With hurricane season and the traditional slower summer tourist period coming up fast, the Caribbean islands know that the sales they advertise have to be jaw-droppingly good to entice travelers shopping in this buyer's market.
Big discounts, resort or dining credits, and free stays for kids are the most common deals I've found for summer stays. If you're worried about the weather but still want the deal, plan for a vacation before the late-August and early-September peak hurricane season. You can also check to see if the resorts you're considering offer refunds or credits in the case of storms, and look into travel insurance.
Here are just a few of the many sales going on for summer Caribbean travel this year:
- Aruba: Aruba holds special appeal for summer travelers because it's one of the few Caribbean islands that sits outside the traditional hurricane belt. This year, it's kicking off the One Cool Family Vacation summer promotion with free accommodations for kids staying with paying adults, free daily breakfast for kids, discounted car rental rates, free snorkeling for kids, and other family discounts around the island from June 1 to September 30. Aruba also lists other specials good for all travelers.
- Antigua: The Why Wait? promotion at the luxurious Carlisle Bay Antigua offers ocean suites from $345 per night (regular price: $795), full breakfast and afternoon tea daily, and a $250 resort credit for guests staying four nights or more through August 28.
- Curacao: Another one of the islands outside the hurricane belt, Curacao has launched the island-wide Curacao Now promotion. The deal gives visitors who book by July 15 for stays through July 1 or between August 15 and December 15 a $200 per person airline ticket credit, free night at one of 18 participating hotels, $140 food and beverage credit, free diving excursion, free car rental day, and other attraction discounts. Curacao was also selected as a top off-peak destination this summer for its myriad savings opportunities.
- Dominican Republic: Club Med Punta Cana has launched a Kids 15 & Under Stay Free special for stays through December 19 booked by June 30. Children's clubs, sports, and activities are included in the offer. One child can stay free with each paying adult. There are so many Dominican Republic deals that the island recently earned a spot on our list of top bargain destinations for summer.
- Grand Cayman: At the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa Grand Cayman, Summer Spectacular rates are 40 percent off, with rooms ranging from $159 to $259 per night (as opposed to the usual $344 to $504 per-night rates). The discount is good for stays June 1 through September 6. The Cayman Islands were another top off-peak destination pick for summer, with plenty more discounts to choose from.
- Nassau: The Caribbean Vacation Stimulus Package at the Wyndham Nassau gets guests two free nights with two paid nights for travel through December 24 when booked by September 30. Rates start at $309 per paid night, so that comes out to about $600 for the four nights. Kids under 17 stay free and the deal includes a $100 food and beverage credit. The Wyndham has more offers as well.
- Nevis: The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is offering seven nights for the price of five through August 16. Rates start at $365 double occupancy per night, and include daily breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner.
- St. John: The Sunsational Savings offer at the Westin St. John—good for summer trips booked by May 31—includes a fifth night free, a $150 to $200 resort credit, and a complimentary room upgrade if it's available. Additionally, the resort has other summer specials.
- St. Kitts and Nevis: The island-wide Fall in Love With St. Kitts & Nevis promotion offers visitors 40 percent off accommodations, daily breakfast, a discount card, other resort credits (varying by hotel), and discounted airfare rates for stays through December 19.
- St. Maarten: The all-inclusive Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Sonesta Great Bay Beach & Casino have a two-for-one special for stays through October 31 that are booked by May 31. Rates start at $230 per room and include activities, food and beverages, and taxes and fees.