How to visit the Caribbean on a budget

When touring in the Caribbean, your choices are as varied as the islands. But you really don’t need to have to slide for the cliché of dear seaside resorts or isolated boutique getaways costing hundreds of bucks a evening.

You can delight in the similar wonderful beaches and lusciously warm blue waters as the big spenders, and you can do so on a funds – without settling for overhyped all-inclusive mega-lodges with hundreds of little rooms and buffets piled large with rapidly-meals fare. Amazing, exciting and economical lodging can be discovered on islands scattered across these achingly alluring waters, and with smart preparing in advance and keeping costs in mind while there, you can effortlessly travel about the Caribbean on a funds.

Know when to go

For the duration of the low season, June to August, rates plummet in all places. In significant time from December to March, airfares and charges soar in inverse proportion to the temperatures in northern climates. If beating the chilly is vitally vital, you could possibly seem for the to start with two weeks of December, right after US Thanksgiving, and once again in the second 50 percent of January. Really do not hope extraordinary cost savings, but there’s typically a slight lull in the winter season crowds for the duration of these periods.

Shop around for flights

There’s no mystery affordable way to achieve the Caribbean – virtually every person not bobbing all-around the islands on a cruise ship comes by air. The additional preferred islands are served by a number of airways from the US, Canada and Europe. Work the world-wide-web comparing airfares. In superior season, the faster you invest in your tickets the far better as charges won’t go down near your departure date.

In just the Caribbean, flights can be expensive, so it really is not often truly worth it to fly to an island with inexpensive airfares and then hop above to your intended location rather than paying for a flight straight there.  

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E-book your space

Just like airfares, accommodation selling prices do not go down the nearer you get to your journey day in superior period.

Scaled-down inns and guesthouses normally have level playing cards that you should not change centered on desire, but massive lodges and resorts do run all manner of specials that can necessarily mean major financial savings for individuals inclined to dedicate lots of months prior to they approach to travel. Right here yet again, the time you commit procuring on the web scheduling websites will pay back off in discounts. Search for offers that involve absolutely free meals, excursions, room updates and far more.

Massive resorts and online reserving web-sites may possibly also offer offer offers that consist of airfare to the island. These can supply great financial savings general, but not generally. Check out the charge of traveling independently so you can smartly assess offer offers.

A bodyboarder runs along a beach in Barbados in front of a lifeguard tower
Although Barbados is renowned for its snooty previous clubs and resorts, there are bargains to be experienced if you know where to glimpse © Getty Visuals / Tetra images RF

Uncover a budget island

You can find promotions on numerous Caribbean islands, in particular the huge and preferred kinds these kinds of as Jamaica. The pursuing are really worth looking at as they present spending plan-helpful possibilities and are fantastic spots to pay a visit to.


Sure, the west coastline of wonderful Barbados is renowned for snooty outdated clubs and resorts, but in other places you can find bargains. In the south, Dover Beach front has the requisite beckoning sands, a string of funds motels and accessibility to fabulous windsurfing. There are even affordable and productive community buses for car or truck-free odysseys island-wide.


The star of the string of islands named the Grenadines (of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ fame), Bequia is a aspiration of sand and palm trees about a great tiny harbor that could possibly establish unattainable to leave. With barely 5000 citizens, Bequia is not significant, but it has large amount of minor guesthouses and lovable apartments all over the primary city of Port Elizabeth. Attractive and laid-back shorelines are small walks away.


Divers like bargains, and for them, reef-ringed Bonaire is paradise. Even if you do not dive, even so, this compact island presents pink-hued shorelines, pink-hued flamingos and a prosperous properly-preserved background conveniently sampled by bike. The most important town of Kralendijk is a walkable charmer with a lot of commonly priced bars and cafes. You can conveniently discover easy rooms, and competition suggests that divers can locate promotions on gear rental and classes.

