Before planning your getaway to the islands there are three questions you must answer first. Do you already know which island(s) you want to see, will you be traveling alone or with a group, how long do you have for this trip? Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will solve many headaches later. There are so many opportunities to enjoy yourself that it would be easy to become overwhelmed. Not only should you be prepared, but make sure everyone going is aware of the plan before leaving for the islands so that everyone can make the most of the trip.
Researching the Islands
- Enjoy discounted rates during the low season. From mid-April to mid-December you’ll have the advantage of lower hotel prices, more package deals, and many of the most popular towns will be less crowded.
- Be aware there is uncomfortable, muggy weather is common throughout the islands during this time. It’s also hurricane season and many hotels, restaurants, and shops might close down in August and September. Months when the weather will be at its worst. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are exceptions to this.
.This is the perfect time to see more of the islands culture. Whether it’s the nightlife, shopping, visiting the beaches and snorkeling. Knowing what each offers is key.
Traveling With a Group
Costs on the islands are relatively low and you will be able to use US currency, but costs can very quickly add up. Lodging, activities, meals, travel between islands can be more than you expect as a solo traveler. Expenses can double or triple depending on the size of your group.
If you’re on a budget a cruise may be a better option, for families or singles. This is also a good option for those who don’t want to take multiple flights or get stuck on an island with no ferry connections. Keep in mind, you’ll see multiple islands but every stop will be crowded. If you prefer a quieter trip, search for the smaller ships. These ships can make stops the larger ones can’t. If your group is adventurous, charting a yacht or bare boating (renting a boat yourself, if anyone in the group has significant experience) are other options.
Make sure your hotel is catered towards groups and/or families. Hotels marked as hotspots are generally geared toward singles or any tourists that are looking to party. Book an all-inclusive deal well in advance. This will cover your rooms, meals, and certain activities. Check with the hotel to see which of their amenities, if any, will not be included in the deal.
Duration of the Trip
- Keep travel time in mind. Flights can last ten to fifteen minutes or hours depending on which island you’re connecting to. Ferries take even longer. If you choose to take a cruise, you’ll be able to see several islands in a week but you may not be able to enjoy as many activities as you’d like.
- A visit one of the larger islands and staying there for the entirety of your trip will cut down on costs and time between islands. Bonaire, being larger than Saba or St. Eustatius, has the most activities and you could easily spend your trip there.
- It’s important to check whether or not the island you chose is driver friendly to tourists. Unlike in the US, cars are on the left side of the road and only very experienced cyclists should rent a moped or motorcycles. Aruba is one of the easiest cities to drive in if you aren’t used to the road system.