Cheapest Caribbean Islands: 32 destinations by price in 2023

Extremely popular with both North Americans and Europeans during the winter months, the Caribbean is filled with islands and destinations that range from cheap & basic to posh & exclusive. You’ll also find islands where English dominates, but also where Spanish, French, or Dutch are far more common.

Ranking Caribbean islands and destinations by price is challenging for a variety of reasons, so we simplified it by including only a cheaper 3-star hotel room for a week and two cheap flights from New York City. Generally speaking, islands with cheaper hotels will also have cheaper meals and diving etc. Many of the best deals in the Caribbean are at its 400 or so all-inclusive resorts. If that sounds interesting also check out our list of the cheapest Caribbean islands for all-inclusive resorts, which lists 17 destinations from cheapest to most expensive.

Updates for 2022

COVID-19 situation

As of September, 2022, most Caribbean islands have no COVID or vaccination restrictions or require just a negative test or proof of vaccination. Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica have removed all restrictions so you can travel freely.

We have the COVID rules and guidelines for visitors for some countries in this article, and a more complete list can be found at the link below.

Updates for 2023

All hotels rates and airfares have been updated for the 2023 high season as of September, 2022.

The last time we updated this list it was for stays in the Omicron times. Airfares were low and hotel prices were pretty reasonable as well. Now for stays in January, 2023, airfares are up about 30% on average to the highest fares we have seen since we began tracking them in 2012. Booking early is usually the best way to get a good deal because last-minute bargains are pretty much a thing of the past.

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Below are the 32 most popular Caribbean destinations (some with a few per island, plus Mexico) ranked from cheapest to most expensive. Those not sure if they can afford a trip at all will obviously choose from the ones near the top, while those who would rather avoid people who aren’t sure if they can afford a trip or not will find better choices further down the list.

Criteria for the index below

  • Hotel rates are the average of the 4-cheapest 3-star (and up) hotels in high season for two people, including all taxes and fees. Hotels that don’t get very good or better reviews are not counted.
  • Airfare for the cheapest round-trip high-season flight available from NYC
  • 7-nights + Flight Index is 7 nights hotel for two plus two round-trip airfares from NYC, including all taxes

Caribbean islands and destinations ranked by price

(prices are for high-season winter travel)

1Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Mexico

By far the busiest destination in the Caribbean, Cancun is obviously not an island so it might not count for some people. But Greater Cancun also consists of Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya area as well as the nearby island of Cozumel, so it’s a huge cluster of resort areas all served by one busy airport.

With cheap flights from almost everywhere and hotels starting at suspiciously low prices, Cancun is easily the cheapest Caribbean destination and a great choice for the Spring Break crowd as well. It’s worth noting that the cheapest hotels in Cancun won’t be within walking distance of the beach, although most will have a pool. The 3-star Cancun hotels in these low price ranges are located in the Downtown Cancun area and it’ll cost at least triple these prices to stay on the beach or in the Hotel Zone. The Downtown area still has great weather along with cheap restaurants and bars, so it’s a decent choice compared to staying home. There are 7 major areas around here so we have done a guide for choosing where to stay in the Cancun area.

>>>Best Cancun all-inclusive resorts for couples, families, spa lovers, and more

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $39
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $356
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,036 for two people
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, budget travelers from all over Europe, Spring Breakers

Mexico COVID-19 rules: No vaccination or testing requirement at all.

2Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana has some modestly priced hotels that include breakfast, but it’s much better known as the best and cheapest place for luxury all-inclusive resorts at amazing rates. In fact, some of these all-inclusives only cost a bit more than the ones that only include breakfast. There are really good air+hotel packages available that can keep prices down and offer fantastic value for the Caribbean. The modern nearby airport is the busiest in the DR, and the roads in this area are in good shape as well.

As you might expect, the 3-star hotels in these price ranges will not be on the beach, but they are mostly quite close and also have their own pool. Again, if your options are staying home or staying in one of these places, it’s a pretty easy decision. That said, spending more for one of the cheapest all-inclusives on the beach is probably money well spent. Punta Cana is also our top pick for Caribbean islands for families with kids, by the way.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $44
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $388
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,139
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, French, Germans, Spanish, Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, Portuguese, Russians

3Samana, Dominican Republic

Samana has quite a few posh and expensive resorts, but it’s also got a nice mix of more affordable simple hotels near the beach. This is a newer resort area that is expanding at a fast clip, with a new airport with increasing services as well. Samaná is the whale-watching capital of the DR, with some very nice beaches to boot. They do have a small airport nearby, but most visitors fly into the large Santo Domingo Airport and take a one-hour taxi or shuttle ride.

Once again, the Samana hotels in this price range will not be beach resorts, but they do have excellent weather and provide very good value for those on smaller budgets.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $61
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $325
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,152
  • Popular with: Canadians, Brits, Italians, Portuguese, Swedish

4La Romana, Dominican Republic

La Romana does have just enough inexpensive hotels to make it this high on the list, but the area is mostly known for larger upscale resorts. The famous Casa de Campo Resort started the trend, and it’s still almost exclusively a package resort area for the upscale crowd. La Romana is often included in the Punta Cana market when you search for hotels, so you can fly into that airport if it’s cheaper, and take a shuttle to your resort on the brand-new highways between them. In fact, flights into Punta Cana Airport are almost always cheaper so that is what we used for this entry.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $74
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $388
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,387
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, French, Italians, Spanish

5APuerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata includes several clusters of resort beaches along the northern shore of the Dominican Republic. The hotels here are among the cheapest in the Caribbean, and this area is also known for very affordable all-inclusive packages. The diving and snorkeling aren’t top-notch, but at least it’s good value otherwise. Flights to the nearby airport aren’t as cheap as they used to be, and the Santiago Airport a bit further south is 90 minutes away by road. Those looking for a luxury all-inclusive at an appealing price would probably be happier in Punta Cana (see above).

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $68
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $415
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,392
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Irish, Brits, Northern Europeans

Dominican Republic COVID-19 rules: No vaccination or testing requirement at all.

5B – Varadero, Cuba

For a couple years Americans were allowed visits to Cuba for “cultural tourism”, and cruise ships started coming as well. But Americans still can’t legally sun themselves in Varadero or any other Cuban resort city and that doesn’t look ready to change in the coming months into 2023.

Still, Canadians and Europeans are very fond of this commercialized stretch of beach out on a restricted peninsula. You’ll find mostly larger all-inclusive resorts here built specifically for the package crowds. Varadero is relatively cheap and good value for the Caribbean, and quality in its beachfront resort hotels is fairly high. Once Americans can visit Cuba solely for leisure, things are bound to change quite a bit.

(included as a service to Canadians and Europeans who wonder where Cuba stacks up from a price standpoint)

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: *
  • Cheapest RT airfare from Toronto: *
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: US$1,469 for two people ALL INCLUSIVE!
  • Popular with: Canadians, Europeans including Russians, almost no Americans…yet


Officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao has excellent diving and some of the cheaper hotels in the southern part of the Caribbean. It also has a large and busy airport which helps keep airfares reasonable from North America and several key European cities.

Curaçao is also seldom in the path of hurricanes, so autumn trips are a great value here and come with greater peace of mind. Airfares aren’t quite as cheap as they were in early 2022, but they are still very good value compared to nearly all of the islands farther down this list.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $90
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $373
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,494
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Dutch, Germans, Italians, scuba divers from all over

7San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cheap and direct flights from many cities help make San Juan a good budget choice, even if hotel prices here start higher than other destinations near the top of this list. The Old San Juan area is gorgeous and there are many surprisingly affordable eating and sleeping options there. Starting just next door you’ll find a long string of tourist-oriented areas with some of the best city beaches in the world.

There are virtually no all-inclusive resorts on Puerto Rico, so this is a pay-as-you-go destination. If you want a bit of culture and don’t need nonstop buffets, then San Juan might be the best option in the Caribbean at a modest price. San Juan can also be a great choice for trips of only a few days because airfares are low even if hotels aren’t quite so cheap.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $124
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $296
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,534
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Spanish

8Negril, Jamaica

Negril, which is about 90-minutes from Montego Bay Airport by road, has a beautiful west-facing (sunset) beach and an abundance of cheaper 2-star and 3-star hotels, making it among the Caribbean’s best value destinations for hotels that are actually on the sand. In fact, Negril may have the cheapest actual beach hotels in the Caribbean because the cheaper ones in the places above tend to be at least a couple blocks from the water.

There are also many all-inclusives and upscale & pricey 4-stars, so it’s a good mix rather than just all down-market. The gorgeous area along 7-Mile Beach is lined with smaller hotels and a few larger ones plus a few all-inclusives. THIS is where you want to go in Jamaica if you want to visit the country rather than just visiting the grounds of a hotel.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $104
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $383
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,569
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians

Jamaica COVID-19 rules: No vaccination or testing requirement at all.

9Montego Bay, Jamaica

Jamaica’s busiest airport is near the heart of Montego Bay so visitors can be checked-in sooner here than if they went to Negril or Ocho Rios nearby. This is a very well developed and touristy area along Jamaica’s north shore, with plenty of large all-inclusive resorts all the way up the price scale.

All along the north shore you’ll find a string of large hotels (many all-inclusive), and there are a few good activities as well. But the actual town of Montego Bay, centered along the so-called “Hip Strip” is disappointing. In other words, if you want to stay in an independent hotel and try many nearby restaurants and bars, go to Negril. Montego Bay is really only good for its larger resorts.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $124
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $383
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,725
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians

10Rincon, Puerto Rico

If you are a serious surfer and want to give it a try in the Caribbean then come to Rincon, on Puerto Rico’s west coast. Others are probably better off in the more developed San Juan area, but surfers love it here and often rent local houses rather than staying in the somewhat pricey hotels. Flights to the local airport are reasonable, and the sometimes-cheaper San Juan airport is also an easy drive.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $153
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $296
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,742
  • Popular with: Americans, Spanish, surfers from everywhere

11St. Maarten/St. Martin

Famously divided with a French half in the north (Sint Martin) and a Dutch half in the south (Saint Maarten), this island otherwise treats itself as one destination.

Almost all (cheap) flights are into the airport in the Dutch area, and hotels are grouped together as well, with both halves being mid-range choices with almost nothing in the low-budget category. Unsurprisingly, the food tends to be better in the French part, but it’s quite easy to go back and forth. The island also has some casinos so if that is something you enjoy while on vacation this could be an even better choice.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $144
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $377
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,835
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, French, Dutch


While it’s a bit farther than other cheap Caribbean destinations, there are sometimes good airfares from the US to Barbados. This island has many good-value 3-star beach resorts towards the south, and a long line of exclusive and luxurious hotels and resorts in what might best be described as the Beverly Hills of the Caribbean.

Barbados has a well developed hotel scene so it won’t feel as exotic as some of the smaller islands nearby. Some of the diving here is excellent so it can be great value for the scuba set. Flights from the US are had become quite expensive in early 2021, but they are fairly reasonable again late in 2022 and into 2023. Since Barbados is also home to a huge chunk of the luxury market in the Caribbean, it’s also popular with rich Europeans and South Americans as well.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $138
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $428
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,896
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans


Still an official part of France, Guadeloupe is very unusual in that it’s sometimes actually cheaper to reach by air from Paris than from New York. During our tests for early 2023, we found very reasonable flights from New York to Guadeloupe, so that doesn’t always hold true.

In other words, this is a very French island that caters nicely to budget and mid-range Europeans, but it can be expensive and difficult to reach from North America if you aren’t starting in the right city. Hotels here can be good value if you can get an airfare bargain.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $185
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $288
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $1,999
  • Popular with: French Canadians, French

14Ocho Rios, Jamaica

About 90-minutes east of Montego Bay Airport on Jamaica’s northern shore, Ocho Rios is similar in price to Montego Bay and Negril (see above). It’s also a very popular cruise port, so the local waterfalls and other attractions can be jammed or nearly empty depending on the day.

There are large and impressive resorts all along the north shore between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, including many all-inclusives. But similar to Montego Bay, the actual town of Ocho Rios is underdeveloped, unimpressive, and somewhat annoying, filled mostly with nearly identical souvenir shops and a few jewelry malls. If you want to stay in a small hotel and try different restaurants and bars along a beach, go to Negril and stay clear of Ocho Rios. Another way of saying it is that the only reason that Ocho Rios is lower on this list is that it has fewer cheap hotels than Montego Bay or Negril, not that it’s actually a nicer place to visit.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $163
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $383
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,023
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians


Known for its beautiful volcanic views and for not being overly developed, Grenada is a good choice for English-speaking folks looking to get away from the package crowds. Prices at the resorts are mostly in the middle range, but a few top-end places are here as well. Flights can sometimes be cheap, though be sure to check hotel prices before you book the airfare.

The island of Grenada is not very well developed so don’t expect too much in the way of shopping or culture. The scenery here is some of the best in the Caribbean, but most visitors are happy to stay in their hotels for most or all of their visit.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $157
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $422
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,139
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits


A favorite of French-speakers from Canada and Europe, Martinique has a relatively large population without a great number of resorts, so it doesn’t feel as touristy as many other islands. You’ll find great cuisine here, and quite a few budget hotel options as well.

Norwegian Air used to fly into Martinique as of a few years ago and their fares were as amazing as they were unsustainable. Flights in 2023 are much more expensive so this island isn’t a great choice for most people.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $109
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $763
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,181
  • Popular with: French Canadians, French


Almost completely flat, Aruba is another Dutch island without a striking volcano at its center. Still, it has a well developed tourist infrastructure and a busy airport with cheap flights from Europe, so it’s a popular choice for northern Europeans as well as Americans.

Most hotels on Aruba are in the mid-range and upper end, but there are enough affordable places that get good reviews to make it pretty high on this list. Aruba is another (along with Bonaire and Curacao) that is just north of Venezuela and hasn’t had a hurricane come near it in decades. This makes it one of the better choices for an autumn vacation when so many other islands are potentially in the crosshairs of storms.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $159
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $400
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,193
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Dutch

Aruba COVID-19 rules: Aruba requires a negative test from any visitor over 15 years old, or a test upon arrival. Citizens from quite a few US states also require “additional testing” and information is on the website linked below. You must also purchase Aruba visitors insurance from them, which runs about US$10 per day for most people.

18Trinidad and Tobago

About 95% of the population lives on Trinidad, but about half the resorts are on Tobago and usually people just visit one island or the other since they aren’t close together. Slightly cheaper flights go into Trinidad, but we are using data for Tobago here since it’s more popular with resort-goers.

The hotel markets are listed separately as well, but prices and the overall range are quite similar and both offer good value. In other words, if you are considering a first visit, it’s probably best to book on Tobago unless you want to specifically explore the culture (and oil fields) of Trinidad.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $179
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $540
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,460
  • Popular with: Americans, Brits, Germans

19Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua is one of the more accessible Caribbean islands that is known as a playground for the rich and famous. It’s a beautiful place and flight deals are often available, but resorts here range from moderate on up to shockingly expensive.

Several celebrities have homes on the island, which tells you something about the crowd that books here. Still, there are some modestly priced hotels that get very good reviews, so it’s a possibility for budget visitors. Similar to Trinidad and Tobago, these islands aren’t close together so you’ll want to choose just one. And in the 2017 hurricanes, almost all of the hotels on Barbuda were wiped out, so at this point it’s all about Antigua itself.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $208
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $342
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,462
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Italians

20St. Lucia

Arguably the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, St. Lucia is an interesting mix of options with some surprisingly good deals at hotels combined with rather expensive airfares. Flights aren’t always expensive though, so this is a good island to put in an airfare alert and pounce when a bargain appears.

This is a popular stop for cruise ships and there is also a great mix of upscale resorts, so St. Lucia is justifiably popular for many different groups. If you’ve seen a photo of gorgeous twin mountains on St. Lucia they are called the Pitons are are located on the western coast towards the south. Not many hotels have a view of them, but there are ways to explore and even climb them for those with enough energy. St. Lucia also makes our list of the best Caribbean islands for honeymooners, by the way.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $201
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $452
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,590
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans


You wouldn’t come to Bonaire for the beaches, because this small and mostly-flat island isn’t blessed with sandy shores like most of the Caribbean, but it does have excellent diving and wind surfing as well. This all contributes to more of an informal atmosphere on Bonaire, with a nice selection of cheap hotels available.

Flights to Bonaire are rarely cheap, especially when compared to nearby Aruba and Curaçao, so those tend to be more popular among the budget travel crowd. And once again, the three ABC islands are in the far south of the Caribbean and haven’t had a hurricane come anywhere near them in decades, so they could be a good choice during the season (June through December) if that is something that worries you.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $188
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $614
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,743
  • Popular with: Americans, Dutch, scuba divers, wind-surfers

22Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is another very popular stop for cruise passengers, and it’s also well known for Paradise Island just over the bridge, which is home to the famous Atlantis Resort and Casino complex. Flights are cheap from most places, but hotels in the Nassau area start in the mid range and go way up from there. There’s great shopping and nightlife here, at least for the Caribbean.

