Seven Budget-Friendly Caribbean Vacations

The Caribbean is famous for secluded beaches, quaint island towns, and year-round sunshine. But getting away will cost you, stopping many travelers from booking their dream trip. To help bring your wanderlust to fruition, here are seven cheap Caribbean vacations to consider.
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Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic  (Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)

The soft white sands, swaying palm trees, and tropical temperatures of the Caribbean don't have to cost an arm and a leg. You can lounge on the beach, dance to a steel band, and snorkel in crystalline waters even if you do the Caribbean on the cheap. Larger hotels and resorts offer frequent specials—look for deals that include meals and other extras. Travel during the mid-April to mid-December off-season to trim some 20 to 50 percent off your trip’s tab. Or, hunt for bargains any time at these seven great destinations.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
With its year-round summer-like temperatures and powdery beaches, the Dominican Republic is a haven for sun worshipers and their close cousins, the sun-worshipping bargain hunters. If you’re trying to do the Caribbean on a budget, you won't feel at all deprived here, especially if you stay at one of the all-inclusive properties. Punta Cana has a seemingly endless stretch of beach—more than 30 miles in all—so everyone has room to spread out. Frequent flights arriving at the nearby airport connect the resort with the United States. Puna Cana’s mega-resorts, such as the 875-room Occidental Grand Punta Cana, offer enticing deals. At the Occidental Grand, you can snag all-inclusive rates from about $67 per person, per night.

Vieques, Puerto Rico
The virtues of Puerto Rico for budget-conscious travelers are many. Let’s start with the fact that you can pay with U.S. dollars, plus flights are reasonably priced and frequent. For a laidback experience, visit Vieques Island off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast. This tiny island offers delightful sand beaches, coral reefs teeming with fish, a phosphorescent bay, and reasonably priced restaurants serving seafood fresh from the line. Avoid the high-end lodgings and go for a B&B or inn instead. At the 16-suite Crow's Nest, rates start at $114 (breakfast included) per night for rooms with kitchenettes.

This pristine island is the wildest and greenest in the Caribbean, thanks to preservation efforts for much of its spectacular shoreline and official protections for its mountainous rainforests. Come here to swim in clear rivers and beneath towering waterfalls, play on gray-black volcanic sand beaches, and snorkel with neon fish. For something a bit different from your typical sun-and-sand Caribbean getaway, stay in Dominica’s lush rainforest. The intimate Papillote Wilderness Retreat has just seven comfortably rustic rooms, all nestled among vibrant orchids and begonias. The inn’s own nature trails wind through the forest foliage and lead to mineral baths and a secluded waterfall. Year-round rates start from just $100 per night for two people.

Published: 12 Nov 2012 | Last Updated: 4 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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