Going on a tropical vacation to the Caribbean is a bucket-list-worthy excursion. From the blue waters and postcard-perfect beaches, the idyllic locations seem unattainable, so we think of them merely as dream destinations, as “maybe one day” places to visit. But there’s good news, not every spot in this lovely part of the world is a pricey tourist trap, as there are plenty of hot value-for-your-money spots you can still enjoy. This spring, pack your bags because we’ve rounded up the most affordable Caribbean destinations.
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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Easy to get to with a nearby airport and direct flights, Punta Cana is a value destination with a variety of experiences, depending on what your vacation goals are. Perhaps you’re an out-of-the-box kind of vacationer and love to golf, well there are great golf courses here. But the sugary sand beaches are the famous draw. From excellently priced Airbnbs to family-friendly hotels and adults-only havens such as Barcelona Bavaro Beach, finding a place to stay is pretty easy. There are plenty of dining options to choose from, and outdoor adventures such as snorkeling and sailing trips, on average, stay under $100.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Untouched for years thanks to naval occupation, Vieques is now accessible to tourists. Eco-tourism has become a major initiative, so you’ll have an immersive experience not only culturally, but environmentally. Bravo Beach Hotel is an excellent representation of the affordable yet stylish digs to be booked in the area. Outdoor lounging space, a streamline pool and direct beach access allow one to fully unwind in literal paradise—get ready to make your Instagram followers crazy jealous. Plenty of nearby establishments offer Latin and Caribbean food for those strapped for cash, or if you just want to save money. ArenaMar Sunbay’s Cafe is rated at the one dollar sign mark on Trip Advisor, and their Pina Colada is a “must try”.
It’s time to finally relish in the culture and beauty of Cuba, and Varadero is loaded with Insta-worthy beaches because it sits on an extended peninsula jutting out from the mainland. Among the long list of resorts and posh hotels on the shores, there are plenty of options to nab under the $200 mark. Of course, you’ll likely want to nosh on real Cuban delicacies, and you can do so without breaking the bank, at Terracita’s Cafe, El Caney and Vernissage Restaurant.
Willemstad is the capital city of the vibrant Caribbean island of Curaçao, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the colorful buildings and electric blue ocean backdrop. The Ritz Village Hotel is both charming and in line with the brightly themed town, and will stay well within most budgets in the spring. You could up the “swank “ factor and opt for the Renaissance Curaçao Resort and Casino, which offers a stunning infinity pool. Shopping and good food are abundant, with Old Market Plasa Bieu, Brisa do Mar and La Boheme Curaçao keeping our bellies and wallets in check.
Le Gosier, Guadeloupe
Brimming with hotels in the $100 range in the spring, this slice of Guadeloupe is a playground for those on a budget. Aqua waters fill lagoons and crash into white sandy beaches, while museums, snorkeling, an aquarium and other low-cost activities are at your disposal. Be sure to check out all the treasures on Friday night, at the Gosier Market—fruits, handmade crafts and other authentic goodies can be purchased here. A must stop cheap food spot would have to be Jungle Beach with island flare dishes—shrimp skewers and sweet potato fries with peanut sauce come highly recommended.
A complete oasis of paradise, Barbados has a very financially attainable scene down south, in Bridgetown. Hotels consistently stay in the $100-$200 range in the full swing of spring, while some are more or less. Courtyard by Marriott is typically a steal, located just steps from the beach and featuring colorful, tasteful rooms and a relaxing pool space. It’s amazing how much money you can save by opting for a hotel in view of, but not right on the beach. Top restaurants in Bridgetown have some of the lowest prices—Cuz’s Fish Stand serves up crispy fish on pillowy buns, with cheese and a choice of tangy sauces for under $5.
South Coast, Grenada
Everything is in a walkable distance along Grand Anse Beach of Grenada, saving a good chunk of change on transportation, which can be pricey even in the most inexpensive parts of the Caribbean. Numerous hotels with a high rating on TripAdvisor, like Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Siesta Hotel and Blue Horizons Garden Resort glide in nicely under $200 a night. Munch on affordable fare at joints like Chez Eguenette, and the authentic grub shack Cummin’ Up has killer jerk chicken for just $10.
Dominica is a Caribbean island that offers so much more than a day on the beach because you can explore mountains and rainforests for weeks and still not see everything. The Tamarind Tree Hotel and Restaurant is one of the best deals come springtime, while Atlantique View Resort and Spa and The Champs Hotel Restaurant and Bar are consistent favorites. Take a tubing safari or a guided Jeep tour, then visit Urban Garden Cafe for delicious rice, chicken, and soup dishes along with other island staples under $15.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
With airport accessibility, Montego Bay is a budget-friendly destination from the United States. Toby’s Resort and Ridgway Guest House stay well under $100 in the spring. Scotchies smokes up flavorful meats for affordable prices, and visitors will also be delighted to discover there’s a food truck scene here as well. Are you looking for an outdoor adventure? Zip lining excursions, catamaran sails and sightseeing tours can be nabbed for under $100.
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Okay, we know what you’re thinking, Paradise Island, which houses big resorts like The Royal at Atlantis, is one of the more expensive places to stay in the Bahamas. But there’s a trick to it—you can visit Atlantis and it’s fabulous waterpark by staying at Comfort Suites, across the street, which is generally a much cheaper option if you’re dying to take a ride on a water slide that tunnels through a shark aquarium. Take advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel.