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6 of the most affordable destinations in the Caribbean

Discover the islands with cheaper flights, affordable hotel prices and inexpensive activities

Chris Wilson
Friday 12 January 2024 17:12 GMT
Related video: Affordable travel destinations that can save you thousands of dollars

The Caribbean has carved out a reputation as being almost paradisal – and with good reason. Idyllic islands, pristine beaches, a laidback vibe and a startling variety of cultures. Such a ‘bucket list’ destination can feel like the preserve of those with deep pockets. These islands carry hundreds of upmarket resorts that can burn a hole in even the largest budget.

But if you plan ahead, are willing to visit away from peak times and know where to go and what to do, a holiday to the Caribbean can be just as affordable as trips to less far-flung destinations.

The splendid shores of the Caribbean are reachable without breaking the bank
The splendid shores of the Caribbean are reachable without breaking the bank (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Islands like St Kitts and Dominica have been less touched by tourism, leading to lower prices and more outdoor activities, while even in touristy places like Barbados or the Dominican Republic, the prices of everyday essentials, as well as tours and other adventures, are affordable if you’re willing to search around.

And with year-round flights, reaching these islands has never been easier. To help plan your trip, we’ve rounded up a selection of the most affordable islands in the region.


The island of Dominica is estimated to be one of the youngest in the Caribbean – though still around 26 million years old
The island of Dominica is estimated to be one of the youngest in the Caribbean – though still around 26 million years old (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dominica is nicknamed the ‘Nature Island’, meaning visitors can expect a lot from this island’s natural beauty. Fortunately, it lives up to expectations thanks to striking waterfalls, dramatic mountains and volcanoes, thick rainforest and beaches, such as Toucari or Soufriere. What’s more, as the island is slightly more difficult to reach, it has been preserved from mass tourism and the effects that come with it. As such, many of the best things to do are either free or extremely affordable.

‘Must-do’ things include hiking to Boiling Lake, seeing Trafalgar Falls and Titou Gorge, taking a dip in the Emerald Pool and hiking part of the 124-mile Waitukubuli National Trail, all of which come at no cost. Other popular activities include snorkelling or scuba diving at Champagne Reef or Scotts Head, going on wildlife spotting tours and taking boat rides down the Indian River, all of which are reasonable and even more affordable than on other islands (think £12 for a river tour or £25 for snorkelling).

Food, drink and accommodation are usually even cheaper than most Caribbean destinations. Meals in more modest restaurants can cost as little as £5, while even in mid-range restaurants can be cheaper than home.

Where to stay

Rosalie Bay Eco Resort and Spa is perfectly in keeping with Dominica’s natural surroundings, and has a range of comfortable rooms that provide an ideal base for exploring the island. Its idyllic location, surrounded by hills and just a few metres from the beach, provides the opportunity for peaceful relaxation when you’re not out adventuring.

Read more on Caribbean travel:

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic’s historic affiliation with Spain gives it a drastically different culture to many other nations in the region
The Dominican Republic’s historic affiliation with Spain gives it a drastically different culture to many other nations in the region (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Dominican Republic is a place that adds a hearty dose of Latin flair to an already beautiful Caribbean country. The island’s bone-white beaches, natural attractions and pulsating towns like Punta Cana make it a popular destination for those who want to mix sun-lounger relaxation and late-night partying with hiking, water sports or strolls around colonial-era towns.

Direct routes from the UK mean flights affordable and easy, with return prices as low as £550 at certain points in the year. Once you’re there, the island’s range of natural sites means that there are plenty of inexpensive – if not free – activities, such as swimming, hiking and wildlife spotting in locations like Hoyo Azul, Pico Duarte and Lago Enriquillo. Certain activities, such as kite surfing, may be more expensive, but others, like surfing and snorkelling, can be found for as little as £27 an hour.

A lot of the places to eat are very reasonably priced. You don’t need to get by on street food stalls here (though there are so many that you easily could) as there are of small cafeterias and family-run establishments throughout every town; even at the restaurants within larger resorts aren’t too expensive

Where to stay

The AC Hotel lies in downtown Punta Cana, providing stylish and modern accommodation within a stone’s throw of the bustle of the renowned resort town. Though it has no direct beach access, the pool and terrace areas offer typical Caribbean comfort, complete with towering palm trees and mini cabanas.


Barbados officially became a ‘republic within the Commonwealth’ in November 2021
Barbados officially became a ‘republic within the Commonwealth’ in November 2021 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Barbados is a perennial Caribbean favourite for UK holidaymakers, with the two countries’ intertwined histories meaning that travel links between them are excellent – both British Airways and Virgin operate flight routes to the island all year, with return routes priced as low as £490 in the low season.

The island is famed for its long stretches of fine white sands, rum-fuelled parties and characterful hubs, including Holetown and the capital, Bridgetown. Beaches offer easy access to activities including snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing, while popular tourist attractions like the Mount Gay rum distillery or Harrison’s Cave can be toured for around £50 and £10, respectively.