A Cuban flag with holes waves over a street in Central Havana
Cuba is the Caribbean’s top spending plan location © julianpetersphotography / Shutterstock


The best finances vacation spot in the Caribbean? Cuba features endless alternatives for journey, and the a lot more you are living like a community, the much less you can expect to invest. Even Havana is very low-cost, specifically given that the amount a single point to do – exploring myriad streets lined with crumbling colonial and artwork deco architecture, all whilst savoring the pulsing local lifetime – is cost-free. Across the island, casa particulares offer stays in non-public properties (generally really great) for under US$60 a night.

Dominican Republic

The Caribbean’s most popular island provides a lot of price range selections. Get absent from the all-inclusive resort center of Punta Cana and settle into a lounger on the seemingly endless white-sand beaches somewhere else on the island. You can expect to spend a portion of the price tag of a resort holiday.

Puerto Rico

San Juan is a intriguing town with a cultural historical past spanning generations. Its prolonged shorelines involving Isla Verde and Condado are some of the nicest in Puerto Rico and are lined with modest motels and scores of condo properties with spending budget-pleasant limited-term rentals. And you can very easily walk to all manner of good destinations to try to eat, with charges and menus aimed at citizens alternatively of travelers.


Exactly where? That’s the widespread response you get when you say you might be likely to Saba – of course new music to the ears of any one searching for a overall Caribbean escape. It is a fast fifteen-moment hop from St-Martin & Sint Maarten. Cute tiny guesthouses perch in the pretty major city of Windwardside, and there are homestyle eateries for savory and spicy dinners. What Saba doesn’t have is a beach front, except one particular little cove of sand that comes and goes with the tides, but it does have good climbing via Eden-like rainforests.

People strolling on the Paseo de la Princesa promenade in old San Juan, Puerto Rico,
On most islands you can have a fabulous stay by going car or truck-no cost © Dennis van de Drinking water / Shutterstock

Stroll and journey

Help you save on the value of a rental car or truck by basically not renting just one! The trouble of obtaining a car or truck is only amplified by the expense. On most islands you can have a fabulous continue to be by heading auto-no cost and only renting one particular, at most, for a working day or two of checking out.

Lots of beach front parts are absolutely walkable. Strolling alongside the sand to check out out a new snorkeling web page or beach front bar is component of a excellent day. Greater islands these as Puerto Rico have respectable bus company. And if you only use a taxi when in a whilst for heading out to evening meal, you’ll even now preserve a lot over leasing a car or truck – and by not driving, you can have an additional rum-filled drink.

Eat local

Like almost anyplace in the environment, if you try to eat with neighborhood people, you’ll often pay back substantially fewer and have a great deal much better food items – and it will surely far more authentically mirror nearby preferences. Just never anticipate a table on the sand with a check out of the surf. 1 detail to observe – across the Caribbean, people today consume dinner pretty early, say 6pm.  

Be strategic with resorts

Even if you located a fantastic deal on resort accommodations, it doesn’t signify you have to do anything by means of the resort. Think of the vacation resort like your printer at residence – it was sold low-priced for the reason that the printer business will make its money providing you extras like ink cartridges. The very same applies to resorts – after they have you in the home, they strategy to make their income by marketing you expensive products and services and extras.

The vacation resort actions desk is a person big financial gain middle. Use an unbiased-actions vendor out on the beach alternatively. For tours, look for on line opinions of community residents presenting outings that are extra pleasurable and extra personable than the vacation resort choices.

Consume and take in independently. That inviting beach front bar or cafe is almost certainly employing the exact same rum in its drinks as the vacation resort but charging substantially a lot less. The identical goes for that seafood platter or oozing cheeseburger.

Preparing a distinctive event like a marriage? The resort can organize a memorable party that you are going to in no way forget about, at least as very long as you’re nevertheless having to pay it off. Instead, uncover out on the web what you have to have to do to get a marriage license and then trade vows at the seashore of your decision.

Each day fees

Hostel home: $30–70
Simple place for two: $60–200 or much more
Self-catering condominium: $100–350 or much more
Community transport ticket: $1–2
Coffee or tea: $1–2
Cheeseburger: $5–12
Supper for two: $40–120 or extra
Beer at the bar: $2–6
Seashore lounger rental: $10

This post was very first released on February 14, 2012 and up-to-date on January 14, 2022