4 Best and Cheapest Caribbean Islands for your Next Vacation

The Caribbean is a favorite vacation destination for tourists from all over the world. With beautiful beaches, rainforests, mountains, oceans, and almost limitless activities to take part in, the Caribbean is ideal for just about every vacationer. Here are the cheapest Caribbean islands, that will let you get a full Caribbean vacation experience without breaking the bank.

1. Curacao

Cheapest Caribbean Islands - Curacao
Cheapest Caribbean Islands – Curacao

Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral reefs, and tropical forests. Curacao also lends its name to a popular liqueur flavored with the peel of the bitter orange fruit, which is a must-try for tourists.

When you first land at Curacao International Airport, you can rent a car (typical cost is around $45 a day) or take a taxi to your hotel. The island is small, and most of the popular beaches are just a short trip away from the airport.

The island has a culture that is unique in the Caribbean, due in part to its Dutch heritage. The houses and other buildings in Curacao are built in a Dutch style, and most of the street signs are also European in appearance. The native tongue is a Creole language called Papiamentu, but English is widely understood.

Popular waterfront activities on the island include swimming, kiteboarding, snorkeling and scuba diving, and boating. Off the beach, some must-see sites are Christoffel National Park, which features caves, valleys, and Mount Christoffel, the highest point in Curacao; Shete Boka National Park, which is a major sea turtle breeding ground; Hato Caves; the Curacao Sea Aquarium; and the Curacao Ostrich & Game Farm.

2. Turks & Caicos

Cheapest Caribbean Islands - Turks and Caicos
Cheapest Caribbean Islands – Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is a group of two islands that is a British Overseas Territory. The territory consists of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands. Situated just southeast of the Bahamas and Northeast of Cuba, the island has a classic Caribbean climate, with constant hot temperatures throughout the year. 

Turks and Caicos has over 100 miles of coastline. Its beaches are world famous, and a very popular destination for American tourists. Characterized by hot, white sands; calm, blue waters; and cloudless skies, the beaches are some of the nicest in the entire Caribbean, and are easily accessible, with a plethora of hotels and vacation rentals within walking distance.

Further inland, Turks and Caicos has very diverse scenery, with its major biomes including dry forests, pine mosaics, and Bahamian mangroves. There are great trails to hike and cycle on, to get around the island and explore everything it has to offer. 

The towns and cities in Turks and Caicos are very tourist-friendly, and you can find plenty of spas, salons, casinos, golf courses, and shops, if you want to take a break from the beach. Other popular activities include fishing, boat rentals, jet-skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Consistently one of the cheapest Caribbean islands, Turks and Caicos is a perfect destination for a Caribbean vacation without breaking the bank.

3. Cozumel

Cheapest Caribbean Islands - Cozumel
Cheapest Caribbean Islands – Cozumel

Cozumel is a Mexica island in the Carribean Sea. Smaller and lesser-known than many of the other islands in the Carribean, Cozumel still has a lot to offer. Cozumel has a diverse range of beaches, from the classic white-sand, calm, blue water beaches you’ll find across the Carribean, to rocky beaches bordering choppy seas, that make for great hiking destinations, Cozumel has something to offer every vacationer.

Cozumel’s international airport has regular direct flights from major US cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami. When you arrive in Cozumel, you can rent a car or take a taxi to your hotel. You can also rent motorized scooters, known as “motos,” but be careful if you choose to rent one, as road conditions are not always great, and driving in Mexico can be difficult for the inexperienced.

One of the main attractions on Cozumel is scuba diving. The waters around the island are a biodiversity hotspot, containing miles of coral reef that make up part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. These reefs are teeming with tropical fish, sea turtles, mollusks, sponges, and other wildlife, with over 1,000 marine species calling the reefs home.

Cozumel also has a wide range of historical sites, including the extensive Mayan ruins at San Gervasio, Chan Santa Cruz, and historic colonial sites like the San Miguel Church. Although it is one of the cheapest Caribbean islands, Cozumel has an absolute wealth of experiences, sites, and activities to partake in.

4. Jamaica

Cheapest Caribbean Islands - Jamaica
Cheapest Caribbean Islands – Jamaica

Perhaps the most iconic island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is world famous as the birthplace of reggae music and Bob Marley, the home of some of the world’s best sprinters, and the island where jerk dishes, Jamaican rum, and Blue Mountain coffee originate. Jamaica is also regarded as a premier tourist destination, due to its stunning beaches and beachfront resorts, breathtaking rainforest and mountains, beautiful bays, and wealth of watersports and other activities to partake in.

Jamaica is one of the cheapest Caribbean islands, but it still has a wealth of must-see sites. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Jamaica include Nine Mile, the town where Bob Marley was born and buried, the mountains on the interior of the island, including the John Crow Mountains, the Blue Mountains, and the Dry Harbour Mountains; Montego Bay, and the rainforests. 

On the beaches, popular activities include scuba diving and snorkeling to explore the area’s coral reefs, boating, fishing, horseback riding, jet skiing, scuba diving, and kite surfing.

See Also: Best Caribbean Islands 2021

10 Domestic Beach Vacations That Won’t Break the Bank

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