Partly because it’s so popular with cruise ships, Nassau has a fairly well developed town center lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. This isn’t true of many Caribbean islands and it can be a fun place to hang out if you enjoy the Senor Frogs-type vibe. Since hotels are not so cheap, this can still be an affordable place for a long weekend trip because flights are affordable and shorter than most of the others on this list.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $224
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $341
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,851
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits

23St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Larger than nearby St. Thomas, the island of St. Croix is also harder to reach, with very few direct flights from far away. There are also fewer cruise ships stopping in St. Croix, so it really does have a bit more of a remote and isolated feeling, for better or for worse.

Hotels are quite expensive in general, though flight deals are sometimes available. The US Virgin Islands were hit pretty hard in the 2017 hurricanes and it took a few years before most of the better places opened back up again. Quite a few of them never reopened, but many that did are now refurbished, so there’s that.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $234
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $451
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $2,952
  • Popular with: Americans, Danish

24Turks & Caicos

A bit north of the real Caribbean, Turks & Caicos has a drier climate than most other islands, giving it a longer in-season range. In other words, November, June, and July can be pretty wet in most of the Caribbean islands in the actual Caribbean, but Turks and Caicos stays dryer and can be a good choice during the shoulder seasons.

There are some extremely posh resorts here, including some all-inclusives, but there are some modestly priced hotels as well, making it a mid-range option overall. The cheap flights often available make it good for late-season or shorter stays.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $312
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $325
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $3,269
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits


Though it’s technically a long way from the Caribbean, Bermuda gets included here because it’s a good alternative, especially from April through June when it’s warm enough.

This is a very British island still, and quite expensive as well, with not a single cheap hotel available online. Flights from the US can be cheap though, so it’s still a decent budget option for a short visit. Check the weather forecast before you book because Bermuda has almost opposite seasons of the rest of the islands on this list, and that can be a really good thing in summer.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $306
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $368
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $3,556
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians, Brits

26Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tourism in the British Virgin Islands is mostly restricted to 2 islands, Tortola and Virgin Gorda. They are beautiful and very low key, partly because there are no long-haul flights coming in so everyone has to change planes at least once. Hotels here start quite high and go up from there, so it’s only a good choice for well-heeled folks escaping the crowds elsewhere.

Tortola completed its cruise port in 2015 and visitors by day-trippers had obviously increased exponentially. But then it was hit pretty hard in the 2017 hurricanes. Most of the bigger resorts are back and better than ever. Don’t expect much from Road Town, which is where the cruise ships dock.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $323
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $480
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $3,675
  • Popular with: Americans, Brits

27St. Kitts and Nevis

The twin islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are among the smaller and more modest tourist markets, and this can make them ideal for those not interested in crowds and shopping centers. In fact, even the more populous St. Kitts feels mostly empty with wide-open land, with Nevis even more empty.

There are almost no cheap hotels on either island though. Scuba diving is very good here, with some notable shipwrecks and underwater caves. Flights are a bit pricey too, so this is a good choice for scuba visits for upmarket guests. For the record, St. Kitts is probably my favorite Caribbean island because it’s covered so much in grass instead of thick bush like most of the others.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $299
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $624
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $3,806
  • Popular with: Americans, Brits

28Grand Bahama, Bahamas

Freeport is the second-largest city in the Bahamas and its location on the island of Grand Bahama is also the second-busiest tourist destination in the island chain. While popular as a cruise destination, hotels here are mostly in the mid-range for the Caribbean, and it’s a common short getaway for those coming from nearby Florida.

The main problem with Grand Bahama is that somehow the flights here are incredibly expensive, especially considering the modest distance from the United States. It’s definitely worth checking the airfares before doing much hotel research because there are probably better choices somewhere else.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $300
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $689
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $4,047
  • Popular with: Americans and cruise-ship passengers

29Grand Cayman, Cayman

If you’ve heard of the Cayman Islands then you might be a banker because this territory of the UK has nearly as many banks as it has people. It’s also a fairly luxurious resort island that is geographically off on its own a bit, with prices starting in the mid-range and going way up from there. Cheap flights are often available so package deals might be good value.

Just like in Negril, Jamaica, the highlight here is Seven Mile Beach, which is where most of the island’s hotels and resorts are located. It has been voted as the best beach in the Caribbean a few times, and that is one reason why it has so many upscale resorts and higher prices.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $459
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $325
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $4,377
  • Popular with: Americans, Brits


Only a few miles off St. Martin, Anguilla is a small and beautiful island that is near the upper end of the price scale for all of the Caribbean.

