There’s a very good reason that Caribbean vacations are extremely popular: The islands of the Caribbean are filled with breathtaking beaches, crystalline waters and fascinating wildlife, not to mention flocks of international visitors. What’s more, the region’s different islands are as diverse as they are beautiful. Use this Caribbean Travel Web Guide to explore the wealth of travel opportunities in the Caribbean. You'll also find trip and itinerary help so you can create a Caribbean paradise vacation quickly and easily.
You can sink your feet into the powdery white sand of Aruba, the volcanic black sand of St. Kitts, or the pink beaches of the Bahamas. You can swim in the bio-luminescent bays of Puerto Rico, scuba dive with the sea turtles of the Cayman Islands, hike through the rain forest of Dominica, or gaze upon the stunning deserts of Bonaire. The sites below offer background information and a selection of the magnificent prospects of a Caribbean vacation.
- The Web sites in this section provide comprehensive information on Caribbean travel, including attractions, and hotel and restaurant advice. Revisit these sites throughout your vacation planning process, and see the “Where will I stay?” section below for additional online resources to help you find and book your Caribbean accommodations.
- Watch out for the advertisements on many sites—ads are often well disguised, and tourism sites are especially likely to have ads throughout.
For a general overview …
is from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. This is a good place to start to get inspiration and information about a trip to the Caribbean. Choose an island of interest from the “Places to go” pull down menu or pick an activity or special occasion (such as “golfing” or “honeymoon”) from the “Things to do” pull down menu to find information to help you start planning your trip.
Segisys’ Caribbean Guide
is an excellent source for general information about the Caribbean, detailing its history, food, art and entertainment, and more. Start by clicking on a topic of interest, often you’ll get only a few paragraphs to introduce you to each topic (such as attractions). Make sure to take a look at the menu to the left side of the page to get more specifics (in the “Attractions” section this would be beaches by region, casinos, and more). You’ll learn what sorts of vacations are available to you, and what attractions are worth visiting. This site also gives practical information, such as typical weather, and advice on how to get around.
focuses on the Caribbean as a whole, and has less information on individual islands. The site, which is run by a travel agency, is organized by topic, such as nightlife, attractions, restaurants, and shopping. Under each topic, various articles and personal reviews appear, with an emphasis on the specific islands that excel in each category. This is beneficial if you are not sure where you want to go in the Caribbean, but do know which activities are most important to you.
is a good place to begin learning about the Caribbean. Produced by guidebook writers, the site is full of first-hand advice. This short passage gives you an overview of how to decide which Caribbean island to visit. Use the “Pick an Island” tool in the left-hand sidebar to discover general information and features of each, and to link to each island’s official tourism site. Also see “Our Travel Websites” to link to www.CaribbeanFamilyTripper.com
, among others.
To learn about the Caribbean islands …
is the popular travel-guide publisher, with a great introductory travel guide to the Caribbean. The interactive map on the homepage lights up whenever you click on an island, which makes learning the geography of the region easy. This site shows you every island in the Caribbean, and offers an overview of each one, providing information on culture, money, and transportation. There are beautiful images of the islands throughout the site as well.
The New York Times
travel section recently featured "Affordable Caribbean," an extensive resource for 13 of the islands. The feature includes several articles touting hotels, restaurants, and activities on the selected islands; an interactive map linking to locations and corresponding amenities; and swoon-worthy photos.
is an online travel guide specifically for the region. Click on an island of interest, and you’ll find details of to everything you’ll need or want to know, including key features, beaches, what to pack, and more. There is even a “Caribbean Island Search”
that lets you select the qualities that are most important to you, such as “Large, sandy beaches.” The site then ranks Caribbean islands for you based on your preferences.
excels in its descriptions of places to go on each island and the clean design of the site to help you navigate. In addition to standard restaurant and hotel information, the site offers a few unique details. Click on an individual island and Fodor’s tells you when to go, the top four reasons to go, the best beaches on the island as well as other features specific to the region.
caters to many of your Caribbean island needs through customized searches. The design of this site isn’t pretty, but you can find hotels, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and press releases for whichever island you choose. You can also specify your price range, along with additional personal preferences. Each island has an interactive map that allows you to explore beaches or entertainment centers through a panoramic view of the area.
depends on traveler input for its vast amount of content. Users upload travel photos, create blogs chronicling their journeys, review accommodations, and generally aide their Web-surfing peers in achieving a better understanding of the locations they’ve visited. Visit the “Central America/Caribbean Blogs” section and choose the countries that interest you to view illustrated diaries of others’ experiences.
The Caribbean, a chain of over 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays, is sometimes referred to as the West Indies. Made up of 12 independent countries as well as a number of British, French, U.S., and Dutch jurisdictions, the Caribbean is a vast and diverse region. The Internet can help you understand the history of the area, and inform you on what to look out for before you go. These sites highlight traditions, customs, safety concerns, and much more.
