Dutch territory, the island of Curaçao sits between its smaller siblings Aruba and Bonaire just north of Venezuela, offering tourists a picturesque old port, budget guest houses and apartments along with the posh beach resorts, a large airport with many low-cost competing flights, small but lovely little beaches, good snorkeling and diving, and traditional summer storms seem to pass the Dutch Caribbean by so summer holidays in the region are unusually feasible. Best weather from December to August.
Trindad’s little brother offers great value beach holidays, as well as excellent diving, fair snorkeling and masses of unspoilt rainforest that’s home to a lot of unusual birdlife.
This is one of the least developed Caribbean islands, no mega-resorts, few cruise ships, no fuss. More like a fantasy desert island than the frequent concrete Caribbean reality.
Locals are relaxed and friendly, not at all like their more commercial cousins on other islands.
Few flights are direct but accommodation and other living costs can be very cheap.
Best weather is, unusually, from January to June.
10) Grand Cayman
The Cayman Islands are unusually efficient for the Caribbean and comparisons between Grand Cayman island and Miami are not uncommon. The weather is brilliant in season, food is sumptuous (sadly rare in cruise-ship dominated Caribbean these days), Seven Mile Beach is one of the Caribbean’s best beaches and scuba diving features large along the coast, both for pros on the reefs and amateurs getting flocked by flat pack beasts in Stingray City.
The Cayman Islands are geographically dull but offer excellent value stay-dive package holidays in the shoulder seasons, guest houses, rental cottages and condos.
Best weather from December to April.
The Bahamas was a contender as it’s very easy and cheap to reach from USA, but it lacks low cost hotels and is not actually in the Caribbean! Nor is Bermuda.
Runners-up in the Carribean/Caribian budget race (as it’s occasionally but incorrectly spelled! )
St Maarten, Montserrat.