Flights are expensive, though you can get here by ferry from St. Martin, but hotels are all very expensive as well. A few of the resorts here are among the priciest in all of the Caribbean.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $506
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $508
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $4,698
  • Popular with: Rich Americans and Brits

31St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Known largely as a stop for cruise ships and a Caribbean shopping mecca for inexpensive jewelry, St. Thomas also has great scuba diving and all the usual water sports available. Hotels here are quite expensive compared to others higher on this list, but sometimes it’s possible to get a cheap flight.

St. Thomas was pretty badly hit during the 2017 hurricanes and they wiped out pretty much all of the cheaper beach hotels. Being so far down this list you might expect St. Thomas to be a really wonderful and luxurious island, but honestly it’s not all that nice and the reason it’s so far down the page is that the cheap hotels were wiped out and only the expensive ones remain. I wouldn’t really recommend it.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $456
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $499
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $4,892
  • Popular with: Americans, Canadians

32Saint Barthélemy

Saint Barthélemy (AKA St. Barts) is an outlier because it’s not only the most expensive Caribbean island, it also has only a handful of small hotels, and most guests rent villas and condos instead.

St. Barts has lived at the bottom of this “cheapest Caribbean islands” list since we began publishing it over 10 years ago. It used to be that there were only a handful of hotels (since rich guests stayed in condos and private rentals), but this year there is exactly one hotel available and it charges US$1,333 per night in January, including taxes, so that is also the ‘average’ for the 2023 list as well.

  • Cheap 3-star hotel average: $1,333
  • Cheapest RT airfare from NYC: $957
  • 7-nights + Flight Index: $13,298
  • Popular with: Celebrities, the idle rich, the working rich, French-speakers

Notes on the Caribbean Destination Index

  • Many destinations have some cheaper hotels with mostly-negative reviews, and these were not included in the Index. Just as elsewhere, Caribbean hotels that seem suspiciously cheap are often poorly maintained or located, and not good value.
  • Airfares from New York were used because they are often cheaper than from even south Florida, and they are a good gauge of prices from connecting airports. Flights from dominated airports such as Atlanta and Charlotte are usually higher even though they are much closer.
  • All the prices researched are for high-season rates, from early January through March, but not “peak-season” rates in late December.

All-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean are even better value

The prices listed above are mostly for hotels that are not all-inclusive, but the cheapest all-inclusive resorts are often only a bit more expensive than the others so they can be excellent value. All-inclusive deals including airfare are often the best deals anywhere, but still the order of islands and destinations will be similar for those as well.

Cheapest flights only

If you are looking for a rental or will be staying in a cheap lodge in a city then you might only be interested in cheap airfare alone. We’ve compiled two lists for you, one with cheapest Caribbean island airfares from North America, and another with the cheapest Caribbean destinations from Europe.

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  1. Simon says:

    Casas in Cuba cost 30 cuc .! cuc is 1 $ .So 30 $ per night .Puerto Plata 10$ night .I am not sure any rooms still near Bavaro beach for 10 $ ,as it used to be 4 years ago .

    £ 54 exit fee from Puerta Valarta airport .
    30 $ per night in casa in Cuba for 2 weeks ,can be costly for solo traveller .Any cheaper lodging options in Cuba ?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’m an American who hasn’t made it to Cuba yet so it’s hard for me to say. I always hear that the cheapest accommodations in Cuba are at the casa particulars, which are rooms in private houses. However, the list above is rating destinations by the cost of 3-star and 4-star beach hotels for the most part. Best of luck with your search. -Roger

  2. Sandy says:

    HI. I’ve traveled a bit through Asia, Cuba, Mexico, and so, travel is not a scary thing for me. I do it on my own. I’m looking for suggestions on places that I can do a little sunbathing, diving, spelunking, and maybe some backpacking…but mostly some R&R. My stay is short-only 14 days…I’m looking for warm/ hot….humidity is not an issue…but too much rain is. I want to get back home with a glow. Any particular places stand out to you? Obviously price is a determiner, as I wouldn’t be on this forum. I looked at the following and really need some guidance: Lisbon, Brazil, Boracay…..I don’t want it to be overrun by tourists, I like mixing in with the local people. Thank you in advance!