- For a list of the countries and territories that comprise the Caribbean, consult Aneki an online almanac, which provides a list of countries, along with brief facts detailing each of the three regions: The Greater Antilles comprises the four largest Antilles islands (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico); The Lesser Antilles consist of The U.S. and British Virgin Islands and the Windward (Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada) and Leeward (Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla) Islands; The Bahamas is the third region. WorldAtlas provides a helpful map.
- Caribbean countries differ in their monetary systems. CaribSeek Encyclopedia has a list of the islands and their associated currency. Once you know the currency of the island you are visiting, you can use Oanda to convert currency.
- In addition to visiting the sites in this section, make sure to consult the findingDulcinea Travel Guide for general information directed at Americans going overseas. You’ll find sites with information on visas, passports, security and safety, as well as other general resources to help you prepare for your journey, whether you’re looking for packing tips or insurance sites like InsureMyTrip.
For official documents, entry and exit requirements, and health and safety advice …
The U.S. Department of State
presents a comprehensive guide called “Background Notes” that covers every country in the world for the benefit of travelers. These guides are updated frequently, and offer an encyclopedic rundown of a country with basic background information. After exploring the link above, take a look at the “Consular Information Sheets
” page, which explains the foreign entry requirements for every country, including vaccination and visa specifications.
discusses customs requirements to keep in mind when traveling to the Caribbean. For example, you “may bring up to two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes to the Caribbean islands,” and “You are allowed to bring home up to 200 cigarettes and 100 non-Cuban cigars from a CBI country.”
For history …
The National Archives
of the UK offers a concise, general history of the Caribbean with a focus on the British Caribbean. Despite the British focus, this is a comprehensive run-down, with plenty of information on the region as a whole. The history covers the British takeover of the islands through slavery, and details the development of 20th century transitions.
In this section we highlight sites to help you book a vacation package and flight, and to show you how to get from here to there smoothly.
- The benefit to using smaller, lesser-known flight search engines specializing in the Caribbean is that they often feature one-stop travel planning, and may offer special deals and packages. In addition, these sites often alert you about Caribbean events and holidays.
- Refer to our findingDulcinea Travel Guide for more resources and transportation options. Look for transportation deals that allow you the most flexibility with the fewest penalties. Leaving yourself some time to linger longer than you intended is important—you may fall in love with a place and want to stay an extra day or two. Explore the possibility of an open-ended ticket on the flight or cruise sites you visit. Expedia offers such tickets on its site.
- When available, talk to the customer service representatives of the sites you are using to ensure you know all your options, and to confirm your itinerary.
- If you want to learn more about traveling within the Caribbean, see the next section of this guide, “How will I get around?” for transportation options specific to intra-Caribbean travel.
For one-stop travel planning …
provides a Travelocity-powered hotel search tool and detailed information on hotels in each of the islands. Click on the island you’re visiting to learn which airlines fly there, what airports are available, what the entry requirements are, and more. Be advised that the site is hosted by the Caribbean Hotel Association's (CHA) publishing division, and that of the 1,103 properties reviewed, 865 are CHA members
has a plethora of information on getting to the Caribbean, and lets you book hotels, flights, cars, activities, and packages directly through the site. You’ll also find maps, forums, and traveler reviews.
For flight search engines …
is a huge travel agent with similar services to those previously mentioned, and an emphasis on finding inexpensive flights. A simple interface shows all of your flight route options, and a convenient "flexible date" option helps find the lowest prices on flights. Expedia also provides a hotel search, including detailed descriptions of amenities, rooms, dining facilities, and policies, accompanied by user reviews, ratings, and photos. The substantial "Deals by Destination" section is definitely worth a look.
is a U.K.-based site with a clean design and fresh approach to flight, hotel, and car rental search. The site trawls more than 140 airline providers and airline search engines to compile its data. Kayak includes large airlines and small airlines to ensure the best rates and flight availabilities.
Accommodation choices in the Caribbean range from bare bones to beyond luxurious. Below, we’ve featured sites to help you book your island lodging, no matter how much you want to spend.
- If you’re traveling with a large group, it may be more economical to rent a condo or guesthouse. Even a villa rental can be cheaper than booking several hotel rooms.
- While many accommodation sites now have adequate photography of hotel rooms, try to supplement your research by reading user reviews of hotels on sites like Sleep and Tell.
For a basic accommodation search …
allows you to search by individual island, or through the entire Caribbean for accommodations. The site gives a brief description of each place as well as pricing information. You can search by accommodation type: for example, look for bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, retreats, hotels and resorts, timeshares, vacation rentals, or youth hostels.
For luxury accommodations …
of the World offers listings for five-star hotels and spas from around the world. The site includes photos, brief descriptions, and, in most cases, booking options. You can also plan a luxury vacation using their online vacation planner. Be advised that not all Caribbean islands host a Leading Hotel of the World, so not all islands are covered on the site.
