The Caribbean islands aren’t just popular vacation destinations. They’re arguably the most iconic vacation spots on Earth! You don’t have to go broke to spend a few days in paradise, though. Looking for recommendations for cheap Caribbean vacations to add to your bucket list? Let me tell you about some of the best tropical tourist getaways that won’t break the bank.
With miles of sunny beaches and picture-perfect ocean waves, the Caribbean is home to some beautiful islands in the world. It’s no surprise, then, that travelers flock to the region to experience its summery year-round climate and vibrant island cultures. From luxurious resorts and centuries-old historic sites to dense rainforests and colorful underwater reefs, it’s enough to turn even the cheapest Caribbean vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Whether you’re flying into the Caribbean for the weekend or island-hopping on a full-blown Caribbean cruise, you’ll never be at a loss for fun new things to experience. Each of the islands listed below has its own identity, beauty, and flavor. Each one has something different for you to discover. After reading this post, I guarantee you’ll be eager to add a cheap Caribbean vacation to your bucket list.
Here are 9 awesome cheap Caribbean vacations to add to your bucket list in 2023.
#1 tip for finding the cheap Caribbean flights
When thinking about cheap vacations to the Caribbean, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of airfare. Before I tell you about the most affordable Caribbean vacation, I’d like to quickly share a tip on how you can save a lot of money on plane tickets.
For the past two years, I’ve been using Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to make the trips to the cheapest islands in the Caribbean even cheaper. It’s quick and easy. Simply enter the name of your departure city, then pick your favorite vacation destination. Just like that, Going will start sending mistake fares and other extra cheap flight deals directly to your inbox for FREE!
In 2022, Going’s email alerts helped me save thousands of dollars on flights. In fact, I’ve saved an average of $300-500 roundtrip on selected flight routes. To make a good thing even better, premium memberships can be purchased for just $49 annually. This gives you access to even more features and better discounts.
Use my discount code Jon20 to save 20% when you join!
Considerations for getting the best Caribbean vacation value
Scoring inexpensive plane tickets is one of the best ways to drive the cost of your cheap Caribbean vacation even lower. When using services like Going, I recommend comparison shopping to find which islands have the best deal at a given time.
Just because one vacation spot is expensive now doesn’t mean the price won’t go down later, and just because a spot is cheap now doesn’t mean it won’t go up. It pays to stay up-to-date.
I also recommend booking flights during your preferred island’s off-season and also to book earlier rather than later. Finally, here’s a factoid you may not have expected: the biggest and most popular Caribbean islands are usually the most affordable.
You might think they would be the priciest because they’re so in demand. However, a lot of demand means a lot of airlines will be offering flights to those places. More airlines mean more competition… which means lower prices for you.
The Cheapest Caribbean Islands to Visit in 2023: 9 Cheap Caribbean Getaways
Itching to travel someplace where you can let your hair down, get a tan, take a dip in the ocean, and sip a cool, refreshing drink? How about a beverage that comes served in a coconut with a little umbrella? Yeah, those are the best kinds.
You can find all of that and more at the cheap Caribbean vacations listed below.
Located just a stone’s throw from Trinidad, Grenada is a wonderful and affordable Caribbean destination that tends to be much less crowded than many of the other islands. This affordable Caribbean vacation is a true hidden treasure thanks in part to the low fees at Maurice Bishop International Airport (GND).
One unique feature of Grenada is the River Antoine Estate Rum Distillery, an ancient distillery powered by a water wheel and originally built in the late 1700s. They offer a tour with a rum tasting at the end, making it a can’t-miss for thirsty travelers. A similar tour can be found at the Belmont Estate, a former cocoa plantation that now serves as a popular restaurant.
Grenada is also a hotbed for natural beauty, with many picturesque beaches, Grand Anse Beach, a famous three-mile shoreline with a view of the capital. You’ll also find lush forests and beautiful waterfalls throughout the island.
