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Easy Spring Breaks

THE MATH Doubles at Friday Harbor House (360/378-8455; www.fridayharborhouse.com), a 20-room boutique hotel overlooking Friday Harbor on San Juan, start at $130 and include breakfast. A flight from Denver to Seattle on Alaska Air is $260; on Northwest, flights from Nashville are $148. Ferries from Anacortes to Friday Harbor (206/464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries; $8.20 per passenger off-peak) make the hour-long crossing seven times a day; the Airporter Shuttle (866/235-5247; www.enjoytheride.com; $56 round-trip) bus leaves regularly from Seattle's SeaTac Airport, taking you directly to the ferry terminal.

OAXACA, MEXICO From $240 a day per person. The vibrant zocalo and hilltop ruins of Monte Alban bring Malcolm Lowry-esque visions of Mexico to life, but food lovers head to Oaxaca for its mezcals and moles. Sample them at one of the city's markets (the best is Abastos), along with fresh tamales or chile-roasted grasshoppers (called chapulines).

WHAT TO DO Susana Trilling's Seasons of My Heart cooking school (52-951/518-7726; www.seasonsofmyheart.com) has daylong classes ($75) based on her PBS series and best-selling cookbook. The lesson begins with a trip to the market to buy ingredients and ends with a traditional five-course Oaxacan meal that you prepare from scratch.

THE MATH Doubles at the stylish, centrally located Hotel Casa Oaxaca (52-951/514-4173; www.casa-oaxaca.com) start at $100. Flights to Oaxaca on Mexicana from San Antonio (connecting in Mexico City) can be found for $635; from Los Angeles they're $569.

BELIZE From $345 a day per person. A quick flight to Belize and you're in the heart of a dense selva that delivers an adventurer's paradise: you can swing from vines, hike among ruins, and bump through Class IV rapids.

WHAT TO DO The Lodge at Chaa Creek (501/824-2037; www.chaacreek.com), a luxury nature retreat near San Ignacio, has an Adventure-Inclusive Package that comes with all meals, access to the lodge's hiking trails and butterfly farm, and unlimited onsite activities (bicycling, horseback riding, canoeing). Day-trips to the Mayan ruins of Tikal in neighboring Guatemala ($289 for four people) and tours of the Actun Tunichil Mucnal jungle cave ($95) cost extra.

THE MATH The package is $175 per person per night, with a three-night minimum. Direct flights from Dallas to Belize City on American start at $530; from Miami they're $512.

PORTO, PORTUGAL From $335 a day per person. Wander the waterfront of Porto, Portugal's industrial northern city. Its revitalized neighborhoods—trendsetting galleries in Baixa, Foz's and Ribeira's high-style restaurants and nightclubs—form the backdrop for Old Porto's burgeoning café society.


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