Budget Travel recently published a list of the 10 most-visited Caribbean islands, focusing specifically on offering new insight to these well-traveled locales. Between daydreams of sandy beaches and the sound of waves crashing, we also came to realize how deal-friendly most of these islands are. So we decided to round up some of the current deals for each of the popular locations, as well as offer advice on what type of bargains you can typically find. (And if any of these trips pique your interest, be sure to check out Budget Travel's feature for a list of less conventional activities to indulge in.)
1. St. Martin / St. Maarten
Although this island has two official spellings (due to its dual colonial influences from France and the Netherlands), St. Martin is number one on the list of the most visited islands in the Caribbean. To experience the vibrant culture, consider booking a 2-night stay at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino (from $197, a low by $28; expires February 21), or hop aboard this 13-Night Transatlantic Cruise for two (from $838, a low by $380; expires February 29), which stops at Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This cruise is especially noteworthy if you plan to visit #5 on this list, Puerto Rico, as that's where it departs from.
The magazine calls Aruba a "melting pot" ripe with various islanders, making for a rich travel experience. Right now, book a 5-night flight and hotel package for two to the all-inclusive Riu Palace Aruba (from $3,466, a low by $60; expires February 22. If you only need a hotel, Aruba is TravelZoo's "Destination of the Week," which includes discounts on hotels like the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino where you can make reservations for two people and get a free upgrade to an Island King room, which offers greater views of the environs (from $176 per night, a low by at least $6 excluded the upgrade; expires February 29).
While Budget Travel specifically praises the serenity of Cat Island, the majority of Bahamas deals will place you in the accessible city of Nassau. But keep in mind, Cat Island is just a 45-minute jaunt from the popular port. To dabble in the Bahamas, consider a stay in an oceanview junior suite for two at the Riu Palace Paradise Island (from $384, a low by $22; expires Feruary 29), which is on an island connected to Nassau by bridge.
4. U.S. Virgin Islands
While you're more likely to find a cruise that makes port at one of the three major islands that constitute this territory, we occasionally see vacation packages for St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Budget Travel describes the latter island as having a "burgeoning food scene" due to its less developed land.
5. Puerto Rico
As Budget Travel puts it, "San Juan is still numero uno in Puerto Rico," and numerous travel deals use the city as a jumping off point. For example, this 4-night flight and hotel package at Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa for two with $100 food and drink credit (from $821.74, a low by $196; expires February 19) is just 20 miles from the busy city. Note that it's the fourth deal in the top carousel.
Typically, Bermuda is more expensive than other Caribbean isles, and as such we don't see as many hotel and vacation deals. However, cruise fans will find periodic offers on tours that end or stop off at the British-colonial island with numerous cultural attractions.
7. Cayman Islands
This destination — well-known for "two wealthy pursuits: deep-sea diving and offshore banking" — also frequently sees deals through cruises.
8. Dominican Republic
This is one of the more popular locations for which we see deals. In particular, you can handily score an all-inclusive vacation package, which makes it all the easier to book a last-minute long weekend trip. For a taste of the Dominican Republic, try a 5-night stay for two at the all-inclusive Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata (from $730, a low by $200; expires February 20). Note that it's the fourth deal from the top.
Budget Travel notes that cheap flights to Jamaica are plentiful, and the island has different experiences for every type of traveler. The magazine specifically calls out the Negril area as an ideal locale for a romantic excursion. As such, this 3-night flight and hotel package for two at the all-inclusive Grand Palladium (from $1616, a low by $406; expires February 23) may make for a great escape.
10. Trinidad & Tobago
Unfortunately, we rarely see travel deals to this archipelagic state in the south Caribbean. But with so many opportunities for discounted hotels, vacations, and cruises to the first nine, we think you'll have plenty of options to keep you busy.
Not finding the deal of your dreams for a specific Caribbean getaway? Consider setting up a customized email alert, to be notified as soon as we post a deal you're interested in. And be sure to keep an eye on our daily travel deals for discounts on locations worldwide.
Front page photo credit: Templates Preview
Photo credits top to bottom: Caribbean Online, JPG Mag, Limousine Aruba, Atlantis, Department of Insular Affairs, CNN, Destination360, World Atlas, and When We Get There