Backpacking Caribbean

Traveling through the Caribbean with only the bare necessities on your back and no clear itinerary or fixed accommodation is a dream that has been fulfilled by some, mostly young, people after graduating from high school or university.

Since the seventies, this alternative way of traveling has established itself in the German-speaking world. But what exactly makes a backpacking trip actually? What are the advantages and disadvantages? And which Caribbean islands are suitable for backpacking? The answers to these questions, as well as many useful tips and links about backpacking in the Caribbean, can be found on this page.

Camping on the beach in the Caribbean

What are backpacking trips?

Backpacking or backpacking refers to a type of travel in which the traveler travels with nothing more than a backpack. As with all individual travel, backpacking allows travelers to decide where they want to go, how long they want to stay, what the itinerary will be, and what accommodations they will choose.

Unlike traditional travel, such as package tours, backpacking trips tend to last much longer and go beyond the standard two weeks. The cheapest possible accommodations and means of transportation are preferred. Adventure, not comfort, is what backpackers are looking for.

What are the advantages of backpacking?

Backpacking is not only the most adventurous way to travel, but it also offers many advantages. Who travels only with a backpack without a planned itinerary, can decide for himself how long he stays where. Freedom to travel, flexibility and variety are clearly the focus of backpacking trips.

The financial aspect also plays a role in this type of travel that should not be underestimated. Backpackers often put their needs in terms of comfort and luxury on the back burner and make do with cheap hostels, apartments and transportation. With couchsurfing or hitchhiking you can stay and travel completely free of charge. In this way, one is also in closer contact with the locals, who have exciting insider information, makes international friends and in this way expands his foreign language skills without an expensive language trip.

Since most backpacking trips are long-term trips, travelers have the opportunity to earn extra money by working local jobs to supplement their vacation funds. Working abroad also looks good on your resume and is becoming more and more popular in many professions. Those who are open-minded have a lot of experience that can be useful on the job.

What are the disadvantages of backpacking?

Backpacking is not the ideal way to travel for everyone. If you are not tied down by time, work or relationships, you can gain valuable experience and acquaintances for life on such a trip. For family people and workaholics, on the other hand, backpacking is not impossible per se, but it is more difficult than for singles and solo travelers.

Ideally, the vacation budget should be sufficient for the entire duration of the trip, which is why a certain amount of start-up capital is indispensable for backpacking trips. In addition to the necessary small change, the traveler must also have enough free time for the planning and the trip itself. Who has the opportunity to take a year off from their job or family to travel around the world??

One final point that may prove to be a drawback for some travelers is the minimalist lifestyle that backpacking requires. You travel only with a backpack, where luggage is limited to the bare necessities and the choice of accommodation is not based on comfort and service, but practicality properly. For those who have no problem with such limitations, backpacking in the Caribbean can be the trip of a lifetime.

Backpacking in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a comparatively expensive destination, which is especially popular among the rich and famous. A simple rule of thumb is that the more northern and American the island, the more expensive it is.

The most expensive island in the Caribbean is Saint Barthelemy, where you can spend several hundred euros for a simple dinner. Yes, in St. Barth can be paid with the Euro. Living on the more southern islands is less expensive. On the San Blas Islands, for example, you can spend the night in a charming straw hut for as little as five dollars.

Backpacking trips in the Caribbean can also be combined with many other types of travel, such as island hopping, language tours or round trips. Which islands are best for backpackers and many useful tips about the topic you can learn here.

Which islands are best for backpacking??

The bigger the island, the more there is to see on it, and the more worthwhile a backpacking trip is. Those who rather want to visit the small islands should think about the itinerary in advance and which islands are most appealing.

Cuba, because of its size and history, is popular with backpackers who are interested in nature, culture and communism. In almost every city you can find cheap accommodation, cheap street snacks and traces of the Cuban Revolution. Since the island is a very safe destination, solo travelers can also explore the country with confidence.

