Holidays are always a prime opportunity to let it all hang out and forget about everyday stress and obligations. Being a party animal or a simple partygoer might sometimes differ in intensity, but nonetheless you have to choose wisely in order to make the most of the limited time and money you often have to spend on vacations. Choosing short haul vs long haul destinations to go to sometimes is evident in itself but hypothetically if you are about to have the best time of your life partying where should you set sail to? Some of the strongest participants of this race are the Caribbean and Europe so we plan on finding out which one offers the most nighttime thrills.
Whenever our mind slips away to foreign lands and spectacular faraway destinations it is hard not to think about a tropical beach on the shore of one of the islands of the Caribbean. The powder-fine white sand, azure blue waters and tall palm trees swaying gently in the breeze, certainly put us in a relaxing mood perfect for daydreaming. The warm water of the Caribbean Sea as well as its marvelous natural sceneries have long been amongst the top places on earth for a beach holiday and without any exaggeration, most of those places on our list could compete for a photo entry to some dictionaries if the phrase ‘paradise on earth’ was mentioned. It’s really hard to distinguish amongst which beaches we consider best but nevertheless, here are some of our favourites!
The beauty of the Caribbean islands – on top of simply beautiful surroundings and brilliant weather – is its diversity. There are at least 28 island countries in the Caribbean spread across more than 7,000 islands. But, how do you figure out which one is the perfect one for you? Why do home birds go to St Kitts and resort-hunters head for Dominican Republic? We’ve got the lowdown on the Caribbean Islands so it’s easy to answer the question: Which Caribbean Island should I visit?
Cuba’s exotic rhythms and history give a sense of adventure to sun holidays in the Caribbean. Easily one of the most exciting islands, it is also the least changed or commercialised. Beaches are palm-lined, with white sand and sparkling water. Locals are friendly and are happy to help, rum flows freely and the island pulses to an internal rhythm like nowhere else. Great for: anyone who wants holidays with a sense of adventure.
Many of the islands now offer excellent budget getaways – thanks to an increase in affordable accommodations, food and shopping. And of course, the region’s biggest draw – those powdery white, pal tree-lined beaches – don’t have to cost a thing. We’ve compiled a guide to the Caribbean’s five most affordable destinations. Enjoy our 5 most affordable Caribbean Holidays.
Known as the Cancun of the Dominican Republic due to its huge amount of low-priced all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana is a bargain-hunters haven. Offering everything from oceanfront views to delicious international cuisine, this tourist hotspot is one of the cheapest escapes in the Caribbean.
Cancun’s cheap price tag is just one of its many draws. As one of the most popular Caribbean destinations, from weddings and honeymoons to family getaways and holidays with friends, Cancun has steadily become one of the most recognised names in the travel world. Although a less authentic Mexican experience (the purpose-built resort was built up from nothing), you’re guaranteed a successful holiday-to-remember, at a fraction of the price of many other destinations nearby.
Powdery soft sands, shimmering turquoise water, fresh seafood in abundance, and lots of rum cocktails – Puerto Rico offers travellers the chance to experience all the Caribbean has to offer. Like most Caribbean destinations, staying inside the city itself or the surrounding area are both suitable ways to holiday on the cheap. Goods are also ridiculously cheap, but be careful not to go overboard with so much on offer!
Laid back, breathtaking scenery and with the best coffee in the world, Jamaica is a popular tourist hotspot for obvious reasons. This island appeals to all types and although it may be a little pricier than say, Puerto Rico or the Bahamas, travellers shouldn’t have too much trouble finding cheap flights and cheap, but comfortable accommodation.
According to Frommer’s, “Puerto Plata appeals to a mass-market crowd that prefers less expensive, all-inclusive resorts.” This Dominican Republic resort town is a fantastic choice for those looking for an action-packed holiday – there’s plenty for travellers to do away from the hotel, from watersports in Cabarete to spectacular sights like the Damajaqua Cascades (27 Waterfalls).
Image by @ David Stanley
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, February
Carnival is perhaps the biggest and best known festival in the world. Most of the islands have their own events but the most hotly anticipated is the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The huge street party is held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It revolves around Calypso rhythms which start to pulsate early on the first day. Revellers bathed in oil and paint take to streets in elaborate costumes, decked out in feathers and beads and hit the streets to dance and move their hips to the calypso and soca music. Tuesday sees the parade itself with huge floats built to different themes each year. If you’re not on the parade route, you can head for one of the many other activities like steel drum concerts, community gatherings and calypso tents. Preparations start months in advance and it’s said that if islanders are not celebrating it, they are busy preparing it, or reminiscing about last years. Don’t expect any sleep for at least a few days as soon as carnival kicks off.
St Lucia Jazz Festival, May
Since its very first instalment in 1991, the St Lucia Jazz Festival has grown into one of the most well known festivals in the Caribbean and throughout the world. Every May the whole island dances to the jazz rhythms that fill the air. Massive, fantastic concerts are held at Pigeon Island, in an open air auditorium as well as in several other venues around the island. It draws huge names not just from the world of Jazz but lots of R&B and Calypso performers like Wyclef Jean, Smokey Robinson, Lauryn Hill and Santana.
Crop Over, Barbados, July
Usually during July and August, Bajans gather to celebrate the end of the sugar cane harvest… which becomes a 5 week party. The final delivery of cane sees the crowning of King and Queen of the Crop and the party really starts. There’s Cohobblopot, a massive carnival show with local music and Calypso is a main feature, with various prizes and titles on offer like Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch. The cherry on top is the Grand Kadooment, a huge parade with vibrant costumes and thousands of people dancing to Calypso rhythms, finishing with a swim at the beach. As they say themselves: ‘A grand end to a grand festival.’
