Deciding to vacation in the Caribbean is easy, but choosing your accommodations, particularly beyond the traditional hotel set-up, can be daunting if you don't know what to look for. For those who enjoy having more space and more amenities, we recommend staying in a villa. It's a great choice for groups, families, and those who want to save on dining. And it doesn't always cost as much as you might think. These five villas will make travelers itching for an island vacation feel at home without breaking the bank:
Moon Dance Cliffs, Negril, Jamaica
Price: One-to-five-bedroom villas here start at $245 per night. Other resorts in the area (like the popular Rockhouse Hotel) also offer villas, but they aren't nearly as large as Moon Cliffs' 1,050-square-foot plus palaces.
What's Special: What's not to love about private jacuzzis on the outdoor patio – or a separate living room for relaxing? All villas also have access to the property's cliff-side restaurant and the 5,000-square foot, waterfall-fed pool in the center of the resort.
Stonefield Resort, St. Lucia
Price: One-to-five-bedroom villas begin at $375 per night and come with a private pool. Guests enjoy a full breakfast daily as well as shuttle service to a nearby beach. For comparison, the recently renamed Viceroy at Sugar Beach (formerly Jalousie Plantation) boasts revamped one-and two-bedroom luxury villas, but they come in at a much pricier $880 per night.
What's Special: In true kick-back island spirit, there are no televisions on property. Don't worry, there's still WiFi in case you do need to connect with society – though with the captivating views of the Piton mountains, we can't imagine why you'd want to.
Three Cays Villa, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Price: This four-bedroom abode begins at $540 per night in low season. It comprises a three-bedroom home and a one-room guest cottage‚ great for girlfriend getaways and extended-family travel. The pool is a bonus, but just outside are three natural reefs – a snorkeler's paradise. Considering that Parrot Cay, a private island resort, charges $2,100 per night for a one bedroom villa, this is a steal.
What's Special: Guests can whip up delicious meals using the villa's new stainless steel appliances, including a souped-up Weber grill. (Try the popular IGA supermarket for loading up on groceries). Plus, the money you save can go toward a meal of conch everything at Da Conch Shack, a Turks institution.
Rincon Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
Price: A one-bedroom condo here accommodates two adults and two children, thanks to a full living room with a queen-sized sofa bed. Rates begin at $549, with a four-night minimum. You might find additional promotions on top of the rate – right now, for example, guests get a fifth night free, plus a $200 food and beverage credit. While many travelers coming to the area opt to stay at the famed Horned Dorset Primavera hotel, the lowest-category (read: much less spacious) rooms start at $470 in low season.
What's Special: If you've visited Puerto Rico before but have been limited to the San Juan area, you'll get a kick out of Rincon's laid-back west coast location. A magnet for surfers, the area has a less hectic vibe than the capital city and is more affordable across the board.
Tierra del Sol, Noord, Aruba
Price: These 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom homes start at $329 per night, with a three-night minimum. Those looking for a hassle-free experience will appreciate daily housekeeping service, which brings the pampered feel you'd find at a traditional hotel. While the recently opened Ritz-Carlton has the perk of a beachfront location, a "limited view" room goes for $399 per night – not to mention a daily 13.5% service charge – in the height of summer.
What's Special: Tierra del Sol shuttles guests to the beach, but you can also lounge in your private pool. Access to tennis courts, a gym, and the spa are included in the rate, and golf lovers will enjoy unlimited time on the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course.