Travelling around the Caribbean and island hopping from one place to another isn’t just for wealthy tourists on a cruise or adventurous gap year students. The beautiful beaches and relaxed culture can be experienced by anyone of any age. You can book one of the best luxury Caribbean homes and spend your time relaxing. Or get out and enjoy what the islands have to offer. But knowing the best ways to get from one place to another can be difficult. You don’t want to spend a fortune trying to visit some of the harder to reach places. And island hopping isn’t as easy or straightforward as people think. This article describes the best ways to travel around the Caribbean.
Before We Start:
Let me make something perfectly clear before we jump into this article. It’s almost impossible to start on one island and then travel around from one to the next to the other side of the Caribbean. The distances between some are large and boats may not pass between places on a regular basis. And you may not be able to find a convenient boat from one place to the next and need a transit. Remember that there are thousands of islands that you can choose from. Not only will you face logistical problems, you also need to factor in meeting the requirements to enter each respective country.
But, don’t let this deter you. There are different regions in the Caribbean that are easy to travel to and you may only get to visit a small number of places. That’s just the reality. Don’t try to visit as many as you possibly can in the shortest amount of time possible. You’re only going to be disappointed and may not be able to get up to date travel information until you have your feet on the ground. The key to travelling around this part of the world is flexibility.
Flying from Island to Island:
Getting into some of the major islands is relatively easy and you can find lots of direct flights from the United States, Canada, and Europe. It’s quite easy to get between the larger islands on budget flights too. But, you may not be able to get everywhere without spending a bit of cash. Some of the harder to reach places may take several days at sea or just an hour or two via plane. However, there may only be one flight each week and you also need to consider how you’re actually going to get back.
You can find a number of budget airlines that will fly around different parts of the Caribbean. And this is the easiest and quickest way to cover larger distances. But, it’s impossible to rely on this method to get to all the islands. Remember, not every island has an airport and when this happens, you need to rely on getting from A to B via the sea.
Island Hopping on Boats and Ferries:
There are several ferries and smaller boats that take visitors between different islands and some operate on an hourly basis during peak season. For example, a regular ferry goes from Trinidad to Tobago. It’s also easy to take a boat between St Kitts and Nevis. However, the further and more off the beaten track you want to go, the harder it is to find a regular service.
You may need to catch a number of boats to get to your destination if it’s particularly far away. And you need to be flexible and have a lot of time on your hands. Some people like the freedom and can do this, for others it’s impossible. You need to consider if it’s really worth the time and effort to get to this one island.
Don’t Write Off a Cruise Just Yet:
Not every cruise costs thousands of dollars and takes you around the Caribbean for two weeks. Most people aren’t aware that you can sometimes find shorter ones for as little as $50 a night from local operators. You shouldn’t expect a high level of comfort and luxury, yet it gives you the opportunity to get around and see more than one place. This is perfect for people who just want to sample the island life or don’t have as much time as others. Check online for local cruise providers and see if you can find a deal or a discount.
Becoming Crew on a Private Boat:
One of the best and more flexible ways to travel from one island to the next is to become part of the crew on a private boat. This may be on someone’s yacht or other vessels that travel on a regular basis from one island to the next. You’ll help out and work in return for transport, food, and a place to stay. And when you arrive at an island, it’s more likely that you’re going to be able to spend at least a few days.
If you do want to use this way to island hop, you need to have some sailing experience and can do what’s expected of you. It’s also worth mentioning that to get this position, it may take several months of planning, preparation, and finding the right boat for you.
The Bottom Line:
There are lots of ways to get around the Caribbean and the exact method of transport will depend on your time and flexibility. The best way is to use a combination of different transport and to always plan whilst at the same time remaining flexible.