    Oh, and I”m planning it for the month of April 9-22.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Unfortunately, Lisbon and anywhere else in continental Europe won’t be warm or sunny enough for you in mid April to get much of a tan. You’d really have to go in June for that.

      Brazil and Boracay Island would both work, and neither should have enough rain to be a problem. Rio de Janeiro does get some rain in April, but usually in short bursts rather than an all-day drizzle. It’s a bit more expensive than other cities in Brazil, though it’s also by far the easiest for those who don’t speak Portuguese or Spanish. One sad issue in Rio or many other places in Brazil is the petty crime. Especially as a solo traveler, you could be the target of a robbery unless you are so careful that you barely go anywhere interesting. I wish I were just being dramatic about this, but it’s a huge issue, especially for solo visitors.

      You might also consider Cartagena as a base to explore parts of Colombia. The April weather is sunny with no rain, and it’s actually far safer, believe it or not, and cheaper as well.

      Boracay Island is a wonderful little place, but two weeks there might be a long time. I actually spent two weeks there, doing research part of the time, and I loved it. It’s very old-school and friendly. It’s very touristy, but it’s also very relaxing and low-key. Almost all the hotels are on or very near the beach, and very few of them are chains so it feels interesting and unique. You can do diving trips, and there is excellent windsurfing along the eastern beaches. I think you’d like it, and I think you’d like the other people who go there. It’s actually quite easy to meet other people there as well because everyone walks up and down the beach path to get anywhere, rather than riding around in taxis or motorbikes. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  3. Fritz Schleicher says:

    Thanks for the quick response. Any recommendation for Punta Cana for a couple on not so big budget?



    1. Roger Wade says:


      April and May are pretty reasonably priced in Punta Cana so you should be able to get something really nice. My top recommendations for value are the Grand Bahia Principe hotels and the Riu Palace hotels. Both of those are very professionally run Spanish hotel chains with 5 or 6 different hotels each on one huge beachfront compound. If you are staying at one of the hotels you can use the facilities at most others in the same complex. The ones directly on the beach cost a bit more, and the beach is really nice through there. But all of them have wonderful pools with poolside bars and dining and all of that.

      If neither of those are in your price range then any of the others in that same area that get good TripAdvisor reviews should do well for you. Have a great trip. -Roger

  4. Fritz Schleicher says:

    Hi Roger,
    as a german immigrant living in Nova Scotia I’m glad I found this website and really happy about the tips. My wife and I plan 2 weeks All-inclusive April/May 2017. We’re on a budget so we think DomRep or Jamaica. What are your thoughts?



    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’m happy to hear that you find this site useful. My mother was born in Germany and my brother lives there for the last 20 years.

      I’d highly recommend Punta Cana, Dominican Republic of the two. Jamaica does have its charm, and more people speak English there, but the DR has pretty much perfected the all-inclusive resort scene in the Caribbean. Most of the resorts there are fairly new, as is the airport and the main highways. The beaches of Punta Cana are also quite a bit nicer.

      If you wanted more of a casual stay at a small hotel with a selection of nearby restaurants I’d recommend Negril, Jamaica. But for all-inclusive, go to Punta Cana for the best quality and value. -Roger

  5. Laura Curry says:

    Hi Roger –
    I may be making an impromptu trip from nyc between Christmas and 1/1. I’m thinking warm / swimming weather, and appreciate your leg work. May also consider Rome – who knows.

    Do you have any ideas / knowledge regarding a quick 3 day +/- trip where I can swim in warm waters, or even dunk in hot springs surrounded by snow? hmmmm – I’ll need to check out iceland…

    1. Roger Wade says:


      You may be interested in our list of cheap places to go over Christmas and New Year’s list.

      As far as swimming in a warm spring or pool surrounded by snow, they offer that in Finland and in other Nordic countries. Your idea of Iceland could be a winner as well because it’s far quicker to get there than Finland or Sweden. Iceland is so far north that the “day” consists of a few hours where the sun is near the horizon that time of year, but you might also see the Northern Lights as a bonus. Aside from those places, I’m stumped. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

  6. Gianluigi says:

    Thanks for this great article.
    I’m thinking about a trip from NYC to one of the Caribbean island between end of April and beginning of May.
    Which one would you suggest as the cheapest in total considering airfare/accommodation (renting a place…no resorts)/food? I’m mainly interested in beaches.
    Thanks a lot in advance!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      It depends on how long you plan on staying. You can get cheap flights to Puerto Rico, but apartments and hotels there are more in the mid range for the Caribbean. So if it’s for a week or less that could still be a great choice, but if you are staying more like 2 weeks you’d probably want a place with cheaper apartment rentals.

