An Oct. 23 Travel article gave an incorrect flying time for United Airlines' nonstop service from Washington Dulles International Airport to the island of St. Thomas. It is 3 hours 53 minutes, not 2 hours 46 minutes. (Published 11/1/2005)
Travelers who want to have breakfast in D.C. and swim in the Caribbean that afternoon now have more options than ever.
A number of airlines, including United and Independence Air, are launching or have already begun nonstop flights from here to the islands in time for the peak winter season.
Many of the new routes start in mid-December, including United Airlines' flights between Dulles and Montego Bay (Jamaica), Nassau, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and St. Maarten; and Independence Air's flights from Dulles to San Juan, Puerto Rico. New flights by discount carrier USA 3000 and expanded service by US Airways have already started.
The competition among carriers for the rush of vacationers headed for the Caribbean has brought some affordable fares. For example, United is offering nonstop air to St. Maarten -- which often costs more than $700 -- for $380 round trip, while USA 3000 can get you from BWI to Bermuda for $259 round trip, including taxes. AirTran has flights from BWI to Grand Bahama Island for $198 round trip, plus taxes.
But be warned: Not all of the nonstop flights are offered daily. Tobago-bound passengers will find that BWIA Airways can get them to that tropical enclave in just under five hours. However, the flight from Washington Dulles only runs on Thursdays. Likewise, United's nonstop flights to St. Maarten will be limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Some islands not linked by nonstop flights are easy to reach via Miami, San Juan or Fort Lauderdale, Fla. One example is Curacao, at the bottom of the Carribbean chain near Venezuela. An American Airlines flight leaves Reagan National just past 7:30 a.m., connects in Miami and arrives on the island by midafternoon.
Here is a guide to islands accessible by nonstop flights from the Washington area, including tips on new or refurbished hotels and other attactions. Round-trip airfares, which include taxes, are for post-holiday travel, are subject to change and often have restrictions, such as Saturday-night stays and advance-purchase requirements. Hotel rates listed are per night, double occupancy, for winter months, unless otherwise noted.
Getting there: United, which now offers nonstop service from Dulles on Saturdays, will add flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning Dec. 16. Flights from $463.
Flight time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Hip hangout: The beloved Dutch Mill restaurant (330 J.E. Irausquin Blvd.), which has reopened after a major overhaul, offers international and Polynesian cuisine in a 200-year-old windmill.
Hot lodging: After extensive renovation, the Talk of the Town Hotel & Beach Club (2 L.G. Smith Blvd., Oranjestad, 011-297-582-3380, www.talkofthetownaruba.com) is a stylish, low-key oceanside alternative to bigger resorts. Rooms start at $145.
Info: 800-862-7822, www.aruba.com
Getting there: US Airways flies daily from Reagan National to Nassau, with fares from $393. United flies Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to Nassau starting Dec. 16, with fares from $265. AirTran flies daily from BWI to Freeport, starting at $292. USA 3000 flies on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, depending on the month, from BWI to Nassau through January; fares from $241, but seat availability is very limited.
Flight times 2 hours 39 minutes (Nassau); 2 hours 17 minutes (Freeport)
Hip hangout: Harl Taylor Bag (9 W. Hill St., 242-356-6782) is a Nassau boutique run by designer Harl Taylor, who's best known for beach bags made from area materials and favored by Oprah and other celebs. Shoppers can pop downstairs into the White Door, Taylor's stylish restaurant.
Hot lodging: For superb views, check out Stone's Throw Away (Tropical Garden Road, 242-327-7030, www.astonesthrowaway.com), a B&B perched on a hillside above Nassau. Rooms start at $200.
Info: 800-224-2627, www.bahamas.com
Getting there: BWIA West Indies Airways flies from Dulles Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at $793.
Flight time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Hip hangout: Ocean Park (246-420-7405, www.oceanparkbarbados.com; $17.50), a new marine attraction, allows visitors to explore the region's sea life. The grounds, containing aquariums, two mini-golf courses and a restaurant, make for a good family outing.
Hot lodging: A top-to-bottom refurbishing of the Colony Club (St. James Parish, 246-422-2335) has made this posh 96-room property an excellent setting for a honeymoon or other special occasion. Rooms start at $275; a special good until Dec. 18 offers 20 percent off.
Info: 800-221-9831, www.barbados.org
Getting there: US Airways has seasonal service daily from Reagan National April through August starting at $694. USA 3000 flies Tuesdays and Thursdays from BWI, starting at $259.
Flight time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Hip hangout: Chameleon, a new fine-dining restaurant in the Wyndham Bermuda Resort & Spa (Southampton Beach, 441-238-8122), is completely redecorated between meals. It features American and international cuisine.
Hot lodging: A seaside resort sprawled across 18 acres, the dress-code-free 9 Beaches (866-841-9009, www.9beaches.com) offers all manner of water sports and 84 soft-sided cabanas perched on stilts, some over the water. Cabanas start at $170; check the Web site for deals, including a fifth-night-free special.
Info: 800-223-6106, www.bermudatourism.com
Getting there: USA 3000 has service Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, depending on the month, from BWI, starting at $428. Ted, United's discount carrier, offers daily service from Dulles starting at $288.
Flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Hip hangout: The spa at the new Le Blanc Spa Resort (Boulevard Kukulcan, 877-753-2526, www.leblancsparesort.com) is worth a visit even if you're not staying there. It features a wide range of original treatments, including the Therapeutic Bamboo Leaf Massage and the Four Hands Massage, both $172 for 80 minutes.
Hot lodging: The new Fiesta Americana Agua (Boulevard Kukulcan, 800-343-7821, www.fiestamericana.com) is the latest offering by the Fiesta Americana chain. The white facade and pool in this 371-room property are stunning. Rooms start at about $184.
Info: 800-446-3942, www.cancun.com
Getting There: Beginning Dec. 15, United is launching service from Dulles to Punta Cana on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting at $395. USA 3000 has service to Punta Cana Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on the month, from BWI, starting at $433. USA 3000 offers seasonal service to La Romana from BWI on Saturdays Dec. 24-April 29 starting at $458.
Flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Hip hangout: La Guacara Taina (Avenida Mirador del Sur, Santo Domingo, 809-533-1051). Although not new, this bar and dance club may as well be. The club, built in a gigantic cave, always draws an up-to-the minute party crowd.
Hot lodging: Casa Colonial Beach & Spa (800-847-0291, www.vhhr.com) is a deluxe new property that blends contemporary chic with Old World elegance near Playa Dorada on the north coast. Sheer curtains and original art throughout are just a couple of the interesting touches. Rooms start at $260.
Info: 888-374-6361, www.dominicanrepublic.com
Getting There: Air Jamaica flies daily from BWI to Montego Bay for about $434. United starts daily flights (except Wednesdays and Saturdays) from Dulles to Montego Bay on Dec. 15, from $337.
Flight time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Hip hangout: Norma's at the Marina (Port Antonio), Jamaican celeb chef Norma Shirley's latest venture, features gourmet Caribbean cuisine and views of the wharf.
Hot lodging: The 856 rooms at the Riu Ocho Rios, scheduled to open Oct. 28, will make this all-inclusive the island's biggest property. Reservations can be made at www.riu.com/ochorios or call 888-666-8816. Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 22, rooms are going for a special grand opening rate starting at $94 per person a night -- all inclusive.
Info: 800-233-4582, www.jamaicatravel.com
Getting there: American Airlines flies daily from Dulles ($318) and BWI ($418). Ted flies daily from Dulles, for about $291. Independence Air will start daily flights from Dulles on Dec. 16, for about $319. Beginning Nov. 12, US Airways flies Saturdays and Sundays from Dulles for $363.
Flight time: 3 hours 38 minutes
Hip hangout: Duffers will find the El Legado Golf Resort (787-648-1818, www.ellegadogolf resort.com), a new course designed by Chi Chi Rodriguez, worth the trip to the southeast tip of the island. Rounds start at $59.
Hot lodging: Formerly the Wyndham, the stately Sheraton Old San Juan (100 Brumbaugh St., 800-368-7764, www.sheraton.com) sits on the harbor where cruise ships dock. The rooms and lobby have been fully renovated in bold Caribbean colors. Rooms start at $150.
Info: 800-866-7827, www.gotopuertorico.com.
Getting there: United has service from Dulles on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting Dec. 17; flights from $380.
Flight time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Hip hangout: Beau Beau's Restaurant (Oyster Bay, 011-599-543-6049), a venture from local calypso star King Beau Beau and his wife, Anne-Marie, is an excellent place to ease into the evening. The cuisine is Caribbean, while the entertainment features frequent performances by the co-owner and the Beaubettes.
Hot lodging: The Great Bay Hotel and Casino (19 Little Bay Rd., 800-223-0757, www.greatbayhotel.com) is fresh from a full-scale makeover; 152 of the hotel's 262 rooms have views of the pool or beach. Rooms start at $150.
Info: 212-953-2084, www.st-maarten.com
Getting there: United flies Saturdays from Dulles and will add service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays starting Dec. 15; flights from $436.
Flight time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Hip hangout: The Living Room, the well-appointed lounge in the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas (6900 Great Bay, 340-775-3333, www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/st_thomas) is the place to wind down over a cocktail or two.
Hot lodging: Travelers seeking an escape from cruisers and crowds should check into Secret Harbour Resort (6280 Estate Nazareth, 800-524-2250, www.secretharbourvi.com). Located in a cove at the island's quieter eastern end, this intimate property comprises 60 suites, most of which look right out to the ocean. Rooms start at $159.
Info: 800-372-8784, www.usvitourism.vi
Getting there: BWIA West Indies Airways flies Thursdays from Dulles for about $687.
Flight time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Hip hangout: Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort (868-639-0191, www.legrandcourlan-resort.com) has updated its spa. Changes include new couples massage areas and a refurbished steam room and sauna area. Aromatherapy massages are $90.
Hot lodging: Adventure Eco Villas (868-639-2839, www.adventure-ecovillas.com) comprise three kitchen-equipped cabins, but what gives this place allure is the lush flora sprawled across the surrounding 12-acre nature preserve. Cabins start at $100.
Info: 868-639-0509, www.visittobago.gov.tt
Gary Lee and Carol Sottili will be online to discuss this story at 2 p.m. Monday during the Travel section's weekly online chat at www.washingtonpost.com.