Dying to visit the Caribbean, but haven't yet settled on an island? Good — a little indecision never hurt, at least when it comes to travel. After all, the more flexible you can be with your destination, the more likely you are to save when it comes to airfare.
So if you're planning to join the more than 10 million Americans who visit the islands each year, take a look at this list of the least expensive Caribbean destinations. Hopper tracked billions of airfare prices to find the cheapest Caribbean airports, on average, that you can fly to from the United States. The list includes some old favorites like Jamaica and St. Thomas, as well as new destinations you have yet to discover.
Kicking off this list: Aruba. This compact and quintessential Caribbean island is one of the most popular to visit, favored by fliers and cruise ship passengers alike. See its rugged beaches and adorable main town of Oranjestad year-round. You can fly into Aruba for $466 on average, although Spirit Airlines offers much cheaper routes for as little as $200 round trip.
Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport sees a whopping 9 million visitors every year. Its popularity is due in part to its status as a gateway to the rest of the Caribbean, as well as its relative affordability, with an average flight price of $422. From here, check into one of the famous all-inclusives like Sandals Montego Bay or Secrets St. James, a luxe, adults-only hideaway.
While not quite as cheap as its sister airport, at number four on this list, Santiago de Los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic is still quite inexpensive at $411. It's a popular airport; low-cost carrier JetBlue, which operates daily flights from New York City, Boston and Newark, New Jersey, can likely get you there for the lowest price. But it's worth comparing flights into nearby Santo Domingo — depending on your itinerary, one may be notably cheaper.
A destination in and of itself, as well as a gateway to the other U.S. Virgin Islands of St. John and St. Croix, St. Thomas is next on our list, with an average flight price of $400. But with a plethora of JetBlue flights from the East Coast, you may pay closer to $300, leaving plenty of extra dough for ziplining the mountainsides, snorkeling Magens Bay or shopping in Charlotte Amalie's duty-free shops.
From the iconic pink towers of the Atlantis Royal Towers to the equally iconic pink sands of Harbour Island, the Bahamas are a colorful Caribbean destination. The lively capital of Nassau hosts the islands' main airport and is a hub for Bahamasair. While the average flight to Nassau costs as little as $393, you can expect to pay even less if you're departing from Florida (here, you can nab a flight from just $250 if you catch a sale).
The twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago are a study in contrasts: the former, busy and bustling (read: crowded), the latter, all palm trees and blue seas, with few tourists. With an average flight price from the U.S. of $381, you can afford to see both on a single trip. JetBlue, American, United and Caribbean Airlines all fly to this underrated paradise.
The Dominican Republic is a true Caribbean playground, filled to the brim with all-inclusive resorts, kid-friendly attractions and, of course, turquoise seas. Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo is the fourth-cheapest Caribbean airport to fly into, with an average flight price of $381 round trip (which leaves you with plenty to spend on the ground).
Surprisingly just a hair more expensive than its busier sister airport in San Juan, Aguadilla is a small airport that welcomes cheap flights from New York City, Newark, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In fact, flights to quieter Aguadilla average just $373 and are often a viable alternative to flying into San Juan, especially if you're staying in one of the intimate boutique hotels nearby.
The second-cheapest Caribbean airport to fly to is also the busiest, with some 4 million travelers eagerly landing on its runways each year. San Juan, with its colonial architecture, vibrant nightlife and nearby sugar-sand beaches, is a popular — and inexpensive — vacation spot. Best of all, flights average just $372 from the U.S. Check out cheap nonstop options operated by JetBlue if you're on the East Coast.
Perhaps known more for the tragic aftereffects of the 2010 earthquake than its viability as a vacation hot spot, Haiti is actually a worthy (and inexpensive-to-reach) place for voluntourists (or volunteer tourists) looking to expand their horizons. With an average flight price from the U.S. of just $347, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is the cheapest Caribbean airport on this list by far. But it certainly requires an adventurous spirit (and plenty of planning).
About the author: Dara Continenza is an editor at Hopper, the travel app that tells you when to fly and buy. She writes articles on air travel and offers expert advice backed by Hopper's unique data. Follow her for more tips and deals on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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