9 Cheap Caribbean Vacations That Feel Like a Splurge
Whether you're looking for an adventurous getaway or a relaxing beach vacation, there's a perfect Caribbean island for you. Families, couples, and even solo travelers flock to the Caribbean Islands every year, choosing destinations like Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands to spend their vacation. The Caribbean offers a mix of relaxation and excitement, with opportunities to lie on the beach, snorkel and scuba, and more. Plus, these destinations are just a short flight from most east coast cities, much closer than other exotic locales like Fiji or Thailand. Flights, accommodations, meals, and activities can add up quickly, but thankfully, we've curated this list of cheap Caribbean vacations so you can enjoy everything these islands have to offer without going over budget.
Related: More beach vacation ideas
Most people don’t think of Colombia when planning a trip to the Caribbean, but Cartagena is a burgeoning beach city that should be explored. Better yet, the food, lodging, and transportation are all very cheap. Stay in Getsemani, a lively neighborhood known for its food and nightlife scenes (complete with salsa dancing), and explore the remains from the colonial period, including the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas, before going snorkeling to view the coral reefs off the coast.
When traveling to Panama, it’s best to go in the periods from May to June or September to November to get the best rates, said Melissa Darnay, an American who moved to Panama and now runs the real estate and beach vacation rental company Choose Panama. While it might look like it rains every day during those times, she said those showers don’t last very long.
“Stay in oceanfront condos rather than hotels, you get a lot more for your money,” she said. “Superhosts on Airbnb typically run their businesses like hotels with extremely well-stocked and clean accommodations.”
Be sure to ask your host for recommendations on independent local restaurants, called Fondas, where full meals are as little as $3 per person, she said.
Turks and Caicos
This collection of islands in the Atlantic has the relaxed Caribbean attitude you are looking for, and prices don’t have to break the bank — especially if you travel in the summer, when even the fanciest resorts may offer deals.
Once you arrive, you can explore the beautiful beaches and do activities such as snorkeling, tennis, and boating — check out Grace Bay Beach, which has great options for fun things to do.
This Caribbean destination is famous for its beaches, resorts, and golfing. Visit for its famous Bávaro Beach, with its wide, long stretch of coastline, or Playa Grande, which is quieter and more secluded. If you plan to travel during the off season, you might be able to score a deal on an all-inclusive resort, so you don't have to worry about paying for every meal and activity.
This remote Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea is a typical spot for cruise ships to stop, but it's also a great option for cheap Caribbean vacations. Head to the island for its famous scuba diving at Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, where you can dive around the Mesoamerican Reef, and be sure to explore the Museo Subacuático de Arte’s underwater sculptures. You’ll likely be able to spot dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles during your visit.
This Mexican city sits on a peninsula that dips into the Caribbean Ocean, giving it the tropical weather and vibes you are looking for. Be sure to explore the shops and restaurants in downtown El Centro, and then hit the beaches, like Playa Delfines and Puerto Morelos. There are a number of moderately-priced all-inclusive resorts in the area, and some even offer on-site water parks for kids.
Jamaica is known as one of the best Caribbean vacation destinations for good reason — its beautiful beaches, delicious food, and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to unwind.
This island country in the Caribbean Sea has the warm weather and beautiful beaches you are craving for your vacation. Plus, you can find endless water sports and activities — everything from cruising on a catamaran to rolling through the dirt on an ATV.
You might not think you can stay in The Bahamas, with its famous luxury resorts, for cheap, but there are options that won’t cost you too much money. Even with a smaller price tag, they’ll still give you a chance to take advantage of the stretch of islands and their beaches, boating, snorkeling, and scuba.