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Our Favorite Cheap Caribbean Family Vacations

From splashing around at a water park in Saint Lucia to digging into a big buffet in Jamaica, go for the gold at these affordable Caribbean family resorts

Savoring every minute of a massage fragrant with coconut oil and lemongrass and looking forward to sipping my favorite apple martini at the swim-up bar, I’m reminded that big bucks are not needed to vacation like royalty.  While the older kids opt for a gratis snorkeling adventure at our oceanfront all-inclusive resort and the younger ones learn how to salsa dance with their Dad, I smile knowing our Caribbean family holiday with all the luxury trimmings didn’t break the bank.

For the relaxation reboot we all deserve under the tropical sun, enjoy the guilty pleasures without the guilt at these 8 affordable Caribbean resorts perfect for families.

1. Going Dutch in Curacao

Sitting pretty on 2,000 acres between the Caribbean Sea and Spanish Water Bay, the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is a luxe-for-less vacation spot in Curacau, the Dutch Caribbean. It’s the largest resort on the island and has 350 rooms and suites, with impressive over-sized tubs and comfy robes. The wild blue yonder is the main attraction at the long white sandy beach with water so clear you can see your toes.

Free fun on the beach means snagging a sun lounger and watching the parade of sailboats skirting the shoreline. For water sports devotees, the sea invites kayaking, snorkeling and sightings of dolphins and sea turtles. On land, hone your game at the Tafelberg Tennis Oasis and Old Quarry Golf Course where the iguanas take five on the fairways.

Keeping the cost down for families with big appetites, meal plans are offered. At Shore, one of 4 restaurants at the resort, is where Chef Heinrich Hortencia shows the kids around his exhibition kitchen while Mom and Dad indulge in another glass of wine. For those with a yen to try something different, pork belly steamed buns at the Great Room are inexpensive snacks worth a taste test. Open all day, Medi is buffet-central while even crabby kids like the Krabby Burger with extra Oreo cookies at Splash, next to the pool.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Curacao

Top rated
Nieuwpoort
8.6 Excellent (1848 reviews)

2. Spice it up in Grenada

Celebrating four decades as a family business in Granada, Blue Horizons Garden Resort feels like home the moment you check-in. Four miles from the Maurice Bishop International Airport on the island affectionately dubbed ‘The Spice Island’, this resort is the perfect choice for families. In 32 self-catering cottages, a stay is enjoyably affordable in separate bedrooms (think: privacy) and kitchenettes where foodie families whip up breakfast best enjoyed on the porch. For large broods, roll-away beds and cribs are available.

With a staff so friendly they’ll remember everyone’s name in no time, there’s plenty to write home about like stewed conch known as ‘lambi’ at La Belle Creole where the menu honors the recipes of Audrey Hopkin, the owners Mom. From soup to nuts, there are reasonably priced choices at Aqua Pool Bar & Grill where the kids meet their new BFF’s during Social Hour every day at 5:30 p.m.

Water babies get into the swim of things at Grande Anse Beach – five minutes on foot from the resort and the recipient of umpteen ‘best beach in the Caribbean ‘awards. Fun stuff without a price tag include water sports and play at the Grenada Golf Club and for those with bird watching on the bucket list, walkabouts to see the yellow bananaquit, one of nearly 30 tropical birds that call the hotel home are delightful.

Blue Horizons Garden Resort

Top rated
Grand Anse Bay
8.7 Excellent (147 reviews)

3. Vitamin Sea and a Parrot Named Gizmo in Saint Maarten

On the south coast of Saint Maarten, the dual-nation island, there is a regal holiday without a hefty price tag at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Close to many attractions and with rental cars onsite, the beachfront resort is big on the wow factor in 210 rooms and hilltop suites with kitchens, 3 pools, hot tub, and much more. Instagram-worthy, Gizmo is the colorful resident parrot happy to pose for photos.

Not an all-inclusive although that option makes it easy to stay within a budget, you’ll hear a whole lot of ooh’s and aah’s at 5 restaurants like Gizmo’s Bar & Grill where the Bronx Bomber pizza is a meaty melange that pairs nicely with a no-alcohol fruit punch for the kids and a boozy Guavaberry Colada made from the little red berries that grow in the hills for everyone else.

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

Philipsburg
7.9 Good (1705 reviews)

4. Privacy, Pampering and a Party on the Beach in Aruba

On prime real estate where the coconut palms keep a beat with the breeze, Holiday Inn is a bargain bonanza on Palm Beach, in Aruba. Less than 8 miles from the Queen Beatrix International Airport and a few miles from the capital city of Oranjestad, the resort sits on one of the island’s most popular beach packed with a melting pot of tourists from all over the world and no shortage of reasonably-priced water sports kiosks and souvenir vendors.

With bites and beverages galore at 5 restaurants, you’ll find one that gets the thumbs up like Oceanside Bar and Grill where kids chow down on big burgers as the mix masters pour Aruba Ariba cocktails for those of a certain age. For an Italian vibe, share a big bowl of linguine frutti di mare (pasta and seafood) at Da Vinci Ristorante.

