More often adored for cold weather lures rather than hot weather tours, a summer vacation in the Caribbean is easier on the wallet and a great way to audition an island before spending the big bucks for a winter vacation. There’s no shortage of beach chairs, the best seats in the house are waiting at top-notch restaurants and hotels are dishing up deals. Check out our summer sales and swap those backyard barbecues and buggy city nights for beach bargains and breezy trade winds.
Jamaica is a great choice during the summer with nonstop flights from the U.S. and affordable hotel and resort rooms from high-end to no-frills. On the south coast, family-owned Jakes on Treasure Beach has oodles of charm in cottages painted in a rainbow of colors. Referring to summer discounts as their “killa rates,” one-night stays dip as low as $90 in July and August with one night free with a 5-night stay. Far from the towering resorts on the northwest coast, the artsy hotel is right on the beach with bungalows so close to the sea you can fish from the deck.
Perched on the limestone cliffs of Negril, The Caves is offering ‘Carefree Summer’ with four nights for the price of three and perks like a flask of Blackwell rum, cocktail classes, cliff diving and a candle-lit dinner. Upscale in Ocho Rios, Jamaica Inn invites with nightly rates starting at $339 and free nights when 4, 7 or 14 are booked. At the exclusive Half Moon in Montego Bay, you’ll get 10% discounts on 4-night stays and a free night with a 7-night stay. If you’re in Montego Bay July 15-21, Reggae Sumfest is the largest music festival in the Caribbean jam-packed with dancehall and reggae concerts.
As cleanup following the 2017 storms continues, the island is inviting tourists to take advantage of a myriad of savings. With no passport needed and a parade of affordable flights, hotels are discounting room rates during the summer. In San Juan, a night at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel Casino including a daily $25 credit goes for $229 with a 3-night stay, 40% less than winter rates. At the San Juan Marriott Resort Stellaris Casino, nightly rates through the end of August start at $239, 30% less than what you’d pay during the winter. At the hip La Concha in Condado, ‘Turn Up Your Weekend’ nightly rates start at $224 with 15% off drinks at the Lobby Bar. Discounts on tours come with the “Summer Experience” at Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort with nightly rates of $219 through the end of August. Affordable air and hotel packages bookable via cheapcaribbean.com include a 4-night stay at the Intercontinental San Juan for $629; and for those booking via Expedia or Travelocity, look for rooms discounted up to 20%. Family-friendly, nightly rates through the end of September at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf Beach Resort start at $169. which is $100 cheaper than during the winter. Included in a 3-night stay is a $50 resort credit that can be used in the spa, on the golf course or at the restaurants.
Snorkeling is also on sale with 6-hour trips to Culebra going for the rock bottom price of $92; and for $68, hop a catamaran to the Cordillera Cays Nature Reserve, a string of ten islands on the east coast of the island, sailgetaway.com
Test-driving luxury is delightfully affordable during the summer on the British isle across the sea from St. Maarten. On the beach called Shoal Bay East next to the Fountain Cavern National Park, Zemi Beach House Resort Spa is the elegant newcomer with expansive suites, rum bar, spa, dining on the beach and free nights when a 4 or 7 night stay is booked. Savings are substantial at a place where high-season rates can be as high as $1,450. Stays include round-trip sea shuttle from St. Maarten and a sumptuous breakfast buffet at 20 Knots overlooking the sea. Also offering luxe for less, The Reef by CuisinArt is the star attraction on Merrywing Bay. Through August 18, summer rates start at $340; 50% lower than winter rates. Worth the splurge, a top tier Deluxe Beachfront Junior Suite goes for $536 per night during the summer for a 7-night stay, compared to $929 during high-season. Sweetening the summer pot, stay for 4 and pay for 3 or book a 7-night stay and 2 nights are on the house. Breakfast is included. The island’s only golf course is next door, massages are poolside and sips and snacks are stellar at Breezes and The Yacht Club restaurant. At the Four Seasons Resort Anguilla, book 5 nights and pay for 4 with summer rates, nearly 50% cheaper than what you’ll pay during peak season.
