One of the most exciting events people look forward to is taking a vacation. The reason behind the excitement is not far-fetched; vacation offers a departure from the never-ending hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Caribbean is a choice destination for travelers looking for an amazing landscape with an incredible experience. In addition, it is an excellent option for anyone searching for a calm place to rest their head and unwind.
Are Caribean Vacations Expensive?
Tourism has been one of the growing businesses in the Caribbean and surrounding Islands. It is referred to as the engine of their growth because it significantly contributes to the generated income in most Caribbean countries. Considering the high demand for Caribbean vacations, one can naturally expect the cost to be high. However, this is not entirely true, as you can enjoy a Caribbean vacation at a bargain price.
This article details the cheapest Caribbean vacations, the best time to visit, how to get around, and things to do there. It also explores how they compare to similar places and a few tips to get the best value for money spent.
The tourist attractions in the Caribbean are majorly those associated with its oceanic and humid environment. These attractions include fishing, sea cruises, sailing, snorkeling on coral reefs, and scuba diving. There are also fun activities on land, including horseback riding, hiking, cycling, and visiting wildlife reserves, limestone caves, parks, and botanical gardens. Although yet to be explored adequately, recent discoveries indicate that some surrounding islands like Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico could also be mountaineering hotspots.
The Most Budget-friendly Caribean Vacations
At the top of our list is the island of Martinique. The island is an overseas region of France that balances the native culture of the West Indies with French culture. It is characterized by towering cathedrals and has some stunning beaches and tropical forests for fun-seeking adventurers. There are many free attractions to enjoy in Martinique. Some of these attractions include the St. Louis Cathedral and Les Salines beach.
If you’re a fan of outdoor dining, you’ll find Martinique’s cheap motorway food vendors very useful. In addition, its combination of cost-effective vacation plans with all-inclusive offers makes it an excellent option for your family’s getaway to the Caribbean.
Also, there are hotels around the island that are not only stunning but cheap. The hotels also have several on-site attractions, including tasty eateries, access to the beach, and serene pools. Finally, it is worth noting that the island also has some popular spots for tourists like the Ste-Anne or Les Trois-liets, especially during the spring or winter months.
Popular sites to explore on the island include Les Salines, Schoelcher Library, and Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. The best hotels in Martinique include Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek, Hotel Bakoua, and Simon Hotel.
Depending on your expectations, the best time to visit Martinique varies. However, it is best to visit in May if you’re looking for an affordable vacation. That way, you can avoid the peak tourist period when things are expensive. However, the skies open up around late June.
Above all, the best way to go around Martinique is in a car (rental or a cab). Rather than taking a taxi for every outing, consider renting a vehicle for the duration of your stay and then explore areas in your own time.
Curacao is ranked second behind Martinique in our list of the cheapest Caribbean vacations because it is a diver’s paradise. If you’ve ever heard of the westernmost islands of the Caribbean jointly referred to as the ABC islands, Curacao is one of them. The others are Aruba and Bonaire, forming the ABC triune.
Curacao is known for its historic settlements, rough landscapes, and funfair adventures in the sun. Its protected coral reefs and ideal scuba diving environments make it a go-to place for travelers looking to engage in various water-based activities. However, apart from the mentioned attractions, travelers can also enjoy other outdoor activities such as the incredible flora and fauna and its unique Jewish and Dutch cultural heritage. If you visit Curacao in early May and November, you can enjoy flights and hotel reservations at giveaway prices. You should take advantage of this if you’re on a budget. Otherwise, you will have to go for the pricey options.
You don’t have to spend a lot to have fun in Curacao. All you need to do is just stick to the free activities, such as relaxing on Playa Lagun and checking on the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. Best hotels in Curacao include Baoase Luxury Resort, Avila Beach Hotel, and Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort.
Trinidad & Tobago
The home of the first black winner of the Miss Universe pageant, Trinidad & Tobago ranks third on our list. You can expect to find beautiful ladies in this country. However, Trinidad & Tobago is by no means a boring country. It is characterized by its bustling commerce and diversity. It is regarded as one of the most developed nations in the Caribbean.