For budget travel …
is a large database of hostel room listings worldwide, with a section devoted to Mexico and Caribbean hostels. Head to one of those pages for a clean, uncluttered index of the cities and towns in which hostel listings can be found. The site also benefits from “brutally honest” comments and reviews from users.
For blogs and forums about Caribbean accommodation …
as you would expect, specializes in the “warm islands,” the majority of which are found in the Caribbean. The islands are separated into different regions: Eastern, Southern, and Western Caribbean. The site helps visitors maximize their island vacation through forums detailing personal experiences, and reviews. There is also information available for each island and for certain parts of each island.
offers helpful forums and reviews of accommodations throughout the Caribbean. The site lists all the Caribbean islands and includes subsections for each island such as “hotel review” or “travel tips.” Don’t be put off by the rudimentary design here: it makes the site easy to navigate.
provides reviews and stories for a number of Caribbean accommodations. While user comments are sporadic, you’ll occasionally stumble upon invaluable pieces of first-hand advice. You’ll also see photographs of the hotels, the average price of a room, and in many cases, “Stories” accompanying the hotel’s page, written by former guests.
is a relatively new site specializing in destination guides developed by a hired staff of travel writers. The site has an accommodation section that’s very useful for last-minute hotel and hostel deals. Browse the “Forum”
section to discuss travel ideas and experiences with other users. You have to register to use the site, but the service is free. You can use this site to share information about travels worldwide.
In addition to getting around on an individual island, you may also be inclined to hop from one Caribbean island to the next. Use this section of the guide to plan your inter-Caribbean voyaging in advance.
- Take note of independent sites that explain transportation or general travel issues. These sites are often created by seasoned travelers or residents of a particular place, and generally do not have promotional intentions.
- As with any online transaction, it’s wise to get in touch with a representative from the site, either by phone or e-mail. This is especially true for intra-Caribbean travel, as flexibility and open-endedness are often part of the experience. Learn what restrictions your tickets have, and ask about special offers, which are often available for students, children, seniors, and groups.
- For bike rentals, your best bet is to ask around when you get to the island. There are many small bike rental shops not featured on the Internet. Your hotel may have bikes to borrow, or advice about where to look.
- Even if you can’t book now or want to leave your travel options open, it’s smart to get a sense of what travel throughout the Caribbean will be like once you’re there.
For air travel …
serves a number of destinations throughout the Caribbean, in addition to its international flights, which travel to New York and London. Click “Plan My Trip” in the top toolbar to access a route map, as well as a timetable showing which routes are available on each day of the week. The airline touts a 92% “On Time Performance” rate, and offers a tool to help you calculate your carbon output for your flight.
only handles travel within the Caribbean. This regional airline has flights to 22 eastern Caribbean destinations, with service stretching from Santo Domingo to Guyana, and advertises special offers and clearance sales on its site.
is the official national airline of the Bahamas, and services numerous locations in the Caribbean. Consult the Route Map (in the top toolbar) to see your options; this airline should cover your bases if you are planning to spend your Caribbean vacation in the area of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Florida.
For bicycle travel …
provides up-front, quick descriptions and pricing for travel tours, with listings available in dozens of Caribbean destinations. You can book your tour directly through the site. We recommend that you surf around GORP, as this is one of the best specialty adventure travel sites available, offering user reviews of equipment, accommodation, and transportation, much of which is relevant to travel in the Caribbean. Be sure to check out “Top Caribbean Trips,” which lists many adventures, not just bicycle-bound trips.
For cruises …
is a cruise search engine that covers several major cruise lines including Holland America Line, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean, all of which operate Caribbean-specific cruises out of ports such as Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and San Juan. Use the search engine on the right-hand side of the page to find cruises based on your desired locations. Take note of other areas of the site, such as “Group Cruises” and “Last Minute Cruises,” both listed at the top of the page.
gives you advice from the traveler’s point of view, with written reviews and ratings of cruises worldwide. Visit the “All About Caribbean” section to learn more about potential cruise routes and regions. The “Find a Cruise
” option allows you to book through the site. Be sure to check out the “Features”
section, with tools like “Ask the Editor” and special articles on cruise-related safety issues, particularly weather.
For car rental …
can be particularly helpful because it indicates exactly which car companies are listed on each island, and links you to each company’s site to make a booking. This site reveals the laws and regulations of each country, and provides some tips for navigating the terrain of each island.
supplies rental car services for each island in the Caribbean. Try the “online car rental” tool to find and book a vehicle in the island you’ll visit. The site feels a bit disorganized, but does offer useful suggestions for each island, including driving and rental rules.
is a great resource if you simply want advice on which car rental company to use. Unlike the previous sites, Definitive Caribbean suggests which rental service you should use for each island (though not every island is listed). In most cases, the site links you to whichever car rental company it recommends.
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