For foodies, or at least those who like mangoes, the summer is the best time to visit the petite isle across the channel from Saint Kitts. From July 5 – 8, Mango and Food Festival salutes the juicy fruit that grows on the island with chefs slicing and dicing the national treasure. Lodging is affordable, including the top-shelf AAA Five Diamond Four Seasons Nevis with the fourth night on the house and nightly rates in a Nevis Peak View Room starting at $319 including breakfast and a $250 resort credit; quite the reduction from the $995 rate the same room gets in high-season. High above the Caribbean Sea in the foothills of Nevis Peak, Relais Chateaux Montpelier Plantation is offering nightly rates in a Premier Room at the ridiculously low price of $150; that same room during the December holidays goes for $455. More beach bargains at the Nisbet Plantation where nightly rates including breakfast for two start at $231, $210 less than what you’d pay during the winter.
Turks and Caicos Islands
You’ll pay more than a pretty penny during the winter for a room with a view along the 12-mile marquee Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales. Quite the opposite during the summer at The Sands at Grace Bay where $210 nightly rates won’t break the bank and the “stay for 7 and pay for 5” suits families on a budget. With savings of nearly 30% from heftier high season rates, the 114-room resort is right on the beach in six three-story buildings that stand no higher than a palm tree. Upping the ante, there’s Hemingway’s, island-famous for big breakfasts and generous pours and complimentary kayaks, snorkel gear and bikes for exploring the small island. At the swanky Shore Club on Long Bay Beach (less crowded than Grace Bay and just as pretty), rates for spacious suites go for 20% less during the summer compared to high season stays.
The island is up and running after Hurricane Irma’s unwanted arrival last year with more than 1,000 hotel rooms and 46 villas open, many flights back on track, cruise ships at the pier, hundr of happy hours and summer sales in full swing. For vacationers on a budget, the studios and suites at the Simpson Bay Resort are a great deal during the summer with a week in a suite that sleeps four going for $893. With a modern fully-equipped kitchen and the ginormous Market Garden supermarket a short stroll from the resort, families and friends save a few more shekels enjoying meals in the dining area or on the roomy balcony. Hollywood Casino is across the street and for foodies and night owls; there are plenty of restaurants, casinos, cafes, clubs and bars within walking distance.
“My personal favorites during the summer are driving around the island in a rented jeep that goes for $55 a day,” says May-Ling Chun, director, Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau, “I enjoy stopping at Mullet Bay Beach, digging into a snack at Karakter on Simpson Bay Beach and shopping in Philipsburg where many stores offer 20% discounts during the summer.” For island information, discounts and low-priced condo and villa rentals, everythingsxm.com, named for the code for the Princess Juliana International Airport, is one-stop-shopping for bargain hunters.
Courtesy of fewer tourists during the summer and six weekly nonstop flights from Miami via American Airlines, Martinique is a treasure chest of uber-affordable room rates and a colorful calendar of festivals. The summer sale is full of French flair in hotels like Bakoua in the charming area called Pointe-du-Bout with rooms as low as $141 per night, including breakfast, and La Pagerie with rates from $155 nightly until the end of September. Summer events include the Cultural Festival of Fort-de-France July 1-23; Martinique Tour Cycliste July 7 to 15; and Tour de la Martinique des Yoles Rondes, one of the biggest boating events in the Caribbean from July 29 to August 5.
The green islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are rolling out the welcome mat this summer with a brand new #NextStopGrenada campaign full of savings for hotel stays, attractions and scuba trips. Standout deals include Mount Cinnamon’s “Summer Family Fun” priced at $4,999 for 7-nights in a 2-bedroom villa including snorkel trips, babysitting and massages for mom and dad. At Le Phare Bleu on Petite Calivigny Bay, nightly rates in a one-bedroom seafront villa are $158 and for wallet-watchers, nightly rates at the comfy Siesta Hotel are uber-affordable at $89 in July and $119 in August. Gratis summer festivals include the Carriacou Regatta from August 3 – 6 and the big carnival blowout called Spice Mas from August 13 – 14.
Summer is on sale with hotel deals, snorkel tours and catamaran cruises. With summer rates that dip as low as 55% below winter rates, staying a few extra days is easy on the vacation bottom line. Showstoppers like Anse Chastanet tempts with nightly rates as low as $390, compared to $630 in high season and a “6 nights for the price of 5” summer deal. Next door at the knock-your-socks-off gorgeous Jade Mountain, summer rates in the Sky Jacuzzi suites and the swanky suites with infinity pools start at $1,110, compared to $1,480 for the same suites during high season. For those staying a bit longer, the fifth night is free.