The treasures of the Caribbean don't have to come at a cost, you know. There are ways you can cut the amount you spend on jaunts to the shimmering islands and their jungles. You just need to be savvy about when you book, where you book, and what destinations you consider. Then, the door will open to the possibility of cheap Caribbean vacations.
First off – cheap Caribbean vacation destinations
Dreams of coconut cocktails in the shade of a Caribbean palm might not seem like the sort to be easy on the travel budget. But that all really depends on what part of this celebrated region you're looking to visit. There are a select few islands and areas that stand out from the crowd for their value for money…
Reggaeton savings in Jamaica
Known all over the world for its bouncing reggae tunes and high-flying bobsled team, Jamaica is among the easiest and cheapest Caribbean spots to reach from the mainland US. There are countless low-cost fliers running routes from hubs like Miami and New York to Montego Bay airport. From there, it's a quick transfer to condos and villas in Negril and Ocho Rios, which have got some of the very best beaches on the island.
Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic
There are also oodles of flight deals to be had to Punta Cana, the main vacationing hub of the Dominican Republic. Ticket costs drop and rates in rentals will plummet after spring break and Christmas, too, so you can often get somewhere near celebrated Bavaro Beach at a good price. Alternatively, you might want to think about a stay in Santo Domingo, the capital, where you can wander cobbled UNESCO areas and uncover stories of Christopher Columbus's brother. Up north, Samana Bay has whale watching and some affordable Caribbean cottages.
The Mexican Yucatan is a doozy
Okay, so it's not an island, but it does have islands, and it spills straight from the jungles into the pearly blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. That's the Yucatan Peninsula, the easternmost edge of Mexico. Of course, Cancun is the spot that takes the headlines. Great deals are usually on offer up and down its Hotel Zone. South of that is Tulum, home to temple-topped headlands and celebrated beaches. And if you're after a real island experience? Cozumel is always there, laced with coral reefs and small casitas for rent.
The pull of Puerto Rico
You don't even have to leave the United States to get your cheap Caribbean vacation sorted. Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory, beckons between the BVI and Dominican Republic. It's got all the home comforts you're used to, along with a capital that's steeped in colonial history. Surfers will love the chilled vibes and barrels of Rincon on the west coast, but it's the south, around Ponce, that has the bulk of the best bargains.
Booking tips for scoring cheap Caribbean vacations
Settling on a cheap spot in the Caribbean is just half the journey to getting yourself a hammock session on a budget. The next is in knowing the tricks of the trade, so that the cost of those vacation homes, beach shacks, or cozy casitas is cut to wallet-friendly levels. Let's take a look…
Always search for stays ASAP
The sugar-soft sands and clear seas of the Caribbean mean that there's always going to be high demand for places in this part of the world. One way you can remove yourself from the struggle of finding bargains is to get stuck into the search as early as you can. The second you decide on Cuba or Punta Cana, get looking, because deals will be snapped up fast.
The seasons make a huge difference
The Caribbean is affected by seasonal changes perhaps more than any other destination in the world. Come November and December, the hurricanes retreat, and warm weather brings huge crowds. They stick around until at least spring break, when the rum bars and beach clubs get another boost. Bargain seekers might want to consider places like Aruba, where year-round deals are on offer and the climate is much milder. Or, months like June and July can be perfect, balancing balmy days with low rates.
Choose cheap Cribbean vacation rentals away from the shore
Just as is the case in Florida and California and the Carolinas, there's no more enticing a stay in the Caribbean than the homes that overlook the sands. However, you will usually need to pay more for those, which means anyone watching the cents might want to think about heading inland to jungle cottages or little towns.