Though there are plenty of upmarket dining options on the island, Barbados is also an exceptionally affordable place to dine out if you explore and plan accordingly. Street food is ever-present, tasty and well-priced – and best showcased every Friday in the town of Oistins at the ‘Fish Fry’ – while the towns have an abundance of reasonably priced sit-down restaurants to add to the food stalls and rum shacks.

Where to stay

The All Seasons Resort is located near the island’s famed Platinum Coast, but its location set back from the beach makes it a cheaper alternative to the glitzy beachfront resorts. The focal point is a large outdoor pool, around which comes dashes of quintessential Barbados – from swaying palm trees to colourful huts used as suites – as well as its own section of shuttle-accessed shore, complete with a complimentary beach house.

Trinidad and Tobago

Tobago, the smaller island, lies 22 miles northeast of Trinidad
Tobago, the smaller island, lies 22 miles northeast of Trinidad (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are some of the most southerly in the Caribbean, sitting just off the coast of Venezuela. And while they have been subject to the influences of Spanish and British rule over the last centuries, the most enduring aspect of their culture remains the fusion of African, Indian and Caribbean heritage and tradition.

Smaller Tobago is geared to the kind of tourism associated with the Caribbean – think seaside resorts, water sports and cocktails on the beach – while Trinidad, more developed and home to the country’s main cities, Port of Spain and San Fernando, is the place to discover Trinidadian culture and the abundant wildlife of the tropical rainforest.

Both islands offer an array of affordable options for dining, with hearty Trinidadian cuisine available from a range of stalls, low-cost eateries and reasonably priced restaurants. More upscale restaurants will be slightly cheaper than their UK counterparts, but meals in the more basic restaurants and buffets can be priced as low as £5.

There are plenty of well-priced activities, such as hiking in the Northern Range or turtle-watching at Grand Riviere. Car rental, one of the best ways to explore the various towns and the magnificent North Coast Road, is available from as low as £25 per day, while boat tours and trips to nearby reefs can be found from just £20 for a two-hour excursion.

Where to stay

The BRIX Autograph Collection is an elegant contemporary hotel in Port of Spain, centred around a fabulous pool and terrace area and offering rooms that are spacious and modern (with sweeping views over the surrounding hills).


Grenada is known as the Isle of Spice
Grenada is known as the Isle of Spice (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Grenada is most famous for exporting spices such as nutmeg, but this small island nation is home to a range of activities that belies its modest size. Visit the capital, St George’s, and spend time in a picturesque settlement surrounded by verdant hills and fronted by an idyllic harbour, or lie on any of the beaches, such as Grand Anse or Morne Rouge. For the more adventurous, the Grand Etang National Park offers free hiking and trekking opportunities throughout its mountainous slopes, waterfalls and lake.

Return flights to Grenada are available from under £550, especially if you can avoid visiting during high season between December and April. Rental apartments can be found for around £30 per night in the shoulder and low seasons, with mid-range hotels coming in around £100.

Many of the island’s best activities involve exploring the outdoors, much of which comes at little to no cost (for example, the Grand Etang park charges an admission fee of around £3). Casual dining will be slightly more expensive than other Caribbean islands but far cheaper than at home, with meals at inexpensive restaurants often costing the equivalent of less than £10.

Where to stay

Choose the Blue Horizons Garden Resort, a convenient location near St George’s that combines affordability with the beautiful surroundings of tropical rainforest and verdant hills. Rooms are pared-back, with the pool and terrace ideal for some relaxation away from the beaches.

St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts and Nevis is one of the smallest countries in the region
St Kitts and Nevis is one of the smallest countries in the region (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

St Kitts and Nevis is another dual-island nation, with these two separated by a two-mile strait called The Narrows. This is a laid-back, accessible island known equally for the welcoming nature of its inhabitants as it is the rolling hills that slope into the azure waters of its beaches (the best of which include Lovers, Cockleshell and Pinney’s).

The island’s main settlement is the capital, Basseterre; aside from this built-up area the majority of St Kitts is covered in dense vegetation, with a series of palm-fringed beaches dotted throughout.

St Kitts is one of the cheaper Caribbean destinations to reach, with flights from the UK available for just over £500 return (though routes require short stopovers in Antigua). Once there, many of the best activities are free anyway, whether you want to learn about the country’s history at Bloody Point and Independence Square, reach the summit of Mount Liamuiga or explore Brimstone Hill Fortress national park. For eating and drinking out, meals at £10 or under can easily be found across the island, with seafood often the dish of choice.

Where to stay

The Royal St Kitts Hotel houses a series of spacious suites located in Frigate Bay, less than 10 minutes’ drive from the capital. Guests can enjoy easy beach access, a sophisticated pool and terrace area and any of the four dining options, including Indian, Caribbean and grill cuisine.

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