Festival de Merengue, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July
Name checked in that famous Barry Manilow song, meringue has been a staple of life in Dominican Republic since… well, forever. The quick up-tempo rhythm is found everywhere, from the supermarkets to the capital and kids learn to meringue almost before they can walk. This is why the annual Merengue Festival is unsurprisingly such a hit. It sees the capital Santo Domingo come to life, with open air stages, huge sound systems, and thousands of people dancing in the street. A must dance festival!
St. Patrick’s Day, Montserrat, March
It’s not just the Irish who throw legendary parties in honour of St Patrick. The tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat likes to forget about its hurricanes and throw a week long party to mark all things green. St. Patrick’s Day in Montserrat has a special importance, not only to the large Irish Catholic population that settled there in the 1630s, but also as the commemoration of the slave uprising on that day in 1768. There you’ll find Calypso music mixed with Ceili dancing, children decked out in green, and a festival atmosphere, as well as guest lectures and historical tours.
Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, July
The sun soaked country of Jamaica is famous for its contribution to music; it’s the birthplace of Reggae after all, made famous by Bob Marley. And what better place to enjoy it than in the sun drenched city of Montego Bay that throws a 4 day party to celebrate? Every July crowds gather to dance, sing, and enjoy the sounds of reggae and its variations, ska, dub and dancehall at the huge Reggae Sumfest. Drawing the biggest Jamaican names like Toots and the Maytals, Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley and Beenie Man as well as international headliners like Sean Paul, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, the 4 day blowout is the summer party.
Book your cheap holiday to the Caribbean festivals with (ABTA member) Purple Travel
Summer is still months away and it seems the list of short-haul destinations for winter sun are getting slim. If you still want to get away on a moderate budget, the Caribbean is the best alternative. We’ve narrowed down the most worth-while places to enjoy the best value Caribbean holidays. Light on the wallet but heavy on fun!
Dominican Republic – Punta Cana
The fantastic climate, coupled with excellent standard all-inclusive resorts, long sandy beaches, and moderate prices makes the Dominican Republic the destination of choice for a Caribbean holiday. The resort of Punta Cana is on the South-East side of the Island and is home to Bavaro – a stunning stretch of white sand beach leading into turquoise waters. If you’re looking at Dominican as an option, paying a slight premium to stay on this stunning shore as opposed to Puerto Plata is well worth it.
Cuba – Varadero
This beautiful island is not only the birthplace of the refreshing Mojito – it is the place to be if you’re looking to experience an incredible culture coupled with stunning beaches. Because of the vast size of the island, it is difficult to get to Havana’s gorgeous architecture if you’re staying anywhere other than Varadero. If you don’t want to compromise between a beach getaway of a lifetime and an unforgettable cultural experience, then Varadero is definitely the place for you. The abundance of reasonably-priced all inclusive resorts in this area are sure to delight you.
Jamaica – Negril
Jamaica is the place for lush landscapes, long sandy beaches, and fantastic nightlife. If you want it all, Jamaica is the definite must-see. Negril is the most popular tourist resort in the area. Located on the West Coast, here you will find all the famous Jamaican all-inclusive hotels lined along the 7-mile sandy beach. The abundance of shops, restaurants and bars in Negril are sure to keep every day as action-packed or as lazy as you want.
Mexico – Cancun
Cancun is a favourite destination for the entire family. Couples will love the luxurious all-inclusive hotels in the area, fantastic Mexican cuisine, and the stunning stretches of sandy beach. For the party animals, Cancun has a reputation for some of the liveliest nightlife in the Caribbean, which makes it a favourite spot for North Americans during their school holidays. Your little ones will be entertained by all the organized activities on the beach and the wide array of facilities for children at the hotels. Excursions are also widely available – a favourite being the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza, which are well worth the trip.
These destinations rank top for budget and value, but many other Caribbean islands are worth seeing if you can afford the premium price. St. Lucia and Barbados are top choices, as well as St. Maarten, Aruba, the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos just to name a few. For more information on the best value Caribbean holidays visit our website or give us a ring on 0207 993 9228.
Viva Mexico! As the locals usually exclaim and a brief look at this spectacular place is enough to convince us of its uniqueness and charm. Bordered by the warm Caribbean Sea on the east and the imposing but beautiful Pacific Ocean on the west, Mexico is a land full of contrast which covers everything a traveler could ask for. From a busy city break to Mexico City where everything happens to a relaxed holiday in Cancun by the crystal clear sea, the places to see and things to do are almost endless. Nonetheless, before you start thinking about your perfect holidays in Mexico, read on and learn a bit more about some of the best destinations to visit.
The densely forested St. Lucia is a tropical paradise! Long a popular destination for honeymoon and family holidays, this small exotic island in the Caribbean Sea is definitely something that you have to witness at least once in a lifetime. As such, we have compiled 5 of the best places to see during your St Lucia holidays to make your visit even more of an event to cherish.
Going on a family holiday is one of the occasions where you finally get the chance to enjoy the company of the most significant persons in your life while at the same time enjoying a great change of scenery. However, before you book and start preparing the family for the best holiday yet, you have to keep in mind certain things. Organising a family holiday can be a challenge, but effectively it could boil down to two questions. So in order to share some of our passion in travelling, along with our experience in doing so with our children, we have decided to share some tips, tricks and destinations to make planning your family holidays in 2016 more pleasurable and easy than ever.
With over 1000km of beaches around its shores, the island of Crete is as close to paradise as a Mediterranean island could get. The stunning beaches and diversity of sights make for an unforgettable destination if you are up for beach holidays in Crete, providing you with some of the most spectacular settings that you could witness, let alone explore. Delve into our guide top up your tan and discover your perfect summer getaway!