The Caribbean is one of the top travel destinations in the world, it’s especially popular with North Americans wanting to escape the frigid autumn, spring and winter seasons. These days, even the spring and summer months can be harsh, or unappealing in the northern hemisphere. The weather is changing everywhere and so should the global travel mentality. It’s not about leaving the cold to visit the heat anymore, it’s about getting more bang for your buck and travelling when you feel like it, because there’s no point in scheduling your trips based on unpredictable weather patterns.
Travelling to the Caribbean at any time of the year will be enjoyable, but you’ll benefit more by travelling during the off-season (which in most Caribbean countries runs from around May – November).
Cheaper Hotel Rooms
During the peak tourist season (the winter months), the cost of hotel rooms can be quite high, not to mention the fact that they can be fully booked well in advance. But, if you visit the Caribbean during the off-season months, you’ll find huge discounts!
Many hotels in the Caribbean slash their rooms rates to as much as 50% off, and in other cases, they will offer various promotions.
As an example: On the lovely island of Bequia in The Grenadines, The Frangipani Hotel offers a special promotion of “pay for 6 nights, get the 7th free” from May 1st to August 31st. Plus, their room rates are reduced by as much as $55/night during the off season.
The Casa 21, which is a boutique B&B in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic offers 25% off of their room rates during August, September and October!
Discounts and offers on B&Bs, hotels, resorts and guest houses are commonly found in the Caribbean during the off-season, and with accommodation costs being so high in this part of the world, any amount of discount really helps the budget.
Discounted Transportation, Flights & Tours
The cost of flights from North America, or Europe are significantly reduced during the slow tourist season, and once you’ve arrived, the cost of inter-island ferries are also available at a discounted rate.
During the months of May – June and September – November, the Jaden Sun Fast Ferry operates on low-season rates between St. Vincent and The Grenadines. If you don’t have your own sailboat, this is a great (and inexpensive) way to island hop!
Many tours and activities such a kayaking, scuba diving, cycling and snorkelling will be offered at a discounted rate as well, and if you’re good at bargaining, you can save on just about anything.
During the winter months, the weather is typically dry with the occasional rains. The summer and autumn months are considered the wet/rainy season and even though this may not sound like the ideal weather for a holiday, it can actually make for a better trip.
When it rains in the Caribbean, it’s usually a torrential downpour, but this only lasts for an hour or so, before completely clearing up and revealing the sun again.
The rain can be very welcoming and refreshing on a hot day, plus, it leaves the air humid and aromatic. Not only is the rain good for cooling yourself down, but it makes the jungle, grass and flowers come to life! Wouldn’t it be nicer to look out at lush, green foliage, rather than a dry, brittle hillside? The green hills, fields and gardens are much more beautiful during the wet season.
The Caribbean knows how to throw an awesome party, with many of the colourful events happening during the summer. You won’t want to miss the crazy Carnivals of St. Vincent (Vincy Mas) or Grenada (Spice Mas), or the fun festival of Crop Over in Barbados. If you’re into music, the Raggae Sumfest in Jamaica is where you’ll want to be. There are also a few sailing regattas held in the summer. During the Carnival time in Grenada and St. Vincent and The Grenadines, the streets come alive with music, dancing and intricate costumes. Carnival in the Caribbean is similar to Carnival in Rio (Brazil) or Mardi Gras in New Orleans and it’s definitely worth planning a trip around.
A Blissful Lack of Tourists
Apart from the couple of weeks during festivals, you’ll likely have a dreamlike paradise virtually to yourself. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to mingle more with the local people? If you’re travelling during the off-season, you’ll have more opportunities to do so because the locals won’t be outnumbered by tourists.
Imagine lazing on pristine beaches, visiting Marine National Parks or exploring hidden trails without the immense crowds found in the peak tourist months. One of the downsides of visiting the Caribbean when everyone else does is that the beaches are packed with people all vying for a sandy patch to call their own and it can be hard just to find a place to lay your towel.
Being able to experience the magical moment of swimming next to turtles, or sailing through incredible archipelagos with just you and a couple of friends is an experience you’ll never forget…one that will be hard to come by if you travel during the peak season.
You may not realize this, but during the winter/spring months, the seas in parts of the Caribbean can be quite rough. Taking a ferry and going on a yacht or sailboat during this time isn’t the most enjoyable experience, especially if you are prone to motion sickness, or feel a bit uneasy on the water.
If you’re taking a transatlantic cruise over to the Caribbean, the calmest months are from May – August. During the summer and autumn months, the seas in the Caribbean are typically calm (unless there’s a hurricane whipping through) and make for enjoyable days out on the water. If you’re at all concerned about hurricanes and tropical storms, there are informative websites you can view before setting sail.
Or, you could travel to Grenada, a country in the Caribbean that usually remains outside of the hurricane belt!
If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, consider travelling in the off-season! The amount of money you’ll save on flights and accommodation alone would be worth it. Plus, the festivals are lively, the weather is near perfect and the waters are calm. Weather around the world is changing fast these days and even the dry season can be unpredictable, with many days not seeing even a drop of precipitation. If you’re interested in seeing a country for what it truly is and enjoying the peace and quiet that the off-season can provide, consider travelling to the Caribbean during this time. Your trip will be more fulfilling and your bank account will surely appreciate this newfound wisdom.