Dominican Republic

Although the Dominican Republic is known as an all-inclusive paradise, you will also find many inexpensive guesthouses and hostels where you can stay for a few pesos. As the Domrep, as it is affectionately called in our country, is comparatively large there is a lot to discover for backpackers.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico- half America, half Caribbean is also popular with backpackers from all over the world. The reason for this are the cheap campsites and the many cheap hostels, which are especially for backpackers. Especially popular is Bioluminescent Bay on the offshore island of Vieques.


Just like Puerto Rico, Jamaica offers many cheap campsites for young and flexible vacationers. Hostels provide beds for the equivalent of 20 euros and food is also quite cheap. An absolute insider tip among backpackers is Floyd's Pelican Bar, a bar made of driftwood in the middle of the sea.


Guadeloupe is an island that belongs to the European Union, just like Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, Statia and Saba or Anguilla. So to enter the country you only need an ID card. Theoretically, you can even work there and thus improve your vacation funds.


Dominica is especially interesting for nature lovers. There you can still find untouched rainforest, which invites you to go hiking and places where mass tourism has not yet taken hold. From Dominica you can also sail cheaply to the neighboring island of Martinique.

Corn Islands

The Islas del MaIz, which belong to Nicaragua, offer many cheap accommodation possibilities for backpackers. Although cars and mass tourism are not to be found on the islands, you will find so-called eco lodges and beach huts, where you can stay for the equivalent of 15 or more euros. 10 euros a night. In front of the islands you will find the best and cheapest diving areas in the world.

Practical tips for backpacking in the Caribbean

Before the actual trip starts, there are still some things to consider. First of all, you should check the validity of your credit cards and passport before your trip and renew them if necessary. extend them. For entries to the Caribbean, passport must be valid for at least six months beyond stay. Also the entry regulations as well as the vaccination regulations of the respective island are to be considered.

If you want to travel to the Caribbean or Puerto Rico via the USA, you must have an ESTA travel visa. In Cuba you have to prove that you have a health insurance and as a tourist you are not allowed to stay longer than 60 days on the island. On some islands an international driver's license is required to rent a car. To be on the safe side you should make copies of all documents.

Today almost nothing works without a cell phone. Especially when traveling you want to keep your friends and family up to date and check in regularly. However, charges for calling, texting and surfing abroad can be very high. In some areas, especially on the uninhabited islands of the Caribbean, network availability is not always guaranteed. Alternatively and especially for longer stays you can buy a prepaid SIM on the spot to make cheap calls.

You can leave your laptop at home, as there are internet cafes and hot spots on almost every island, where you can surf the web, check your emails and book your next flight for free or at a reasonable price. With the Kindle app you can even read books on your smartphone or download different travel guides. But beware: In the Caribbean there are different sockets than in Germany, so an adapter should not be missing in your luggage.

Speaking of luggage: This should be limited to a maximum of 13 kilograms for backpacking trips. Especially in small planes or boats, luggage is limited, not to mention the strain on your back. So less is more. In the Caribbean you don't need thick sweaters or boots anyway. Instead, summer clothes, flip flops, and multifunctional pieces like scarves should be taken along. But also a light rain jacket and a cape for the backpack should not be missing, because it can rain in the Caribbean also outside the rainy season.

Clothes can be worn directly on the body when entering and leaving the country, thus saving space in the backpack. Things that are no longer needed can be sent home before the end of the journey. It is cheaper than paying for overweight at the airport. It is also cheaper to bring sunscreen, hygiene products and mosquito repellent from Germany, as these are usually more expensive in the Caribbean.

Finally, some money saving tips: Instead of booking one-way flights, you should at least book the outbound and return flight together, as this option is usually much cheaper. If you book flights to the Caribbean out of season, you can save many Euros. Also the accommodations should be roughly compared and booked in advance on the internet. Probably the cheapest places to stay are couchsurfing or private rooms, which can be booked on Airbnb.

Also, before you go, find out what things you can do for free, e.g.B. Camping on the beach etc. Don't skimp on buying a backpack, though, as you'll have to cover longer distances with it and it will have to withstand quite a bit of wear and tear. It is best to get advice directly in the store instead of just buying any model online. Then nothing will stand in the way of the perfect backpacking trip in the Caribbean.

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