Okay, so your looking to find out what to expect when travelling around the Caribbean Islands.
Well you’ve come to the right place!
Ever wondered what it would be like to hook your hammock up between two swaying palm trees whilst you stare out to a postcard, picture perfect beach with stunning white sand and mesmerising turquoise waters…yes?
Well let’s dive in and discover these top tips that will allow for a more relaxing and better informed trip around the Caribbean.
#1. Book in advance
Depending on what type of holiday you are looking to have whether it be a luxurious, relaxing time away or looking for adventure and to explore the natural beauty of the islands, making sure to book in advance is essential.
Peak season is generally from December to May so airlines and hotels will hike their prices up due to the amount of tourists looking to travel here. So it’s always advisable to book your trip to the Caribbean at least 6-9 months before so that you can pay up for your holiday but also raise your spending money whilst your there.
The off-season usually runs from June through to November, this is the wet season for the Caribbean so it tends to deter people from booking at this time. Here hoteliers and airlines will drop their prices so you should be able to pick up a bargain and get more for your money.
#2. Choose the right time of year
The Caribbean has a tropical climate year round.
With the peak season comes the best weather. During December through to May you can expect temperatures ranging from 25°C to 29°C. The weather at this time is sunny, warm and less humid.
During off-season and especially over the summer months, you can expect rainfall and a lot of it. Temperatures don’t change too much, maybe increasing to around 31°C but it’s the hurricanes that you need to be wary of. These tend to form mostly at the end of August into September.
If you are looking to get the best in the weather and make your more money go further, I would advise to travel during the months of April or May.
#3. Choose the right island
This all comes down to what type of holiday you are looking for and your budget essentially.
With all the Caribbean islands, you can expect adventure and relaxation by sipping over Pina Coladas on a beach at the same time.
With more people travelling to Cuba now more than ever, prices are tending to creep up but it’s definitely a place to visit to experience the culture.
Airlines prices are one of the main expenses to consider when travelling to the Caribbean. There are some islands that are easier and cheaper to get to than others for example you would pay less getting to one of the larger islands such as Cuba or Jamaica compared to smaller islands such as Dominica or Aruba as some smaller islands will need connecting flights.
#4. Travelling between islands
If you fancy checking out a few (or even all) of the Caribbean islands, a ferry will work out a lot cheaper compared to flying. Getting the ferry also allows for impromptu views along the way make for a delightful journey.
If you have rented a car, taking a ferry is obviously more practical, but you will likely need to book this service well in advance so be sure to plan ahead.
If you feel the urge to get to each island in the quickest time frame, flying is your best option but just make sure that when island hopping, that you carry a valid passport. When travelling around the Caribbean islands you will need to pass through customs each time you enter a new island nation.
#5. Go on a cruise
Going on a cruise is an excellent way of getting to see many of the Caribbean islands.
You can have your accommodation, transportation and meals all brought into one affordable rate that is very cost-effective.
P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer incredible packages from just over £1,000 per person either departing from Southampton or you can get a flight to America and depart from there.
When booking a cruise, just have a look at what is included within your package as these can include shore excursions, specialty restaurant fees, gratuities and drinks.
#6. Check the local currency
There are around 14 different currencies across the Caribbean islands. Most of the countries have their own form of Dollar with most establishments accepting the US Dollar.
Although when travelling to a French Caribbean island such as Martinique or St.Barts, make sure your currency is Euro as they will not accept any form of the Dollar.
Check out further information on each specific island here.
However, with ATM’s and most places accepting card, you can pay by MasterCard or Visa.
#7. Look for freebies
When booking a resort, hotel or villa, one of the most common promotions that is on offer is a ‘free night’ with a certain required minimum stay for example, ‘stay 6 nights and get the seventh night free’.
When staying at your hotel or resort, ask at the reception if they have any discounts for restaurants or water sport vendors in the area, most hotels have an agreement between them and local businesses.
Look out for these certain promotions and you will certainly get more for your money.
#8. Use public transport
Most of the Caribbean islands have local bus routes that serve most of the main cities, towns and villages. As the locals use this form of transport every day, it’s a very inexpensive way to travel around.
These buses are usually small, colourful vans but just bear in mind that they may not stick to strict timekeeping as once a bus is full, it will head off to its next destination.
If you are looking to travel to a certain beach or area that is off-road, the bus will be able to drop you to the nearest place to that but you many have to walk the rest of the journey.
#9. Travel around in a car rental
If you would rather have your own vehicle to get around and even go off the beaten track at times, you can check out one of the car rental companies. You can generally pick your car up from the airport once you leave arrivals.
It is often best to arrange your car rental as far in advance as possible – not only will you get a cheaper deal but you will also have peace of mind knowing you have guaranteed transport when travelling around the Caribbean islands.
#10. Go camping
If you feel the urge to go off-grid and experience the natural surroundings in full, camping is another amazing choice.
Whilst camping isn’t an option on some islands, there are many places available where you can set up camp and enjoy the outdoors such as Puerto Rico or the US and British Virgin Islands.
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