Tobago Island on its own is characterized by its numerous natural wonders and white-sand beaches. Still, it doesn’t have much of the urban utilities like its counterpart. In these two islands, there is no shortage of alternatives for lodging. That is, there are more than enough options to consider with comfortable rooms in any area of your choice.
Some of the things you can consider doing in Trinidad & Tobago include visiting Fort George (Trinidad), Store Bay (Tobago), and Fort King George (Tobago). The best time to visit Trinidad & Tobago is January to May because the skies stay clear. Above all, the best way to go around Trinidad & Tobago is by car. You can rent one at the Piarco International Airport Trinidad or at the Arthur Napolean Raymond Robinson International Airport in Tobago.
Jamaica has long been a prime destination for tourists. This tremendous privilege can be attributed to its unique and serene environment, laid-back culture, and numerous tourist attractions. And, of course, Jamaica is the home country of legendary reggae star Bob Marley. For many, Jamaica is the heart of the Caribbean. There is a lot to see and enjoy in Jamaica, the foundation for reggae music, the Rastafari movement, and all-time inclusive resorts.
There are three major tourist pockets in Jamaica. The first is Negril, which is a delight for beach lovers. It houses many beaches and modern accommodations. Also, the northwestern Montego Bay is a favorite of golfers. The third pocket is the Ocho Rios which is in the northeast for those interested in waterfall and mountain climbing adventures.
If you’re looking for a cut-price vacation to Jamaica, you should consider visiting from November to December. This period offers fantastic lodging and flight deals that you won’t find during the peak period of late December to January.
Some tourist attractions in Jamaica include Dunn’s River Falls and Park (Ocho Rios), Seven Mile Beach (Negril), and Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The best way to move around Jamaica is by taxi. Although you can also rent a car, it is not the best option for first-timers.
There is a lot to see in Grenada, and the fact that you can visit on a budget makes it even more appealing. It is characterized by its kaleidoscope of reds, yellows, and greens. Grenada is also home to the world’s first underwater sculpture park. There is a saying that Grenada is not only meant to be seen but also savored. Your visit to Grenada isn’t complete without tasting the numerous spices produced there. This is why it is sometimes called the Island of Spice.
Some of the things you can consider doing in Grenada include St. George’s, Grand Anse Beach, and Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve. Best hotels in Grenada include Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel, Spice Island Beach Resort, and Sandals Grenada.
The peak month of tourism in Grenada is between mid-December and mid-April because of the relatively favorable weather. However, you can avoid the rush and save costs by booking well ahead of time.
Barbados is a budget-friendly getaway spot in the Caribbean, particularly during the summer. The island has all the attractions to give you a worthwhile experience. If the angelic voice of Rihana has ever serenaded you, you have the Caribbean island of Barbados to thank for it. The island doesn’t just make music stars; it is filled with fantastic scenery that will make you come back for more. There are comfortable three-star beach resorts toward the south of the island that won’t hurt your pocket.
Barbados is known for its lively festivals, which amaze visitors, turquoise waters, and warm temperatures. Exploring the island during May will give you some reasonable rates compared to other months in the year. Irrespective of where you stay, you are always welcome to visit all of the island’s white-sand beaches spanning over 70 miles for free.
Some places you can consider visiting in Barbados include Carlisle Bay, Dover Beach, and Bathsheba Beach. Also, Oinstin’s Friday Night Fish Fry is popular among tourists looking to explore the island’s delectable dishes.
U.S. Virgin Islands
With over 2 million annual visitors, the U.S. Virgin Islands is undoubtedly a tourist haven. Little wonder, it is referred to as the American Paradise. The figure is expected to increase following the addition of a fourth island.
It is known for its moko jumbies (stilt walkers) dancing at carnival parades and verdant hills. Some of the things you can consider doing in the U.S. Virgin Islands include visiting iconic sites like Magens Bay (St. Thomas), Virgin Islands National Park (St. John), and Trunk Bay (St. John). Best hotels in U.S. Virgin Islands include The Ritz-Carlton, The Fred, and The Buccaneer.
