There’s no doubt that the Caribbean has a reputation as one of the most glamorous and desirable destinations in the world. But the assumption that all the islands are expensive is simply not true – yes, it is possible to explore the Caribbean on a budget in 2014!
If I had only one piece of advice, it would be to get to Cuba quick! This fascinating island boasts both the largest and most historical city in Havana – where 1960s American cars patrol the boulevards lined with faded colonial-era buildings and where young lovers hang out on the historical El Malecon. Havana is also brimming with engaging museums, palaces and galleries.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
A perennial favourite, the Dominican Republic time and again tops the best-buy lists especially if you browse the dealchecker Caribbean holidays on offer. Punta Cana remains the most popular resort, probably thanks to its pristine beaches, superb hotels and wide array of watersports on offer. Culture buffs will be in their element too as this island gem is laden with historic colonial architecture.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
I love Jamaica, and not just because of the Bob Marley connection - although I am a huge fan! It exudes a unique atmosphere within its carnivals, food and culture. Jamaica again shot to attention around the time of the London Olympics in 2012, thanks to one Usain Bolt! Chill out in Montego Bay where you can snorkel the colourful coral reefs and swim with dolphins by day and sway to the sultry reggae beats by night. Oh and Nine Mile (where Bob Marley grew up) is an absolute must!
Looking for a lively but budget friendly Caribbean destination? Then look no further than Cancun – with its incredible ancient Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial towns, heritage tours are a popular option. Hang out in the Old Town by night which boasts a lively array of nightclubs and bars. But opt to stay in the Hotel Zone, which is packed with stunning beaches and superb scuba facilities. And to make the most of your travel budget, opt for an all-inclusive break, which prove excellent value.
I went to Barbados a couple of years ago and the best news is that you don’t need a Sandy Lane budget! Avoid the peak period between December and April and you can actually visit this this tropical island relatively cheaply. Swaying palm trees, azure blue seas and powder-white beaches are ubiquitous. Barbados also packs an impressive punch culturally with its British colonial history providing fascinating architectural sights. Oh and the island-brewed rum is not to be missed either!