If you're anything like me, when it comes to finding a warm, sunny getaway, you're looking for something a little more unique than the usual tourist hotspots of Cancún or Nassau. Maybe it's a place you've never heard of or your friends have never heard of, or a place you can't even pronounce.
These secluded, lesser-known islands can be exactly the kind of escape you're dying for in the coldest, darkest winter months. A quiet beach, warm sunshine, and a cold drink in a place that feels exclusive – that's what we want.
Islands like Anguilla, Bonaire, and Roatán can offer that to travelers. And while these places might sound expensive, getting a cheap flight isn't as difficult as you may think. In just the last few weeks, we've sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium members tons of alerts about low airfare to these Caribbean hidden gems, all under $400 roundtrip – and often far less.
If you're looking for a cheap flight to the Caribbean this year, these are the off-the-beaten-path destinations you should be targeting.
Don't embarrass yourself trying to over-pronounce the name of this island nation. Anguilla is just pronounced “Angwilla.” It is, after all, a British territory.
That goes to show how little I knew about this Caribbean island before we found these low fares there. But now I can't stop thinking about it.
Known for its limestone caves and wildlife (I hope you like sea turtles!), along with its sunny beaches, the island sounds spectacular.
Anguilla is serviced from the U.S. by American Airlines, which just so happened to put its flights down to the Caribbean island on sale last month.
From Denver (DEN) to Baltimore (BWI), travelers from all over the U.S. had a crack at booking these low fares to paradise.
The island of Antigua, just north of St. Maarten in the Caribbean, is another slice of paradise not too far from the U.S.
Long a bastion for lovers of white sand beaches and sailing, Antigua feels too luxurious for budget-conscious travelers.
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With airfare like this, it feels like the gates to the palace are wide open! Antigua's beaches and sunshine could easily be yours for under $393 roundtrip thanks to this sale from American Airlines and Delta.
It was mainly East Coast-based travelers who were able to take advantage of these quick connections to fly to Antigua (ANU) for cheap this winter. And while most of these fares have gone up by now, we're searching every day for the next time they drop.
ABC Islands: Aruba, Bonaire, & Curaçao
Sometimes, a cheap flight is as easy as A-B-C. And by that we mean Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.
These three close-together islands in the southern part of the Caribbean – right above South America – offer some of the best island living in the whole Caribbean. People who've visited any of these islands tend to gush about their times there.
In the last month, we've found sub-$400 roundtrip flights to all three of them. The latest deal we sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium members was to Bonaire, which is typically the hardest of the three to find cheap flights.
More than a dozen U.S. cities had fares under $398 heading to Bonaire (BON), but this deal to Aruba (AUA) from just a few days prior was even more widespread.
Even small airports like Corpus Christi, Texas (CRP) and Roanoke, Virginia (ROA) were among the lucky ones who got in on this deal. But you could fly all the way from Seattle (SEA) to Aruba (AUA) for less than $398, too.
Curaçao (CUR), not to be forgotten, also jumped into the fray with some excellent cheap fares of its own from some hubs around the eastern part of North America, as well as a sneaky good fare from Denver (DEN).
Whether it's A, B, or C, any one of these islands would leave you in awe for a winter or spring escape this year.
Stay with me, here: One of the coolest Caribbean islands out there is in Honduras…which is not in the Caribbean…
The island of Roatán is technically part of the Central American country of Honduras, but it's set off the coast about 35 miles from the mainland and has its own airport in the city of Coxen Hole (RTB).
That means, just like any other Caribbean nation, you can fly there from the U.S. on American or Delta – no Central American connections or ferry rides required.
Roatán is most famous for its coral reef – attracting divers and snorkelers from all over the world every year. Beyond that, it has all the trappings of other Caribbean hot spots like white sand beaches, pristine weather, and plenty of places to get off the beaten path on your vacation.
It also benefits from healthy competition between American and Delta, meaning you can find a flight to Coxen Hole without dipping into the savings. This deal featured dozens of smaller, regional airports in the U.S. with quick connections down to RTB for this winter and spring.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana (PUJ) gets all the love from travelers to the Dominican Republic, and some would say deservedly so, but look past Puerto Plata at your own risk.
In fact, Puerto Plata (POP) is known as the birthplace of tourism in the D.R., rich with sandy beaches and surrounded by lush valleys and mountains, too.
While most travelers set their sights on the busier Punta Cana, those looking for something a little more laid back can fly straight into Puerto Plata for their winter or spring trip in 2024. And as you can see, somewhere between $277 and $385 is all you'll need for a roundtrip ticket!
Don't always limit your flight searches to the most well-known travel spots like Punta Cana. Use the Google Flights Explore map to see what else is out there, because you might just find a spot like Puerto Plata.
Cozumel and Tulum, Mexico
If you want to gripe that Mexico is not “the Caribbean,” be my guest, but we're all after the same thing here, right? Sunshine, sandy beaches, and that warm Caribbean sea breeze.
Off the Mexican coast – in the Caribbean Sea, mind you – is the island of Cozumel, where flight deals are typically not hard to find, but have been especially great lately.
This latest flight deal to Cozumel featured six nonstop routes to the beautiful divers' paradise, including the new nonstop route from Minneapolis (MSP) for under $300 roundtrip! If you're from the Upper Midwest (like we are!) or you know someone up here in the tundra this winter, you know exactly how badly they needed this deal.
There's no way around the fact that Tulum, Mexico is not part of the Caribbean. It's on the mainland of Mexico, but if you're looking to get off the beaten path from the typical resort-lined beaches of Cancún, Tulum is an amazing option and you can now fly directly there – no need to rent a car, book an airport transfer, or hail a cab.
That's right: You don't have to fly to Cancún (CUN) to get to Tulum anymore thanks to the new Tulum Airport (TQO).
As soon as the airport opened, airlines lined up to begin nonstop service there, including American, Delta, and United – all of which sunk their fares to TQO.
Here's your sign to visit an island you and your friends have never heard of this year! Getting to an off-the-beaten-path Caribbean island doesn't have to be expensive.
From the ABC Islands to Roatán, and up to Antigua or Anguilla, you can fly nonstop to the Caribbean for less than $400 roundtrip if you know where to look, and at Thrifty Traveler Premium, we're always looking.