If you’re looking to cut costs, the best time to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands is during spring and early summer (April to June). If you visit in the spring and book your places early, you’ll certainly be able to cut costs, and you can also take an eastern Caribbean cruise.
Turks & Caicos
Admittedly, Turks & Caicos isn’t quite as famous as the other places on this list. However, it is the ideal getaway for anyone looking for a balance of luxury, fun, and affordability. Although it is located in the Atlantic Ocean, it shares the culture and traditions of traditional Caribbean islands.
It is known for its numerous all-inclusive resorts and stunning beaches that can be accessed at no cost. Since it is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the world, diving enthusiasts love visiting Turks & Caicos. Turks & Caicos is also an excellent place to fish, especially from January to April when migrating humpback whales pass through the waters. You may even catch a glimpse of JoJo, the dolphin (the island’s national treasure), if you’re lucky enough.
Other side attractions include visiting places like the stunning Grace Bay (Provo), Taylor Bay (Provo), and Bight Reef. For budget travelers, the best month to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May.
St. Kitts & Nevis
As you have guessed from the name, St. Kitts & Nevis is made up of two parts. Of the two, St. Kitts is more popular with tourists as it houses most tourist attractions, while the island of Nevis is known for its more laid-back atmosphere.
Apart from the beautiful landscape and scenery, St. Kitts & Nevis is steeped in history. For instance, St. Kitts is referred to as the mother colony of the West Indies because it was the first English colony in the area. St. Kitts Island is characterized by exotic restaurants, bars, and hotels. Nevis, on the other hand, is less crowded and is a favorite of travelers looking for a romantic getaway.
On the whole, some places you can consider visiting in St. Kitts & Nevis include Brimstone Hill Fortress in St. Kitts, Oualie Beach in Nevis, and Pinney’s Beach in Nevis. If you want clear skies, the best time to visit St. Kitts and Nevis is between February to May. However, you get the best deals if you visit between June to November because of the low influx of tourists. Then, of course, there’s the little matter of rainfall to deal with. However, the rainfall is typically short, and you can expect several hours of clear skies and sunshine.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and unincorporated U.S. territory. The island is known for its exhilarating mix of landscapes and superb beaches like Condaro and Crash Boat. Some of the things you can consider doing in Puerto Rico include visits to Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques), Old San Juan, and El Morro (El Castillo San Felipe del Morro).
For a traveler looking to cut costs, the best time to visit Puerto Rico is between mid-April and June. Visiting during this period helps you avoid the busy winter season and the attendant price hike. Journeying to Puerto Rico around this time also means you can avoid the rains and explore to the fullest.
“The most beautiful place from space” are the words NASA astronaut Scott Kelly used to describe the Bahamas. However, visiting such a magnificent place doesn’t have to come at a massive cost once you follow the tips you’ll find in this article.
One massive advantage of going on a vacation to the Bahamas is that it is quite easy to reach for travelers coming from the United States. Two international airports operate flights to and from the U.S. daily. Apart from that, the Bahamas is also a paradise for adventure lovers; with more than 600 coral islands to explore, you’re spoilt for options.
If you are a wine lover, a trip to the Bahamas must be a must. The third-largest wine cellar is in Nassau, the island’s capital. For fun seekers, taking part in the Junkanoo festival is always a side attraction when visiting the Bahamas around late December and early January. The carnival-like festival captures the true essence of Caribbean life as it is replete with colorful costumes, traditional instruments, and parades.
The water in the Bahamas is among the clearest in the world. You can see through the crystal-clear turquoise water. The Bahamas is best visited from November to April because of the fewer crowds and fine weather.
There you have it; we’ve taken you through the best places to visit in the Caribbean on a budget. A vacation to the Caribbean is always high up on everyone’s to-do list. However, budget constraints seem to be the stumbling block for many. Well, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a nice vacation in the Caribbean. Considering the array of luxurious yet budget-friendly vacations available in the Caribbean, cheap vacations to the area do not necessarily mean inferior; instead, they mean getting premium value without hurting your budget.
image credit: commons.wikimedia.org
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