If that sounds like fun to you, I recommend visiting the Annandale Waterfall and Forest Park. It’s a group of waterfalls that cascade into swimmable pools surrounded by dense tropical foliage. You won’t find anything quite this beautiful back home!
Another island that seems to get overlooked is Barbados. This, despite the fact that Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) is one of the best places to go for cheap trips to the Caribbean! Of course, affordability isn’t the only thing this tropical getaway has to offer. There are enough fun activities and awe-inspiring attractions to please anyone.
One of my favorite local activities here is taking the underwater tour at Atlantis Submarines Barbados. This submarine ride will take you past schools of exotic marine animals, a scenic shipwreck, and a colorful coral reef. After that, head on over to Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park. This naturally formed limestone cave features stunning pools of crystal-clear water, distinctive named rock formations, and a guided tram tour.
Barbados is also well-known for its beaches, with each one having its own unique attributes. For example, Bathsheba is a beach renowned for thrilling surfing opportunities. Crane Beach, meanwhile, is famous for its picturesque dunes and pink-colored sands.
If you’re more interested in floral and fauna, the Flower Forest Botanical Gardens are a must-see. As the name suggests, this rainforest garden is filled with rare, beautiful flowers, and also offers some of the breathtaking views on the island. It’s the perfect place to take a few snapshots.
Located just northeast of Montserrat is Antigua, a small island that was once devastated by volcanic eruptions. Today, however, Antigua has really bounced back, becoming one of the most scenic, unique, and (best of all) inexpensive Caribbean vacations around. Serviced by V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU), it offers an incredible tropical getaway that won’t break the bank.
One must-visit spot in Antigua is Devil’s Bridge National Park. It’s named for a natural bridge formed by erosion from the frothing waves below. A similar provocative-named tourist attraction nearby is Hell’s Gate Island, named for a rock arch formation that looks like a man-made gate. Despite their devilish monikers, these gorgeous natural features are like little slices of heaven on Earth.
Still, if you’re feeling the need for absolution, you can swing by St. John Cathedral, an ornate, centuries-old church that was actually destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years. Like Antigua itself, the cathedral has been through tough times, only to emerge even stronger and more beautiful than ever.
After that, take a stroll along Redcliffe Quay. This bustling boardwalk experience offers a glimpse into the daily life and culture of Antigua’s native people. There’s plenty of cozy family-owned restaurants, quirky-cool shops, and peaceful spots to relax in view of docking cruise ships. Once you visit, you’ll never want to leave!
When most of an island’s economy is tourist-based, you know it’s perfectly suited for a fun, affordable vacation. But when that island is as beautiful and colorful as Cozumel, you may be surprised by just how high-quality a vacation it is. Located off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Cozumel is one of the best-value Caribbean vacations around.
If you’re looking for beaches, you’re in for a treat. As soon as you exit Cozumel International Airport (CZM), you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice. There’s the famous Playa El Cielo, which is home to some of the most postcard-perfect ocean views in the world.
There’s also the aptly named Paradise Beach, a popular spot for parasailers. Not far away, you can go snorkeling at pearl farm, or hit up the Casa Mission Tequila distillery to enjoy tastings of Mexico’s favorite adult beverage.
For those interested in a resort experience, there are several 4 and 5-star getaways here. This includes the Grand Park Royal Cozumel and the Cozumel Palace Resort. There’s also a picturesque small island off the northern coast called Island De Pasion. It’s a beautiful, tranquil place where you can relax and enjoy the calming sounds of waves crashing against the shore. It’s a truly unforgettable experience!
Curaçao isn’t just another tropical tourist destination. It’s literally the “C” of the Caribbean’s ABC Islands! That makes it one of the most popular spots for a tropical getaway. However, thanks to the low fees at Curaçao International Airport (CUR), which also serves as a main base for several airlines, it’s also one of the best cheap Caribbean vacations around.
