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If you think a cheap Caribbean vacation is an oxymoron, think again, as there are a number of fantastically inexpensive options that will allow you to stick to your budget while still enjoying an unforgettable tropical escape.
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Unlike most the other Caribbean isles, the Dominican Republic is home to many luxury beach properties which results in some of the most competitive rates in the entire region. NH Punta Cana sits on Bavaro Beach and offers lots of amenities at incredibly low rates. While you’re here, you’ll not only be able to take part in your favorite beach activities but enjoy day trips to places like the Casa Ponce de Leon Museum, the Cordillera Septentrional Mountains and Indigenous Eyes Park, a private nature reserve and jungle park that home to waterfalls and lagoons for swimming.
Bequia is often referred to as a hidden treasure – lush, green and hilly, it’s also been called “the most perfect” of all the Caribbean isles. It’s home to Princess Margaret Beach, renowned as one of the best beaches in the region as a mostly unspoiled slice of paradise, and it’s just steps away from the quiet capital of Port Elizabeth, with its colorful wooden buildings, a few scattered beach bars and eateries. Here you’ll find outstanding best places for snorkeling, as well as ideal spots for enjoying a relaxing snooze underneath the palm and sea grape trees. Sweet Retreat Hotel makes it possible to enjoy all of this at a budget-friendly price. The intimate property hosts just five individual rooms, each with beautiful views of Lower Bay beach and yacht-filled Admiralty Bay.
Grenada is often overlooked, which makes it not only a bargain for those who do visit but a destination where you’ll be unlikely to have to battle the crowds. St. George’s harbor is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean, and its myriad of colors are gorgeously reflected in the clear, turquoise waters. While you won’t find lots of glitzy resorts, you will discover more intimate, affordable properties like Siesta Hotel. This spa hotel offers the chance to pamper yourself with massages, body treatments, and facials along with easy access to Grand Anse Beach.
Cancun is easily reached from the U.S. via many inexpensive flight options, and there are lots of cheap accommodation to be found on the outskirts of town. Here you can take advantage of the postcard-perfect beaches, thriving nightlife, and popular destinations nearby like artsy Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Cozumel as well as ancient Mayan ruins. Bel-Air Collection Resort and Spa overlooks a breathtaking beach and is an especially tranquil adults-only property. It boasts an alluring infinity pool with ocean views, a fabulous spa and rooms that are chic, albeit with little frills. Of course, you’ll probably be spending most your time exploring Cancun’s top outdoor attractions anyway.
This beachfront all-inclusive resort is one of the best bargains in the Caribbean. It is located in one of Jamaica’s top destinations, nestled in the western tip of Negril. It sits right on the beach, although one of the most popular places for guests to hang out is on the umbrella-shaded loungers that surrounded its two huge swimming pools, both of which are over 3,000 square feet. It tends to attract those who are looking to get wild, with complimentary mini-bars and liquor dispensers in all 420 guest rooms that are regularly restocked. The resort’s Pacha nightclub gets guests up on their feet and dancing the night away to great reggae, and when a little solitude is needed, tranquility can be found in the solarium terrace.
If you’re hoping to escape the winter blues, you’ve probably noticed that many of the Caribbean islands are a lot more expensive in the wintertime, but Montego Bay in Jamaica is one of the few reasonably priced spots to stay during high season, from about mid-January through early April. Accommodations can be as low as $30 a night, and there are even a number of high-quality all-inclusive options that offer a very good value, like the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach. This all-you-can-drink mega-resort that crushes its competition, is renowned for its outstanding cuisine, liquor, service and activities, which include free scuba tours.
Not only is getting to Barbados cheaper than ever thanks to JetBlue’s direct route from Boston, which decreased the average airfare to the island, but reasonable resort rates can also be had too, including Bougainvillea Barbados, a Mediterranean-style resort on its south coast. All rooms have either a kitchen or kitchenette, making it easy to save on meals, and guests can also dine at one of two waterfront eateries. The property also has a fitness center, spa, kids’ club and offers water sports.
After a stay at The Catamaran Hotel, you’ll never want to shell out hundreds of dollars a night for a room in the Caribbean again. It’s just a short stroll from the center of English Harbour on the southern coast of Antigua, tucked between tropical flowers and palm trees. You can enjoy gazing out from your balcony taking in the views that extend across the harbor and the beach, with rooms opening up directly onto a small, intimate stretch of sand where you can borrow a rowboat at no extra cost to explore the hidden beaches around the bay. Air conditioning and WiFi is included in the very affordable rates.
The Beach at Atlantis is considered its “cheap seats,” located in an aging, retro building that dates to the 1960s, though plenty of renovations have been made for modern times, like flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges and coffeemakers with Starbucks. Just keep in mind that while the rooms are the least expensive at Atlantis, the restaurant prices can be steep, but it does provide the best value if you have your heart set on Paradise Island. You’ll have access to 11 pools, including a lazy river and a large pool that sits adjacent to the building, as well as an expansive stretch of white sandy beach and free admission to Aquaventure, marine exhibits, a casino and nightlife.
Princess Heights enjoys a dramatic location at cliffside overlooking Dawn Beach in St. Martin and offers jaw-dropping views from nearly every angle including the rooftop pool and spacious, private balconies. Despite the budget-friendly rates, each of the one-or two-bedroom condo-style units includes a full kitchen, as well as a pull-out couch that makes it easy for groups of friends or families to save while still being comfortable. While the property doesn’t include a restaurant or bar, guests are just steps away from the Westin resort providing convenient access to multiple dining options, a casino, shops and the beach.
The Arubiana Inn offers one of the least expensive deals in the Caribbean and is nothing like the more impersonal, high-rise hotels nearby. You’ll get a warm welcome from the friendly Dutch innkeeper, while restaurants, shops, and Noord district attractions are just a short drive away and Eagle Beach can easily be reached on foot. This intimate property has just 18 rooms, with large comfy beds and mini-fridges filled with complimentary drinks while the swimming pool in the courtyard, surrounded by palm trees and hammocks, makes an ideal place to relax or mingle with other guests in the evening.
Villa Del Mar Resort is located within walking distance of downtown Providenciales and offers what may be the very best rooms for the price in Turks and Caicos. A condominium property, it includes 42 spacious, modern rooms, most with full kitchens and all with private balconies or patios, is just steps away from Grace Beach, often named among the best beaches in the world with its powdery soft, striking white sands and crystal clear azure waters. While there is no restaurant on site, the property does host two pools and a poolside bar, a reserved beach area for guests complete with umbrellas and lawn chairs, and a small fitness center.