and a little heat. Dominica leads the way in under $100-a-night stays, as do surfer accommodations with kitchen facilities to defray restaurant and bar costs. Food can also be a bargain if shopped right. For example, on Barbados, a pound of fresh tuna at Oistins costs about $3.50 compared with a plate from a vendors stall (about $15). Still too pricey? The Curaçao Tourist Board is giving away a trip for two per day through May 23, plus a chance to participate in its $500,000 island treasure hunt, to be held in August. Visit www.curacaotreasure.com.