If you’re feeling thirsty when you land, go directly to Curaçao Liqueur Distillery for a unique tasting experience. The distillery also offers fun and informative tours of the distillery that take you through the full process of their delicious range of artisan liqueurs. Don’t forget to buy a bottle or two to enjoy later. Afterward, get some sun at Mambo Beach. Or, if you want to avoid the crowds, I recommend Cas Abao Beach as a hidden-gem alternative.
Looking for something a bit more unique? One attraction that you can only find in Curaçao is the Queen Emma Bridge. It’s a floating pontoon bridge that stretches across the gorgeous St. Anna Bay.
The bridge is connected to the shore by an enormous hinge. To let ships through, the entire bridge can be swung inward so that it runs parallel to the beach. It certainly makes for an astounding sight when compared to traditional drawbridges. It makes for some pretty wonderful memories, too.
6. Puerto Rico
One of the best things about traveling to Puerto Rico is that US tourists don’t need a passport to visit, only a valid driver’s license or other ID. That makes passing through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), which is good because it’s one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean thanks to its low prices and availability of nonstop flights.
Though Puerto Rico is technically an unincorporated territory of the United States, it might as well be a whole other world. When it comes to cheap Caribbean islands to visit, don’t overlook this one. It’s filled to the brim with local color and jaw-dropping natural beauty. Especially noteworthy is the rainforest of El Yunque. Encompassing more than 28,000 acres, it boasts lush foliage, rushing waterfalls, and scenic crags that will leave you breathless.
Looking to get some golfing in? Brace yourself because Puerto Rico also has more than 15 beautiful championship golf courses! It’s also a great vacation spot for history buffs. The island is home to countless preserved sugar and tobacco plantations that can be toured throughout the year.
Many of the most impressive historic sites date back to the 1700s, when the Spanish ruled the region. If you want my recommendations, I suggest visiting Fort San Cristóbal and Fort San Felipe Del Morro. Both of these ancient forts are protected UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s like taking a trip back in time!
7. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is unique among cheap Caribbean destinations because it actually shares its home island of Hispaniola with the nation of Haiti. That makes a vacation in this tropical paradise an especially tantalizing two-for-one deal. That said, only the Dominican Republic can lay claim to Las Américas International Airport (SDQ). Thih is one of the very best places to score cheap Caribbean flights that won’t break the bank.
If you have a healthy appetite, you’re in luck. One of the Dominican Republic’s biggest attractions is its food! Traditional local dishes often use seafood and tropical fruits to create a unique taste sensation that is simultaneously bright, fresh, rich, and flavorful.
For the most authentic experience, definitely check out street food vendors in popular tourist cities like Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. In addition to familiar treats like empanadas and tostadas, more distinctive delicacies include yucca balls, quipe, and queso hoja.
Of course, the Dominican Republic boasts some truly stunning natural scenery, too. Bask in the beauty of this island nation via Kayak Limón lagoon tour, the Puerto Plata cable car with views of the Dominican mountains, or a visit to the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua. Lastly, the Dominican Republic hosts a huge assortment of festivals and carnivals during the month of February. So keep that in mind when scheduling your trip.
If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, chances are you’re looking forward to lots of fun in the sun. Well, look no further. Bequia is a small island off the southern coast of St. Vincent, and it has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Caribbean. Even better, Bequia might just be the cheapest place to vacation in the Caribbean. One famous beachfront hotel, the Bequia Plantation Hotel, offers some truly amazing deals.
Serviced by J. F. Mitchell Airport (BQU), Bequia is home to countless snapshot-worthy destinations. As the island’s capital, the town of Port Elizabeth is a great place to start, boasting a pristine shoreline that constantly attracts an array of ships to its harbor. Plus, the view of the colorful houses that dot the hillside is a real eye-popper.
Another picturesque location to explore is Princess Margaret Beach. This is a great place to go if you want to avoid the crowds, with charming scenery and perfectly clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling.