      The cheapest islands are Dominican Republic and Jamaica, but both of those are mostly filled with large resorts, and aren’t well suited to an apartment rental. I’d recommend Playa del Carmen, which is just south of Cancun, for the best combination of cheap flights (into Cancun), affordable rentals or non-resort hotels, and good food and good prices. The beaches there are good but not great. Or you could go to Cozumel, which is a short ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen, and it has some really nice beaches although far fewer rental and restaurant options. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

      1. Gianluigi says:

        Thanks a lot Roger for your suggestions. Personally I don’t like Mexico too much but I could evaluate it. Dominican Republic is definitely worth it but as you said it’s mostly large resorts.

        My vacation would be something between 8 and 10 days. What about Barbados? It seems to me that it’s not difficult to find reasonable apartment rentals.

        1. Roger Wade says:


          Barbados could be good if you are finding cheap rentals there. I’ve yet to make it there myself and I know the island has many fans who go year after year. And flights seem to be pretty reasonable there these days as well. Best of luck with your trip. -Roger

  7. Laurie says:

    Wow, either this hasn’t been updated in ages or you looked at airfare prices in the middle of summer. You can’t even fly to Miami from NYC for $350 in winter!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I normally don’t respond to trolls, but I can’t help myself this time. These hotel and airfare prices are updated every year, for flights and stays in winter. And in case you were being serious, you can book a round-trip flight from NYC to Miami in January 2017 right now for well under US$200 on American Airlines, and even less on Frontier. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

  8. Lisa says:

    Hi there,
    My husband and I want to book a family vacation (including our kids ages 13 & 14) during either the last week of December or first week of January. Our budget for 4 is only $5,000 CDN. We are looking at Dominican or Cuba. It looks like Dominican will be a little warmer at that time of year, but we were wondering if you’ve heard anything about the difference in vacation experience and weather (Jan) between these 2 places. We like the Memories resort in Cuba better than one we’re looking at in Dominican (Peurto Plata), but we’re concerned that the weather will be too cool in Cuba.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      As an American myself, I’ve yet to make it to Cuba, but I have been to the DR and many other islands in that area. I’m a bit surprised to see that Cuba is indeed a bit cooler than the DR that time of year. But still, it looks like the days in Varadero average 25C/78F for the high and 19C/66F for the low that time of year. Since Cuba is in the Tropics, the “average” temperature is almost always the actual temperature all year. In other words, if you see that the average is 25C during the day, it’s not like in Toronto where it might actually be 18C one day and then 30C a few days later. In the Tropics, the temperature is always within 1 or 2 degrees of the average, all year round. So if 25C is warm enough for you (definitely warm enough for me), then it should be fine.

      But again, my experience with Cuba is watching travel shows and documentaries and reading about it, so I know that it’s extremely popular with Canadians, even that time of year, but I’ve not been there myself yet.

      As for the Dominican Republic, you might also look at Punta Cana. If you want an all-inclusive, you can’t beat Punta Cana for value and choice, as it’s by far the most popular and competitive area of the DR. The airport is almost new and so are the roads, so it’s really an easy experience. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. -Roger

  9. Manuel says:

    You’re definitely not doing your research well, there’s an island called San Andres than is way much cheaper than any of those listed here

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thanks for the help on this, but it’s clear that you didn’t even read the criteria that we used, speaking of not doing research. San Andres does have cheap hotels and cheap food, but the flights are expensive enough that it would barely make the middle of this list. Also, the flights take a long time from the US, Canada, and Europe, so it’s not a good choice for many travelers. Still, I might create another list of small islands and more obscure Caribbean destinations to visit, and San Andres would be a good entry for that. -Roger

  10. Roger Wade says:


    Thank you for coming to my defense, but really I’d prefer if we just drop this whole pedantic examination of what is and is not the Caribbean. This is not the discussion page on a Wikipedia article. It’s a travel website, and on all travel websites we group “travel zones” together for the convenience of readers. People don’t want to have to look at a separate list that includes Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas if they are comparing “Caribbean” destinations. There are plenty of other exceptions like that in different parts of the world, and it’s all done for the convenience of readers. Thanks -Roger