At the Activity Center, bicycles and tennis are on the house or grab a taxi on the main drag and explore downtown Oranjestad where you’ll find swanky shops and funky craft markets. Less than a 5-minute walk from the resort, Paseo Herencia is a shopping mall that multitasks as an entertainment center with shops, cinema, restaurants and complimentary fireworks shows and steel pan band performances when the sun sets.

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach & Casino

Palm Beach
7.9 Good (2781 reviews)

5. Splash Time in Saint Lucia

On the only island in the Caribbean named after a woman, Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa in Saint Lucia comes with the same quality perks offered at the more expensive resorts on the island. Live the high life with an all-inclusive stay and enjoy unlimited passes to Splash Island Water Park where kids of all ages navigate the inflatable obstacle course with a trampoline, climbing walls, swings and monkey bars.

For kids aged 4 to 12, there’s crab racing on the beach at the Coral Kidz Club. Also, in the all-inclusive package, there are daily treatments at La Mer Spa, water sports, meals, drinks and a ‘dine around’ program in Rodney Bay Village with its eclectic array of shops, restaurants and bars.

At the resort’s doorstep, Reduit Beach is safe for swimming with a gently sloping entry and home to the Hi Tide Restaurant where the coconut and pumpkin soup is to-dine-for. Next to Splash Island, Sea Grapes dishes up West Indian fare and gooey desserts. For picky eaters, both restaurants offer menus for kids.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

Top rated
Gros Islet
8.6 Excellent (990 reviews)

6. Prince and Princesses in Jamaica

On a peninsula within the Montego Bay Marine Park, a stay at Sunscape Splash Montego Bay feels more like a stay at a higher-priced resort. Less than 15 minutes from the Sangster International Airport, the affordable all-inclusive on the beach shares amenities with the adjacent Sunscape Cove Montego Bay offering a big bang-for-the-buck family vacation in Jamaica.

With everything included, families play where they stay at the 308-room resort that accommodates kids of all ages with cribs, cots and connecting rooms. With more swagger than you’ll find at the swanky seaside resorts, there’s never a dull moment at six restaurants, five bars, Pirate’s Paradise Waterpark, five pools and the Explorer’s Club for kids under 12, Core Zone for teens and Serene Spa where the Chocolate Body Exfoliation hits the sweet spot.

Although there’s plenty to do on land, it’s underwater where swimming among the tropical fish and coral reefs is a real-life version of Finding Nemo. Close to the best dive sites on the island, excursions take explorers to see the Spanish ships that sunk in the 1800’s and sea critters cavorting in the caves.

Sunscape Splash Montego Bay

Montego Bay
7.6 Good (4386 reviews)

7. Birds, Basketball and a Big Beach in the Bahamas

There is so much to do at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that you can stay for a week in this Bahamas resort and not do the same thing twice. One of 3 hotels at Baha Mar in Nassau, Grand Hyatt is so large that although a Sherpa guide might seem necessary, it’s a well-laid out hotel with staff around every corner providing easy-to-follow directions.

On Cable Beach, 1800-room hotel with 6 pools, basketball and tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, too many restaurants to count, spa and the largest casino in the Caribbean, is a slam dunk for kids of all ages. Complimentary for guests, kids watch the marine staff feed sea turtles and nurse sharks. More gratis meet and greets in The Aviary where adventurous kids feed the colorful birds.

At The Kitchen, cupcake decorating lessons are popular, Pajama Jam parties are the big ticket at the Explorers Club and for tiny tourists with an artsy side, tie-dye classes fit the bill. Junior astronomers party under the stars on Galaxy Quest night while for the show-offs in the family, its lights, camera, and action at Kids Got Talent with karaoke competitions

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

Top rated
Nassau
8.5 Excellent (2773 reviews)

8. Ride the Waves in the Dominican Republic

By the time you hear ‘are we there yet?’ you’ll be checked into the Barceló Bávaro Palace. A fast 15 minutes (11 miles) on a modern highway from the Punta Cana International Airport, take a deep dive into the lap of luxury and enjoy the treasures of the Dominican Republic. The all-inclusive on Bavaro Beach comes with must-have vacation accessories like a water park, great for families.

Protected by a coral reef, the waves are calm enough for young swimmers and the sandy beach relaxing enough for adults aiming to finish the novel brought from home. A boatload of gratis fun for the sports minded goes the distance from catamaran sails and windsurfing to scuba diving and kayaking.

On terra firma, there are tennis courts, aerobics classes and an 18-hole miniature golf course open until midnight. Keeping hunger at bay, choose from 11 restaurants like Bohio Dominicano for La Bandera, a combo plate of stewed meat, white rice, red beans and green plantains that match the colors of the Dominican flag. For lighter bites, Tapas Bar, one of the 13 bars, is open 24/7. For a memorable Date Night, leave the kids with a babysitter and get groovy in a dance class and tempt Lady Luck in the casino.

Barceló Bávaro Palace

Playa Bavaro
8.4 Very good (6675 reviews)