If you’re into hiking, the nearby will take you away from the beach and along the rocky shore, giving you scenic alternate views of the rolling waves. Better yet, if you want to see something you’ll never forget, I recommend taking the path to the top of Mt. Peggy Peak for a bird’s eye view of Bequia in all its tropical glory.
9. The Bahamas
When it comes to cheap Caribbean vacations, there’s no more classic or beloved destination to be found than the Bahamas. An archipelago of approximately 700 islands (30 of which are inhabited), the region has a huge tourist economy with countless activities and adventures to enjoy. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better vacation spot than this.
The Bahamas are serviced by multiple international airports, but the three that will put you the closest to the Bahamas’ biggest attractions are the Grand Bahama Airport (FPO) on Grand Bahama Island, the Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) on Nassau, and Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MHH) on Great Abaco.
There’s so much to do in the Bahamas, I couldn’t even begin to list everything. That said, if you’re landing in Nassau, you should definitely check out the world-famous Atlantis Paradise Island resort. Here you’ll find a private, 18-hole, championship golf course, and a marina for docking yachts. You’ll also find a 14-acre marine habitat for rescued bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and manta rays
Aside from the resort, Nassau is also home to Clifton Heritage National Park. It offers one-of-a-kind views of the surrounding micro-islands, sandy cays, and ancient ruins. After you’ve soaked in the sights, stop in at one of the many local restaurants to try the Bahamas’ most popular food: fried conch. You may have tried this tropical seafood delicacy elsewhere, but you’ve never really had it quite the way the Bahamas locals make it. Absolutely delicious!
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the cheap Caribbean vacations
When looking at cheap islands in the Caribbean to visit, there are several key things you should know to help you keep your costs low and your enjoyment levels high. Here are some common questions and answers about the best value vacations in the Caribbean:
What is the best method of cheap travel to the Caribbean?
Depending on what part of the world you’re leaving in, different methods of travel may be preferable over others. That said, in most cases, the best and most affordable way to travel the Caribbean cheaply is via airplane. Many different airlines offer cheap Caribbean flights, so it’s not hard to find one from any departure point.
But what about when you’re already in the Caribbean? If you want to make the most of those cheap Caribbean deals by island-hopping. The best way to island-hop is by taking a cruise that travels between multiple cheap vacation spots in the Caribbean over a period of time.
Most Caribbean cruises will dock on an island for a day or two so you can explore. Then the boat will depart to the next destination, repeating the cycle multiple times. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck, squeezing tons of Caribbean charm into even the shortest getaway.
Which airlines offer flights to the cheapest Caribbean islands?
As noted above, there’s no shortage of US airlines offering both direct and connecting flights to cheap destinations in the Caribbean. Here are some of the major airlines offering affordable airfare to the best and cheapest Caribbean vacation spots:
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Jet Blue
- Silver Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
Keep in mind, this is not a comprehensive list. Also, it’s important to note that, depending on what specific cheap Caribbean islands you want to visit, certain airlines may or may not service those locations. It’s important to do your research and comparison-shop when planning a cheap Caribbean vacation to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.
When is the best time to find affordable vacations in the Caribbean?
One of the best things about the cheap Caribbean vacation spots listed in this post is that they all have hot, summer-like climates pretty much year-round. That means there’s never a bad time to take a cheap trip to the Caribbean. That said, many tourists find that February through May is the best period to visit the area, as this is when the weather is at its driest and least humid.
Then again, maybe humidity is less of a concern for you than the price. In that case, consider scheduling your visit between September and November. This will allow you to avoid both the big summer tourist season and the bustling winter snowbird crowd. Be careful if planning a cheap Caribbean vacation for those first two months, however, as this may coincide with hurricane season.
Once again, it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heed any travel advisories. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
For more travel tips (and inspiration), follow my adventures on Instagram: @Global.Viewpoint. Happy Travels! -Jon